Fun things to do in Sweden

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Sweden

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    Lund

    by solopes Updated Jun 17, 2014

    I didn't see much in Sweden, but, from what I saw, Lund was my best surprise.

    A beautiful town with... life. Maybe I'm being unfair to the other places, but Lund was the warmest place that I felt in the sunny but icy Sweden.

    Lund - Sweden Lund - Sweden
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    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Magnificent hand dipped paper, Lessebo

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    I was delighted to see that Lessebo, which was on my way to the glass factories and back to my home at Bergdala almost every day, has not only a paper factory but also a hand dipping paper manufacturing. This hand made paper is being produced in a separate building, outside of the factory complex, which makes it easy and less time-consuming to visit. My guide said that they have found the old machines during renovation end of 19th century and have restored them to be able to produce paper in the traditional way, but for more exclusive use. It was and is still used now for official government documents or for private use in certificates, or just letters and as watercolour paper. In addition to the hand made paper, they have also developed many watermarks for their customers, such as for University of Stockholm (for dipolmas and other certificates). Specific artistic paper is made by adding pressed flowers (photo 4), or, more exciting, shredded money, as in the last photo.
    Visiting the machines is very interesting! They also allow to take photos, which I liked, because it is not allowed in Fabriano, where I could visit the museum of the most important Italian paper manufacturer and inventor of the watermark technology.
    The museum facilities are located on two floors (ground floor and basement) and are open to the public only in summer, when the guys don’t produce paper. This sounds reasonable, because in contrast to the glass works, it must be a nightmare for the paper producers if we visitors run around and disturb their routine. They offer guided tours in several languages (English, German and French) six times during the day: at a.m. 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, at p.m: 1:00, 2:15 and 3:00 and lasts one hour. During this time, the guide will explain evers step in manufacturing except the big vat (called “Holländer” in Swedish and German) where the fibre suspension is being prepared. This is only working during the rest of the year. But in the basement they have a vat where the ready made suspension is being constantly stirred and where during the tours one of the workers will show how the fibre suspension is being dipped on the rack, put on a layer of felt and pressed to remove most of the excess water.

    Entrance fees: 20 SEK and an additional 30 SEK for a guided tour. The guided tour is free with the glass pass.

    Location of Lessebo Hand Dipped Paper Manufacturer on Google Maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Småland;
    nearest airport: Kalmar (international) or Växjo (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Paper fibres from slurry are put on the rack The wet paper sheet is being put on felt Paper sheet on felt Handmade paper with pressed flowers Handmade paper with shredded money
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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    Eksjö, old wooden houses preserved

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Eksjö’s old town is such a delight to wander around and admire all these beautiful wooden houses. According to the information at the explanatory boards the town grid is almost the same as it was laid out in Medieval times. Most of the wooden houses are (protection) listed buildings. A little river runs through the northern part of the old town with cafes and restaurants to sit outside. This part of the town is almost car free (except for delivery vans and guests of the little hotel) and no parking allowed on the narrow streets. What I also liked was that the shops in these old houses are normal daily shops and no souvenir shops (something that destroyed my perception of Sigtuna). It does not take long to walk through the old town, but it will take longer to make a stop here and there for a coffee or tea and cake or for something to eat. Many of the cafes and restaurants have outside seating. Make sure to look at the little descriptive plaques at many of the houses, and even if they are only in Swedish, they show the date when the house was built.
    In addition to simply strolling through Eksjö’s old town, taking thousands of photos and eating cake, the city has several museums and old merchants’ and early manufacturers’ houses to visit. That’s something I found fascinating in Sweden anyhow (it is not limited to Eksjö, I saw it also in Sigtuna and at the west coast): whole houses with the interior furnishings have been converted into museums in a way that one could believe the residents just went for a walk and will soon be back. These are houses mostly of the turn of the centuries (19th to 20th = end 18xx to early 19xx that is). In Eksjö there is the museum (Museigården, where the first tannery was once located) opposite of the tourist office, and several houses such as Aschanskagården (the first pharmacy of Eksjö and later home of Aschan family, the tanners) and Fornminnersgården (copper smith and other workshops), Forsellskagården (once home of a uniform capper). When I was in Eksjö, it was late afternoon or early morning and the museums and houses were already or still closed, so I didn’t have the chance to visit. But I saw the courtyards and these are already a pleasure to look at. Eksjö’s website has a brochure to download which describes the locations and gives more information of these very interesting points to visit. And make sure to visit Charlotta’s (@sjalen) page about Eksjö. It was her who made me aware of this gem town in this part of Sweden. She has an extensive page with more photos and information than I can give from my some hours only visit.

    Opening hours:
    Eksjö Museum: July&August: Mon-Fri: 11-18, Sun&Sat: 11-15; Sept-June: Tue-Fr: 13-17, Sat&Sun: 11-15; free entry,
    Aschanskagården: only open July&August: daily, 13-16; entry: 50 SEK.

    Diretions to the old town (gamla stan):
    From the train station, walk north until you reach the church. That’s the southern end of the old town. Parking is available east of it, just follow the signs for gamla stan. The road leads via a roundabout to the north and then it is near the actual police station.

    Exact location of Eksjö on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Småland;
    nearest airport: Kalmar (international) or Växjo (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Eksj��, old town One of the garden courtyards in Eksj�� Door in one of the garden courtyards in Eksj�� Eksj��, old town Loverly B&B in Eksj�� old town :-)
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    • Photography
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Beautiful little church Härkeberga (Enköping

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    This church is a gem! It was built in 13th century and later painted by the famous Albertus Pictor. He was born in the state of Hesse, Germany, but emigrated to Sweden and is considered the one who has painted the majority of Swedish church interiors. Maybe the one in Härkeberga is the best conserved ones. But then it is small and has a quite homogenous layout so that it was not submitted to changes over the time like big churches. The paintings are of an interesting style, not the usual angels and happy scenes, but wild looking animals, sometimes fighting animals, or the killing. There is Sampson, breaking a lion’s jaw, Jonah, killing a fish and several more scenes of Old Testament. The paintings are restored, which is easily visible in some of them where only half of the scene has brilliant colours and the other one faded ones. The best of all, or better the most fascinating to read is the Wheel of Life in the vestibule. Fascinating scenes! And now, while doing a bit more research about the church, I found … a page on VT, by VTer Lars (@Askla). He describes this church much better and knows more about it than me with my tiny knowledge.

    Directions:
    Härkeberga Church is located northeast of Enköping. Leave E18 at Grillby, drive north via Skolsta and then continue to the little village of Härkeberga. It is at the entrance of this tiny hamlet, well signposted.

    Exact location of Härkeberga Church on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Uppsala Län;
    nearest airport: Stockholm
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Lilla Flyhov, largest carvings,Västergötland

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Next to Husaby church is a rather large flat rock with stone carvings which are so typical for Sweden. To my amazement, there wasn’t even a sign at the road, so we first missed the tiny path. How did I found out about these carvings? Haha, you guessed it, I have mentioned this excellent map several times by now: my Freytag & Berndt map had a little icon near Husaby and so we went. But what the rock carvings lacl in road signs they make very much up in descriptions along the viewing path. Sketches of the sections are mounted along the path, each with extensive explanations in Swedish, English and German. We saw feet and wheels and humans and ships in all different sizes. I regretted very much that I don’t know much about the history of Swedish rock carvings other than that they have been made during Nordic Bronze Age. It must be fascinating to read and interpret these and find out more about the ones who carved them and their life. What I also liked is that some of the carvings have been left non-painted by the archaelogogists who have preserved this site. This is, according to the majority of the sources I found, the original carving. Later, they were painted red to make them better visible. On the other hand, I also found one source who wrote that some might have been painted by the carvers already, using iron containing soil for the red colour and a mixture of fat and eggyolk to bind the paint. Whatever is true, they are fascinating to look at.
    In case you calculate your time, try to visit the carvings around noon. Yes, I am aware that this is usually the worst time to take photos, but here the sun will be behind you, shine directly on the carvings. You have to move to get your shadow out of the way though.

    Directions:
    From Husaby church, drive/walk/cycle northeast, direction Kinne-Kleva. Count the little paths at the right/east side. It is the second one, just after a little house and garden. The path is leading to the parking lot for the carvings, even if it looks like a private path or road belonging to the house. If you see the sign to turn for Sandtorp to the left, it is too late. Turn back.

    I have a separate page for the rock carvings of Lilla Flyholv, photos in albums only.

    Exact location of Lilla Flyholv on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Västra Götaland;
    nearest airport: Göteborg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Kingdom of Crystal, oh holy glass works

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    A trip to Sweden’s Kingdom of Crystal should be high on the list for every traveller to Sweden. I am amazed that not many people know at least the famous Kosta-Boda glass manufacturer (I realised it when I came home with my gifts and almost everyone was astonished to hear that glass is also manufactured in Sweden). But there is more to see and visit than Kosta-Boda only. The other ones have also very beautiful and even better products. Especially Bergdala’s work caught my attention: they have beautiful utility glassware with a bright blue rim, called blåkant.
    I spend three days in this amazing region and visited seven of the thirteen manufacturers. I was lucky to have a good advisor with Klas Nystrand, the owner of Bergdala Wärdshus (see accommodation) where I stayed. He pointed me out to the best and most interesting glass manufacturers and shops. While visiting the production sites I was especially amazed how easy it is to get inside and that we visitors could walk around almost everywhere. In several of the productions, visitors can sit on wooden benches (type sport stadium) to watch the glass blowers at work. Some had special work with coloured glass to demonstrate, which was of course more interesting. In addition to the production, each manufacturer also has a shop (different sizes – see shopping section) and a show room where they display exceptional work.

    General recommendations about visiting glass works factories:
    * Look at their websites first to get an idea of what they are famous for. Then it is easier to choose which one you would like to visit.
    * Take into account that the workers work from 7 a.m. to latest 4 p.m., so you might like to get up early in case you want to visit several during one day.
    * Plan some time for shopping. Make notes of what you would like to buy before you go. You will be overwhelmed by the selections anyhow, so it is good to know what to expect.
    * It is possible to visit several manufacturers during one day, but look at the distances first. The biggest distance in Kingdom of Glass is from Bergdala to Nybro, according to google 54 km and 1 hour to drive. Actually a bit more because there is roadwork on road 25 between Eriksmåle and Nybro (between Eriksmåle and the turn-off to Boda to be precise). They are expanding the road and according to the sign it will be finished not before end 2010.
    * if you visit a factory, please ask if it is allowed to take photos. In several cases it is not allowed due to the legitimate fear of the usual “dragonland” counterfeits. If you take photos, use the “sport” setting on your camera. Be aware that the light conditions inside the factories is often not good for taking photos. Try and avoid flash when the guys are working on the objects (it distracts them).

    I visited Transjö, Bergdala, Åfors, Boda, Kosta, and Målerås and have written extensively about these on my Växjö
    page, Växjö, to be precise.

    Directions:
    It depends which one you want to visit. Detailed directions for each of the above are also on my Växjö page. Each of the glass factories is located east of Växjö.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Småland;
    nearest airport: Kalmar (international) or Växjo (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Paper still glows after the smoothening work Pipes wait for the next steps Molten glass in the oven Working on the glass Chimney - typical for the glass factories
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    • Luxury Travel
    • Photography

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    Gullholmen, another dream island, west coast

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Gullholmen (island) is also well worth a visit. Not so famous as Marstand or Smögen villages, but this makes it special because it is not full with the party people. It is laid back, has a good seafood restaurant and a divine café with equally divine cakes. Letterbox hunting became one of my favourite pasttimes here, but they are so cute! Gullholmen is in fact only the tiny island full with houses, the bigger island next to it and connected with a bridge is called Hörmanö. You can walk for miles there, with marvellous views (provided the weather is good), can check out the pilot’s ladder and house, where the pilots were observing the weather to report storm or calm sea in the old days. And there is Skepparhuset, the house of a wealthy fisherman family, which was transformed into a museum around 1970. All has been left as it was, so it gives an excellent glimpse into fishermens life during the booming time.

    In the meantime, I wrote a small page about Gullholmen

    Exact location of Gullholmen (Island) on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Bohuslän,
    nearest airport: Göteborg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Käringön, dream island & special memories

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    As for so many small Swedish destinations, I fell in love with little island Käringön through Simone’s photos and pages. And a day on Käringön was the best present ever they could have chosen to spend my half century celebration. What a lucky girl I am :-). Thank you, dear dear S & Å again!!
    The island is small, has only a bit more than a handful of permanent inhabitants but a lot of summer guests. Nevertheless it seems that it is still a hidden gem and that’s good. It is not a fashion resort so it won’t attract the party people. The island is one of the typical rocky ones at the Swedish west coast and there are cute stories about the priest asking anyone who goes to the mainland to bring back soil. It worked, because not only Käringön has a cemetary but also a lot of beautiful gardens. This all makes it a very much picturesque village with photo opportunities around each corner. This is the case even in drizzly rain as you can see on my photos. I loved the mailboxes at several houses, true pieces of art, maritime art. Worth a visit is the church, very much reflecting fishermens’ life and the little house at the island’s highest elevation. This is the island’s pilot’s house where he sits and observes the weather and announces upcoming storms from the west. Houses like these seem to be or have been popular at the Swedish west coast, I saw another cute one on Gullholmen.
    But the best on Käringön is the restaurant, famous Peterson’s Krog. It was pure heaven to have dinner here, and moreover in the best company I could have on my half century day. Again, I would like to thank you so much, dear S & Å for this extra special day!!!

    It is easy to get to Käringön. Ferry from Hallevikstrand takes off every 2 hours in summer (June to August) and is 58 SEK per person (summer 2009). The last ferry back to Hallevikstrand leaves at 9.30 p.m.

    Exact location of Käringön (Island) on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Bohuslän,
    nearest airport: Göteborg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Dädesjö Gamla Kyrka, old and beautiful

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    This church is also very old of approx. the same age as Granhult’s church (early 13th century). And I also found it (like Granhult church) through my Freytag & Berndt maps. It is one of the few remaining Swedish churches with painted wooden ceiling and plaster walls, although the paintings on the walls are quite faded. But this makes it even more fascinating because it involves a lot of imagination to find out what or who the paintings represent. According to the leaflet, they are scenes of Old and New testament. Several parts of the church have been removed in 18th century, when the new church was built and this one was used as a granary. Among the removed parts was the chancel, now only the so-called triumphal arch is left. It has two paintings which are better preserved than the ones at the wall and show Knut, patron of Denmark and Katherina of Alexandria. An interesting detail is a runic inscription below the painting of Knut. According to the information table it reads skrþe fus Sigmundes skrifaði os and means Sigmund painted us. I don’t know how many artists’ signatures in runic writing are exisiting but I think it is not many. Next to the arch is a beautiful old wooden altarpiece (it looks like one) with most probably St. Olaf (of Norway) again, because there is a figure below his feet and he seems to have an axe in his hand. But neither in the leaflet nor on any of the information table anything was mentioned about this beautiful piece.

    The church is opened all year round. No entrance fee is claimed but it would be good to leave a donation in the box. The ongoing restauration work of the wall paintings must cost a fortune!
    A little leaflet can be bought for a small fee (10 SEK) which describes the wooden ceiling pictures in detail, although in Swedish only. But it has an English and German brief description as well.

    Directions:
    Dädesjö is located northeast of Växjö. Take road 23 and turn off to the right (east) at Skåtaryd. Once you approach Dädesjö, follow the signs and turn left (north) into the little village. The little church is opposite of the new church (the new one visible through its spire).

    If you like, have a look at the three albums on my Dädesjö page. And/or look at a Swedish website with excellent photos of the wooden ceiling.

    Exact location of Dädesjö Kyrka on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Småland;
    nearest airport: Kalmar (international) or Växjo (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

    Magnificent wooden ceiling, D��desj�� Kyrka Part of the triumph arch, D��desj�� Kyrka Part of the triumph arch, D��desj�� Kyrka Little wooden shrine, D��desj�� Kyrka Hagioscope, D��desj�� Kyrka
    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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    Stockholm, beautiful capital at the water

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Stockholm, oh magic city at the water. Similar as for Uppsala I have been in Stockholm only once in winter. But this short visit was enough to make me want to come back for minimum one week and explore more. I didn’t so far, because of some special reasons, but I hope to make it possible one day.
    Stock-holm, small islands on stilts, is scattered on fourteen islands. My favourite ones, although I haven’t seen all of course, are Helgeandsholmen and Stadsholmen in the middle of Stockholm’s waters. Tiny Helgeandsholmen has a special museum which completely captured my heart: the Middle Ages Museum (Medeltids Museet). (It is currently in Kulturhuset until renovations are finished, most probabyl until 2010). But its original localtion is fantastic, it is beneath the surface, built around the remains of Stockolm’s early city wall (Wasa Wall) and several other discoveries like old boats and remains of a churchyard. The exhibitions are focussing on early life in the city and Sweden with many fascinating details such as old fishermen huts, early saunas, the old ships, a witch execution place and many more. You can find details about the museum’s exhibits on Simone’s page.
    My other favourite island in Stockholm is Stadsholmen, that’s where the Gamla Stan (old town) is located, with Royal Palace, Storkyrkan (the cathedral) and the wonderful romantic Stortorget (big square) with the very photogenic colourful houses. Stortorget is the square where Stockholm Bloodbath took place, the executions, Danish King Christian II ordered to secure his short reign. Most remarable is that the red house at Stortorget has 82 white stones around the windows which are said to stand for the 82 executed noble men. This red house and its yellow neighbour have excellent cafes inside, very life saving during the cold winter days. The hot chocolate served there is very delicious.

    But Stockholm has much more to offer and I highly recommend to read Simone’s page, which I have linked below (website link). It would take several months alone to visit all the marvellous museums, many of which are free of charge.

    Oh, and while doing my after-trip research I found that Axel Oxenstierna, the Lord Chancellor who has built my favourite Fiholm Castle (see one of the previous tips) has a city palace in Gamla Stan. So I have another reason to come back!

    Exact location of Medeltids Museum on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Stockholm :-);
    nearest airport: Stockholm Arlanda or Skavsta and Västerås for Ryanair & Co.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Uppsala has wonderful churches!

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Uppsala is a fascinating town. I deeply regret that I can say this only from a half day visit in winter and didn’t have time to visit more in summer. But even this half day in drizzling winter weather made me curious to come back and visit Linné’s garden, the castle, the historic town centre and Gustavinium.
    Uppsala’s cathedral is a masterpiece of art. Although it can get a bit too much inside because many of the side chapels are overly decorated and devoted to another saint, person or artwork. When I was inside just after Christmas, the nativity was still set up in the third chapel to the left (Andrew’s Chapel). It was a beautiful one, with figures higher than 50 cm, carved by the artist Eva Spångberg (only now, after my trip, I realised that she is famous in Sweden and many of her wood carvings are distributed throughout Sweden’s churches). The cathedral was coronation place until 18th century and is burying place for many Swedish kings, among them Gustav I Vasa. His tomb is at the main chapel in the east, a masterpiece in marble. What fascinated me here is a life size (wax ?) statue of Mary at the entrance of the chapel which looks so natural that I first believed it was a real person (see photo). Her statue is the signal that Vasa’s chapel was once St. Mary’s chapel. Also remarkable is a hube cross, three metres high, with diamond-cut crystal glass. But the most valuable part in the cathedral is the Finsta Chapel with Erik the Saint’s relics in a beautiful silver casket.
    A few metres to the south of Uppsala’s cathedral is another very beautiful church which should not be missed in my opinion due to the magnificent interior paitnings at the walls and ceilings: Holy Trinity Church (Helga Trefaldighets kyrka) (last photo). The paintings are said to be by Albertus Pictor, born in the state of Hesse, Germany, but emigrated to Sweden and is considered the one who has painted the majority of Swedish church interiors. Somehow, my later travels in Sweden (in summer 2009) were a bit of following his footsteps. The church in Häkeberga near Enköping is also famous for his paintings (see separate tip).

    Exact location of Uppsala cathedral on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Uppland;
    nearest airport: Stockholm Arlanda or Skavsta and Västerås for Ryanair & Co.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Gripsholm Castle, like a big red ship

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Next to Mariefred sits Gripsholm Castle like a big round red ship on the little rectangular island. It is well known among romanticists because Kurt Tucholsky gave it a memorial status with his romantic story Schloß Gripsholm. He actually never lived in the castle (as guest), but in Mariefred. But his descriptions are authentic. I have not been inside the castle, because my visit was in winter when it is closed. But already the park surrounding it is lovely even in winter. And the courtyard is open to all visitors all year round. It gives a good idea about the huge dimensions of this castle. It was built as a fortress by Bo Jonsson Grip, hence the name Grips-holm (holm = island) end of 14th century. Later Gustav Wasa took over the fortress, tore it down and rebuilt it. He used the stones of the nearby Carthusian monastery Pax Mariae (from which Mariefred's name derived), which he closed down in the reformation process. Inside the courtyard, directly after entering it (right hand side) is a beautiful stone relief of the monastery with Mary (see photo). The castle was modified over the years and a lot of “illusion” work was done. I loved the story of the painted bricks when I read Simone’s page about Gripsholm Castle (I have linked her page in the website section). But there is more. Also right after entering the courtyard is a window which appears as painted when you get closer. I am sure that there is more of this illusion work in other parts of the courtyard, but I didn’t get further than the entry part due to winter time and reduced sunlight hours. In winter though there is a huge julbock inside, one of the Swedish Christmas symbols made from straw.

    The castle can be visited in spring, summer and autumn. And given Simone’s descriptions it must be gorgeous to visit. It has a huge portrait collection, over 2000 paintings, including ones of modern statespersons. And it has a theatre inside where the backstage can be visited to see how the stage is functioning.
    Opening hours, according to the Castle’s website (which is quite poor informationwise):
    May 15 – September 15: daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., September 19 – November 29: Sat.y and Sun: noon – 3 p.m.

    Exact location of Gripsholm Castle on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Södermanland;
    nearest airport: Stockholm (international) or Västerås (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Mariefred, too cute to be true

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

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    Mariefred is one of these villages you have to see just to believe that they are existing (as opposed to Sigtuna, which in my humble opinion is more of a tourist trap). I fell in love with this picturesque village already years ago when I saw Simone’s description on VT and managed to come for a visit, in winter though. But in summer when all houses are decorated with flower pots, when the gardens and especially the roses are in full bloom and the colourful houses shine in the sunlight, it is even more magic to stroll around and take gazillions of photos. What I liked most in Mariefred is that it is a living village and not kept as an open air museum (my impression of Sigtuna). In addition to take photos of the beautiful houses you can also go “shop sign hunting”. Many of the shops have magnificent iron signs depicting icons for their business; even the dentist is easy to find (see photo). Mariefred’s centre is the little square with the beautiful town hall, which houses the tourist office (open Mo-Sat: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in summer). From there, the street Storgatan leads westward. That’s Mariefred’s main shopping road, a pedestrian one. And here is another of Mariefred’s gems: a little café and sweet shop with very delicious hot chocolate (can be life saving in cold winters, haha), tea and chocolate: Två Goda Ting (= two good things). Near the lake with a marvellous view of Gripsholm Castle is Mariefred’s contribution of a local museum inside one of the early merchant’s houses: Callanderska gården. The garden is open all year round but the museum only in summer.
    Train enthusiasts will love the cute and picturesque train station where a steam train is working in summer between Mariefred and Läggesta and back (20 min train ride each way).
    And finally Mariefred was home to the German writer Kurt Tucholsky in his last years after he was chased by the brain sick Nazis. He wrote the romantic novels Gripsholm Castle and Rheinsberg and found his resting home on the cemetery. This, however, is not next to the church, but in the northeastern part of Mariefred.

    Mariefred on google maps,

    Mariefred’s cemetery on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Södermanland;
    nearest airport: Stockholm (international) or Västerås (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Sweden’s oldest church, magnificent interior

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Husaby kyrka (church) was my introduction to Sweden’s magnificently painted old church interiors. Well, not exactly, there is one little church in Uppsala I have visited some years ago. These richly painted interiors caught my attention because it is very rare to find these in my own country (and I am not talking about the overly decorated baroque churches in Bavaria, of which we have so many). So it was logical that we stopped here for a visit on our way from Kinnekulle to Lake Mälaren.
    Husaby kyrka was Sweden’s first bishop seat; king Olof Skötkonung was baptised here in 1008. These days the church was a stave church which was transformed into a stone church in 12th century. Later, the vaults were painted with magnificent frescos showing scenes of life of Christ. These, however, have been painted over for quite a time but thankfully have been brought back through extensive renovation early 20th century. In addition to these gorgeous paintings much of the interior is left from the past, such as the wonderfully carved rodd screen, the bishop’s chair (which is the oldest piece of furniture in Sweden) and the richly carved pulpit. In the chancel we found another hagioscope. Next to the rood screen is another very specific detail, an ambo/ambon, formerly used as the place from where the priest said the litanies. Travels as “learning instrument”, I have never heard of these ambons before. Like for many churches in Sweden, this one also had an (free of charge) audio guide. Look for the little box with buttons and languages on it. The speaker who tells about Husaby is a very much professional one. I loved listening to his voice, and felt myself transported back in time. He must be Swede, but his English and German was excellent!
    And also don’t miss to walk around the outside of this church to look at the old tombstones. Many of them are very old, weathered and overgrown with lichens, like the ones I saw in Ascot under Wychwood. In front of the church is an old sarcophagus which is said to be the one of Olof. And only a few metres to the north of the church is the old spring where Olof was baptised. It is still in use for baptising today.

    In case you are interested, I have uploaded more photos of the church and its surroundings on my Husaby page (but no tips).

    Directions:
    Husaby kyrka is located at the southeastern part of Lake Vänern, between Lidköping and Mariestad. To go there, take the road 44 and exit east of Götene. Follow the signs to Husaby kyrka (brown sign).

    Exact location of Husaby Kyrka on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Västra Götaland;
    nearest airport: Göteborg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Lovely old dream castle Fiholm

    by Trekki Updated Aug 13, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Those who know me know that I seem to have a specific love for old and weathered buildings. So it was most natural that I developed a deep affection for Fiholm Castle when I saw it. Well, the pink wing to be precise. Fiholm Castle consists of two identical wings which face each other, one in bright orange and one in pink. The orange one is inhabited by the owners Charlott and Göran Mörner who have bought the whole property in 1988 and have restarted the farm. The pink wing is sadly used as storage (I peeked through the windows at its back side). Both buildings show signs of decay, but the orange one it a bit better maintained. On the other hand, I have read that they were never changed since they were built in 1642. The pink one would make a beautiful atmospheric B&B, maybe the owners might get the idea one day. I loved the simpleness of the whole ensemble; I think it was mainly because of the strong colours, the simple and symmetric windows and the iron tie bar ends. The latter ones are very much photogenic (see photos). Haha, yes, I seem to have a strong liking for these, especially if the wall is a bit decaying.
    The castle was built by Sweden’s Lord Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna who was one of the most powerful men of his time, had studied in Jena, Wittenberg and Rostock and was a diplomat and strategist during the 30 Years War. There is a cute story about the dispute between Axel and his son Johan regarding the castle, but I leave it to Simone to tell this story. The castle’s portals, by the way, are adorned with the Oxenstierna’s coat of arms – the ox horns are quite dominating. The importance of this family can also be seen in the nearby Jäder Kyrka (church), but that’s a story for another to-do tip.

    Fiholm Castle is still a working farm, that’s why it is not possible to enter all of the ground. But I could walk past the pink building to get a rough idea of how big the premises are and take a glimpse of the barn and some of the other farm buildings. The building next to the orange wing and the parking space is the former barn and this is now converted into a café and art gallery. They serve tea and coffee and homemade cake. Very delicious cakes, by the way, my blackberry cake was very good. The prices are also very reasonable, for tea and coffee and two cakes we paid 80 SEK. The café is open daily except Monday from noon to 6 p.m. in the months of June to August and Saturday and Sunday only in May.
    It is not possible to visit the castle, unfortunately. But on the other hand, this is understandable, you would’t want to have visitors trotting through your home all day long, would you? But there is one day in the year when the Mörner family opens the doors. It shall be announced on their website, though in Swedish only.

    I made a separate page about Björsund. No tips, but photos of the castle and its beautiful surroundings. The fields are also very photogenic, especially in late summer.

    Directions:
    Fiholm Castle is located in Södermanland, at Mälaren Lake, north of E20 (between Eskilstuna and Strägnäs). Get off at exit 134 and drive north, direction Kjulaås and then direction Björsund. The brown sign to Fiholm Slott is tiny, but you can’t miss it because the alley leading to the castle is lined with huge trees.

    Exact location of Fiholm Castle on google maps.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Region: Södermanland;
    nearest airport: Stockholm (international) or Västerås (regional)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    © Ingrid D., September 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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