Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Southeast Sweden

The second leg of our April vacation, we toured a large section of Southern Sweden. We saw lighthouses, ships, castles, cathedrals, pastries, windmills, bridges, standing stones, glass-blowing, forests and miles and miles of sea and farmland.

The tall white lighthouse is Lång Erik Lighthouse. The red and white lighthouse is the Ystad lighthouse dwarfed by huge ferries and the trains.

Hunter became interested in the map of Oland (island) on the trip. He especially enjoyed looking for the tiny stars that represented the lighthouses. We saw more lighthouses than there are photos to prove.

Our first picnic in Sweden took place outside of Ystad on a sand dune overlooking the sea. What a peaceful place! Each of us took some quiet time walking along the water's edge.

A herd of cows fed among the stones Ales Stenar, "the Stonehenge of Sweden," much to our delight. The bus load of school children to swarm on the site, dangerously teasing the cows, was less interesting.

If you want to see Glimminghus outside of Skillinge (a fishing village), make sure you are there between 11 am and 4 pm. We arrived at 4:05 pm and though there was a woman working the cash register, we had to amuse ourselves with the outside of this medieval castle (supposedly haunted).

In case you wondered, the wind is always blowing. No wonder there are so many windmills and wind turbines!

We had never before seen a burnt windmill, but here is an example. The millstone is still in its working space. Most millstones we see are on the ground. There were more red with black German style windmills in Northern Oland.
The Dutch style windmill was in Southern Oland. A beautiful path ran through the woods and neighborhood nearby. A grouping of windmills on Oland was not unusual, either. We missed a five story windmill that a person may climb in because we hadn't read about it yet in the guidebook.

A trip to Oland wouldn't have been as wonderful without another visit to my favorite tea, antique and grocery store, "Gardby Kaffe and Lanthandel." We ate lunch in the front yard on a white picnic table in the sun. The lemon pie with vanilla cream and a raspberry on top was smooth and heavenly!

We managed to see the Borgholm Slott (castle) one hour before it closed. We were smitten by blue sky through the roofless building and upper windows! From the level you see here there were great views over the sea and the surrounding countryside.

In Kalmar, on the mainland, we saw the Kalmar Slott (castle)--closed for the day we were there. But the walk around the upper wall and grassy area with old ship cannons proved a beautiful view over the straight between the mainland and Oland. There was scaffolding in several places and tractors worked in and around the castle maintaining repairs before the true tourist season, which started the next day.

We drove through some of the most dense woods in Sweden through what is called the "Kingdom of glass." There were glass blowing shops every so often down the highway. But we drove down a long side road to Bergdala to see glass blowing demonstrations, tour the factory, take a lot of video and labor over what we would plunk money down on. My best photos were in the videos, but this is the tall oven stack and Hunter's favorite glass piece. Otherwise, he spent his time running around with a little girl he met, there.

A medieval church which was supposed to have Viking inscriptions on the walls, but I didn't see them.

This two tower church is in Vaxjo. I mostly took the photo for a friend in Idaho who had been an exchange student in Vaxjo.

At my friend's suggestion, we decided to spend time around Vaxjo's beautiful lake. Hunter enjoyed the large, kid-friendly park. Connie and I enjoyed watching the birds and flowers on and around the lake. There was supposed to be a castle ruin and a castle north of the city, but we became too weary to find it.

Spring unfolded before our eyes. The cabin you see down a long driveway was called "the croft." It was surrounded by woods just outside of a fishing village. We were told that if we woke up with the dawn, we might see a herd of moose passing through. We weren't awake early enough to find out...

The other cabin, the sunset and the lighted bridge photos are from Oland where we stayed another night. One door was into the cabin and the other door, off of the porch, led into the tiny shower, sink and toilet room.

One of my fika friends, who grew up in Osterlen, was especially keen that I should see the carpets of flowers throughout Osterlen in the spring. It really was worth seeing. You could walk on this beautiful carpet and not hurt the flowers.

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