Thursday, 30 October 2014

A crispy morning in Knislinge

Östra Göinge, The Green Heart of Skåne.

River Helge flows through Knislinge.

Today was the first crispy morning in our home town, Knislinge, in northeastern Skåne. Moisture on the window screen of our car had frozen overnight and was swiftly removed as Mrs. T needed a lift to work. Changing for winter tires the day before was well scheduled. The crispy air and the warmer water in river Helge created a strong mist as the sun was rising. The nature showed its beauty this morning and once Mrs T was safely in Broby I returned home for the camera and headed for the riverbank in Knislinge. The crispy air, the raising sun and a cloudless sky turned the nature into a fantastic wilderness scenery unique in Skåne - and remember, we are less than two hours from Copenhagen. 

Early morning over River Helge.

River Helge is the largest river in Skåne measured by volume of water running in it. It passes Kristianstad and Åhus ending at the sea. The river is harnessed by eight power stations over a length of 200 km. This is our first autumn in our new home town which is the largest municipality in Östra Göinge and only 20 km's from Kristianstad. The Wanås Castle with its magnificent Art Collection in the park is near to us. For pictures, see the previous blogposts.  

River Helge southern view.

Östra Göinge and Knislinge are not only interesting because of its nature but they also have an interesting history dating back to the 17th century because of the Danish-Swedish war that ended in Skåne being permanently becoming Swedish territory. The Snapphane guerrilla was very active and Wanås estate one of their strongholds. The Danish king Christian IV had Kristianstad built and as an architect himself constructed the beautiful church of Trefaldighetskyrkan. This was a short communication enhancing the fact that the area has an important cultural heritage to preserve and indeed is well described by the (tourist) authorities.

This morning was unbelievably beautiful.

Östra Göinge i being marketed as the southernmost wilderness in Sweden with lush beech forests and excellent opportunities for fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking and other outdoor activities. It is also the home of black diabase (see our previous blogpost) and offer a broad range of cultural activities. Hope you liked today's news and the wilderness scenery from Knislinge and river Helge.

Enjoy the forthcoming week-end and take care!


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Autumn in Forsakar

A return to Forsakar nature reserve and the water falls.

Forsakar changing colors.

Forsakar has become a big favorite for both Mrs. T and myself where we always want to return. Walking into the nature reserve takes the visitor to a completely different world that is allowed to develop freely without the touch of human hand. It is also said that it (the ravine) has been made by giants and that it is the home for the Pixie, the Neck and the "Skogssnuvan" that in Swedish saga is a genius spirit taking a female shape and that rules the forest. Earlier there was no road up to the water falls but today anyone can walk the short distance along the ravine to the falls. The ravine is surrounded by a fabulous beech forest and we cannot wait to get back here in spring time for all the blooming flowers.

The above picture is showing one of the three dams built to harness the water for power. The picture has entered a photographic competition in Finland and Sweden. May I here take the opportunity and express my appreciation to Mrs. T who has continuously supported my photographic interests and made me take progressive steps all the way to the present situation where we have multiple techniques at our hands that can transfer our hobby into a very attractive and exciting show.

Colours are now light green-orange-yellowish.

Most of the leaves have now fallen down and form a continuous "bed" on the ground that is almost too delicate to step on. My only task this time was to photograph the water falls but the nature stopped me all the time until I had exhausted the batteries for the camera. The path follows a brook that now runs more forcefully. Every bend seems photogenic and therefore difficult to pass without taking pictures. 

Walking towards the main water falls.

A unique space - Forsakar is!

Eventually I approach the water falls meeting some fellow photographers returning from their own mission. Forsakar IS very popular and rightfully so. The scene has changed from the summer. The lush greenery of the summer is almost gone, more trees have fallen and been left where they are but the same spirit exist in another exciting format. 

Forsakar upper falls.

The upper falls are further away and require a small climb up on the ridge of the ravine. The nature with the beech forest and the sight down towards the ravine bottom gives a different view over the area. The sun is low this time of the year and lights up the top of the trees creating a different and exciting atmosphere to photograph. 

Upper Forsakar falls.

The upper part is more cumbersome to approach.

Indeed, approaching the upper part of the falls is more difficult as  the slopes are steep and slippery. Finding a place for your tripod is also a challenge but having found the right place the reward is there. Many nice pictures where shot this time, but so many more left at Forsakar waiting for the photographers to return. 

The below picture from this summer reminds us of Forsakar dressed in green and this time concludes our blogpost. Hope you have enjoyed this little excursion.

Lush greenery in the dry season.

Enjoy the upcoming week-end and take care, all.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Xmas approaching

A sense of Christmas in Skåne

A busy christmas market at Ovesholm's.

Anyone following the website VISIT SKÅNE have noticed that the christmas season is approaching fast. Activities for the season includes many markets, numerous concerts and other activities throughout Skåne in a big way. Mrs T wanted to visit the grounds of Ovesholm's Castle where a sizable market was organized last week-end. Before that, on Friday, our good friend Gerd-Inger invited me to her home where she had got together with her friends and grand-children to make tiny pucks for the forthcoming season. I felt like making some myself, but my role was to photograph the session.

At Gerd-Inger's

Ladies and children across the table work on small pucks.

By the time I arrived work had progressed and the table in front of me was loaded with tiny pucks in different colors. Adult pucks where mingling while the young one's where playing around. Rise pudding is a tradition in the Nordic countries and the pucks enjoy it, too. While others continued working on the pucks I chose the first targets for my camera. Some where "fresh from the oven" and could not be touched, but e.g. the one setting in the upper collage (down right) caught my eye. I watched the children work on the pucks and wanted to join in.

My favorite with greetings to my beloved  Mrs. T

A table loaded with playful pucks.

There was time for a quick coffee - then more photographing before the ladies had to leave and the production stopped. The technique behind the work looks rather simple if you know what you are doing, but it takes some finger technique to get the tiny things together and assembled so that they look the way they are supposed to. During the session Gerd-Inger prepared in her professional manner two pucks sitting together and kindly offered this for our home - the first tokens of christmas this season (picture below). The figures behind fulfills the scene and adds in their own way warmth in our home. A much loved gesture from Gerd-Inger towards us.

At Ovesholm's Castle

Mrs. T walking in the grounds of Ovesholm's Castle.

Despite being so close to Kristianstad this particular castle was unknown to us before this visit. The christmas market here is promoted as providing quality handicrafts and food stuff from different parts of Skåne. Once arriving we noticed that people leaving were loaded with goods - looked really promising! We forgot to pay a visit to the cash dispensing machine - how much cash did we have? Good - putting our notes together we had enough to cover the essentials. And indeed, we left with our own load of locally manufactured cheddar cheese for christmas, a lovely seabuckthorne concentrate from Åhus that was familiar to us and a special blend of gluhwine from Svenskt Slottsglögg made of apples, grapes, blackcurrant and spices that was really tasty. 

Scenes from Ovesholm christmas market

The main stalls are conveniently indoors but activities are also held outdoors; Father Christmas, pony riding and a mini train amused the children. Outdoor decorations contributed towards the forthcoming christmas / end of year festive feeling. Before leaving we said hello to our friend from Svarta Bergen, purchased a herring hamburger and a sausage to carry us back home. Fast food sausages were not to be found in Andalucia during our stay there so consumption in Sweden has been on the heavy side.

Outdoor scenes at the Ovesholm's market.

Earlier the same day we had purchased a larger lantern and candles to place outside our front door back home. With the pucks from Gerd-Inger, the delicacies from Ovesholm's and the new decorations we have brought light and a feeling of the forthcoming warm christmas festivity to our home.  

Home sweet home!

We are happy that you wanted to share our tour to the nearby christmas market and wish that you will have a good time preparing for the season. Stay tuned for more news and take care!


Sunday, 12 October 2014

MALMÖ, The Capital of Skåne County

MALMÖ, The "inventive city" is a key player in the region of Öresund


Malmö old city hall.

This visit to Malmö was scheduled because Mrs. T had important business to attend to in the city. For her driver-photographer-husband (that's me) this trip also gave a chance to capture the first pictures of the third largest city in Sweden. Malmö was founded in 1275 as a fortified quay of the Archbishop of Lund. Today (Wikipedia) it is classified as a Global City in the gamma-category by GaWC, ranked 5th in Scandinavia by Global Cities Index and 7th most bicycle friendly city in the world. It has also been ranked as 4th (Grist Magazines) among 15 green cities. Once the Öresund bridge was finished in the year 2000 the region has attracted new biotech and IT companies and now forms, together with Copenhagen, the most densely populated area in Scandinavia. As a result, based on the number of patent applications per 10.000 residents, it has been ranked as fourth most inventive city in the world.

During this trip I had the chance of visiting a few selected places; Malmö Opera House, the Old Town and its market squares, the church of Sankt Petri and also the coastal line to photograph the bridge of Öresund that would take you from Malmö over to Copenhagen in no time.

Malmö Opera House

Malmö opera house

The present opera house was built in 1944 in a functional style and then considered as the most modern theater in Northern Europe. They play both classical and freshly written opera as well as musicals. Above dresses are from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar and the opera Turandot. Below a large painting including e.g. Falstaff in the upper right hand corner. An audio system guides anyone interested around in the opera house.

Malmö opera interior

Malmö Old City; Lilla Torg

Lilla Torget, or the "Small Market Square", is in the centre of the old town and a vivid place summer time with many restaurants. Hedmanska Gården, top picture below, dates back to the 17th century while other are from the 18th century or newer. In the old days merchants offered there produce (meet, fish, bread and other groceries) for sale.

Lilla Torget at the heart of the Old City.

Gudrun Sjödén

Mrs. T is a big favorite of Gudrun Sjödén, the designer with a worldwide reputation (see our previous blogpost about her exhibition in Lund). The colorful fabrics and style is in our taste. This shop is in the old town and I entered to admire the products themselves as well as the display of them.

Gudrun Sjödén has several shops in many countries.

The City of Parks and Squares

Malmö is sometimes called the "City of Parks" because it has 15 larger and well kept green areas each with a slightly different characteristics. Normally we like to take a stroll in these oasis's but this time there was no time for this. However, the drive towards the Öresunds bridge along the coast confirmed that the coastal line in itself is one large park area offering many leisure time activities. We now look forward to our next visit to Malmö on a warm summer day. Walking in the old town will take you through a number of open market places and squares (Wikipedia offer 13 pages of them). It should also be noted that there are several large shopping centers in the city. 

Left Gustav Adolfs market place and right Stora Torget.

Church of Sankt Petri

The Cathedral of Malmö majestically dominates the old town.

One of the most popular sights in Malmö is Sankt Petri Church situated very close to Stora Torg. The church is from the early 14th century which makes it the oldest building in Malmö today. It has gone through several construction phases over the years and the tower has been rebuilt having collapsed twice. The pulpit is from 16th century and likewise a selection of old gravestones, literature and epitaphs. This is a very beautiful church with white shiny arches and is indeed worth a visit. The Krämar (or Baptism) Chapel with preserved medieval paintings in the ceiling is particularly delightful. 

It is the oldest building in Malmö and a shiny place of worship.

The Krämar (or baptism) Chapel.

The Coast and Bridge across the straight of Öresund.

The lighthouse in Malmö harbour and the bridge across the straight of Öresund.

The last point of visit was the magnificent bridge of Öresund. We passed the beaches of Ribbergsborg and entered Limhamns marina and its breakwater for some photographs. Cloudy weather conditions limited our chances for quality pictures this time but will anyway give an idea of the span of the bridge with an overall length of 7,8 km's. The maximum height is 57 meters. A railway system has been constructed under the road and special locomotives are required due to the gradient of the bridge. Conveniently, it is possible for us to take a direct train from Hässleholm all the way to Copenhagen and e.g. Helsingör, passing Kastrup airport.

The Bridge of Öresund from Malmö to Copenhagen.

This was our first and rather short stay in Malmö that, as a city, has a unique profile and role due to its closeness to Denmark and mainland Europe. We now return home via E22, pick up some spare parts for our water pump and call it a day. Hope you enjoyed the trip with us. Have a good week everyone!


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Ballingstorp Cultural Landscape

Ballingstorp farm and grounds dates back to the 16th century 

A forestal road leads to Ballingstorp.

Ballingstorp is today cared for by Skånes Hembygdsförbund.

Ballingstorp was presented in one of our earlier blogposts. We then did not have the opportunity to follow the path that has been organized through this cultural landscape and therefore want to fill in with pictures of the surrounding lands that have been cultivated since the 16th century. The grounds where leased by farmers that were interested in cultivating them. Oats, barley and rye have yielded crops but later also potato was farmed. Domestic animals were not let in these areas nor in the areas reserved for forage used over the winter months to feed the animals. Ballingstorp was relatively big and had 6-7 seven horses, pigs, cows, sheep and chicken. Special passages made up by stone and wooden fences were formed to let the cattle out in the forest and pastures. Fish, vegetables, honey, fruit and nuts provided for additional nourishment. Also hop for the production of beer has been important. In 1671 the farm had 500 hop poles and still today have some.

The ancient landscape is worth preserving.

The route to follow starts next to the parking area, leads you over a smaller pasture area into the woods. The pictures are taken during two days out of which one was grey with some moisture in the air and the other a sunny afternoon. The path is easy to follow and will guide you through a variable nature over a short distance of 1 km. The fields have been very stony and the agricultural work cumbersome using old techniques (ref: Skånes Hembygdsförbund). 

The cultural landscape around Ballingstorp.

Ballingstorp is situated only 2 km from the main route (19) near Hanaskog in northeastern Skåne but, yet, feels so secluded that we consider it a hidden gem. For us this is an excellent high season picnic place for ourselves and our friends. The below collage show some of the late blossoms that could be found early October. Green colors are enhanced in a nice way on a grey day while the hard daylight on a sunny day can flatten them. It is also mushroom time so the photographer approached some carefully in order not to step into (dry and odorless) cow faeces. 

Colourful vegetation along the path through the landscape of Ballingstorp.

Easy to spot and photograph.

The below picture is showing the arable land north of the walled passage for cattle. The field is partly cleared from stone now piled up separately. Due to fertilizers used in the field wild flowers now thrive here. Cattle stayed the summer months in sparse wood landscape with grazing opportunities.

Tall trees and stone fences occupy the main field.

The below cattle passage can be reached through the gate (top left) and on the other side of it is the more important arable land (Sjöängen) with more fertile land by the lake.

The nature path forms a circle around the dwellings and returns past the gardens along the old cattle passage.

This time I was lucky to find the people who look after the farm at Ballingstorp. The doors where open and I was given the chance to enter the two main buildings. Furniture had partly been removed but otherwise things where as they looked in the 50's when Per Nilsson (1870 - 1957) lived there. Ballingstorp was for the first time mentioned in 1532 in a transaction between Peder Stygge and the abbeys of Bäckaskog and Tommarp. Very soon after that the ownership was transfered to Anna Trolle and since then the farm has seen many new owners and farmers on a lease contract. The buildings form a square and include the dwelling-house (below with the main living area), a lodging to the west and several farm buildings including a cowshed and a barn.

Ballingstorp was inhabited until 1957.

The day was coming to an end and I reminded myself that Mrs. T had been left alone in our own garden to clear up things. And my stomach reminded me of the need for some nourishment having spent all afternoon out walking and crawling for fresh pictures. But time has been well spent and I chose to end with the below nice autumn foliage in transition.

A special thanks to Skånes Hembygdsförbund for allowing me entrance to the farm and for providing the above information. Thank you also for the very nice apple cake and warm coffee. They can be contacted through (Ballingstorp).

The next story? What do you want to have? We will be in Malmö on Friday next.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Early autumn morning at Wanås

A Sunny Morning in Wanås Beech Forest

Autumn Colours at Wanås early Sunday morning.

First sunstrokes hit the Wanås Castle.

Today we are taking you back to Wanås because of the bright autumn colours now at offer. Plan A included hopes for misty conditions at sunrise together with sun spells from behind the beech trees in the gorgeous forest. Having arrived at Wanås the Plan A had to be changed for Plan B which took notice of the fact that the sun, in Scandinavia, does not climb that high nor is it that bright this time of the year. The hope for mist changed into haze from the fields. The offering, anyhow, was exciting for a photographer and the result interesting. Another chance to play with light and shadows.

The early sun moves fast behind the forest offering magical moments.

First light over Antony Gormley's sculpture "Together and Apart".

A stroll in the Wanås woods is refreshing, not only because of the art works at display but also due to the nature itself. A quiet moment for yourself in such surroundings is invigorating. All seasons have different things to offer and early mornings as well as late afternoons offer a colorful and mystical atmosphere that hard day time light tend to spoil. 

Forceful heavenly light staged by the nature.

The path from the Castle leads you through an iron gate and past a lakeside in the forest. Walking around the lake or moving deeper into the forest is your choice. Ask for a map at the reception as this will also give details of all the art work scattered around in the area. Different seasons, different days and different day time light conditions provide for different settings for your camera.

Tranquil, bright with the raising sun and sleepy at the same time.

Early haziness over the field that soon is gone.

So we did indeed spot some haze for our pictures walking our way back. A few more shots, below, and we are done for the day (morning). Time to wake up Mrs. T, prepare scrambled eggs for our Sunday "brunch" including juice from Kiviks Musteri, of course. Perfect!

Green and lush, bright and colourful.

Summer handing over to the autumn. Nature resting before a new dawn.

WOW - What a morning, what a day. Don't you think? Have a very good week everyone. But stay "tuned" for more nature pictures from Ballingstorp.