I left Colorado almost two weeks ago now, but the time has been packed so full it could very well have been a month. It has been even better than I expected, with a complete richness of company, setting, ideas and learning.
I got off to a bit of a rocky start though…my layover in Iceland was just short enough to keep me from going into the city — a 40min bus ride away — but long enough to be excruciatingly, well, long. (I learned afterwards that there was another bus I could have taken into Reykjavik that would have worked with my schedule. Oops.) So 18 hours in the airport yielded some amazing people watching, a sore neck from sleeping in weird positions, and the tiniest of glimpses into the mystery of Iceland. It is a beautifully barren place, with little to no trees, yet with a landscape that is breathtaking nonetheless. I will have to go there again and really see some of the treasures that it holds.
I arrived in Sweden soon after, although it took some time for me to really arrive. But after a couple days at Ted and Jaana’s house, I was back to myself and ready to go! A friend from Stockholm gave me a ride up to Fredrik’s house, where we spent the weekend eating, hiking a naturreservat, talking, and visiting the sauna. (The title picture of this post is from our hike to the naturreservat. It is a sort of state park where you can camp and forage, but there is no human interference or caretaking.) Fredrik’s house is an old structure, which housed the foremen for a nearby factory in the late 19th century. There is wonderful ironwork here and there that Fredrik has made, which I of course geek out about. But in this area there is handmade ironwork everywhere, maybe forged by a smith hundreds of years ago. It is like a living museum that has been stirred up by a giant hand, mixing old and new in a surprisingly harmonious way.
Then we dove into the beginners course at Gränsfors. It was a great week of forging and introducing an enthusiastic group of people to the world of blacksmithing. We made hooks, door hardware, and candleholders, along with many other projects that the students asked about. I got to make some of them myself, in and around helping others.
It has been a week of good work and full days. There is much more to come, and I can’t wait for the lessons ahead.
Be well and love the adventure of your life.