Category Archives: family

Sweden, Part 2: Family!

As we got to the west side of Trelleborg and drove to the golf course clubhouse, waiting inside to meet us were nine cousins and spouses, plus two more who joined us later!


family!

Mo and I were pleasantly surprised (and a bit overwhelmed) and I think Kerstin was as well. Our cousin Ulf had apparently spread the word; in addition to the great turnout, the golf course even had the US flag flying out front for us alongside the Swedish flag! We got acquainted over a pleasant buffet meal and worked on learning everyone’s names.
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Sweden, Part 1: Skåne

First destination on our European trip was to the home of my ancestors, southern Sweden. To get there, we picked up Scandinavian Airlines in Newark, NJ on our way to Copenhagen. By far, the biggest hurdle to our trip was the transatlantic flights. While the food was good and there were plenty of entertainment options, the optimum goal is to get sleep on the way there, and that really wasn’t happening much.

It was great to see familiar faces at the airport, with cousin Kerstin and Lennart picking us up and taking us across the border and on to their lake home near Hässleholm, Sweden. They had a very nice guest suite built above their garage that was our home base while there. While we tried to adapt to the new timezone, we took a little day trip to see some local sights. We first saw their wonderful decorative old Church of Mary in Brönnestad, then had an enjoyable time with Kerstin’s mother Hulda (with coffee and some delightful sweets). Following our visit, our first stop was Trollenäs Slott (“slott” being Swedish for “castle”, one of the words I learned), and the second, Hovdala Slott, was aborted due to rain turning to light hail — this was our only interruption to pleasantly cool weather while we were there. As it was we needed a nap and time to visit more anyway. And our big surprise was tomorrow.


Trollenäs Slott

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International Traveler

Five years ago, we were pleased to host my cousin Kerstin’s family from Sweden for a few days.  Since then, they have been (rightly) asking when we would reciprocate and visit them.  This year, Mo and I decided the time was right, and we began our planning.

At the time we contacted Kerstin, we had been planning on flying in to Stockholm, but she recommended we instead fly to Copenhagen, which is much closer to them — only about an hour away.  Given that, we decided to schedule in a couple days to spend in Copenhagen as well.  And lastly, Mo wanted to return to London, which she had been to many years ago.  This was my first trip to Europe, so it all sounded great to me.  We even made a reservation for Mo’s birthday meal when we would be in London.

We got each other large travel backpacks, and with these and a small suitcase we were hoping to travel as light as possible.  We also found a good international power adapter.  Mo had researched our trip fairly well, and we knew ahead of time what discount passes to pick up and had a strong list of sights to try to see.  I also made sure to load up a flash drive with a slew of family tree info and photos to bring along.

Prior to leaving, I had more than one in my family tell me to contact Hartwig and his wife Barbara in Copenhagen and try to visit with them while there.  In addition, I realized I had a college buddy living in London, and worked at possibly getting together with him while we were there, too.  You know it’s becoming a smaller world when you know of someone in each foreign country!

On April 25th, we left for Europe by way of a SAS connection in Newark.  Next:  Sweden

A Bit Of The Mid Atlantic States

When the “save the date” arrived for Greg & Tiffany’s wedding, Mo and I sat down and worked out a vacation trip around it in which we could leisurely visit several locations for the first time.

Our trip started on the end of September with Niagara Falls. We could easily see the mist drifting up from Horseshoe Falls in the distance as we landed in Buffalo. Mo had our first stop though for lunch at Sophia’s Restaurant, a Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives-featured restaurant in Buffalo.

After getting settled into our hotel, we walked over to Niagara Falls State Park and made our way over to the American Falls. As we got closer, we could see the Niagara River picking up speed around Goat Island. It was a real eye-opener as we reached the US side of the river and saw what all the rush was about.


Mo poses with American Falls

While the view was outstanding, it was pretty obvious why everyone says to see the falls from the Canadian side — the American side is closer (you’re right on top of American Falls!) but the other side of the river gives a better panorama of all the falls.

After a leisurely stroll across from the falls, we drove further into Canada to the southern shore of Lake Ontario, where we had a nice lunch at Lake House Restaurant overlooking the lake, with the tall buildings of Toronto visible across the lake at the horizon. We then travelled south into Twenty Valley and bought some homemade fudge, and sampled wines from Cave Spring Winery.


American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the Canadian side

Leaving Niagara Falls, we took the NY Thruway to Syracuse and then northward to Lake Placid. The trees were changing, and there were lots of burgundy and deep orange and red colors, but not so much yellows — maybe we were spoiled by the Aspens of Colorado.

We were also spoiled by the lower elevations compared to Colorado. We hiked several trails while in the Adirondacks, but the most taxing was the 1/5th mile climb from the parking lot to the top of the Whiteface Mountain — a combination of stairs and large rocks. The temps at the top were just a bit above freezing, but the view was outstanding, with Lake Champlain visible to the east and the skyline of Burlington, VT and Montreal visible at the horizon.


Lake Placid from the top of Whiteface Mountain

Just two hours away is Fair Haven, VT, home to several of Mo’s immigrant ancestors. This was a great excuse to visit Vermont for the first time for both of us. We had a chance to hang with the locals as we lunched at The Wooden Soldier, then made our way over to St. Mary’s cemetery, where after a little searching we found the grave markers of Edmund and Mary Pinders, James and Catherine Morgan, and Patrick and Ellen Sloan, who are Mo’s g-g-g-grandparents, g-g-grandparents, and g-g-grandparents, respectively, all originally from Ireland.


Edmund and Mary Pinders’ grave marker

On our route back to Lake Placid we passed Fort Ticonderoga, and we stopped at Swedish Hill Winery, where we made my life more difficult by picking up two more bottles to pack for the flight home (plus a wine glass).

Following our stay at Lake Placid, we spent one night in Lancaster, PA, and the next morning on our way to pick up K at the Philadelphia airport we had a pleasant drive on roads shared with several Amish horse buggies.

This was the first time in Delaware for all three of us, and the wedding and reception at Thousand Acre Farm were beautiful. We enjoyed catching up with the Morgans and with others we’d met a few years back, and our time with them went by much too fast.


the wedding couple with some additional Morgans and tagalongs

(btw, the three wine bottles arrived home unscathed)

Am I Proud?

Damn straight! Way to go, K!


University of Missouri – St. Louis, May 17, 2014

Distant Relatives

I had been trading Christmas emails with the Nilsson family in Sweden for several years after they had discovered (via another person) my genealogy website and found we were related through my father’s father’s family. Kerstin is my second cousin once removed. In the latest Christmas email, though, we were asked if we would welcome a visit from them this year, and of course the answer was, “Yes!”

On June 29th my Swedish cousins arrived, and we did our best to show them a bit of St. Louis and to get to know them better. We also discussed our ancestry, and shared information about our families. And K’s dog Belle took to them fairly quickly and was a hit.

We toured around the area, seeing old St. Charles and the riverfront, the Augusta wine region, the Arch, Basilica, Forest Park, and of course eating toasted raviolis at The Hill. Frozen Yogurt also went over big with our Swedish friends. And we learned a lot about Sweden as well.

swedes
Kerstin, Johan, and Lennart at Montelle Winery

After we said our goodbyes to the Nilssons, we departed the next day on a 13-14 hour drive to my parents’ home in Minnesota. Since we’d been there during the county fair the past couple of trips, we decided to visit during calmer times, so we drove up the week before the fair this year. Also, since K is in summer school, this time around she and the dog remained behind.

Our time there was night and day compared to previous years; it was very rewarding to put work aside for a few days and spend time relaxing with family and friends.

up north
Mo, Dad, and Mom at Bergeson’s Nursery

Our vacation time is over for the Summer, but Fall vacation plans are already showing up on the schedule….

Merry Christmas!

There’s another mouth to feed in the Runner household!
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Belle is a 4-yr old Dachshund/Miniature Pinscher mix (Doxie-pin). She loves car rides, barks very infrequently, and is a better fielder than Delmon Young ever will be. And K is already her best friend.

Merry Christmas everyone from the Runner family!