Honeybuns had been so excited about our previous visit to Sala silver mine and wanted to show this magic place to her brother. I brought along the OBS and off we went. We were still a bit shagged out after the excursion to the Siarö fort the day before, so we dozed most of the way. When we got to the mine area, Honeybuns decided to explore the big curio shop by the road. The proprietors were busy polishing thousands of cut-glass goblets. I presume they have to start all over once they’ve finished. Honeybuns sighed over all the cut-glass chandeliers, but we didn’t buy any, at least not today. I was fascinated by an entire section devoted to portraits of Marilyn Monroe. Indeed, an icon of our age. The barn next over was filled with old furniture and also, a bit incongruously, an R/C model of a Canadair CL-215 suspended from the ceiling.
Then we checked in at the visitors’ reception and told to wait outside for the tour, which would start in a few minutes. Soon we were descending into the dark. When we arrived at the view into Queen Christina’s Shaft I tried to record video of the falling mist glittering in the dark, but even with the new camera it was impossible to get anything but a dark blur. I guess I would have to set up more lighting and things to get anything sensible.
From the 60 m level, where we were last year, we descended by lift to the 155 m level. While deeper, this level has been prepared a bit more for visitors and was supposedly even wheel-chair accessible (I’m not too sure about that, but presumably they have tested this). Among other amenities there is a heated concert hall with mosaics subtly blending into the natural rock. Our guide demonstrated the acoustics for us by singing an old miner’s chorale, quite beautifully. Then we had a snack in the anteroom to the Mine Suite. This was equipped with heating and a dehumidifer as well as a tiled floor, but still retained the rock ceiling.
Then we continued to the shafts where we could peer into the submerged parts of the mine. A pool filled a huge chamber with a little boat moored to a little jetty. “Gollum’s boat!” exclaimed the OBS and I in chorus.
There were more shafts from which water fell to fill the depths, but nothing would get caught on video. How remarkably light sensitive human eyes are, after all.
Finally we ascended to the surface, but what had looked like sunlight to my dark-accommodated eyes turned out to be an overcast sky that soon turned into a heavy rain. The local restaurant had nothing vegetarian to offer, so we milled about a bit in the area and went through the Police Museum. The exhibition on the Sala gang resonated with other more recent killers who also have coolly executed carefully planned acts of madness. The Sala gang’s head Thurneman did end up in a maximum-security mental hospital, but was eventually released efter 32 years and spent the last years of his life as a well-reputed Sanskrit translator.
As the rain showed no signs of letting up we had to give in and started walking to town. When we arrived, we were thoroughly soaked (except for the OBS, who had prepared with a nice lightweight rain jacket—I have to get one of those) and very hungry. We found a pizza place on the main square and as soon as we had gotten in and ordered, the rain stopped…
When I finally got home a couple of hours later, I hung my clothes up to dry and had a hot shower. When the final collapse of civilization arrives, I will miss hot showers most of all. (Well, maybe food, too.)