Söndag: Juni 4, 2017

On this day, the gang had an incredible authentic cultural experience: Smorgasbord!

There were köttbullar, sausages, herring, liver, calf meat, bread, garlic sauce, etc.
Yum, right?

It was definitely an interesting taste and experience to say the least. Some enjoyed it and went for seconds, some were satisfied with one plate, and some could only handle one taste. Nevertheless, the girls were great sports and embraced a new culture with positive attitudes.

Plus, they got to enjoy this: FIKA!

Afterwards, everyone went to a lake house that Claes Rehn so generously offered.

There, the gang boarded on a boat and went for a ride around the lake.

Just look how excited everyone was with those fashionable life jackets.

Cassie even claimed an island in Sweden.

After the ride, this friendly fox appeared to greet their arrival.



Once settled down, Brian, Cassie, Alli, and Emerita changed to go in the sauna. They took the official Swedish experience of sweating in the sauna then jumping in the lake 3 times.

By the end of the day, the gang officially became Swedish.


Lördag: Juni 3, 2017

Can you guess what these are?


These are Dalahäst (Dalecarlian horse or Dala horse) models. They are traditionally made in the form of a horse but have been modified to other animals due to its popularity. These are statues right outside of a Butik in Dalarna, but are available in much smaller scales. Originally, the Dalahäst was a children’s toy that was made out of wood. Now, it is one the most iconic symbols for Dalarna and Sweden in general.


Maybe one day if you go, you can ride the Dalahäst and take one home!

Söndag: Maj 28, 2017

On this day, Morsdag (Mother’s Day) was celebrated. Many of the girls help plan a nice surprise for their host moms that have graciously taken them in.

Then, Brian took the gang to a World Heritage Site in Sweden called the Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland. Here, everyone was exposed to the traditional Swedish construction technique of using only wood in the old farmer’s society. Depending on who the house was built for, these farm house will range from the basics of architecture to the most elaborate and decorative themes.

The pictures above show the largest of the Hälsingland farms. This farmhouse is called Jon-Lars. It was built in the 1850s by a pair of twin brothers who had different decorative styles. So, they split the house in half and furnished their respective sides. The porch represents the distinctiveness of this house with its double pair of doors.

The interior walls were all painted by hand. One can see the work in detail when seen up close. It is said that the painters would travel looking for business across various lands. And when they did have work, they would purposely make a mistake to show that nothing is perfect.


Lördag: Maj 27, 2017

Although separated with their host families, the gang went to visited a very popular festival in Alfta. There were many interesting sights to see through the festival.

This was the carriage that took people, and other animals, on a carriage ride. One couple dressed as bears and hopped on.



Further on, there was a petting zoo available as well as a piñata for the kids to enjoy the festival.

At a small art shop, we saw quite a few interesting pieces.

Overall, this festival contained some entertaining events while staying true to heritage and culture.

Torsdag: Maj 25, 2015

On this day, the gang headed to the Falun Copper Mine, where Sweden received most of its wealth during the 17th century. It was operated between the 10th century and 1992, then was constructed to be one of the many popular museums located in Sweden. Not only did the copper bring out much of Sweden’s fortune and power, but it also influenced the color of many houses in the area. Its strong and radiant red color attracted many across the land.

There are quite a few legends about this specific mine. The first has to do with a lost goat and the second about the first master miner. According to legend, a farmer was tending to his animals and accidentally let one his goats loose. The goat went missing for a few days but came back with a lushes red coat of paint on his horns. So, the farmer let him out again but followed where he went. To his pleasant surprise, the goat had led the farmer to a mine filled with copper. Now, the famous mascot can be found in gift shops and inside the mine to honor his discovery.

The next legend is more of a lighthearted ghost story about a woman in a white dress. Legend has it, she was the original master miner  but went missing in the caves. No one was able to find her, so they eventually gave up. Some say her spirit still roams in the mine and can be seen if the mine is treated with respect. But, again, this is just folktale and has yet to be proven.

Tisdag: Maj 23, 2017

Everyone slowly starts to settle into their assigned school on the second day. Here’s a taste of what the Swedish school system is about:
Primary school includes grades K-6
Middle school: 7-9
High school (mostly referred to as gymnasium): 10-12

In these schools, students learn practical skills if they wish not to continue their education past a high school diploma. Here are some examples of those skills:

(descriptions of the pictures are available when clicking on the photo)

Though this may look dangerous to most people, there has been no reported injury when using these tools. According to the instructor of this workshop, there have been more injuries from soccer balls than from these sharp objects. There is a great deal of safety stressed when instructing the proper use of sharp tools.


But of course, it is not all strict. Kids get explore their creative minds and have fun with such projects. Just look at Emilia, the forest princess, who made a mask out of thin branches and leaves.



After school, the gang went to Hylströmmen. An area with a beautiful scenery of the woods and a superb waterfall.



We found a mystery forest woman of Hylströmmen. (Try and guess who it is).