If you are interested in Industrial History, the Engelsbergs Bruk in Central Sweden is a place you shouldn't miss visiting. Visiting the location of the Engelsberg bruk is for free, and you'll be able to see the ironworks from the outside. Unfortunately part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is not accessible without taking the guided tour, and you can only see the buildings from a longer distance. This how I saw Engelbergs bruk at first and my disappointment with the place was enormous. But now comes the good news........
Upon leaving this historical site we discovered that a guided tour was just about to start, and that was an opportunity we didn't want to miss!!! The guided tour opens up all those closed doors and let you take a look inside these buildings bringing you up close with the history of this area. You are able to walk around in and see the blacksmith’s forge and also the smelting house, which is one of just a few remaining "mulch-timber" smelting houses in the country. It is a wonderful tour of about an hour. The guided tours are generally in Swedish, but on special request, also in English. If you want an English tour make sure you contact the tourist office in advance at email@example.com or phone the tourist information Lilla Slaggarboden +46(0)223-30035 / visitors centre Ängelsberg Station +46 (0)223 444 64.
May–June: on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 3pm.
24 June-13 Aug: daily tours 10.30am, 1 and 3pm.
19 Aug-24 Sept tours Sat-Sun 1 and 3pm.
(timetable in 2006)
The guided tour costs 50 SEK (around €5,50 / $7,30), but for children under 15 years it is for free. A combination ticket for the ironworks and Oljeön costs 90 SEK (prices 2006).
Färnebofjärden is a National Park that protects a stretch of the Lower Dalälven River running from the city of Avesta to the Bothnian Sea. Water is the main feature of this park and water is what you will see here. Flooded areas, wetlands, streams and lakes, and of course wildlife, birds, forests and flowers. But mainly water.......... a beautiful sight to see, but it makes the area rather hard to access. The best way to enjoy Färnebofjärden would probably be by boat (which you can rent in the area), or by hiking on the edges of the park.
I arrived late afternoon at the park, very early in the season, with no people around yet. We were allowed to put up our little tent on the beach (an advantage of travelling off season), from where we had the most beautiful views over the waters of the Dalälven and Färnebofjärden National Park. The sun was going down, turning the sky into a work of art, but there was still enough light and time for a short walk along the shores. While walking on the beach we could see a deer quickly making its way over one of the wetlands, we heard the cry of a bird in the distance and the sound of a woodpecker in the tree above. The water was washing gently up the shore, the glittering of the sun in the water, a soft breeze, and the wonderful sound of 'silence'. This is how I remember Färnebofjärden, and how I liked it at its best.
Färnebofjärden is another of Swedens wonderful National Parks. I think I love all the National Parks, some just a bit more then others. Färnebofjärden is certainly not on the top of my list, as the access to the park isn’t so easy, making it a bit harder to enjoy. But the memories of this wonderful evening will always stay, so I guess the park did manage to capture a place in my heart.
More on my Färnebofjärden page
Västerås is a big city, with about 125.000 inhabitants, which makes it one of the top 10 cities of Sweden. Västerås is also one of Sweden's oldest cities, dating back to the end of the 1200's. Today Västerås is a modern industrial city, but it has some places really worth while to visit.
The location of Västerås is great, with the river Svartån flowing through its city centre, and situated right at the shore of Lake Mälaren. Lake Mälaren is a beautiful lake with many islands, and it is no wonder that Västerås has a busy harbour with lots of recreational boats. The city has some nice places to visit: a beautiful park (Djäkneberget), interesting for the many boulders with inscriptions. Besides that you have to go to the old part of town with historical houses at Kyrkbacken and last but not least the Cathedral of Västerås, a must see when you visit the city.
You can read much more about this city on my Västerås page
This is one of the little streets in an area called Kyrkbacken and my favourite area of Västerås. In this part of the city you can see the oldest buildings of Västerås. The timber houses date back to the 18th Century.
IIt's fun to walk around in Kyrkbacken and just wander around through the winding streets of this old part of town. Kyrkbacken is not far from the city centre, it is just behind the cathedral, so it's not hard to find. Although the houses are old, it's not a museum; it still is a 'living' part of the city. But it does give a good impression of what life in town looked like a couple of centuries ago. The houses are small and low, the plank fences, the narrow streets, and the greenery gives you an idea how a medieval Swedish city must have looked like. All the old the houses have signs on them telling their history, and this makes it easier to imagine what life in those days must have been like.
Nowadays it is the working area of quite a few artistic craftsmen and it is great to have a look around in the little stores with their handicraft.
You can read much more about this city on my Västerås page
Not far from the city centre is a park called Djäkneberget. Djäkneberget is a hill and lays just a couple of hundred meters to the west of the cathedral and the town square. In former times the park was used as a meeting point by the students ("Djäkne" is an old word for student) and that is how this park came to be.
The park is really nice and you have a nice view over parts of Västerås from here. But thing I liked most about the park are these boulders with inscriptions. This boulder is in memory of Sam Lidman who is responsible for more than 500 of these inscriptions in the park. It’s great to read the various inscriptions on the boulders and think about what they mean. You need a Swedish guide though, hahaha, as most of the inscriptions are in Swedish. Luckily I had someone with me to translate it all for me :-)
Some of the boulders just contain a name of a historic person, but other inscriptions are longer and have a meaning. One example of the inscriptions is : "Var heller frij än annars träl - ämedan du kant tik röra." Which means: "Prefer to be free and not a slave - while you still can move." But there are many many more (over 500) and all food for thought.
You can read much more about this city on my Västerås page
Norberg is a quiet little town, not so much to see and do, but still nice. So why write a tip about it? That is because it has one famous place in the centre of town and that is its pastry.shop: Elsa Andersons Konditori! The pastry-shop is housed in a beautiful,well-preserved 18th century building, which makes it look picturesque, but the most important thing is the cakes! Their speciality is the "Tangotårta”, but don't hesitate to try something else: it all tastes delicious :-) As this is such a popular place it can get busy here. But if you have some patience it is a perfect place to make a stop and enjoy a cup of coffee with delcious cake.
Norberg itself is quite old (from the 12th century) and it was Sweden's most important source of iron during the 14th century and onwards. There is a little bit left of the old Norberg and it is quite picturesque. So after your cake don't forget to walk towards the Norberg River to see the typical red-stained wooden houses that date back to the 17th and 18th century. The industrial past of Norberg is also still present in the area, one of which is the unique Polhem Wheel, a huge water-wheel, located only a few kilometres outside the town.
I shouldn't forget to mention "Själaglas" either, which is a small small glasswork shop that sells and makes typical handblown Swedish glass. Maybe not always so cheap, but very beautiful and perfect to take home as a gift.
Opening hours of the bakery:
Saturdays, Sundays and special holidays: 10.00-18.00
Week 26 unitl week 32 only weekdays :9.00-19.00
Midsommars Eve and New Years Eve: 10.00-14.00
Closed during Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Years day.
You can read more about this little town and all it has to offer on my Norberg page
Just north of Strömsholm and west of Västerås you will pass the town of Hallstahammar. Along road 252 northbound you will pass an area called "Skantzen". And Skantzen is a nice place to stop along the way up north (I wouldn't make a detour to visit it though!). In this little area you can get a bit of a feel of the history of the Strömsholm Canal, which was a very important canal at its time. It's quite lovely to make a short stroll along the canal, look at the locks and maybe even visit the little museum. Coffee is being served in the 'mekanikus' house, the old director's residence. On the other side of the canal is a campground, which is conveniently located for the ones that are travelling through this area. It is quite a popular campground for the Swedes though, so I have a feeling that it can get quite busy here at certain times of the year.
Also worth mentioning is the big greenhouse called Åsby, which is located right around the corner of "Skantzen": Here you can also make a stop at the "Åsby kött och vilthandel" a little delicacy shop housed in a century-old corn magazine. This is your chance to buy some Swedish delicacies like smoked meat and fish, but also all types of spices, eggs and so on, and so on.
I went to Engsö Castle on a rainy day.... sigh... I wish there had been some sunshine, because the area around Engsö castle is a beautiful area to hike. But it was the last day of the season to visit the castle, so I didn't have many options in choosing a better day.
My best memory of Engsö is actually not the castle, but the kitchen! Hahaha, it's true! If you visit the castle you certainly must go to the little restaurant to have a cup of coffee and some cake or kanelbulle like I had. Mmmmm, the kanelbulle was still warm and in the kitchen it smelled like delicious fresh baked waffles. Yummy!
Okay, back to the castle.... The oldest parts of the castle are from the 1480's. There are no guided tours though, so you have to go explore the castle by yourself. I bought a guidebook in English, which told me a lot about the history of the castle, but not much about the interior of the castle itself. All the rooms have furniture, but I couldn't pick out any special pieces, because there were hardly any signs explaining what I was looking at. That made the visit to the castle a little bit frustrating, but on the whole it was a nice castle to visit.
An extra touch to the castle is the ghost story. Hahaha, like every self-respecting castle, this one has also it's own ghost stories. I'll write more about these ghost stories and the history of the castle on my Engsö page
I have lots of pictures of the castle, so please don't forget to take a look at this page.
If you visit Engsö castle you also should make a quick visit to the little church of Engsö, next to the castle. It is a small brick church from 1340 and it is well-preserved.
Opening hours of the castle :
1/5 - 31/8 Saturdays and Sundays : 13:00 -17.00
1/7 - 15/8 Opened every day, except on Fridays. 13:00 -17.00
The entrance fee is 55 SEK
In this picture you can see Strömsholm. I only had a chance to look at the castle from the outside. But it looked great and I hope to visit the palace in the near future!
Strömholm is located on the largest of three islands in the Kolbäckså river delta at Lake Mälaren. This is about 20 km to the southwest of Västerås. The area of Strömsholm is well known for its horses and that has been so for a very long time. The start of Strömsholm castle has actually everything to do with horses: King Gustav Vasa ran a stud-farm on the property during the 1500's and in 1560 the first permanent house was build on this location. The current castle was built between 1669 and 1681 for Queen Hedvig Eleonare.
Strömsholm palace is one of the countries best examples of French Baroque. The Palace has royal interiors that are well preserved. So as you can understand, I am really eager to go here again, and have a tour around the palace.
Opening hours :
May : Saturdays, Sundays 12.00 - 16.00
and public holidays
June : daily 12.00 - 16.00
July : daily 12.00 - 17.00
August : daily 12.00 - 16.00
The entrance fee is 40 SEK.
The last tip I want to write about this road from Rytterne to Västerås is about Asköviken Nature Reserve. Asköviken is located on the shore of Lake Mälaren and it is one of the best bird watching sites of Sweden. There area extensive marshes on this part of the lake. There are several hiking trails going through this area. One of the places you have to go to is the ancient fortification, west of Tidö Castle on Stensjöberget, which offers some beautiful views.
You can read more about the Asköviken Nature Reserve on this website : http://www.internat.naturvardsverket.se/index.php3?main=/documents/nature/eramsar/omraden/asko_e.htm
Unfortunately enough I got up too early this day, hahaha, so I was here before the castle opened. I didn't feel like waiting for a long time, so all I did was walk around the castle itself. That was great to do though, although I would love to take a look inside! But I don't live that far away, so next year I will make a visit for certain!
The castle has been build by Count Axel Oxenstierna and it took 20 years to complete. They started building the castle around 1625. The mansion was owned by the Oxenstierna-family until 1840, when it was sold. In the next 50 years it was resold several times until it was bought in 1890 by David von Schinkel. Sadly enough the building had gotten into decay by this time. But the family von Schinkel have fully restored the building and its furniture, and that makes the castle a great place to visit nowadays! But besides the restorations, they also opened in 1974 Sweden's first toy museum, with thousands of toys from all over the world. A must see I have heard, so I am eagerly waiting to get back to Tidö again!
You can read much more about Tidö Slott on my Västerås page
A must see in the area of Västerås is Tidö Slott. The slott is not only a castle, it also houses a toy museum. Tidö Slott is on this same road from Rytterne to Västerås. When you drive on this road you will see signs to a sideroad that leads to Tidö Castle. Don't take the exit to Tidö-Lindö though! As this road brings you to the village on the other side of the water and not to Tidö Slott itself. The total distance from Västerås to Tidö Slott is around 14 kilometres.
Opening hours :
May: only during the weekends 12.00 - 17.00
1 June - 15 August: Every day (except Mondays) 12.00 - 17.00
15 August - 15 September:Only during the weekends 12.00 - 17.00
Guided tour through the castle at 2 p.m.
You can read much more aboutTidö Slott on my Västerås page
Lilla Rytterne Church in now nothing more than a ruin. The ruins of this church is 800 years old. But this place is much older than that though. They found runic stones here from around the year 1000.
The nice thing about this church ruin is that it is not out of use. During the summer there are 'open air' church services held here.
If you want to know more about Lilla Rytterne Church this might be an interesting website for you : http://www.werbeka.com/vasteras/kyrkruin.htm Unfortunately the website is only available in Swedish.
You can read much more about this little church on my Västerås page
Sorby Fornborg is an ancient fortification 1,6 kilometres of Rytterne Church on the old country road towards Västerås. This is the same road as Fiholm Castle is on.
The fortification is big, measuring 100x90 metres. But you need some imagination to see an old fort in it! It is more that you have to feel the history here than actually seeing anything. Sorby Fornborg is nothing more than a hill with a lot of big boulders. Some parts do look like a little wall, but others are just boulders spread around on the hill. It's a nice stop when you are driving this road, but not a place to make a big detour for.
You can read much more about this area on my Västerås page
Fiholm is not an easy spot to find, you almost have to know where it is to find it. Luckily I had a good guide with me, so I had no problems at all. Fiholm is located just north-east of Kvicksund, on a side road of road 53. When you drive on little road through the beautiful countryside you will find the sign pointing you in the direction of Fiholm. The only big problem is that this last little road is not accessible for cars :-( So you either walk, hahaha, or take the car anyway :-) And that's what we did, without having any problems at all.
Fiholm is a private residence and is not open for the public. So I only took a quick look from the entrance of the castle. Although it is not very 'castle like' it is a lovely place to see.
Fiholm was the seat for the local bishops as early as the 1300's. The estate that you see now was built in 1772 in neo-classic style by Councillor Carl Johan Ridderstolpe.
You can read much more about Fiholm Castle on my Västerås page