Tales from the Cabin
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From the Editor: Gaining Perspective

Travel, chain saws, pickled herring & more

By Mark R. Johnson
Published: July 21, 2014
Cabin Life editor Mark Johnson at the Husqvarna museum in Sweden.
Recently, I traveled to Sweden with my wife, Carol, for a trip that was part business, part pleasure. Although, when you consider that my work revolves around cabin living, it could be argued that my days are all about pleasure.

My business in Scandinavia was to participate in the 325th anniversary celebration of the Husqvarna Group, a Swedish company that started as a manufacturer of musket-loading firearms, but today is known for its chain saws, mowers, sewing machines and more. My favorite part of the experience was trying out new chain saws and weed trimmers in the Swedish forest. Some of what I learned went into the articles on pages 56–57.

The second best part of my time at Husqvarna was enjoying a traditional smörgåsbord, a buffet-style collection of various Swedish delicacies. This particular dinner included a few variations on salmon (commonly eaten by many of us in the U.S. these days), two kinds of pickled herring (commonly eaten by many of us in the Midwest, especially by those whose last names end in “—son”), and a host of other dishes that I didn’t recognize.

As for the pleasure portion of our trip, my favorite times were those spent on or near the water. We hiked along Lake Vättern, the country’s second largest lake, and took ferries to islands in Sweden’s West Coast archipelago where we hiked, rode rental bikes and waded in the ocean. While Carol and I enjoyed some time in the large, beautiful city of Gothenburg, we are outdoors people at heart, so we had the most fun exploring Sweden’s natural beauty.

Many Swedes are also outdoorsy people. In fact, it’s very popular in the summer to travel to one’s sommarstuga, which translated means “small summer vacation cottage,” to get closer to nature. Whether or not you like pickled herring, I think you’ll agree that the sommarstuga is a concept we can all get behind.
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