Monthly Archives: August 2013

Coastal Adventure – 19 August 2013

by Keith Turner on August 20, 2013

No Comments

First of all I want to thank Mona for a fabulous day yesterday.  It was a lot of fun.
Kåsaberga Village
image of Kåsaberga Village
image of Kåsaberga Village
image from Kåsaberga Village

We spent the day on the Southeast coast of Sweden traveling though some of the small fishing villages of the area. We started out in the small fishing village of Kåsaberga.  On a bluff just outside of the village is Ales Stenar a stone ship monument from the Viking age.  If you want to read more about it I have a separate blog post on Ales Stenar.  As soon as I was done hiking up to the bluff and could see the stone ship the feeling of the place changed.  That was something I did not quite expect.  I can not really explain how if felt different.  It is a place where the Land, Sky and Ocean appear to merge into one.

image of Ales Stenar
Ales Stenar
image of Ales Stenar
Ales Stenar

After our hike we enjoyed lunch in the village overlooking the bay before heading to Skillinge.

At Skillinge we walked around the harbor.  There they have a cute tourists bureau there.  It was defiantly a working harbor.  There was a fisherman cutting up freshly caught fish and boats being repaired.  At the end of the harbor was a statue of a woman looking out to see as well as a line of flags, a common feature in Swedish harbors from my observation.

image of Skillinge Turist Byrå (Turist Bureau)
Skillinge Turist Byrå (Turist Bureau)
image from Skillinge Harbor
image from Skillinge Harbor
image from Skillinge Harbor

We then headed to Simrishamn which is a small beautiful city.  There was some fish processing plants there.  This looked to me to be a major fishing port of the area.  We stopped and enjoyed some glass (ice cream) then Vanim and I walked through the docks and checkout out the ships.  (Every time I walk through the docks and check out the sailing ships I think of Captain JR and sailing on the Great Salt Lake.)

image of Simrishamn

We stopped at Vik to see a cool geological feature along the coast of a formation of round  rocks.  If there was a village that I would love to have a vacation at it would be Vik.  The sea and beach there was beautiful.  It was a little village with very narrow streets and an beautiful coastline.  To keep this posting within reason I created a separate blog post for ocean pictures.  I also tried something I have not done before.  I took some videos of the ocean with my iPhone which I have also posted in a separate blog post.  Check those out if you are interested.

Of course what good adventure to fishing villages would complete without eating fish so we stopped in Kvik and got some smoked salmon and some marulk.  Marulk is monkfish in English, I have also seen it refereed to as frog fish or devil fish.  I did not take a picture of it while I was in the market so I am using a picture found on Wikipedia which looks very much like the one I saw at the fish market in Kvik.    To the right of the fish is monkfish stakes which is what we picked up at the fish market.  It is what we had for dinner once we got home.  I really liked it.  The meat does not flake like most fish I have eaten.  So to take Vanim’s words a toast to the ugly fish.
To end our adventure we drove past a pig farm on the way home.  Nothing whatsoever to so with fish and fishing villages but still fun nonetheless.
Each time I go on an adventure and see something new I am amazed at the diversity in such a small area. Sweden is a beautiful country.

Ales Stenar in Kåseberga

by Keith Turner on August 20, 2013

No Comments

image of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga
Looking West at Ales Stenar
Drawing of Ales Stenar in 1777

What is Ales Stenar (Ale’s Stone) in Kåseberga?  It is a stone representation of a ship.  That is the one thing that people seem to all agree upon.  Other than that there appears to be disagreement between experts about when it was built and why it was built.  In 1777 not all the stones were standing upright.  In 1916 and in 1950 there was two restorations.  No one knows if the stones are in the exact same place as they were originally. Were the stone ship sits is on top of a stable sand dune that is covered in vegetation.  The information provided at the sight appears to be current accepted the narrative identifying the stone ship as a solar calendar. That is the information I will provide.  The Ship Faces Northeast.  You can see an aerial view from the embedded map below.

View Larger Map

Stone ships like Ales Stenar were often built during the Viking Era 800 – 1050 CE. Ship like monuments were also erected durring the early Bronze Age, from around 1100 – 400 BCE, but they had a slightly different form.  Analyses show that Ales Stenar was erected sometime durring the period 500 – 1000 CE.

Cup Marks on stone near Malöhus

Cup Marks- small carved, concave depressions – have been discovered on many of the boulders. These kind of carvings are often found on boulders in Stone Age dolmens and passage graves.  This means that boulders from old graves have been used to build Ales Stenar.  To the right is a picture of a stone with cup marks.  The cup marks have been marked with red for easier identification.  This stone is found just outside of Malmöhus.  (It is a typical example of how people used the avaliable stones in Skåne to produce rock carvings.  The cup marks are small and often ground depressions on the flat pieces of rocks and loose boulders. They are the most common form of rock carving in Sweden and have been interpret as symbols for fire, sun, of the female gender. taken from information marker by stone)  Also if you look at my blog post My Bicycle Adventure 16 July 2013 there is a section and a picture of an excavated passage grave.

To better understand the calendar aspect of the ship I have included the picture above from the information sign.     Winter Solstice: at winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, the sun rises above the southeastern stern stone and stets besides the midship stone 16 in the southwest as observed from the observation point in the middle of the ship.  At this time 1/4 of the ship is day side and 3/4 is night side.  Summer Solstice: At summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the situation is reversed.  The sun rises then above the opposite midship stone and sets above the northwest stern stone as observed from the point of the middle of the stone ship, At that time 3,4 of the ship is day side and 1/4 is night side.  Equinoxes: at vernal and autumnal equinoxes, when the length of day and night is the same, the sun rises above stone 12 in the east and sets above the opposite stone 12 in the west as observed from the middle of the stone ship.  At that time the sun-ship is divided in such a way that equally many stones correspond to day and night. (Taken form the information marker)

image of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga
Southeast Stern Stone
image of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga
View Towards the Northeast
image of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga
Northwest Stern Stone
image of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga
View to the Southwest


image of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga
View towards the Northwest Stern Stone standing at the Southeast Stern Stone

image of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga
Northwest Stern Stone
Flower at the base of the Southeast Stern Stone
Standing in the middle of the Stone Sun-Ship you are up on a bluff over looking the sea and you feel as if you can touch the sky.  It is a stunning visual and an appropriate place to build a stone monument of this kind whatever its true purpose was.

Sweden’s South East Coast – Video Expereiment

by Keith Turner on August 20, 2013

No Comments

I love the ocean.  I just the smells, sounds and sights of the ocean.  The smells can be just the smell of salt or it can be intermingled with the smell of fish and seaweed.  The sounds can depend on the nature of the beach weather it is rocks or sand, the time of year and time of day.  There is something very meditative to watch the ocean waves.  I decided to put all the Videos of the ocean from Mondays adventure into one post and I will put the pictures in another post. Since I love the sound of the sea I decided to try an experiment and I took some videos of the sea with my iPhone.  I would love some feedback if you think the videos work or not.

Sweden’s South East Coast – Pictures

by Keith Turner on August 20, 2013

No Comments

I love the ocean.  I just the smells, sounds and sights of the ocean.  The smells can be just the smell of salt or it can be intermingled with the smell of fish and seaweed.  The sounds can depend on the nature of the beach weather it is rocks or sand, the time of year and time of day.  There is something very meditative to watch the ocean waves.  I decided to put all the Pictures of the ocean from Mondays adventure into one post.

Looking Northeast From the Bay
Looking Southwest From Ale’s Stone
Looking Southwest from Ale’s Stone
Young Seagull Resting on the Quay Wall
Quay Wall With the Bay In the Background
Standing on the Quay Wall the Baltic Sea in the Background
Please Rescue Me if I Fall In
Looking Into the Bay
Awesome Rock Circle Formation Along the Coast
Awesome Rock Circle Formation Along the Coast
Closeup Inside the Awesome Rock Circle Formation
Looking North Along the Coast
Seaweed Growing Among the Rocks
More Seaweed Growing Among the Rocks
Grass Growing On Top of a Rock At the Edge of the Ocean
Sitting on a Large Rock the Baltic Sea Behind Me

Önnestad Swedish American Festival

by Keith Turner on August 19, 2013

No Comments

“Sweden-America day is conducted every year in August at the community park in Önnestad.  The event is organized by the Sweden-American Foundation Day in association with Önnestads Folklore Society and the Order of Vasa.  The day was instituted to pay attention to the people who emigrated to America and it gives out a plaque to a Swedish-American who is worthy of reward for their deeds.” (From the Kristianstad Kommun website and the help of Google translate.)  The award is called the Hans Mattson award given out this year by Jeff Anderson from the American Embassy.  This was the twenty fifth year of the Sverige-Amerikadagen (Swedish-American day).  Önnestad is a small village of only about 1,400 so it was a small festival but fun to go check it out.  And of course no festival in Sweden is complete without folk dancing and the required live musicians to play for the dancers.  There was also a band from Åhus playing American marching band music.

Åhus – A Historical Afternoon

by Keith Turner on August 7, 2013

No Comments

standing next to part of the old medieval city wall
Today Vanim and I spent the afternoon in Åhus checking out some of the historic sights.  Åhus was a significant medieval town probably because it belonged to the Bishop of Lund.  Two things resulted in its decline as a major city first was the reformation and second was the building of the city of Kristianstad. Stone from the castle in Åhus was used to build parts of the new city of Kristianstad.  The Åhus castle is now just a ruin.  Parts of the medieval city wall are still standing.  I cannot explain exactly why but that was my favorite thing I saw today.  It is the second best preserved medieval city wall in Sweden.  It was also the one that I complained
the most about having walk that far out of the
way.  It is a good thing that Vanim was patient
with me today.
part of the medieval city wall
 The ruins of the chapel of St. Anne.  

St Anne was build as a hospital in 1534.  When Åhus lost its town privileges which were passed to Kristianstad the hospital was closed.

View from outside the ruins
View from inside the ruins
The Kings Cottage
The building is said to have been named after the Swedish King Karl (Charles) XI.  A manuscript from the 1720’s says that the King was in the habit of visiting the vicarage during the Scanian war 1676-1679.  According to legend Rönnow (the vicar) had the king concealed above the damper in the fireplace when Danish soldiers came looking for him.  Another tradition has it that it was the vicar’s lady who was the reason for the King’s many visits and that she helped him hide in the chimney.  (taken from the information marker) Personally I like the more scandalous story.
The Church of Saint Maria
The Church of Saint Maria in Åhus was built in the 1100’s most likely because Åhus was part of the Bishop of Lunds land holdings.  When Åhus became an important trading city in the 1200’s the church was expanded.
 The baptismal font is made of limestone and from the 1100’s
the canopy over the baptismal font is from the 1600’s
 The altar made in 1636
Åhus Castle Ruins
We had had ice cream, cookies and soda break on the ruins of the old castle.  it was fun to be able to just walk around the ruins climb on the walls.  In American it would fenced off and you would not be allowed to climb on the walls for fear of being sued if someone got hurt.
Vanim on top of the ruins
View from on top the wall
View inside the ruins
view from outside the ruins
Tobacco Barn

It was at one time common for people to have a small field of tobacco to make some extra money.  After harvesting the tobacco and drying it in a tobacco barn the residents of Åhus would sell to Per Svensson who would roll the dried tobacco leaves into cigars. This practice stopped when tobacco became monopolized by the Swedish government. Vanim was very happy to see the tobacco barn.  In front of the tobacco barn was a small planting of tobacco.  This inspired me to do some research on growing your own tobacco.

Statue of David – Helsingborg

by Keith Turner on August 7, 2013

No Comments

The statue of David, by the sculptor Ivar Johnsson was donatd to the city of Helsingborg in 1923 by Malte Sommerlius, a prominent figure in local government.  David was placed below the terrace steps in Konsul Trapp Square, causing a considerable stir among the citizens of the town.  Some were of the view that the statue was too small to be positioned in front of the massive steps and some that it was too barbaric to stand in such a public space.  The fact that David was naked upset the advocates of morality.  This public outcry resulted in the town council decrying that David should be moved from Stortorget to Vikingsberg.  The move was made in 1926.. David was re-inaugurated into Konsul Trapp Square on 30 May 2009. (from the information marker on the back of the statue)

Before I realized what the statue was it looked to me like a merman to me without the flipper.  Konsul Trapp Square is a prominent part of the city leading up to Kärnan castle.  I was most fascinated by the story of the statue and the uproar it caused.  I find it an ironic twist of fate that it is now back in the prominent spot it once was in immortalizing not only the statue but the controversy it stirred.

Kärnan – Helsingborg’s Medieval Castle

by Keith Turner on August 7, 2013

No Comments

Kärnan is a medieval castle.  The construction was based upon a single tower with narrow windows.  This is in start contrast to Malmöhus a renaissance castle and its large windows.  The only thing remaining for Kärnan is the large tower.  Below the tower you can see the foundations of the walls that once surrounded the tower.  Also the flat square area in front of the tower is where a church once stood.

Below the castle is a large ornate staircase leading from the harbor area of the town up to the tower.

looking towards the city from the entrance to the Kärnan

Malmöhus Castle

by Keith Turner on August 6, 2013

No Comments

Malmöhus is Scandinavia’s oldest surviving renaissance castle. Construction of the castle was started in 1434 by Eric of Pomerania who was king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The purpose was to create fortified cities along Öresund (the straight which is between present day island of Zeland in Denmark and Skåne in Sweden) in order to charge tolls on passing ships.  As a side note he also improved Copenhagen which at the time was a run down unimportant city.  In the picture above you can see the white stones in the building.  That is what remains of the original castle built by Eric of Pomerania.  The toll to pass through Öresund continued into the 1800’s.
Between 1534 and 1536 Malmö was caught in the middle of a civil war called the Feud of the Counts. The citizens of the town took control of the castle and had the walls torn down. When the war was over Christian III was the new king.  On the request of the citizens of Malmö he promised not to rebuild the castle.  They were not interested in having the king live among them.  I got the idea from what I read and based on what the tour guide said that they did not want to be caught in the middle of fighting nobles again.  Christian III broke his promised and rebuild the castle.  He build the floors that you can see above the white stone giving the castle its renaissance look.  What is the main feature of a renaissance castle?  It is the large windows.  The medieval castles had small windows letting in little light but the ideal renaissance castle had big windows letting in lots of light.  Also large windows showed the wealth of the owner because windows were very expensive at that time in history.
shooting gallery in the gun turret
cannon in the gun turret
Malmöhus Castle as it appeared in 1699

Malmöhus Castle remained an important castle until 1658 when Malmö became a Swedish city.  It soon fell into disrepair.  A inventory in 1676 showed that the royal apartment and the attic were filled with grain.  In 1822 it was decommissioned as a fortress and turned over to the National Board of Prisons to be turned into a prison.  It served as a prison until 1909 when it was emptied out.  On the tour the tour guide informed us with great embarrassment that the last execution took place in 1901.  This is an example of a great difference between Swedish culture and American culture.  Sweden and for that matter any country that is part of the European Union do not use the death penalty at all.  I am not sure that there would be many tour guides in America that would be embarrassed by executing someone.  I have to say that the number of people on death row (scheduled for execution) that have been exonerated based on DNA evidence, America would be better off not having the death penalty.  

In 1909 the city of Malmö acquired the land surrounding the castle.  A decision was made to turn it into a museum in 1925.  The castle was restored to its 16th century appearance as much as was possible.  The buildings around the castle were demolished in the 1930’s and replaced by new buildings to give it the same feels as it was in the 16th century and serve as part of the museum.  Since 1993 the castle and museum have been managed by the Swedish National Property Board.  They are the Swedish government agency that is responsible for administering all of the buildings and properties owned by the Swedish people like palaces and royal parks.
The castle is not an exact restoration because it is functioning as a museum but you can get the feel of the castle and how it might have looked.  There were lots of great displays some of them permanent and some of them temporary.  During the summer there is a daily tour in English.  The castle was once right next to the sea but now artificial land separates the castle from the sea.

(The information came from the tour guide, National Property Board Sweden information guide, and the book Malmöhus A Tour through the Castle and its History)