Many flavors of polkagris

Well, we were going to book a cheap flight to somewhere in Europe and take a bit of a vacation together to escape the cold, dark Swedish winter. But we had a slight change of plans when Oscar found a really cheap last-minute flight/hotel package to Jordan! For less than the cost of a typical flight alone! So we’re really excited, and a week from now I’ll be in the Middle East (!), snorkeling in the Red Sea, exploring the ancient (world wonder) city of Petra, and floating in the Dead Sea. Can you believe it?

In other news, we’ve been doing a little sightseeing here in Sweden. The other day we visited Gränna, home of Amalia Eriksson and Salomon August Andrée, inventor of the candy cane and polar explorer, respectively.

First we visited a candy cane factory, or polkagris as they call it here. I couldn’t believe how many flavors of candy canes they had! And they came in all kinds of huge sizes, as well. They had all kinds of strange flavors, from chili and chocolate, to passionfruit, to banana, raspberry, tutti frutti, and much more.

Making polkagris

After browsing the flavors (and the other candy the shop had, because Swedes really, really love their candy), we got to see them actually making the polkagris. They start with a huge chunk of…whatever it is they’re made of. They roll it around, then they add the flavors. Then they roll it and twist it around. Then they cut  it in two, rolling and twisting some more, and they continue this until they have many more reasonable sized candy cane sticks. It was really interesting to see.

After we’d had our fill of the polkagris factory, we headed into downtown Gränna to visit the Gränna/Polar Exploration museum. First we saw a number of Viking relics, everything from ancient runes to swords, jewelry, and other artifacts. I even learned how to write my name using old Viking runes.

Polar explorer Oscar

The downstairs of the museum was devoted to polar exploration, mainly the journey of Andrée. In 1897 he died trying to fly a hot air balloon to the North Pole. The museum had a lot of artifacts and photos they’d found from the expedition. It also had some stuff from other journeys to the North Pole and Antarctica.

The rest of the month is shaping up nicely. On Wednesday Oscar needs to go to Gothenburg to make a presentation at Volvo, so I’m thinking about maybe hitting up the Museum of World Culture there, it sounds right up my alley.

Then probably Friday we’ll head up to Stockholm, flying out Saturday morning to Jordan! A week there, then back to Sweden, and a week later Dad will be in to visit. A few days after he leaves, Travis will be arriving in Stockholm, and we’ll be doing some sightseeing up there.

Then…who knows, but it’s nice to have some things planned for the near future! (Now I just have to go buy some warm-weather clothing for Jordan — I didn’t think to pack for such an occasion!)

The candy section at the supermarket -- like I said, Swedes are obsessed with their candy!

The cool checkout devices at ICA that I mentioned in a previous post