Friday, 13 May 2016

Fri 13 May 2016. Trangsviken to Kougsta

Fri 13 May 2016. Trangsviken to Kougsta
GirlRob woke at 3.30 then again 5.45am, totally out of whack! Early morning frost at 1.5°. Adored the heated floor in bathroom, house was so warm and toasty. Unpacked, delivered small tokens of thanks. Breakfast hot wheat porridge with lignon berries and cream. Bundled up for outdoors, driven up to farm of young couple with turkeys and chickens and bought eggs from each fowl. So excited when a flurry of snow landed on our shoulders!

Eskil drove on up to an Equestrian Centre, imposing layout, buildings, trotters, training track, restaurant. We were on the opposite side of the lake from Trangsviken, and even though the temperature had risen to 4°, the wind chill really picked up. We called into the cemetery as Alsen’s Kykya to the Pihl “familjegrv”, where Eskil planted pansies for his parents and grandparents. It was such a picturesque and tranquil setting, snow on far mountaintops.

Headed north with gradual climb, Eskil spotted magnificent moose in pine forest. Birch forests had yellow mould on trunks, narrow running streams. Patches of snow/ ice appeared (GirlRob was tickled as it justified trying out her new snow pants!) 

Near Kougsta turned off onto narrow rutted road, headed for Raggi's land (relative), came to his wood cabin on plateau. Raggi rents it out to moose hunters. Eskil got fire going and Julia produced tea/coffee in flasks, cinnamon buns and mouth-watering “Americans cake”. We sat outside on stoop enjoying brief sunshine watching Julia hunt for juniper berries (purple ripened ones definitely smelt like gin). Clouds came in and it started to snow, so we retreated to the warmth of the cabin, cosy with its pot-belly stove and bunks. The outhouse was reminiscent of Australian dunnies, set behind the woodpile with its axe embedded in the chopping block. 

The fir forest had mossy tufts, GirlRob chased photos of an orange chested bird that may have been a Gronfink/Greenfinch? Going back down mountain, we saw a Capercaillie/ grouse/ woodcock stalking across the road.

Once again our hosts refused to let us help prepare meal, so Wanderoos donned gloves and hats with ear flaps and took a walk around Trangsviken starting at Stellplatz on lake (still didn't spot Lake Storsjon monster) and ending at community centre. Met 9yr old Azo, youngest son of Kurdish family Julia has been assisting to assimilate over last three years. His English was very good and his manners perfect. Half an hour later his older sister Zozan 10 turned up with two friends from school, bringing a gift of cake from her mother for the "important Australian visitors". How honoured we felt! 

Our hosts offered homemade nutty crispy seedbread (VERY "more-ish") and champagne. Making eye contact and clinking glasses with our now favourite toast of "egeszsegedri" (eggi, sheggi, dray - to your health), which we learned at the wine-making caves during our first meeting in the Bulls blood region in Hungary. We enthusiastically consumed a delicious entree of gravlax/salmon on "hardbread" with a dill jelly sauce. Second course was also top restaurant quality baked salmon and cauliflower with smashed potatoes (from their garden) and a mouth-watering citruin sauce (lemon, fish bouillon, turmeric, creme fraishe and cream). BoyRob demanded all recipes. Final course was the moist Kurdish cake. GirlRob declined a round of (yet another bitter) liqueur, Brixa from Croatia, and after losing the battle to do the dishes, went off "too early, too early" to bed.

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