Looking at the map of Sweden, Mora is a big point before there is nothing for a long time towards the North. It must be an important and big city, the centre of middle Sweden, so we had chosen it for our must-be destination since a long time! Arriving there, we looked at each other, disappointed, surprised and amused on the same time. It was a city, it had one museum and a church, but it was far from being a city in the usual meaning of the word. The museum that we indeed visited (to the big surprise to some of our friends that know that we don’t go in museums voluntarily😉) was about the history of the ski races around Mora, connected to Swedish history, (the founder of this happening became king of a free Sweden after the war with Denmark in 1521). It is still the biggest ski competition in the world and an equivalent for mountain biking in the summer, the incredibly beautiful surrounding of the city is the perfect place and excuses the modest appearance of the “last city” before the endless North…
After the “historical” event of our museum visit, we went in a street, – or to be precise - in THE only street of Mora, in THE pub “Lilla Björnen” (which means “Little Bear”) to have a beer.
Soon we didn’t drink our beer alone, but were surrounded by other guests, inhabitants of Mora, that had identified us as “strangers” and were interested about us. We felt that here in Mora (which is in Dalarna county, the region in the heart of Sweden), we had arrived in the most traditional part of Sweden, where you can feel that people are connected to their history and roots since generations and live with the nature. Somehow, they are a little slower and more relaxed than in the Southern parts of Sweden (especially Stockholm, where life has to be fast…). Surrounded by these “original” Swedish, men in long beards, woman with their hair in long blond braids, it was like a little journey in the past to “modern” Viking time. They told us about Mora, how it is THE place to live in Sweden, the wonderful nature around, different in every season. They told us that arriving here, we had seen the most variety the country offers, going further North, the only things that change are: forest is getting wilder, the distance between two houses increases: one house after 100km, the next house after 200km etc, also it is getting colder and colder, …so better to stay in Mora! But, of course, all of them had been to the North of Sweden and told us about the fascination of the Northern Lights, one thing that you must have seen in a life time!
We started to talk about our project and soon we had an invitation to play on the charming little stage of the pub the next day. Word-of- mouth advertising rather than internet made our public come the next day and we had a wonderful evening in the very heart of Sweden with wonderful talks after our concert. A young guitarist especially came from a little Island he is living on to hear us and he was amazed by the guitar solo of Stairway to Heaven that Ivan had performed on the violin. Already in a famous Swedish band, he was heading off to Juilliard School in New York to study after the summer. The most touching gift that we received by now, was from an elderly man with a long beard. After the concert, he went home to pick up a LP of “Wille Toors”, the most famous Swedish Fiddler (born in 1921). He had bought this disc 40 years ago and was now offering it to us! What a present! And enough reason to buy a LP-player as soon as we get back to Germany, to listen to it!!