Sweden 2020 – Gotland

Holmhäller Naturreservat

We were very happy to finally be on the road again with our camper at the end of August 2020. Covid-19 changed the world and also our world. At the end of August Sweden went from orange/red into yellow on the Covid-19 map. With our buscamper we could to a great extent travel safely. At least no more risks than in Holland. There were not any longer restrictions. The main destination was Gotland. Last year we visited Öland and we liked Öland so much that we planned to visit Gotland as soon as we could. Gotland is a beautiful island and the four of us had a great time on the island. We made many photos and  and it was difficult to limit the number of photos on our photo site.

We would highly appreciate if you visit our special portfolio of Gotland on our SmugMug website. Here is the link: https://vdbos.smugmug.com/Sweden. On our travelogue Sweden 2020 (see the menu above) we have described briefly the highlights of our travel to Sweden and in fact it compliments our photos.

Here below, please find some photos, meant as a teaser:

 

Travelogue – Sweden 2020

Holms Fiskeläge

Period: 25 August 2020 – 18 September 2020. Distance:  4. 415  km

Photo gallery

We have uploaded our photos of Fårö and Gotland. If you click on this link you will be directed to our photo’s : https://vdbos.smugmug.com/Sweden. We are now in the process of developing our photo’s of Öland and the Dodekalitten in Denmark.

Route

The destination was the island of Gotland in Sweden. The start-up route to Sweden was Zeeland – Erica in the Netherlands – Aabenraa in Denmark and through Denmark over the beautiful bridges:

  • The Storebælt Bridge, which connects Funen with Sjælland
  • The Øresund Bridge, the connection between Denmark and Sweden.

to Sweden. Both bridges are masterpieces.

The trip in Sweden started in Skanör, where our first Swedish overnight stay also was. We followed the route along the coast to Oskarshamn, where we made the crossing to Visby on Gotland. On Gotland we toured and also made a crossing to the island of Fåro. After our stay on Gotland we spent a few days on Öland. On the way back from Öland to the Netherlands we made a stop at Kragenæs to admire the Dodekalitten.  Then by boat from Rodby to Puttgarden and on to Zeeland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights of this trip

South-Sweden

Ales Stenar. The Swedish Stonehenge. A tomb in the shape of a Viking-era ship. It is estimated that these graves are 1,400 years old. The granite boulders stand beautifully in the landscape with a view of the sea which is located more than 30 meters below. Ales Stenar is located near the old fishing village of Kåseberga, not far from Ystad, in southern Sweden’s Skåne.

On the way to Oskarshamn, where we took the boat to Gotland, we made a stop in Haslö. Haslö is located in the Karlskrona Archipelago, which consists of 1,650 islands, shaving and rocks. A peaceful area.

The penultimate stop on the way to Gotland was Kristianopel. It used to be a border post, when this area, Blekinge, was still part of Denmark. Kristianopel is very popular with the Swedes. When we were there in the late afternoon there was a nice atmosphere because of the late afternoon light. We walked through the village and along the old city wall.

Gotland

Gotland is the largest island in the Baltic Sea. It measures 125 by 55 km. It is a unique island, located between Sweden and the Baltic states. It is unique in terms of geology, nature and cultural history. The capital of the island is Visby. We took the boat from Oskarshamn to Visby. The crossing takes about 3,5 hours. Travelling to an island by boat is a highlight in itself. It also evokes memories of our travels in Greece and the boat trips between Italy and Greece.

On the islands of Gotland, Fårö and Öland there are imposing rock formations that have been cut out of the limestone rocks by weather and wind. These formations are called raukar (rauks).  Some rauks are beautiful sculptures shaped by nature and some are famous and even have names. They trigger the imagination of many people and certainly our’s.

The first night we found a place in Bläse, near the Kalkbrukmuseum. The museum is special. Valuable industrial heritage. The museum tells about the history of the limestone industry on Gotland. The quarry and furnaces were in operation until 1956.  It’s beautifully located along the sea. We camped there for three nights with our camper. The light during the golden hour was magical every night.

The Halls Fiskeläge (Hallshuk). A fiskeläge means fishing village.  Hallshuk  is located in the parish of Hall on the northern tip of Gotland along the western bank of Kappelshamnsviken. At the outer point lies the mighty harbour mountain which falls steeply down to the sea. Under the mountain is the unprotected fishing port with fishing huts on a steep embankment. Hallshuk used to be one of Gotland’s most profitable fishing spots. Herring, cod and flounder were fished and salmon fishing continued well into the 20th century. During the fishing seasons, the fishermen lived in fire sheds below the cliff edge. Hallshuk was a test station for about 150 years and the lighthouse was staffed for 50 years. The pilot station and lighthouse were important, wind and currents are still erratic and sometimes very strong.

Yvonne likes to walk along the beach in search of fossils. At Ireviken she has found some beautiful  fossils.  It is a beautiful bay and very much loved by the surf tribe. Other interesting places for fossils are  Gothemhammer  and  Grogarnshuvud..

At the fishing village of Lickerhamn is the highest rauk, a natural limestone pillar, of Gotland. Jungfru is a rauk on Jungfruklint, a natural park that covers the cliff and a beach along a 400-meter-long coastline with rauks.  Rauk Jungfru is 11 meters high, with another 14 meters down to the to sea. Jungfru (or virgin) probably got her name because of the likeness of a woman standing on the edge of the cliff, but is also linked to a dramatic story about “Likair the Wise’s daughter, narrated by John Nihlén in the sagas.

The open-air museum in Bunge seems to us worth visiting. Since we traveled out of season, the museum was unfortunately closed. Yvonne was allowed to go in for a while and made beautiful photos in a rather short time. There are two very beautiful Gothic rune stones at the entrance of the museum.

At St. Olofsholm, a peninsula near the village of Hellvi on the North East coast we made a long walk. There is an old chapel, on the spot where in 1029 the Norwegian king Olof Haraldsson went ashore to bring Christianity to Gotland. In the past, pilgrims also walked to St.Olofsholm.

Near Ljugarn is an old fiskeläge, Vitvår. Here is also an interesting raukar area: the  raukar of Folhammer.We have walked here and photographed the rauks.

Very worthwile  it is the nature reserve at Narsholmen. It is a desolate area. In the area stands the imposing Nårs Fyr. The lighthouse, the sea and around it the desolate landscape. All in perfect harmony.  With the right light, you can take the most beautiful pictures here.

At Hundlausar  we saw three old windmills  in an open field. These are beautiful old mills, which are still in their original state. At least the exterior. The mills are freely accessible.

We visited the rauks at Holmhaller and the fiskeläge just at the right time. There were showers coming and the sky became dramatic. Occasionally you experience magical moments where everything is just about right. This was one of those moments. Although we had to shelter for the rain all the time, we enjoyed this magical world.

Gotland is called “the island with a hundred churches“. We’ve visited many of them.  We took a lot of pictures in the churches. In the period from 15 May to 15 September, the churches are open for public. Many times, only the two of us were in the church. Without exception, all are beautiful churches. Often with wall- and ceiling paintings. Also many carvings  in the pews, in the pulpits, crosses. Most churches were built in the period 1100 – 1350.

The Norwegian internet site Gravgaver is a fantastic site where many churches of Gotland are described and has quality photos of the interiors of the churches. This is the link:  https://www.gravgaver.no.

The last two days on Gotland we have been walking, through the showers, in Visby.  Visby is a beautiful old Hanseatic town. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site.  The 3,4 km long city wall around the Old Town is impressive, also due to the imposing entrance gates. In  Visby  there are more than 200 medieval buildings. Unique are the ruins of the medieval churches. Our advice is: stroll around the city at ease.

Fårö

Fårö (“sheep island” or, according to an alternative explanation, “Island of the sailing people”) lies in the Baltic Sea, northeast of Gotland. It is separated from Gotland by a narrow strait, the Fårösund.

Fårö is 113 km² in size. It has about 600 permanent inhabitants. The island is flat and has many small lakes. The land consists largely of wild land and meadow land. On the north coast of the island are the previously mentioned curious erosion structures, the rauks.

In Fårösund  we took the small ferry from Gotland to Fårö. The crossing is free of charge! The crossing takes about 10 minutes.

At the Fårö kyrka  we visited the tomb of  Ingmar and Ingrid Bergman. The famous Swedish film director had a house on Fårö. He made movies there. He loved the island. Ingmar Bergman lived on the island for the last year of his life and died on Fårö in 2007. There is also a small museum near the church, the  Bergmancenter..

In Langhammarsmaren there are some beautiful rauks. Looking back now, we find this formation perhaps the most beautiful of this trip.  This group has a cult status. If you let go of your imagination, you visualize the most beautiful sculptures in this formation.

Near Langhammarsmaren is one of the most beautiful Fiskeläge of the Swedish islands: the Helgumannen Fiskeläge.  The fishermen’s cottages may not be that special, but the location and how the cottages are grouped is truly stunning.  It feels like this is the end of the world. With beautiful light you can make a beautiful photo  series. Ingmar Bergman used this location in his films.

One of the most beautiful rauks stands along the coast of Gamla Hamn. The raukar looks like a dog, rising majestically from the sea. This raukar is also called coffee pot, but for us it really is a dog.

In the landscape there are also very old sheepfolds, in Swedish “lambgift” and interesting old farms. We photographed some of them.

Småland

After Gotland we made a stopover in Vimmerby and the village of Sevedstorp before driving to Öland. This part of  Småland  was inspiration for the books of Astrid Lindgren. The Pipi Longstocking books and eg “The children of Bolderburen”. It’s not spectacular, but it’s nice to be there.

Öland

Last year we ended up in Öland, because of the bad weather in Norway and also in northern Sweden it was bad. In southern Sweden it was more pleasant. We liked Öland so much, that we decided to visit the island this year again.

We took a walk at Fort Gråborg. It is very beautiful. Once this was is an important Vikingstrade post. It was walled with a 640m long stone wall, which is still fairly intact. To the north of the fort lies the ruins of the medieval St. Knut Chapel.

Stora Alvaret is an area of great natural beauty with a unique ecology. This limestone plateau, called an alvar, is located in the southeast of the island. It originated from the skeletal remains of many millions of prehistoric sea animals such as coral.  The limestone was under the sea until the last great ice age. The pressure of the retreating ice led to the limestone. The area is about 260 sq km and it covers a quarter of Öland.

We spent two nights at Seby Läge with our camper. It is a very nice place and very popular with birdwatchers. I understand the passion of the birdwatchers. The bird migration is spectacular. In this place you can marvel for hours among the continuous flow of migratory birds. The birdwatchers are a separate tribe, like the surfertribe.

Sandby Borg is also such a beautiful place along the sea. Again limestone plateaus that often color very nicely. When we were there, it was a little misty.

Just like last year, we took another long walk in the Ottenby Nature Reserve. It is a favourite place for ornithologists, especially when thousands of migrating birds settle there in the autumn. There are many sheep grazing in the area. We also saw a herd of deer moving at breakneck speed.

Denmark – the Dodekalitten

We left Sweden via  the  beautiful  Öresund Bridge from Malmö to Copenhagen. The designer of the bridge is George  Rothne. The engineering firm  Arup  drew the constructive design. The length of the bridge is 9000 meters and was opened on 1 July 2000.

On our wish list of Denmark were also the Dodekalitten. It is in the  outer area  of  Kragenæs. Here is a monument of the future. It is an art project in in progress of 12 menhirs, carved from granite. Each menhir is 7.9 meters high. Out of the stones comes specially composed music for this project. The story of the Dodekalitten  goes back 7,500 years. A natural disaster in the Bosphorus that eventually led to migration of people, even to Lolland in Denmark. One sculpture a year is made.  Thomas Kadziola  is the sculptor and the music is by Wayne  Siegel. The project is beautifully placed in  the landscape, with always the sea as a backdrop.

 

 

 

Sweden 2020 – Fårö

Helgumannen Fiskeläge

After a long period of semi-quarantine and privately a difficult time we could at the end of august finally travel with our buscamper to Sweden. Because of Covid-19 Sweden was for a long period an orange country, but at the end of august it turned yellow. We choose Sweden, since we felt southern Europe was a too high risk and Scandinavia is quiet and less populated. The good thing is that we can avoid a lot of unwanted contacts, because we travel with our buscamper. We decided to visit Gotland. Last year we visited Öland and we expected that Gotland would be as beautiful as Öland. And it is! We travelled for almost 4 weeks on Gotland, the small island Fårö, which is close to Gotland and we went back to Öland as well. We will publish a travelogue of our journey later. And since we made so many photos we now only publish photos of Fårö, where we stayed regretfully for a too short period. We simply have to revisit Fårö again.

Here below some photos of our Fårö series. More can be seen here: https://vdbos.smugmug.com/Sweden/Fårö/

Rauks in the Langhammer Naturreservat

Helgumannen Fiskeläge

Gamla Hamn Naturreservat

Farmhouse and sheepfold

 

 

 

Sweden 2019

windmill on Öland

In August and September 2019 we made a round trip in Scandinavia. We started in Jutland in Denmark, then took the boat to the south west of Norway, and then we traveled, because of the bad weather conditions in Norway to the south of Sweden. We started on the south west coast of Sweden and also visited the island Öland. Although we have been to Stockholm for business many times, we never had the opportunity to travel through Sweden. We fell in love with this beautiful country and we will in the coming years for sure explore more of Sweden.

Here below some extracts for our photo series that we made in Sweden. For our full series, please visit our gallery on SmugMug (please click here).

If you would like to know more about the places that we have visited and have taken our photo’s, please go to our post Travelogue Scandinavia 2019.

 

 

Travelogue – Scandinavia 2019

Borgholms Slott

Travelogue

Period: 15 August 2019 – 7 September 2019. Distance: 5.635 km.

Photo gallery

The photo galleries of both Norway and Sweden can be found on our SmugMug site. Click here for our photos of  Norway and here for our photos of Sweden.

Route

In 2019 we have made a round trip, starting in Denmark, through South-West  Norway and we ended in the south of Sweden on the island of Öland. It was a fantastic trip. It is our plan to travel in Scandinavia every year and explore Scandinavia further. It has so much to offer and we have only seen a small part of it yet. The nature is stunning. The weather might be a challenge sometimes.

Highlights

Denmark

Bjulberg is a limestone cliff in northern Jutland. It is the only rock formation in Jutland, the only bird cliff on the Danish mainland. When we were there were many bird watchers. The bird tribe.

Other highlights of Denmark can be found in our travelogues of Denmark.

Norway

Lindesnes lighthouseis Norway’s oldest lighthouse dating back to 1656. It occupies the southernmost tip of the Norwegian mainland – 2518 km from the North Cape.

On the road Rv44 between Egersund and Flekkefjord, under Helleren in Jøssingfjord, are two unique small houses under an impressive rock formation. Both houses date back from the 1800’s. Helleren is large, the drop fall measures 10 meters at its deepest. Helleren (“Hedlaren”), forms a natural roof for the light blue and red house.

Varhaug gamle kyrkjegard. The first church at Varhaug was built in the 13th century. The old church was demolished in 1905 and replaced by a small burial chapel. The scenic cemetery faces the ocean. There is also a monument to nine Russian sailors who were washed ashore after the naval vessel “Ingermanland” was shipwrecked in 1842

Skudeneshavn. Is described as an idyllic coastal town. It may well be, but the tourists and the new rich do not do well to this old town. It is still worth strolling through the old fishermen’s town and admiring the old houses and narrow streets and try to ignore the influence of the new world.

The mountain road between Aurland and Lærdal. The crossing Aurland – Lærdal- Aurlandsfjellet is 48 km and the highest point 1306 m above sea-level. With the camper it was a challenge to drive the fisrt segment of 7 km’s. You will come away with powerful impressions, and the contrasts between the fjord and the high mountain region where snow lies on the ground for most of the year are compelling. The road is also called “the snowroad”, since you can see snow along the road most of the summer. We were here during the weekend and we regretfully could not make a stop at Stegastein. However, the desolate landscape higher up was so beautiful that we have spent hours here.

Borgund Stavkyrkje. Built around 1180 and is dedicated to the Apostle Andrew. The church is exceptionally well preserved and is one of the most distinctive stave churches in Norway. Some of the finest features are the lavishly carved portals and the roof carvings of dragons’s heads. The stavchurches are Norway’s most important contribution to world architecture and Norway’s oldest preserved timber buildings.

Lærdalsøyri. The village is located along the Lærdalselvi river where it empties into the Lærdalsfjorden, a branch off of the main Sognefjorden.The village center is listed as a national “heritage village” and tourists come to see the old city center with its 161 wooden houses that date from 1700-1800.[4] Old Lærdalsøyri used to be a trading port between east and west in Norway.

Jostedalsbreen National Park covers an area of 1,310 square kilometers. Jostedalsbreen is the biggest glacier in mainland Europe and covers 487 square km2 of the park. The national park also contains many other large and small glaciers. The Jostedalsbreen glacier divides two of the world’s longest fjords, the Sognefjord and the Nordfjord. We made a walk to the Bergsetbreen in the early morning, which was a great experience.

Dale Kyrkje in Luster. The church is built around 1250 in Gothic style. We found the colours of the church nice, but the most beautiful part is inside the church, in particular the lime paintings.

The Sognefjell route. This was the culmination of our trip in Norway. This route, the R55, winds from Lom in the Gudsbransdal, over the Sognefjell to Sognefjord. It is the most spectacular route to the fjords area. It is a beautiful area with breath taking scenery. The highest mountain of Norway, the Galdhøpiggen (2.469 m) lies in this area. You feel void in this landscape. We have taken a lot of pictures. The light was beautiful.

Sweden

The petroglyphs at Tanum. In Sweden, many petroglyphs from the Bronze Age, the period of about 3,700 to 2.500 years ago, have been preserved. The largest group is here in Bohuslän. The location is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We have visited a number of places. At Vitlycke we made a long walk. We very much like the drawings and we believe that many artists are inspired by these drawings.

Svenneby gamla kyrka. A beautiful church, but although the Church would be open all day, it remained closed when we visited the church.

 Fjällbacka. Beautiful village, which is hidden under overhanging rocks. The road through the gorge to the top of the rocks with the beautiful view of the village and the fjord is definitely worth the climb. The village, how can it be otherwise, is very touristic, but still ok. The village has been and still is the decor for movies and TV series. There is a special place designed for Ingrid Bergman, with photos and a bust of her.

 Granhults Kyrka. It is the oldest surviving wooden church in Sweden. The church was built around 1220. The church is beautiful on the outside, but we especially liked the interior and the atmosphere in the church. The murals go back to 1750, but there are also fragments from the Middle Ages. Sweden has beautiful old churches. This one is high on our list.

 Dädesjö gamla kyrka. The old church is best known for its special wall and ceiling paintings from the 13th century. A beautiful sober church in a beautiful setting.

 Transjö Hytta. A small glassblowing farm in the forests of Sweden. This small factory was set up by two master glassblowers, Jan-Erik Ritzman and Sven-Åke Carlsson. They learned the profession at Kosta Boda. The glassblowing farm itself is only active in winters. But in the garden and the atelier are beautiful works of art of glass to see. In the future we hope to visit more small glass workshops in this region. This region is called the Glass Kingdom of Smålland and it is located between Växjö and Nybro. Glass is such a beautiful material!

The Mönsterås Kustvåg is a beautiful coastal road from Kåremo to Mönsterås. A beautiful oer nature landscape. Pataholm is an old trading post with beautiful characteristic houses

Öland

We have been on the island of Öland for a number of days. A beautiful island now connected with a bridge with the main land of Sweden. We felt at home here. Very varied vegetation, prehistoric monuments, rural churches, windmills and miles of beaches. The perfect spot for us. Below are some highlights of Öland.

Byrums Raukar and Neptuni Akrår. On the West Coast, the nature reserve shows the contrast between grey stones and the snake herb. Beautiful to photograph. The light and the clouds were Scandinavian beautiful. Also, on the West Coast are the limestone formations of Byrums Raukar formed by the wind and waves. The stone statues have been formed by the sea over millions of years. If you like fossils, this is also a paradise.

Långe Erik, official name Ölands Norra Udde, is a lighthouse built in 1845 and stands on a very small island, Stora Grundet, which is connected to the northern part of Öland. There are lots of water birds to see. The small island with the lighthouse is definitely worth a visit.

Källa Odekyrka. is the well-preserved ruin of a large 12th century fortified church near Källahamn on the east coast of Öland. From the outside, the ruin is completely intact and still looks almost like it did 750 years ago. But the inside of the building is empty. We found it to be a beautiful church. Especially with the old graves that lie around the church. Nice atmosphere.

Sankta Brita Kapell, Kapelludden is located on the east coast of the island of Öland, about four kilometers from the village of Bredsättra, in a marshy area called Kapelludden. The chapel dates back to the 13th century. Today there is nothing left over then foundation and the eastern wall, the Western Wall is devastated during a storm in 1914. With the right light, a beautiful photographic location.

Gräsgård Fiskehamn. On the east coast, about 5km north of Eketorp. Gräsgårds Fiskehamn is a little smelly fishing port where a salesman sells fish and chips. We found it a nice charming little harbour, without tourist shops.

Ottenby Nature Reserve, with the lighthouse Långe Jan. A truly beautiful nature reserve, in the extreme south of Öland. Paradise for birdwatchers. The landscape is flat, with rolling stones, isolated by the wind deformed trees, some old houses and of course sheep and lots of birds. The 42m high lighthouse stands majestically in the landscape.

Gettlinge gravfält. Gettlinge Gravfält is one of the largest and most certainly most beautiful prehistoric cemeteries on the island of Öland. The grave field extends over a total length of about two kilometres with a good view over the Strait of Kalmar. The entire cemetery once consisted of about 250 graves, most of them were typically bronze and Iron age tumuli. 15 of the more than 200 surviving graves have been investigated archaeological. The studies have shown that the grave field over a period of approximately 2,000 years-from approximately 1000 BC up to 1050 AD was in use.