The food has been spectacularly tasty. I've at times been tempted to change my three favorite food items (tortillas, Tillamook cheese, and avocados) to rye crisp, white Swedish cheese, and butter. Butter is an amazing, amazing invention, as is kavelgris, a type of thin bread with a pita-like texture but sweeter and spiced subtly with anise and fennel. I've found out that moose meat is pretty darn good, and that schapps goes well with nubbesallad, a mix of hard boiled egg, pickled herring, dill, lemon peel, and creme fraiche.
Most fortunately, we visited the area, which is known for retaining its traditional heritage, during one of the biggest festivals of the year: midsummer. Every year on the Friday closest to June 25 (I think) the whole country takes the day off, and in Dalarna, most folks jump in traditional dress and walk to the town square for dancing and the raising of a maypole. Most unfortunately, it started raining during the start of the dancing, so merrymaking didn't last as long as normal. But, we still got to see the maypole-raising process, which would have made any engineer proud. The pole measured more than 50 feet long and took 10 people to carry to its stand. Then, over the next ten minutes, about 30 villagers lifted the pole foot by foot using tree-length support beams. Decorated with pine needle wreaths, the pole stands securely in the middle of village squares all over Sweden until next year's festival: an ancient and public act of gratitude for summer's warmth and long hours of sunlight.
Sweden reminds us a lot of Minnesota but with better health care.