Monday, 23 June 2014

Hooray Drakamöllan

A general view over the concert area at Drakamöllan.

Having arrived in Skåne in April one of our main issues was to find out how to nourish our cultural appetite with concerts and opera. Osby Borgen nearby and their direct broadcasts from Metropolitan was one solution and Drakamöllan's opera festival another local opportunity. Of Drakamöllan's programs we choose their concert on the midsummer week-end. This way our program would be complete for the festivity including Swedish and Finnish traditions as well as something of our own.
At the time of booking we did not know it but we where going to be in for a really good treat.

Drakamöllan is both the name of the Nature Reserve established in 1962 and the Country Hotel beautifully located in a green hilly area with deciduous forest where domestic animals has grazed for ages. They serve private guests during week-ends and summer-time. At other times they organize different kind of events including weddings and conferences. Their kitchen has gained a reputation and is open only for their staying guests. They have also picked up the great idea of presenting operas and concerts on their grounds. The staff want to provide everyone with a personal and unique treat and they indeed succeeded with yesterday's concert.

Drakamöllan is beautifully located in a peaceful environment. 

The above mosaic collection show how quests arrive in Drakamöllan and get together on the green slopes for the concert. This year the rain was ON and OFF (mostly OFF) but as a general reflection this did not bother the audience that normally is up to some 700 persons. We arrived early with our picnic basket and found a place with good visibility over the stage.

Waiting for the concert to start.

Having settled down the first rain set in and created a huzzle when everybody reached out for their covers. Mrs T choose her rain coat instead of an umbrella. Some guests had their lunch with convenient drink at this stage. The group is warming up.

And here we go!

The whole performance could not have been organized better. It started at 14.00 hours and finished at 17.30 sharp with a 45-60 minute intermission for lunch etc. The program included both classical music and traditional songs like Sjösala vals and others. The classical music was carefully selected for this particular environment. Therefore Nordic Nationalism and Romance was present through Grieg and Sibelius, both with their distinctive idioms as composers. We enjoyed Solveig's Song and Elegia and the peaceful tones was so well adapted by the surrounding nature.  A perfect match! And what a chamber orchestra Huaröd has! The soloists included stars from the Copenhagen and Malmö operas and if someone must be mentioned as a personal favorite then it is Cecilia Lindwall, a soprano that has performed many opera roles in Scandinavia and Germany. Drakamöllans Opera Coir consists of singers from Hässleholms Vocal Ensemble and Trefaldighetskyrkan in Kristianstad. Nils Jörgen Riis from Denmark talked us through the event in his professional but relaxed manner. At one point everyone was on the limited stage that looked crowded to say the least, but no doubt the safety issues had been taken into account.

Participants and quests in action and Mrs. T looking comfortable.

Drinks consumed tend to activate the renal system - precautions taken!

Mrs. T and I indeed want to credit the organizers for their efforts. The good new is that there is more to come in October this year through to March next year. Visit  for more information. The below picture will have to make out as the flower bouquet to the organizers. 

Thank you Drakamöllan for a most interesting afternoon!


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Midsummer at Sofiero and Kullaberg

Ready for our midsummer celebrations.

European midsummer related traditions are of pre-christian origin (Wikipedia). Celebrations tend to centre around the astronomical summer solstice in June while christianity chooses the birthday of John the Baptist as the correct day. Traditions are strong in Scandinavia. Bonfires are traditionally lit to protect from evil spirits, Finns place out branches of birch trees to welcome visitors and Swedes erect a maypole for a reason that is not entirely clear. Anyway midsummer activities like dancing and singing circle around the pole that has been decorated with green leaves and flowers. Food and drink (preferably local produce) are important elements today. And midsummer is not midsummer without singing schnapps songs until the dawn. Our midsummer week-end is well spent; first in Sofiero the Swedish way, on Saturday the Finnish way with a barbecue (but regrettably no sauna) and finally on Sunday with marinated herrings and new potatoes after a classical concert (our own way). Perfect!

Getting prepared; folk dresses are highly popular during midsummer celebrations.

Of many alternatives we choose to visit the western coast of Skåne, mainly because this was new to us. In Sweden free public festive programmes are organized annually in parks around the country. Sofiero Castle organize their own festivities as initiated a hundred years ago by the royal family. The maypole is dressed to become the centre point of activities. The festivity is for the entire family and the program me designed for that purpose. Bringing along your own picnic is also a tradition - some lay out a table with chairs while others place a blanket to sit on. A tent may give you a little bit of shade on a sunny day. Top right a young couple lay down overlooking Öresund. Middle right we have arrived and found our place in the crowd (sharp-eyed will spot Mrs.T) and down right the folk dressed dancers enter. It's all about getting prepared YOUR WAY.

Colourful folk dancers. Over Öresund the castle at Helsingör, Denmark.

Children enjoying themselves.

This Zappy and Colourful happening offer plenty of program for the children; dancing around the pole, running competition carrying a potato or just playing around makes the day for them. Running to win was not essential but having fun and feeling togetherness was the key point. Parents enjoy the company of each others and, once finished their picnic, may opt for a game of cards, following the crowds or perhaps enjoy a relaxing moment on the blanket.

Come as you are and do as you please.

Junior or Senior - everyone enjoy! Some carry competitive camera models.

Good-bye Sofiero until next time!

Our midsummer celebration at Sofiero was over in late afternoon and we continued our journey towards Kullaberg National Park area. A short drive along the coast north of Sofiero took as past picturesque small villages like Viken that comprise old traditional houses and narrow lanes. Was really worthwhile a visit. If you own a Ferrari then you may be able to find a house here, too.

Towards Kullaberg

Kullaberg is nature reserve area in northeastern Skåne with a landline towards Kattegat waters. Steep cliffs and rocky waters dominate the landscape and climbing seem to be a sport of interest here. The area was populated 7000 BC and is today a popular picnic area, also on midsummer eve. Kullen lighthouse is still operational on the peninsula at the opening towards Öresund. With its 1000 Wat electric bulb it is said to be the most powerful lighthouse in Scandinavia (Wikipedia). The Danish astronomer, Tyco Brahe, was the lighthouse administrator here until his death in 1601. Kullaberga offer excellent views, a beautiful nature and a nice stroll in the early evening. 

A view from Kullaberg.

The following mosaic of photos gives an understanding of the countryside in northwestern Skåne. Really well kept with old traditional houses, farmland with ancient windmills and local product at sale along the route (back home).

Countryside in the Högaberg municipality, northeastern Skåne.

The drive to this part of Skåne would not take longer than 1,5 hours along route 21 passed Hässleholm, later the E4 and finally route 111 to Sofiero. We are learning about distances in Skåne and find everything to, yet again, be at a convenient driving distance. The same routes took as back where a bottle of ANNA Cava was waiting for us. 

Kullen Lighthouse behind the cliffs.

This was midsummer eve in Skåne. Have a nice midsummer festivity everyone!


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Contemporary art and veteran fire engines

Kristianstad Art Hall

Kristianstads Art Hall until 26th October, 2014.

The Regional Museum in Kristianstad hosts exhibitions on Skåne County history, art, culture and film. We had earlier noticed the Absolut Art Collection on display and now had a chance to visit the Art Hall in connection with the Regional Museum. Together the Museum and the Art Hall form an impressive cultural centre at no cost to the visitor. This center is very relaxed where anyone can step in to view the basic or changing exhibitions, to digest ecological food or a cup of coffée or to buy articles and books related to Skåne. There is also a separate section for children and during the summer they show films daily. Want to see East of Eden, Hair, Hunchback of Notre Dam, Grace off Monaco or historical films on Skåne then find your way to the Film Museum a short distance away. Tuesdays are for children. The films are also free with the exception of newly released films (on Wednesdays) where they charge a modest fee of 70 crowns. 

FACE IT - Absolute Art Collection

Absolute Art Collection has its home at the Museum of Spirits in Stockholm and has around 850 works by 500 artists that were commissioned by Absolut Company for product branding purposes. Andy Warhol was the first artist contacted and a copy of his work was on display (middle picture, right hand side - smallest picture). Artists from different parts of the world have contributed with their work that is very impressive. The Art Hall is in the same block as the Regional Museum so it is easy to step into the other exhibitions on Kristianstad and e.g. the POP Design Culture Fashion from London that highlights the influence of Pop Culture on design media. 

Hässleholm Museum on Transport

The first fire engine to arrive at Hässleholm in 1920.

While Mrs. T looked after her businesses downtown I had the chance to visit this museum that hosts a number of different vehicles including fire engines, chariots (from Hovdala Castle and others) as well as military vehicles.  They take particular pride in the fact that all vehicles are still functional. Time allowed me only to see the two first mentioned but a glimpse of the military section indicated that this offer interesting photographic opportunities e.g. in black and white. Every Wednesday this museum display vehicles at Tykarpsgrottan (caves at Tykarp) in the evening when you also can visit the caves on guided tours. There are similarly themed museums also in Ystad, Ängelholm and Ljungbyhed for anyone interested (rebates apply).

Vehicles of different ages at the Transport Museum.

Wanås ART

Allow me to finish by reminding you that Wanås ART is open for the season. Here art, nature and history meet up. They host one of the leading Sculpture Parks in the world - placed in the surrounding grounds - where more than 60 sculptors, including Yoko Ono has contributed with their works. A historical exhibition on the Swedish-Danish wars is displayed in Wanås Castle that, in this days, was a centre for the pro-Danish Snapphane guerrilla. Wanås is for the entire family.

Wanås Castle in North-Eastern Skåne.

Culture and particularly ART is a big thing in Skåne - hope you find the above inserts interesting.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Knitting for Peace

We moved into Skåne in April and the welcoming into Östra Göinge municipality has been overwhelming. We met our neighbors Mats, Conny and Bengt the very first week and they, like all the others, have been most helpful. We then met Anna-Stina at the library and through her Gerd who has joined a knitting group set up by the church. Our hobbies include photographing, music and opera, travel, now gardening and of course knitting. Mrs T accepted right off the invitation to join this group and very soon Gerd was only too kind to supply Mrs. T with a loom that she now is a proud owner of. Today the group called attention to World Wide Knit in Public Day by sitting down in Broby city centre for two hours. The day before they had tied up some of their work in trees outside the Cultural Hall to make a difference and spread positive feelings. They want to knit for peace. Gerd believes that knitting can make a person good and happy and we want to underline that.

World Wide Knit in Public Day - Broby city centre.

Leaflets were spread out some days before to lure new participants. From last year the core group has grown to about 10 persons but all interested are welcomed, men all the same. Guidance and support is guaranteed to everyone. The group met up during busy shopping hours to attract by-passers attention. The Photographer that had been summoned soon received more duties including distributing leaflets to any and all like-minded persons. Those who were not troubled by a camera considered the information as "most interesting".  Above the group stands outside the beautiful Broby church. Right-hand top picture Gerd (left), the master mind, is sitting next to Britt while the other members join up on the benches. From here the group moved towards the Cultural Hall nearby.

Mrs. T straightening out knitted peace objects on display.

And from the Cultural Hall the last leg of today's journey led the group to Linnéas Coffée House for a well deserved cup of coffée, tea or soft drink - the Photographer seldom forget about sweet breads and he wants to say thank you for the nice company and for actively spreading the peace message in our community. Today's good work had been done and it remains to welcome all interested to the regular meetings at the Cultural Hall White School starting 28th August - no cost and no pre notification required. Your inspirational ideas and opinions matter!

Mrs. T and Gerd sharing their passion: The Loom! THANK YOU GERD!

Knitting for Peace left to right: Gerd, Zazza, Brita, Anna-Kerstin, Britt (sitting), Lena, Mrs. T, Barbro, Kerstin.

Thank you Ladies for a great morning!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Söderåsens National Park and more

Söderåsens National Park

A welcoming entrance at Söderåsens National Park.

On a busy week, Monday proved the only chance for a PhotoHike where time is dedicated to photographing. Söderåsens National Park is a short drive from Östra Göinge along route 21 (west) passing Hässleholm and Perstorp. The main entrance is south of Ljungbyhed and it is possible to drive all the way up to Kopparhatten for a view over one of the faults on the hills dating 70-80 million years back. The National Park itself is fresh since 2001 and is characterized by high cliffs and their faults, beech forests, clear streams and large areas of stones on the slopes created by frozen water in between the ice ages. A fellow photographer kindly guided me down to the bottom of one of the faults that was easily accessible past the pond. The light conditions and the shadows in this fissure valley offered excellent opportunities to practice camera skills with some results shown below. The map of Skåne is from Wikipedia, courtesy Erik Frohne, and the detailed map over the area owe courtesy to Länsstyrelsen.

Location of Söderåsen.

Söderåsen National Park

Elements of Söderåsen National Park with its visitor center.

Tourism in this part of the country started in the 19th century when a railway was built. The views from Kopparhatten have been popular since then. Today the visitor center hosts a restaurant, have toilet facilities and offer also guided tours. The park offer barbecue spots and resting cottages and is open all year. 

Colorful flora at the bottom of the valleys that, due to grazing, was much sparser in the 19th century.


The plan was also to get a glimpse of the southern entrance to Nackarpsdalen but once I arrived there the rain set in and I decided to return home via Bosjökloster (Bosjö Abbey) situated by lake Ringsjön on route 23 near Höör. This was a good decision. Not only did the sun appear again, but also, this Abbey / Castle has a beautiful location and offer a variety of services. From being a nunnery in the 11th century and belonging both to the Danish crown and Swedish State that in the 18th century returned Bosjö Abbey into private hands. Today the Abbey / Castle organize weddings, festivities and congresses, musical and other events for families and groups. Presently it hosts an interesting exhibition by Maude Lewenhapt de Jeu and Julia Beck. Interested in jujutsu? A seminar will be organized in July and classical concerts in August. 

Bosjö Abbey, under OpenSkies, with its gardens seen from the lakeside.

The Abbey before reconstructions in the 19th  century (Wikimedia Commons).

The area includes a Rose garden, coffee shop and restaurant, stables, a shop, children's corner, Herbal garden, a large Park with animal enclosures, the Abbey and Castle with Court yard and terraces. A thousand-year-old oak tree draws ones attraction, too. Visit

Details of the privately owned Bosjö Abbey and Castle.

This was a very short visit to Bosjökloster with a promise to revert with more time and Mrs. T. The final picture is from the Herbal garden with a narrow view towards the Castle Park.

Bosjö Abbey Herbal gardens next to the Castle park area.

Friday is the Independence Day with news from Hovdala. Stay tuned for an eventful report!


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Shiny and Mighty Österlen

Stenshuvud National Park

View from Stenshuvud National Park towards south and Simrishamn.

Our plans were really to go to Lund to visit an exhibition by Gudrun Sjödén but we then decided to use this option a little later. Instead we drove south to Österlen on a sunny and warm summer day. Österlen is a region that does not have exact "borders" but we understand that Simrishamn, Kivik and e.g. Tomelilla is part of it and Ystad again not. May we say that Ystad is a westerly gateway to Österlen? Geographically this is the southeastern corner of Skåne and with Stenshuvud National Park it also has an elevation of 97 meters above the sea level. Route 9 takes you down past Degeberga and Brösarp. Brösarps Backar lure many visitors to this beautiful hilly, green area. No stopping this time for us but surely next time when we pass the region again. We also passed Kivik and Stenshuvud with the idea to first visit Simrishamn and the other two mentioned places on our return. Due to its natural beauty a few words first of this National Park (

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The route to Stenshuvud National Park is very well marked and the visitor center guide you to several alternative hiking routes that are not too long and where walking is easy. You can choose between low- and highland / beach or do both of them as we did. First we went up to Stenshuvud itself along a 1 km long path. This is uphill but yet friendly enough to allow you to carry your picnic basket with you. There is a picnic area next to the visitor centre but if you want to enjoy the magnificent scenery then why not take your coffee there. First part of the walk is through a beech forest that glows in the sun. What can be more beautiful? The second path (0,5 km) took us down to the beach. After passing a meadow full of flowers you will reach a "mileswhite" sandy shoreline. All-year-promenades streches out from Ystad all the way to Kivik. From Ystad it is possible to set out for diving excursions to explore old shipwrecks. 

Gröna Butiken Orelund

Gröna Butiken at Orelund

We would also like to mention a popular private shop along the route in Rörum, between Kivik and Simrishamn, in the middle of apple-pear-plum-cherry orchards. They offered freshly pressed apple must (juice without additives)for tasting in two varieties; filtered and  non-filtered. Apple must is a true local delicacy. Of all delicacies available we decided for local fresh new potatoes, cucumber and absolutely delicious "flavorino" tomatoes. The texture and taste of the potatoes were previously unexperienced - it was almost shame to enjoy them with marinated herrings. This is a shop worth visiting again. Missed the chandelier above?


Simrishamn, Österlen, Skåne.

Simrishamn is regarded as the "capital" of Österlen where tourism, including a growing marina, is replacing traditional industries like fishing. Old buildings in the side streets have survived giving the visitors an idea of how locals lived in the past - and still do. The church of St. Nikolai in the picture was mentioned for the first time in 1161 and has its name after St. Nicolaus, Patron Saint of the seas. Given the opportunity we visit flee markets, curiosa shops and alike to find some things for our veranda. This one in Simrishamn is one of the bigger ones, but we failed to find what we were looking for. However, close to it was an interesting maritime shop worth another visit. Below photos of the modern harbour with its marina. Top right photo also show Stenshuvud at a distance.

Simrishamn marina.

This week-end was the week end for "Matrundan" a gastronomic event in Österlen. We did visit Gröna Butiken, wanted to visit Nordic Sea Winery that is opening a new visitor center and Kivik Musteri. The two latter places were closed in the afternoon leaving something to experience on our next visit. Our short stay in Kivik was nevertheless interesting. This small and cosy town has a nice harbour area besides its massive fruit industry. The final picture this time is from one of the apple farms very close to the factory of Kivik Musteri. Hope you enjoyed this trip with us.

An apple farm in Kivik.

Musical recommendations: José Manuel SOTO,  Sevilla.