Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Wittskövle, Forsakar, Baskemölla


Wittskövle - a renaissance castle from the 16th century.

Todays excursion was more easy going compared with the earlier full day programs. A visit to Wittskövle Castle, Forsakar Waterfalls and the small village of Baskemölla filled in some gaps from previous tours south of Kristianstad.

Wittskövle Castle is privately owned and with its 100 rooms the largest of the castles in Skåne. It was constructed as a defensive post with two towers from where the canon fire could reach all the roads (Wikipedia). It is today run as an enterprise engaged in agriculture and forestry. The castle itself is not open to public but the elegant garden can be visited.     www.widtskofleab.com

Wittskövle Castle surroundings (partly in HDR format)


Following a stream in the small ravine with beech trees will lead you to the lower water falls of Forsakar.

The Forsakar Nature Reserve is situated close to the city of Degeberga in Kristianstad municipality and is very easily accessible from route 19. Parking is arranged at Forsakargården (manor) and a path was built to follow the small stream flowing through the 40 meters deep ravine. This short walk takes one through a beautiful beech forest. The upper falls can be reached through another path on the ridge of the ravine - this route is about 2,5 km's long but easy to follow, too. The upper fall has a free fall of 7,4 meters and the lower 10,6 meters and water flow varies from season to season. 

Left the lower section of the water falls and right the upper section.


Stony beaches at Baskemölla.

Driving further south towards Simrishamn will offer several opportunities for a stop; the small villages of Vik and Baskemölla two of them. Baskemölla (230 inhabitants) has a past as a milling and fishing community with its heydays in the early 20th century. Now many houses have been turned into summer residences and tourism is the main industry. The village is beautifully located on the slopes towards the sea and it has a small harbour. Every year during easter an art event called KONSTRUNDAN is organized where all artists from the eastern part of Skåne are invited. Tjörnedalagården is the focal point in the sense that they all display one of their works in this particular house (pictures below).

Baskemölla and Tjörnedalagården.

I enjoyed a very nice day out in the countryside and particularly appreciated the Forsakar environment. It is very easy to access so do not drive past if you are in the area. Hopefully we can take our son and his fiancée there this week, too. Visits to Wanås, Kristianstad and Åhus with its surroundings will take place. A special Ålagille-event with eel-tasting also lure us so we look forward to a very nice week-end with more pictures to follow. Temperatures should drop slightly from the present mediterranean levels - have not had a swim in the sea yet, but was very tempted at Baskemölla.

Do you like home made bread? Mrs. T is also skilled at "crafting" our own bread that CONTAINS OLIVES and tastes like MAGIC. Recipe? Not to be found in any shop!

Enjoy the sunshine and the odd cold beer with your bread!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

LUND - Rome of the North

LUND - Academics, History, Design and Science

The University of Lund, founded in 1666, has eight faculties.

Lund has an active scientific role also in the entire region of Öresund.

When Mrs T and I was studying in native Finland we had a certain interest towards Skåne or southern Sweden. The area was tempting to us and we considered moving there. I remember applying for jobs at Tarkett and Mölnlycke at that time. It took us 30 years to get here, but here we are....now visiting the City of LUND for the first time as we had some business to attend to there.  An excellent opportunity to combine obligations with pleasure. After a vivid discussion whether to take the train or go by car the "pretend-to-be-four-wheel-drive KIA" was chosen. The train however is an excellent alternative with a frequent, fast and inexpensive journey starting from Hässleholm. Next time, darling! My plan was, while Mrs. T was on her duties, to visit the City Park and then return to the city center in about an hour. Mrs. T waited for long to see the exhibition of Mrs. Gudrun Sjödén who is designing and producing colorful clothes and textiles for the home. Secondly we wanted to explore KULTUREN, the open-air museum and visit the Cathedral.

For the sake of curiosity an old Map of Lund (source Wikimedia Common).

We left early in the morning (means nine o'clock to us) and arrived on time to Lund that seemed quiet with all 40.000 students gone. We passed Ideon Science Park that hosts 350 companies and employes 2700 people. The University of Lund has an active role in this Science Park but also contributes with its strong research towards Medicon Valley. And while I am on it, the University has a stake in a holding company LU Bio, too. This started as a joint venture with private investors that wanted to support  research spin-offs within Life Sciences. This kind of operations have been rather successful in Sweden and, thus, gives reason for admiration. But that's it on Academics and Science.

The City Park

The park on a hot-hot-hot summer day!

Also the park seemed quiet this morning. It is sizable and no doubt popular for jogging. Mrs. T asked if that's me in the hammock but no, that's not me this time. I would not have known how to get into one of those and probably found myself grounded in a horisontal position if I did try. Colour of the water? The light playing its tricks!

Gudrun Sjödén at KULTUREN

Reading her website turns me on. In 35 years she has created a global business with an annual turnover of SEK 0,5 billion with her own shops in both Europe and the US. She has gained royal recognition and many other awards during her career. Her thoughts on clothing design are outstanding. In its simplicity it is about natural material and sustainable Nordic design language. If you look under the surface she uses words like: colorful strips, no seasonal dependance, functional and unique without a sense of time, suitable for all ages and figures....and so on!!!! AN OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE - nothing else.

Mrs T getting ready for the tour of Sjödéns exhibition.

Observant and appreciative for the meeting with Sjödéns design.

KULTUREN Open-Air Museum

The Association of Cultural History for Southern Sweden.

Some of the houses are brought from other parts of Sweden. Top pictures: a nobleman's house.

The open-air museum of Kulturen is right in the middle of Lund and displays the old division of the past society into four estates: nobles, clergy, burghers and peasants. Inside the buildings collections of cultural history, art, crafts and design form several exhibitions from local culture to world culture or medieval times to modern ages. The urban settings cover buildings from the middle ages to the twentieth century and the rural buildings are from the 17th to the 20th century.

This wooden church is from Boseby and dated to 1652. The vicarage, bottom right, is of 18th century origin (V Vram).

A professor's home from mid 19th century (grey house on the left).

The Cathedral of Lund

Lund was a religious centre during the middle ages and a spiritual capital for Denmark who ruled over Scania until 1658. Lund was then called Metropolis Daniae and Rome of the North.  King Canute (the Holy) started to build a bishop's church in 1080 and the Cathedral of Lund we today see is described as the "finest example of Romanesque architecture in Scandinavia" and it is made of sandstone.  

Inside the Cathedral of Lund.

The pulpit (left) is from 1592 and the altarpiece from 1398. The astronomical clock in the church is from 15th century and  it is still operational.

The Cathedral of Lund (pictured in HDR)

Returning Home via Bosjökloster

The day in Lund gave us the chance to learn directions and distances and to visit some of the key sights. We knew to expect to meet a historical and academic city and it was nice to see it all in real time. This was the first visit but surely not the last.

Before leaving the city we had a break in a nearby coffee shop. Coffee and ice-cream for Mrs. T and a SMOOOTHIE and ice-cream for me, because I felt I needed something cool on a hot day. We had our ice-creams. They where OK - I think!? BUT MY SMOOOTHIE WAS NOT!  Wonder if it was made of sour milk or yoghurt or something similar? I forced  this drink down while Mrs. T was purchasing a pair of red Capris - (Does this mean that she is totally "royalized" now?)

Bosjö Abbey and its 1000 year old Oak tree and herbal gardens.

We have described Bosjö Abbey in another Blog Post. A perfect place for a walk with a picnic perhaps. They have a great sculptural exhibition this summer and the classical concerts are starting in August. Nicely located by Ringsjön with a lovely garden.

Hope you liked the visit to ancient Lund - we did! 
Have a sunny an warm week-end all of you!


Monday, 21 July 2014

Skanör to Österlen


Just arrived at Skanör - checking the beaches and Mrs T talking to a young girl.

After having started to work with immigrational issues Mrs. T has not had much of an opportunity to join me on my excursions. We have therefore taken an attitude of moving out together once I have done my work and know the most exciting places to visit - and that she also would like to see. I find it a privilege to take her out for a shared experience in order to learn to know Skåne better and better. This week-end Skanör held its annual Baltic Herring Market and this year it was held in collaboration with the Handicraft Market. Handicrafts is a way of living for Mrs. T so this week-end was devoted to Skanör, instead of Ystad International Food Market that was originally scheduled. Having arrived we first had a look over the Skanör lowlands, beaches and the harbour area. Being high season the beaches were crowded and, in addition, the markets drew large crowds to the area. Parking was tight but we managed to find a secluded area at short walking distance. 

A fishing vessel in front of the bridge of Öresund.

Skanör-Falsterbo has its particular attraction because of the geographic position and unique nature. The bridge of Öresund, spanning between Sweden and Denmark adds to the special scenery (above). I was pleased that we had chosen Skanör so that also Mrs. T could get a feeling of the area. We found that the Handicraft Market had more to offer than the Baltic Herring Market and ended up buying special, additive free, spices from NATURKRAFT that is run by Carin Öwall and her daughter Malin. They sell their products throughout the country. Mrs T wanted to purchased one of the new products Svartepetter used for fish and chicken and additionally Kärlekens krydda for pastas and salads. Visit www.handlakryddor.nu if you are interested in herbs and spices.

The market offered specially designed products like spice & herbal mixtures, decorations and candles.

Mrs T enjoying the warm weather and white sandy beaches. We where equipped with our swimming gear but decided to abstain from a swim this time.

Skanör harbour is very busy this time of the year.

Having done with our shopping and finished our snack lunch consisting of salmon and shrimp sandwiches I proposed to return the coastal way (via Österlen) instead of driving across Skåne County in a northeasterly direction. This way Mrs. T could also experience other busy coastal resorts, Smygehuk, Ale's Stones and the small villages of Skillinge and Brantevik. The day would be long but worthwhile once we where on the move.


More (homemade) sandwiches at Smygehuk.

It was late afternoon so stops at the other places where rather short. Enough to finish our home made sandwiches with some coffee and juice and short walk along the Smygehuk coast for some pictures. Smygehuk is the southernmost point of Sweden. Read more in our previous post of this area.

Mrs. T at Smygehuk pebbled beaches on a windy but sunny and warm day.

Ale's Stones

Mrs T very much also enjoyed the entire area with Ale's Stones on top of the hill and a 360 degrees panoramic view.

When I first visited Ale's Stones I was taken by both the stones themselves but even so of the entire area at Kåseberga. Mrs. T shared my feelings and utterly enjoyed standing by the steep slope for a long time - feeling the wind and watching over the open sea. Simultaneously a group of young people where having a meditational moment in the stoneship itself. This is that kind of a place. Exciting, beautiful and full of a unique atmosphere difficult to describe. One has to experience it personally.

Ale's Stones at a distance and the surroundings with sheep grazing close by.

Skillinge and Branteviken

There is so much to see in Österlen. We particularly like the soft landscape of southern Österlen. It was getting late so we continued our drive along the coast to reach the small picturesque villages of Skillinge and Branteviken. We got out of the car for a walk in the narrow alleys and admired the old historic housing built very tightly. These two former fishing villages interact closely and today form a summer paradise by the sea attracting many people. Yet,  the living seems very tranquil and the large crowds of e.g. Skanör are not to be found here. An unusual and lovely environment, it is.

Three houses at Skillinge along our promenade.

After Skillinge and Branteviken it was time to head straight home, past Simrishamn, Brösarp and Degeberga. We reached Östra Göinge after almost 11 hours and about 300 kilometers. A big hug and a warm thank you to Mrs. T for today. It was a pleasure to share with you some of the treasures that I had discovered earlier. 

A produce of our home garden this summer.

Have a good week everyone!


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Halland's Väderö & Bjäre peninsula


A Maritime Museum in Torekov, Bjäre Peninsula.

Bjäre Peninsula is in the northwestern corner of Skåne - rich in both potatoes and natural beauty. Seventyfive percent of the seasonal fresh potato is said to come from this area but this was not the reason for our excursion to the area. Our friend Inger advised us earlier to visit the small island of Halland's Väderö and one must drive through Bjäre to get to the village of Torekov where you catch the ferry to the island. Despite its name, the island belongs to Skåne and not Halland. The area of Bjäre attracts 1,2 million tourists annually and it offers something for everyone; adventure and activity as well as natural beauty and a restful environment depending on your preference. The ridge of Halland stretches into Bjäre and forms a colorful elevation with many Nature Reserves. The City of Båstad is beautifully located on the coast and stretches up towards the ridge. 

Time was really scarce for this trip but I allowed for two stops; one at Norrviken Gardens and the other at Hov's Hallar. There was also some time to photograph Torekov. 

Norrviken's Gardens

Entrance to Norrviken (botanical) Gardens.

To reach Bjäre Peninsula from Hässleholm take route 24 to Våxtorp and 115 from there to Båstad. I then choose to follow the coastal route to Kattvik where large signs about Norrviken's Gardens tempted me to stop for a quick familiarization. The garden was very well kept, but I am afraid more of my short visit this time was used up by an exhibition of British veteran cars in front of the main building. In addition to its themed gardens like the Barock and Water Gardens they organize special events like veteran cars,  talk shows and concerts during the summer season. Check their website, would you. 

Hardware amongst the natural beauty of Norrviken's Gardens.

Hov's Hallar

From the Gardens I had to rush to Hov's Hallar, the famous place where the rocks meet the sea. I had done a bit of homework before my departure but the beautiful scenery nevertheless took me by complete surprise. This dramatic landscape with its rock formations have inspired film directors like Ingemar Bergman and Jan Troell. My plan was to walk, as is recommended, along the shore to find the caves and picture the rocks upwards, but there was not enough time which was upsetting. The problem was I needed to be on time in Torekov to reach the ferry at 13.00 hours. 

View looking at an easterly direction....

....and a westerly direction. Busy yachting out on the sea that day.


Torekov - a very busy village this time of the year.

Torekov for me was the departure point of the ferry Nanny that was going to take me and other visitors to the island of Halland's Väderö. But I learned that Torekov also has a lot to offer; fishing, golfing, hiking, art & culture, excellent dining, shopping and cycling. It also has an interesting maritime museum and can attract with its passed history, too. Some 300 years ago a Danish pirate used to "pay visits" to this area. Visit www.torekov.se  to learn more.

Halland's Väderö

What can be so exciting for the children if not Crab-finding.

Halland's Väderö (or simply Väderö) is a small island out in the Kattegat waters. Due to its unique nature and cultural values it has been declared a Nature Reserve and a Natura 2000-EU area. Indeed this island has such a variety of natural areas; both sandy and pebbled beaches, woodlands, wetlands or small swamps, meadows, fields with tight (juniper) bushes and rock fields. This allows a variety of animal species to thrive. I spotted a a viper which I first took for a large lizard, a common crane and I tried to see some of the seals living on the small islets nearby, but never saw any. What I DID SEE was domestic animals, especially the LARGE BULLS in the open fields near the lighthouse. I had my FERRARI RED shirt on me and decided not to take it off or make ANY OTHER MATADOR-LIKE GESTURES that might upset the bulls  ;)  Anyway, they seemed more interested in the cows so I let them go by their "duties" and continued towards the lighthouse (to add on to my lighthouse picture collection). On the return trip I followed the advice of some youngsters as to the right way for seal-spotting. I followed the blue-marked trail. Around the corner ........  walked ANOTHER COW. She was moving in the same direction, but not on a seal-spotting mission, I presume. She was a bit slow so I made some oral sounds that made her move faster.....more oral sounds and we where doing really well.....UNTIL WE HIT WOODEN PLANKS ON THE PATH that the cow did not want to walk on. FULLSTOP AND WHAT NOW????? Well, I decided to take a step to the left and climb on some stones. She noticed that and politely took a right side step, made a 180 degree swing while I moved sideways to pass her. It all looked like an old fashioned square dance that made us swirl around. As a result the cow ended up returning the same way she came and I could continue on my seal-spotting mission. We separated as good friends in complete mutual understanding that cows do not walk on wooden planks.  

One of the rocky beaches on the island.

The ferrie NANNY transports people back and forth to the island.

Above, different sections of the island that is a paradise for sunbathers and hikers. The average temperature on the island is said to be higher than in the mainland. If you do not bring your own picnic basket the café will provide with drinks and sandwiches. Top, right-hand side picnickers have a view across to mainland Skåne with Hov's Hallar not far away. 

The lighthouse is 13 meters high. How tall is then the flagpole?   "OpenSkies" offer no limit.

Some readers may not be familiar with my term "OpenSkies". I introduced this in Skåne because the region has an open sky while the skies in Andalucia tends to be "filled with mountains". Photographically this offers interesting opportunities. I have started an "OpenSkies" series on my homepage www.thomastapio.com  

But the island is not entirely OPEN. There are also forrest sections with oak and beech. Alder, nevertheless, is most common. Interestingly, being administered by the church, the forests have not been fell for 800 years (www.hallandsvadero.se). In addition very strong autumn winds have knocked down large trees many of which have been left in the woods as they are. All this adds to a magical feeling when you walk in these forests. All in all, having lived in southwestern part of Finland with a large archipelago I have never experienced such an island before - nowhere in the world. 

Lighter section of the forrest.

The forests can be rather dense allowing for a limited amount of light.

This is Halland's Väderö

And this is the beginning of the end of today's blog post. I only want to point out that Mrs. T has been with me all the time - electronically via our APP "What's Up". She received a number of pictures during my journey. In the end her message was "Let's move there". Some readers may remember that one of her hobbies is "house watching" which has led to the fact that we tend to move every third year (my version). Now she knows of vipers and narrow, stony pathways with cow dung so I am not so sure anymore......but I know that she is full of surprises. Hope you have enjoyed today's trip and do not be surprised if we come back with more images from Hov's Hallar.

Across the water for mainland Skåne, Torekov and Östra Göinge. The speed limit on route 24 is 80 km's per hour!

The Baltic Herring Market in Skanör - Sunday Next.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Ystad - Skanör Coastal Line


Crops on a windy day in Österlen along route 19.

Trailing Route 9 From Ystad to Skanör

In the previous post I called it a day in Kåseberga visiting the amazing Ale's Stones. It therefore seems logical to move further west from there and get a touch of the nature and holiday resorts / beaches in southern Skåne. Route 19 from Kristianstad to Ystad is getting familiar by now. This time I made only one stop at the Kronovall Castle in Fågeltofta before reaching the southern coast. Next stop was just west of Ystad, then at Abbekås, at Hörte, at Beddingestrand and a longer stop at Smygehuk. Due to time restraint no stopping at Trelleborg. Better to use up what time is left for now in Skanör - Falsterbo, the end destination for today.


The only wine castle in Sweden - Barock style.

Given the opportunity we want to visit some of the many castles in Skåne. Kronovall´s Castle is still partly in private use, but like so many other castles and manors it is open for the public with daily tours. Åkessons family today runs a hotel, restaurant and conference business in the premises. Eight meters below, in the cellars, they stock tens-of-thousands of sparkling wine. Visitors are welcome to taste the wines. Programs are also organized in the park - July 11 a concert is organized for the homage of Ted Gärdestad.  

WEST OF YSTAD; Abbekås and Hörte 

As Mrs. T and I want to visit Ystad on an other occasion I circumvented the city moving towards the west and stopped by the first beaches for a few shots and an enriching discussion with a gentleman. The topic was world politics especially the situation in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. We also touched the migration policy in the Nordic countries which was of particular interest as Mrs. T is now involved with such things. This takes good organization and Mrs. T is notorious for that.

Western Ystad beaches, Abbekås summer coffée shop and the small harbour in Hörte.


Families and parakitors occupied the beach.

Like other villages along the coast also Beddingestrand made its livelihood from the sea. In 1874 it was almost completely destroyed by a storm. Today it is an important holiday resort and attract large crowds. They also have a sizable caravan area. As so many times before I again noticed how getting around for handicapped people is so well organized in Sweden, including Beddingestrand caravan area and also at the next stop at Smygehuk.  


Smygehuk - the southernmost tip of Sweden.

Partly due to its geographical position Smygehuk attracts large crowds of people with some 200.000 visiting the place every year. Skåne is a natural beauty in itself and the contrast with the sea only adds to it. Smygehuk is very active with a tourist office, a youth hostel, an art exhibition, an old lighthouse,  a shop, a restaurant for smoked fish and of course the southernmost TIP itself where you can chill out on a hot summer day - see pictures below. 

1. Tempted by the forceful sea,
2. Protection provided - to be on the safe side,
3. It's over in an instant,
4. Have to tell all the friends!

This was indeed a very hot day, but I was advised that the sea is not particularly warm.


If you look at the map of Skåne you will notice that these villages are on a peninsula and are likely to offer a spectacular scenery - AND THEY DO. Ten Nature Reserves and the mile-long white beaches and lowlands make part of it. Golf and birdwatching is highly popular. On a good day about 1,5 million birds migrate over the region (cityguide.se). The beaches with with their clear water are magnificent and suitable also for windsurfing and other sports activities. Falsterbo Horse Show is a well-known annual event throughout Europe but also Vikings visit Fotevikens Viking Reserve during the high season. Due to its historic past dealing with Atlantic herrings an annual herring festival is organized towards the end of summer. 

Skanör overlooking the bridge of Öresund.

The view towards the Öresund bridge is breathtaking and I stopped briefly before arriving at Skanör to get this windsurfer in the foreground.  

Shallow waters make a perfect practicing field for this windsurfer. 

A promise is a promise and I wanted to head back home on time. The picture ending this blog, below,   shows the beach guards contemplating. Mrs T - I was young and fit once, was I? Now I am only fit ;-)

High Season in Skanör.

HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED TODAY'S TOUR - Remember that Skåne is only a short drive from Copenhagen airport.