Cornelis Vreeswijk was a troubadour. He wrote songs and poems, he sang and accompanied himself on his guitar. He was born in the Netherlands but spent most of his life in Sweden. Though he never became a Swedish citizen. He travelled the world becoming influenced by all manner of musical styles – jazz, samba, etc. He was never very good with managing his money and he was constantly being chased by the tax people.
Cornelis Vreeswijk was only 50 when he died of liver cancer. He’d battled addiction with drugs and alcohol for most of his life and was diagnosed as diabetic late on. He left a lasting legacy of music and poetry. He also appeared in a number of movies. In Stockholm there is a park named after him. In Grythyttan there’s a pub named after him and we had lunch there today.
Cornelis the pub is full of memorabilia about the troubadour. I don’t know why it ended up in this obscure little village but, when the Cornelis Museum closed on Gamla Stan in Stockholm, the contents were boxed up and delivered. And now, the place boasts that you can happily eat, drink and listen to some of Sweden’s best music while being surrounded by one of the greats.
We really lucked out because today, Skärtorsdagen (Maundy Thursday) they were serving a special Easter Bord. A delightful plate of various meats, fish, egg and beetroot. And beer (obviously).
Of course there was also the obligatory queue at the cheese and cracker table. Fortunately I am well versed in the art of thinly sliced cheese and took my place at the table. A number of very thin slices and a couple of crackers later, I carried my booty to the table. Mirinda was very pleased I hadn’t left the cheese with the ‘ski slope’ so typical of non-Swedes.
The big head on the wall to the left of the photo is Cornelis, by the way.
We had decided to stop off at Grythyttan because the weather was beautiful, and we wanted to see if the church was open. It wasn’t but Cornelis was. We were on our way to Sunne, leaving our accommodation near Nora after countless trips up and down the hill as I packed Max.
After filling up on ham and herring, we headed across country, drawing ever nearer to Norway but never quite reaching it. We drove on nice wide, almost empty dual carriage way roads and unsealed and slippy gravel tracks. The latter caused some tension. It didn’t help that our accommodation was at the end of a long, gravel track through farmland and inhabited by at least one big tractor that appeared wider than the road. Fortunately we met at a passing place.
We stopped at Sunne for groceries. Sunne is in between the wonderfully named Friggin Lakes. Actually, that’s what I call them. They are really spelled the Fryken Lakes. We are quite close to the southernmost one, Mellan-fryken.
At Sunne, Mirinda took the girls for a stroll by he lake while I battled the crowds in the Ica and avoided the wanker in the lowrise, 1950’s shit heap with the ACDC level speakers driving aimlessly around the car park trying to annoy as many people as possible. And bugger me if he didn’t follow us out of the car park and started heading out of town behind us. Fortunately he turned off, presumably looking for another car park.
Possibly the most adventurous part of our trip was arriving in a timber yard and trying to find the road across the railway line. Which we did when we decided to ignore Maxine’s directions for a bit, trusting our eyes instead.
Finally, we arrived at a lovely little house in the middle of nowhere and Eva, our hostess waiting at the gate. She showed us around the cutest little cabin behind her house. The views over the countryside, glorious and unending.
I reckon we’re going to totally enjoy this delightful isolation for the next few days.