Every one was commenting on the weather. Apparently last year had been particularly bad with rain and cold temperatures almost every day. For once I seem to be lucky with the weather. During the whole month of July I had had very little rain and that had conveniently occurred mostly at night. Not knowing how long this fantastic spell of weather would last I decided to make the most of it and cycle.
|Sala Silver mine|
|Falun copper mine|
But other than in Hebbel's story there was no happy ending in reality. Despite the old woman's begging Mats was not given a Christian burial. On the contrary: he was displayed in a showcase for thirty years until falling apart. He was then buried, but his grave was moved several times until he ended up in a church attic. When he was rediscovered there a century later he was displayed again..... He was finally laid to rest in 1932 and of course I visited his grave in Falun cemetery. The sign on his tombstone does not mean he is a feminist, but is the sign for copper as Falun is a copper mine. I spent the whole day in Falun tracing Mats' life. First in the mine, then in the fascinating Dalarna museum and eventually in the cemetery. Only then I allowed myself to go shopping at Lidl...
The next day was dedicated to the famous Swedish painter Carl Larson. 10 km from Falun is the Larson family home in their little village of Sundberg. Again I arrived just at opening time and got onto the first English tour with just 5 people. Maybe this should be my future strategy? The Larson home is such a popular destination that there are tours every 15 minutes. The poor tour guides have to dress up like the kids in Larson's paintings. The house was quite nice but not so much from an artistic point of view but as a showcase of the Larson family life style. Larson loved children and had eight whose portraits are all over the house.
Not really fitting into this idyllic Swedish country life is the little water power planet next door. Larson must not only have been a great painter but also a good business man. He allowed the plant to be built on his lands and got free electricity for himself and his children. Now the old plant is quite an attraction itself in the village that is otherwise totally dedicated to Larson. The village meeting house has a Larson portrait collection, the church has paintings of him and of course the whole family is buried in the village cemetery