Sunday, 25 May 2014

Kristianstad 400 and ALIVE!

Kristianstad celebrating!

Kristianstad is also for many Göinge people as the "city" where to go when daily businesses needs taken care of. The modern and vivid city centre with promenades, shops of all kinds and restaurants is very tempting. In addition the cultural life has much to offer and then there is the big shopping center at Vilan-Härlöv, the popular Vattenriket and much more that makes this part of Skåne come so much alive.

The city was founded by the Danish king Christian IV after his Swedish "colleague" Gustav II Adolf during the wars in Skåne had laid nearby city of Vä in ashes and seriously threatened Åhus.  It was possible to build a bastion in the area to become Kristianstad and get better protection against the enemy. Christian IV is considered as the greatest constructor in Nordic history. When planning to build an entirely new city in an previously inhabited area this was something unique in our nordic circumstances and architectural ideas in renaissance style, including the new bastion, was realized. The church in Kristianstad, Heliga Trefaldighetskyrkan, is said to be the grandest construction by Christian IV. After signing the peace treaty in Roskilde 1658 Kristianstad came under Swedish rule and the first times were not easy due to lack of confidence on both sides. Read more about all these times in the book by Kenth Olsson "400 år i Christians stad".

Caroleans in Kristianstad.

I am boring you with a few more historic details as I find the Swedish history most interesting. The Caroleans where soldiers in the times of the Swedish kings Charles XI and Charles XII that where very successful out in the combat field of the great Northern War that made Sweden a powerful nation. A small army had to find new innovative ways of fighting the enemy. The Caroleans applied a very offensive war tactic. Their courage took them head on with the enemy and close enough not to miss a single shot. As a result the enemy was frightened and could opt for retreating. Discipline was very hard and e.g. steeling and looting would lead to harsh punishments. Religion kept the morale high. Someone interrupting a moment of prayer could face the death penalty. Read more e.g. in Wikipedia.

Swedish Royalties in Kristianstad.

The 400th anniversary was celebrated with a massive program me for three days. King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia joined the celebrations on the first day with a full days program. We were in Tivoliparken 13.50 sharp like everybody else to get some pictures. The anniversary tree was planted and Mrs. T had the chance to use the very same shovel as the King had used while "Mr. Bond" was watching over things and the construction builders had their pictures from the first balcony. During the other day, on Saturday, more than 120 festive arrangements had been organized including a "Food From the World" happening that was in our taste, see below.

We picked Yemen and Syria out of all.

Yemen offered an interesting sallad with bulgur spiced with lemon, herbs and tomato. We also tried their spring rolls and hummus paste. Syria was offering a kebab dish and we had to do a fair bit of queueing before we had ours. As a dessert we choose ice tea flavored with elder and a small cake with almond paste and lemon curd. Very tasty indeed and todays cooking was done. In the picture above the police force may have opted for a visit to pölsemannen (sausage man) in the red trailer just to finish it off with a soft drink. This food market was a great idea.

Musical performances in Kristianstad.

Other activities included e.g. musical performances, (art) exhibitions, Lions Club Jubilée Train, historical demonstrations, (folk) dance, city walks, film presentations and much more. As a speciality a 400 meter long scarf had been woven and displayed near Helge å. One special event we missed and that was the Absolut Art Collection, but we will do that another time. It also happened that we were interviewed by Kristiansbladet and appeared the following day in a picture (Mrs. T putting something in my mouth) in the newspaper. 

Last but not least!

Children had arrived to the scene, too. Well dressed with their own crowns  WHERE ARE THEY? ARE THEY COMING? WHOOOO?
THE KING AND THE QUEEN? NOOOO!!! I WANT TO SEE THE VEHICLES! Traditionally the children are keen to see the royalties, but the boys may have been as interested in the vehicles carrying the Royalties as they were in the Royalties themselves. If the children were interested in automobiles then us adults wanted a bite of the anniversary cake that tasted great on a nice summer day. Thank you everyone for a welcoming anniversary. We enjoyed it thoroughly. 

Queueing up for the anniversary cake!

Hope you enjoyed these days with us!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Fulltofta recreation area.

Beautiful pasture area in Fulltofta.

The Scanian Landscape Foundation operates some 20 recreational areas around Skåne and Fulltofta is one of them. These areas offer something for the whole family including hiking, fishing, canoeing, swimming, riding, bird watching or simply enjoy the nature with your own picnic basket. The Visitor Centre is modern and welcoming with its friendly staff, coffee shop and exhibition. For overnight visitors there are two cottages for rent. This area is one of the oldest still displaying clearance cairns and ruins of crofts from times when the ara was inhabited and farmed. Some ancient fields and clearance cairns are said to be dating from the stone ages ( . There are ten marked footpaths available out of which three are suitable for wheelchairs! Out of these tracks I choose Bäckaslingan that circles around the VisitorCenter and spent all afternoon there. But you could also choose the Nature and Cultural History path or the Tree Walkway that would take you up among the tree tops and over a ravine. 

A sample of the vegetation in Fulltofta.

Bäckaslingan runs largely through forests with beech, oak and fur trees in varied intensity. Some areas are demanding for a photographer but the open glades and pastures are really beautiful and photogenic. The fields needed to be cleared of stones in the past and hence there are round pole fences everywhere. The smaller the stones the older the fence as tools in the early days where simple. Fulltofta became more densely populated in the 17th century and many fields date from those days.

Dandelions in the fields.

Macrophotography is a real challenge as it takes a lot of concentration and patience. A tripod is a must normally. However, like with the above pictures, there may not be space for a tripod in which case support must be obtained by other means. In this case suport came from a stone, but as you can see out of four pictures two are still not sharp enough. Still, the macro world is interesting and something our eyes often fails to see. 

Fulltofta streams and ponds.

Strolling in the woods will often lead you to small and winding streams where the sun hits in selected places giving photographic opportunities to play with shadows. Birdlife seemed rich at the end of the above pond. Other animals was a hawk taking off when I arrived, beetles on the ground and geese flying high in the sky following their traditional route. We do not want to talk about large black, white or red snails that nobody wants in their garden. My day was finished with a drink and sandwiches before driving back north. Next time is reserved for the other mentioned footpaths.

Beautiful Fulltofta!

Fulltofta was an excursion while waiting for the massive Kristianstad 400th anniversary starting tomorrow, Thursday. Stay "tuned" for more news.


Sunday, 18 May 2014

Settling in and discovering northeastern Skåne.

Our roofed terrace gradually in use.

It is now almost 1,5 months since we brought our belongings to Skåne. After a methodical approach we have gradually turned our home to look like we appreciate it. Mrs. T's eye for decor and color is infallible so she is the given master designer in charge. The roofed terrace is also taking shape nicely. The sharp eye, nevertheless, spots that there are still things missing. Some kind of a fire place is under heavy discussion both with Mrs T and any future supplier. With some additional lighting and "flower power" this area of the house will be our oasis. The former owners Bo and Christina left us a villa easy to manage. Best regards to Kristianstad were they now live.

A garden in our liking!

Having had a garden before we understand the work it requires if it is to be kept in shipshape condition.  Bo has been looking after the garden "all day long" according to the neighbors. And again, our main task is to give the maintenance it requires and, with time, maybe do the alterations we might want. Our lawn mover is red like the Ferrari and has about as many "buttons" including an electric start. It is also self driven so who ever controls the machine need to watch out not to skid out in the curves. If the route gets too bumpy it is better to elevate the machine to give more lawn space. The area where we live is unbelievable calm - except when it is lawn moving times. Then everyone is out at the same time and I can understand why some carry ear protection.

Natural beauty early spring near our home.

Helge Å is a narrow river that runs for about 200 km's through the local landscape. It passes also Kristianstad where it is part of the biosphere area "Vattenriket" and later divides into several side streams, one of them passing Åhus. Part of Kristianstad area is 2,4 meters below sea level and the water supply into the area is controlled but large areas, nevertheless, gets flooded from time to time. These wetlands have been turned into a successful tourist attraction with a rich birdlife and good fishing opportunities. Kristianstads Vattenriket Biosphere Reserve (by UNESCO) is open all year and organizes guided tours and other activities. The visitor centre is at short walking distance from the city centre. If arriving by car cross the river and follow the signs to find a large parking area.

Wanås Manor

We have mentioned Wanås Castle before in our posts but would like to introduce it once more as our villa is very close to it and actually built on its former grounds. First dwellings on the castle site were built in late 15th century and during the following centuries the castle had an important role in the wars between Denmark and Sweden. Today Wanås is still privately owned and more than just a castle. It operates an ecologically branded agricultural complex and displays an art collection as well as a sculpture park with more than 50 sculptures also from international sculptors. A shop and a coffee house serves the visitors. For more information see

Broby, Christinehof, Bäckaskog and Hovdala.

Skåne has some 250 castles and manors in addition to several hundres churches. During the 20th century many has been renovated and transformed into multipurpose activity centers be it in contemporary art, hotel and restaurant activity, musical events or e.g. exhibitions of many kinds. Hovdala (centre and bottom right) organized a first of may celebration with the fantastic Lunds Students Choir performing. They will also organize a medieval tournament, musical events among many other events. Christinehof in Brösarp (far left) organizes different kind of exhibitions and offer conference and lecturing facilities. Many programs are for children and families. Bäckaskog (top right) has been turned into a a hotel and restaurant. They also offer different kind of nature activities, conference facilities and special events. Many activities are centered around the castle, manors or public buildings so we are closely monitoring weekly programmes. The coming week Kristianstad celebrates its 400th anniversary for three days filled with programme. We plan to be there, too.

In conclusion, we have settled in nicely and are getting to know the northeastern part of Skåne. The necessary administrative work has been done and we have more time for our every day activities be it baking, lawn moving or PhotoHiking excursions.

Freshly baked by Mrs. T. Unbelievably nice and soft texture and a super taste.  

Have a nice week! We will be back soon!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Copenhagen Opera House

Öresundsregionen got a massive kick when the bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö was finished in 2000. The region is now said to be the most integrated transnational area in Scandinavia with 3,8 million inhabitants from both Sweden (Skåne) and Denmark (Sealand, Mön, Falster, Lolland and Bornholm). Many international corporate headquarters are situated here and the housing and labourmarkets have become very interactive. A special committée coordinates matters of the region. A quarter of both countries GNP is produced in the region and it is one of the leading research centers in Europe with its 12 universities. In IT alone there are 10.000 companies. Biotechnology is another important sector. Not to mention the growing opportunities within tourism, culture and attractiveness for any international events. For Region Skåne the development of the collaboration over Öresund is one of the most important issues. OBVIOUSLY WE WANTED TO HAVE A TASTE OF THIS BY SPENDING TWO DAYS IN THE REGION.

One day in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen was busy on the day we arrived because of the Eurovision Song Contest and the event was clearly visible in the city centre. This was not of much interest to us but instead we stepped onboard a tourist vessel to experience the waterfront of Copenhagen. This was new to me although Mrs T insisted that we have done it before....but she was not quite sure of the city in question. Anyway, Copenhagen looks different from the sea; its opera house, the queen's yacht as Mrs T well pointed out, war time torpedo boat sheds, the harbour area and the city waterfront were interesting. Lunch at Nyhavn is a must even with all the tourists around. After our curry and salmon we walked up to the botanical garden; a heaven in the city centre for anyone that have walked most of the day.

Our program for the following day was entirely open so we decided to have some breakfast and then check with the Information Center opposite the railway station for alternative programmes. This centre is by the way very useful. We opted for a train journey to Helsingör in northern Sealand.

Helsingör on the second day of our trip to Öresundsregionen.

Having purchased the train tickets we collected our luggage and headed for the station. Train services are frequent and it would take 45 minutes to reach Helsingör. The area north of Copenhagen and along the cost is beautiful and relaxed after a day in the busy city center. Once in Helsingör the main street, Stengade, is only a block from the train station. See above pictures. We had no time for Kronborg castle this time but walked the streets of the town instead, bought some Danish cheese that left a suspicious odeur in the train on our way home. Before departure we had what we wanted from the start: DANISH SMÖRREBRÖD with different kinds of marinated herring and the herrings were not small believe me. This required the largest beer available and schnapps of course. I could not have more because I was going to drive, she's said. Another thing we learned is that the Louisiana Modern Art Center is along that train journey. A must next time Mrs. T said. We can board a train in Hässleholm and sit tight all the way to Helsingör - talk about integration here!

Is this becoming a habit? No no no no because this was Red Aalborg - that's different.

Why do our blogs end with a "CHEERS" ?

Take care and see you next time!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Degeberga and Ålakusten for gardening and eel-sandwhiches on Mother's Day.

Degeberga village museum.

Degeberga is a small but active community south of Åhus in the Kristianstad municipality. They organize annually a general market and an antique market, an event in folkmusic and now for the second time a gardening fair that was placed in the park with the village museum. The museum area itself has 10 historical buildings including a mill, a smithery, a school and an old-fashioned shop all furnished with traditional everyday items that gives an understanding of how we lived in the past. 

The coast south of Åhus down to Kivik is called the "Coast of Eels" because for a long time the fishing of eel provided for the main source of income to the region. The fishing was strictly controlled  and the fishermen held specific rights for the fishing that could be expensive. Special huts were built to give protection for the equipment and the fishermen themselves. Out of 80 huts some 30 remain today in use. Fishing of eel has reduced due to environmental reasons. The eel we bought later that day was from North Atlantic.

Details from Degeberga museum.

The gardening fair was organized for the second time in Degeberga and has been a success as, according to Kristianstadsbladet, thousands of visitors (including us) have found their way there. Anything but garden furniture was on display. Our interest was mainly to get a first glimpse of what is on offer. It is tempting to load oneself with different plants but we really want to move step by step. However, we did find some lilies (of the valley) that we fancied and bought. It was mother's day (in native Finland) so the idea was also to have a good meal to celebrate the day. Instead of the traditional restaurant Mrs. T opted for the "makkarasämpylä" or "korv med bröd" which means sausage and a roll in addition to spending the money on the lilies. At this point of time we were unaware of the eel-shop en route to home. 

The Gardening fair in Degeberga offered some sausages with bread, too.

Having finished our sausages Mrs. T wanted to take a closer look at the seaside beaches near Yngsjö on our way home. We discovered a large area of summer cottages throughout the coast. It is now easy to understand how population triple during the season. The sandy beaches are miles long and worth another visit on a sunny (summer)day. My camera did not fancy the wet conditions so we got back to the car and continued towards Åhus. On the left side of the road we soon discovered a "rökeri"(producers of smoked fish) that we have noticed can be found here and there in the region. We immediately thought that this is the opportunity to get our ration of smoked fish (our local Coop had sold out the other day). We could not wait to park the car before rushing in the shop where we were welcomed by this elegant and service minded young person. They offered different kind of delicacies from meat to fish and home made salted crispy thin bread. Mrs T warned me not to get too excited but we could not resist some smoked eel, matured danish cheese the crispy bread and some strong and sweet mustard especially for Mrs. T. The service and the products of this "Rökeri" was outstanding, see  for more details.

Situated between Åhus and Yngsjö.

Having thanked the youngster in the shop we decided to head straight home. Upon arrival we met Mats who was kind enough to lend us some readily packed and fertilized soil for the lilies and the Ramlök we bought the day before. Mrs T said that it is no rush to plant them right now. I did it anyway because the rain was on and off throughout the day. It would be "off" if I did not do the planting and it would be "on" whenever I would do it. This was one of those days. NEVERMIND we tried the eel today based on a home-made recopy by Mrs. T and WHAT A DELICIOUS SMÖRREBRÖD WE HAD. The eel has a taste entirely different from other fish dishes. The aroma is fantastically soft and yet so tasteful so now need to keep our eyes on the forthcoming eel-partys. We did not have ABSLOUT vodka this time but another schnapps from Raseborg, Finland that is spiced with elder. A very nice schnapps that has to be specially ordered from the shop in Ekenäs, Finland. Will now check if there is some left.......:)

Eel-sandwhiches with schnapps and our investments towards our garden.


Saturday, 10 May 2014


Åhus by river Helge.

ÅHUS is a town in south of Kristianstad with roughly 10000 inhabitants. Its beaches has a reputation since 19th century and it has long been known for its eel-parties which is consumed together with a considerable amount of schnapps (Wikipedia). Which schnapps? A silly question since the local producer offer a world class product, the ABSOLUT vodka. The factory is situated by the river, right on the above picture, and in the middle of Åhus. Having walked past several times we cannot stop admiring the tidiness around the factory. During the summer season the population triples in Åhus can't wait to see that. The town is also well known for its OTTO Ice cream. They produce their own waffles in the kiosk fresh for the ice-cream. You can choose between several flavors and have one-three ice-cream balls, but believe us - it is enough with one unless you are a heavy consumer. Last time the line outside was huge and did not seem to shorten at any time. This time we where luckier and had zabayone flavor both of us.

Mrs T overwhelmed by OTTO.

The Absolut Factory in Åhus.

Åhus harbour.

The harbour in Åhus is sizable. Absolut ships out 100 million litres schnapps every year. In addition the harbour services the Swedish Farmer's Supply and Crop Marketing Association and several other companies in the area. Today was Saturday and we wanted to visit the local market place to get the flavor of locally produced goods. We spoke to Grönalunds Bi & Musteri, Heikki Bagare and Prästgårdens Primörer.  Grönalund specializes in high class apple juices that we tasted and Prästgården sold Ramslök, a kind of an onion to be found only locally. One plant now grow in our garden, too. Heikki originates from Järvenpää in Finland but has lived in Skåne for some time and opened his bakery a few years ago. His produce of bread and hard breads made of sourdough is a health bomb that people queue up for. We did, too. Quality highly appreciated. And by now we took note of the fact that nearly everyone where having OTTO, too.

Mrs. T talking to Malena and Heikki.

Just south of the town centre there is a biosphere reserve, part of Vattenriket, called Äspet. We enjoyed a walk along the paths on the coast where birdlife is very rich and where the sun lured the nature to produce the smell and feeling of summer into our nostrils. 

Pathway along the coast.

OpenSkies at Äspet.

Bird watching tower at Äspet.

Mrs T under OpenSkies.

The whole afternoon was well spent in Åhus and Äspet but since we still have not learned to bring along our own "fika" (that's coffée and something to go with it) we wanted to return home because our RAMSLÖK and our stomachs needed caring for. Also the paint that we had bought for our garden furniture at Sture Persson AB reminded us of our duties. A truly professional service at Sture Persson's by the way. They knew what we did not know. On the road home some more colorful pictures of rapeseed fields along the route.

Crop getting ready for harvesting.

We are pleased for being able to share Åhus with you. What's up next? Just stay on-line and you will find out! Take care!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Less than two hours from Copenhagen

Östra Göinge less than two hours from Copenhagen.

If you land at Copenhagen Kastrup airport you are only 30 minutes from Sweden and an hour and 45 minutes from Northeastern corner of Skåne where you can sit in a canoe at lake Immeln, take a boat trip along Helge river, visit Kristianstads biosphere area, enjoy a fantastic Indian meal, hike, fish or cycle along designed tracks.....and did you know that Absolut vodka is produced in Åhus? I did not!

Early spring in the evening by river Helge.

Sunset over Knislinge town.

Breakfast at the terrace with Ms. T

We arrived on the last day of March to sign all the documents for our villa and started organizing many practical things (person numbers, car registrations, bank accounts etc.) and received one load of goods from Finland 1st April and another together with the car from Andalucia later the same week. A big hand to Niemi & Niemi and Roslagen for good service. A person number really is a must before you can get organized because before that you do not exist. To get a job e.g. is not going to be possible without it. Nor can you open a bank account. The Swedish immigration system is indeed well structured to welcome foreigners. All instances give you exact advice and procedures are swift. It took us a month to get everything sorted out. One thing that worried us was the access to cinematic opera performances from Metropolitan (and others). We soon discovered that Osby Borgen has a nice theatre and it is only 30 minutes away. We already had Cosi Fan Tutte one evening. Excellent service with a sparkling drink to go.

We also needed to learn the surrounding area quickly. Kristianstad is a lovely city that offer every-thing needed though it has only 35000 inhabitants (some 80000 in the immediate neighborhood). A large and modern shopping centre in Vilan-Härlöv provided us with necessary items for gardening, painting, decoration and anything needed. Kristianstad also has GREAT restaurants; grilled meat and Indian are big favorites. The libraries in Kristianstad and Broby served us with computers when needed. At Broby we also meat Anna-Stina who kindly approached us and now is, alongside our neighbours Bengt, Conny and Mats with their wives, good friends offering a way into the local community. Yesterday we had a cup of the tea with Gerd and Ingvar at their place. The welcome here has been fantastic.

Wanås manor.

Part of Wanås art collection; Richard Nonas.

Springtime at Wanås.

Wanås manor with gardens and large woodland is only 2,5 km's from us so we have had the possibility to visit this area a few times. There was a castle here already in the 15th century. Today they display contemporary art, run a shop and ecological cafés. Everyone is welcome to walk in the large beech tree woodlands that host a number of sculptures, note e.g. the red ball in the tree above. 

The above is a brief description of what Östra Göinge and Kristianstad has to offer in general but we will be back with more to tell later on. Next will be visits to Bäckaskog, Hovdala, Christinehov and Sealand. 

Wansår manor park.

How are we doing so far?

Welcome to Skåne

Welcome to Skåne

A view along the Alma river, Northeastern Skåne.

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! Our broadband is operational and we can continue blogging. We have settled down in Skåne, Southern Sweden, the region of OpenSkies that offer such richness in cultural events, historical sites and summer markets among other things. Much of them take place in an open air setting starting from may and continuing until late autumn. Before I continue on Skåne issues Mrs. T and I would like to send a warm greeting to all our friends in Andalucia that we parted from a month ago. Thank you again for your kind hospitality and for sharing your great region with us. Our experience was overwhelming and thanks to our PhotoBook "Andalucia Our Way" we have the chance to "travel back" every day if we want to.  For any of our new readers you may be interested in reading about our Andalucian explorations in the blog: 

OpenSkies near Christinehov.

Where Andalucia offer skies full of amazing mountain landscapes Skåne offer the complete contrast with OpenSkies. This, together with the difference in climate, provides a photographer new opportunities. The pictures and the text of the blog will cover as much as possible different events in the region. Many events are held in cultural or historical settings which will make our work interesting and hopefully tempting for the readers. We must apologize to our Swedish readers that we have chosen english as our reporting language. This is simply due to our wish to reach out to a broad public and make everyone interested in the region. Any comments from the readers will be highly appreciated. Kommentarer är mer än välkomna också på svenska

Some orientational facts on Skåne

Skåne is a scandinavian region that belonged to Denmark for centuries and became part of Sweden in the late 17th century after the so called Danish Wars. The area is only 10,9 km2 which for us means an easy access top all corners of the region. The population, 1,2 million, largely live along the coastline with Malmö as the largest city. However, with the bridge over the strait of Öresund to Denmark, we can interestingly also talk about the Öresunds region that would also include the western parts of Denmark - mainly Sealand that again offer so many more things to experience. Of the Skåne region about 70% is cultivated, the maximum elevation is 212 meters above sea level and the lowest point 2,4 meters below sea level (not too far from where we live). Skåne offers three National Parks, 240 castles and 500 churches. In 1070 Adam of Bremen wrote that "Skåne is the beauties part of Denmark. It has a good supply of men, rich in merchandise and full of churches. With its churches Skåne is twice the size of Sealand" (Wikipedia). Locally Skåne is considered to be the bellowed region in culture and art and we have all the reason to believe this is so. Professionals like designers, dressmakers, artists and "happy amateurs" seem to work hand in hand. Art galleries, museums, musical events, theatre and opera throughout the region offer something for everyone. And we have taken careful note of the fact that handicapped people are carefully considered with accessible entrance to the venues.

Sunny beech trees early spring.

Thank you for your interest in this blog. It is written for you and therefore any comments or recommendations are most welcome.