The road to Gothenburg

As we drove south from Tällberg, the landscape flattened out and the weather cleared up and got a little warmer. We stopped in Leksand, where Leksandsbröd is made. This is the disc-shaped hard bread that is an absolute staple of Swedish breakfast and fika. You put butter on it, or make a sandwich with cheese and ham.

Leksandsbröd in Leksand, Sweden.

The factory is in the middle of nowhere; it's surrounded by fields and hills. As we pulled up to the factory store, I was amused to see workers loading trucks, while being supervised by one of the locals:

Horse in a pasture in Leksand, Sweden.

Mariestad, Sweden.

About halfway to Gothenburg, we stopped for the night in Mariestad, in the province of Västergötland. Founded in 1583, this city on Lake Vänern was postcard-perfect when we arrived; the clouds were lifting and the sun was setting:

Many of the streets are still cobblestoned, giving the place a very friendly feeling. We walked around and took pictures while we had the amazing light on our side

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At the top of the hill that overlooks the entire town is the old church, begun in the 16th century. It is absolutely gigantic, and surrounded by grave stones that date all the way back to medieval times

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The next day we checked out and headed to Kållandsö, and Läckö Castle. The castle is on an island, just off a peninsula that juts out into Lake Vänern.

 Läckö Castle, Kållandsö, Sweden

Läckö Castle, Kållandsö, Sweden

 Entry gate, Läckö Castle, Kållandsö, Sweden

Entry gate, Läckö Castle, Kållandsö, Sweden

It dates back to 1298, and has been added onto and modified ever since; in fact, it is undergoing major renovations right now. Mostly, though, what we saw on the tour was original, starting with the iron-clad gate at the entrance

Almost all the rooms (there are hundreds) retain the original painted ceilings. This one dates to the 17th century

Läckö Castle, Kållandsö, Sweden

The largest area in the castle is the chapel. Also built in the 17th century, it is surrounded by wooden sculptures that sit in each window niche

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We've all read stories and seen movies about the intrigue at the royal courts of the medieval period; the poisonings, the stabbings, the political maneuverings. Läckö Castle is no exception, but to see it in person really made those stories come alive for us.

Back in the car, and off to Gothenburg we went, from where I now type this entry. Stay tuned...