Monday, August 29, 2011

Just in Time for Back-to-School: A Little Geography Lesson

Somehow as we muddled through jet lag and brain fog, unpacked boxes, and made countless trips to IKEA the McCutchen family managed to squeeze in a few outings and enjoy the new city we live in.  We explored some of downtown Jönköping, a convenient walk from the Scandic Portalen where we stayed before we moved into our house, but since moving into our monochromatic mansion (a more alliterative name than The White House, which is already taken anyway) we have thoroughly enjoyed Jönköpings Stadspark. 

The city park was planned in 1897 and is (literally) a one minute walk from our house. In addition to the stunning natural beauty the park is home to several historical artifacts, a bird museum, farm animals, a restaurant, and a large playground and pavilion. 

The park, like our house, is located at the top of a hill, and through the trees you get a great panoramic view of the city.  To the far left of this picture you can see Lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden and the sixth largest lake in Europe.  It is such a large lake that Gracie called it the ocean! We've been to the lake a few times (there are some fantastic restaurants on the pier and plenty of ducks for Gracie to feed) and we are hoping to find time to take a boat tour around the lake before the weather gets too cold.  Wikipedia tells me there's rumor of a lake monster living in Vättern, but I'm not scared!

Gracie has enjoyed playing at this playground. It is the city's largest playground (less than half of it is pictured here) and I'm thrilled to have it so close to the house!

Matt and I are history geeks, so I'm including a shot of Ryggåsstugan, a "high-loft" cottage built in the 17th century and moved to the park in 1904.  It contains a linen room with a loom for weaving, a guest chamber, main hall, and workshop.  The cottage is open for viewing during the summer and is decorated with furniture dating from the 18th and 19th centuries which we were able to see during our walk through. 

We were also fascinated with a nearby runestone. This Viking artifact was discovered in Slättåkra and brought to the park in 1907.  From what I understand of the translation, it is a memorial from a father to his son.  For some reason, Gracie thought it was a great place to finish eating her ice cream.

Of course, even with all of this history, Matthew's favorite thing to do is still climbing.  Trees, rocks, dangerous ledges... I guess it's good exercise, and it certainly encourages me to pray.

The hills, trees, rocks, flowers, and wildlife are different than what I've grown accustomed to in Florida, but I love seeing the different artistic styles God used when creating this wonderful world we live in!

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