My cousin and I are considering the Scandinavia tour. Does anyone who has been on this tour recall whether there any chance to learn about the glass production history while in Kalmar or during the bus ride from Stockholm to Copenhagen?
Our experience was in 2006, so things may have changed; and we were traveling independently. However, it was easy to find a glass manufacturer which offered demonstrations. We used our guidebook back then, but I’m pretty sure google will turn up options for you. There was a no-pressure opportunity to shop after the demonstration.
I’m signed up for this tour in May and we plan to arrive 2 days early. I was looking at options for pre-tour activities. One day I was thinking of going to Uppsala, considered the Oxford University of Sweden. The glass country is near Kalmar where we will spend one night on the tour. I’m not sure from reading the itinerary if we will be close enough to “Glasriket” Glass Country, sparkling with glassblowing studios. Call the RS office and I’m sure they will be glad to help. I checked the Scandinavia guidebook which recommends a car to reach this area. I think I will ask the RS office the best way to visit a glassblowing studio.
One day I was thinking of going to Uppsala, considered the Oxford
University of Sweden.
If you're doing it before a tour that starts in Stockholm you can head direct to Uppsala from the airport when you arrive and stay there. That will add a hotel change, but will reduce the backtracking and allow you to see what Uppsala looks like after the day trippers have left.
I think I will ask the RS office the best way to visit a glassblowing
If you're not doing the visit as part of a tour I'd suggest you contact the local tourist information instead, they will know more. https://www.glasriket.se/en Some glassworks can be visited using public transport, some will require a car.
I have a special interest in glass and did some research on travel in that area for a 2020 trip that never happened. It's my impression it will be difficult to get to most of the glass factories without your own vehicle even aside from the time limitations from being on a tour.
There's a museum in Vaxjo (described as "humble but instructive". It's right behind the train station. I believe Vaxjo is about 70 miles from Kalmar.
These links may be helpful if you haven't already uncovered them:
Beware old information on this subject; I think some of the glass factories have closed, and who knows what the situation will be like post-pandemic.
These are towns with points of glass interest, based on the information I found online in early 2020. You'd need to verify everything:
Kosta: Kosta Boda, Stora Vagen 96: Largest and most accessible manufacturer. Complex includes outlet mall and factory store. Arguably the best hot shop viewing opportunity. Optional 30-min. English tour (Kr 50 as of 2015); call or email email@example.com to reserve. Small exhibition gallery; it and hot shop are open Mon-Fri 0830-1530, Sat-Sun 1000-1600. Early Jul – early Aug glassblowers on vacation (and more tourists) and complex open daily 1000-1600. Factory outlet Mon-Fri 1000-1800, Sat-Sun 1000-1700; seconds are sold at deep discounts. www.kostaboda.se
Transjo: Transjo Glashytta, in converted farm 10 min S of Kosta: Most appealing of small operation. Expensive, unique pieces. Best if can see hot shop in operation, but often not working in hot weather. From gift shop out front (usually early Jun to mid-Sep daily 0900-1700), follow canal back to hot shop to see whether it’s running. Probably best to email in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bergdala: Bergdala Studioglas has artsy hot shop. Shop itself full of blue-rimmed tableware. Gallery upstairs shows local glass artists. Gallery mid-Jun to Aug Mon-Fri 1000-1800, Sat-Sun 1000-1700. Hot shop: Mon-Thu 0700-1530, Fri 0700-1330; Kr 20 (2015). Summer 2020 shop hours Mon-Sat 1000-1600, Sun 1200-1600; glassblowing Mon-Fri 0700-1530. www.bergdala-glastekniska-museum.se/eng-index.html
Nybro: Nybro Glasbruk, Herkulesgatan 2. Mon-Fri 1000-1800, Sat 1000-1600, Sun 1200-1600. www.nybro-glasbruk.se
Pukebergs Glasbruk, Pukebergarnas väg 59, Pukeberg. Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1000-1500. +46(0)481-169 00
Boda Glasbruk: The Glass Factory, Storgatan 5: Sweden’s most comprehensive art-glass collection and one of Scandinavia’s largest glass museums. Mon-Fri 1000-1800, Sat-Sun 1100-1700. www.theglassfactory.se
Broakulla: Johansfors Gallery, Bruksgatan 38, across river from Johansfors Glasbruk: British and Nordic studio glass with special focus on engraving. Also British art pottery, especially Moorcroft. Most days 1100-1800. Tel +46 (0)471 40119; Mob: +46 (0)706173838. http://johansforsgallery.com/
Gullaskruv: Carlos R. Pebaqué Design, Glasblåsarvägen 6. Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat 1000-1600, Sun 1100-1600. www.carlosartglass.com
Thanks for this extensive information, I will look into this.
Thanks for your suggestion of going directly to Uppsala. I’m interested in Carl Linnaeus, the botanist responsible for categorizing plants. What a genius! His home was in Uppsala, do you think it is worthwhile seeing? What other sites do you suggest?
Badger may know of other good options, and of course it would be better to hear from someone who has actually been to the places in question, but these are on my target list for Uppsala (where I'll need to spend multiple nights):
Uppsala Domkyrka (1435), Domkyrkoplan: Cathedral and treasury. English tours in the summer. www.svenskakyrkan.se/uppsala/welcome-to-uppsala-cathedral
Uppsala Castle: Only viewable on tour. The Uppsala Art Museum is in the castle. At the time of my research it was open Wed-Thu and Sat-Sun, which is quite odd and could well be wrong.
Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3: University museum with mostly-scientific displays and archeological holdings. www.gustavianum.uu.se
Linnetradgaarden, 27 Svartbacksgatan: 2.5 acres; very nice. Annuals right, perennials left. Gardens daily 0900-2100 (1800 Sep); may be free after 1700. Museum Tue-Sun 1100-1700. Kr 60, incl audio guide. Daily 45-min Eng tour 1430. (I assume the entry fee has gone up.) www.linnaeus.uu.se
Riverfront has sidewalks on both sides and artworks that double as benches.
Gamla Uppsala: royal burial mounds (always open and free), museum with artifacts (daily 1100-1700, Kr 70), 12C church (daily 0900-1800 and free), and tiny church museum (Sat-Sun 1200-1500, free). Museum entry includes 40-min English tour of mounds daily 1500. www.raa.se/gamlauppsala
Hammarby: Linnaeus’s summer home, 9 mi from Uppsala. Old-fashioned garden flowers, nature walk and cafe. Tour via lake steamer, vintage bus and steam train Sun 1145 Jun-Aug. Or rent bike near Linnaeus Gardens (Cykelstallet, 20 Svartbacks gatan, $9.50 a day—old info). Park Tue-Sun 0800-2000; museum Tue-Sun 1200-1600. Fee
I'm taking your advice and have emailed the Rick Steves office about Glass Country.
I have been to Stockholm before, but haven't yet made it to Uppsala. Another easy day-trip from Stockholm is a visit to Drottningholm Palace. Besides the palace, there are gardens, a "Chinese" pavilion, and an 18th century theater with the original stage machinery (very cool for theater geeks).
Strömma also offers an assortment of excursions by boat, but the availability depends on the season.
acraven has compiled a very good list for Uppsala, but there are many things I can add. However, maybe we should keep this thread about Glasriket and not derail it? But if someone starts a new thread about Uppsala, I'll be happy to add to acraven's list.
Okay, Badger, I will start a new thread about Uppsala.
Great, I'll reply in that thread.
Regarding the glass country, I saw that many places offer Hyttsill, a traditional glass work dinner. The heat from the furnaces where used to cook dinner in the evening. Potatoes where baked and served with herring, pork, isterband. And if dessert is needed, ostkaka. That can be a nice experience if you are in the area.