Mamma's School

Home Education Adventure

Category: Exploring Sweden & Days Out in Sweden (Page 1 of 2)

Happy Swedish Cows – Watching the Cows Leave the Barn After a Winter Inside.

Have you ever experienced around 60 cows all running, dancing, and jumping out of the barn after 6 months indoors over the winter??  It is an amazing spectacle to watch.  We went along on Easter Day to Kosläpp 2017 at Björketorps Gård for our first experience of this phenomenon.  The happy Swedish cows did not disappoint either.  We were stood around the perimeter of a field with many hundreds of other people, awaiting what is a traditional marker for the end of winter, and the start of spring, with the release of the happy Swedish cows from their barn after being indoors for the harsh 6 months of winter.  However, yesterday the temperatures dropped here, and we had snow.  There was still a smattering on the ground, and we did wonder if the cows would turn around and go straight back indoors!!

The calm before the storm….ready, steady……..

I have never seen a herd of female cows so active and lively!!  They were indeed very happy Swedish cows.  With the barn doors opening they raced down the length of the field running, jumping, and dancing around…they have had all winter to practise their routines after all 😉  I have never seen a cow jump, and it is a little amusing.  Not only were they jumping, but they were so feisty there was quite a lot of fight action going on too.  They would stare each other out and lock heads, and push to and fro.  Then there were other cows pawing the ground with their hooves, digging, as well as cows rubbing their noses along the ground (not unlike dogs when they find a smell they like), and one even rolling around the ground on its back (again not unlike a dog!).  Watching all these guys racing towards you (even with a small wire fence between you and them) is a little unsettling!

After a lot of excitement and mooing, we headed off to explore the rest of the working farm, which was opened up for us to mooch around.  It was so lovely, and a very open look into the workings, life, and smells of a dairy farm here in Sweden.  First of all we headed into the cows’ barn, to see their home over the winter.  The cows were free to wander in and out after their release into the field, so we saw some come into their private stable area for some food, others were being milked, and we got to see and smell life in the barn.  After that we headed over to see a 2 day old calf with his mummy, and then some older calves as well.  There were also pony rides to experience, tractor rides in a hay cart, food, ice creams (made with their own milk), and tractors to clamber all over.

We had a lovely day watching the happy Swedish cows see grass again after the winter, and will definitely be making this an annual tradition 🙂

Happy Swedish cows, cows out after winter, cows released in spring, kosläpp, sweden, living abroad www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Country Kids

Exploring-Adventuring Over to the Uninhabited Side of our Island

Exploring wild and rugged Sweden Swedish wildlife hiking in Sweden www.mammasschool.co.ukThe west side of our island is uninhabited.  We have been exploring and ventured around it, and have hiked most it.  However, the northern most tip on the west side has been inaccessible until now.  When we tried last time, back in the early winter, we ended up being halted due to high reeds we couldn’t push through, and sea water cutting us off.  However, I noticed on a walk last week on the eastern side of the island, that the reeds are now flattened, and the sea has retreated somewhat.  Having not lived here for long, I’m not sure if the reeds flattening are a natural occurrence (probably, with the snow and ice), or some sort of land management (unlikely over here as it is very remote and Sweden likes leaving things to nature!).  Also, we aren’t used to the fjords and the water levels and timetables yet.  So, it may be that this happens every spring.  The twins needed walking and exercising, and it was a beautiful day with the promise that spring was now finally on its way.  So, a perfect day for an adventure!

I packed up my two elk deterrents (my twins are so noisy when we are out walking, that we’ve no chance of seeing these shy creatures with them!), and we headed out for the morning.  The views are stunning, and the variety of bird life is amazing.  The boys quickly found things to do along the walk to make it more fun for them.  They climbed rocks and found pools of water to investigate.  The footpath ended long before we reached our destination, so we worked together to find the best routes over boulders, round bogs and through dense trees.

My trio have a habit of collecting an awful lot of things while we are out hiking, and today was no different.  We end up with a lot of sticks, stones, leaves and feathers, but we have recently started collecting animal bones too (oh nice, I hear you say?!).  This actually has its benefits for us.  We are now using our growing collection (4) to learn about the various animal skeletons, and how they differ.  On the down side, the work surface in my laundry room is turning into a skeletal nature display table!  Today was no different and there were 2 skulls as our treasure finds.

We had a great explore around this part of the island, before heading back, but deciding that we needed to bring our little lady and Dadda out here while the vegetation and water allowed us to hike round these parts.  I love taking the children out hiking in Sweden.  It really is very wild, isolated, and rugged.  Nature is left to its own devices, and whilst there may not be a cafe or pub en route, or even a footpath, it’s good to be so immersed in nature.

 

 

Aspö Adventure – Exploring Our Archipelago.

The beautiful island of Aspö is just over the water from our own little island, and we often look at it as we go on our hikes.  In the summer months there is a boat that can take foot passengers and cyclist, directly between the 2 islands.  However, unlike our island, it is cut off from the mainland, and can only be reached by ferry.  All year round there is a free car ferry that takes around 25 minutes, from Karlskrona (a 20 minute drive for us).  In the summer this is very popular.  There are a lot of ferries in the summertime, sailing between many more of the archipelago’s islands, making exploring the area a lot easier.  This one sails all year round, meaning that we could set out exploring the archipelago that we have moved to a little.  The forecast was sunny, with no wind, and temperatures just nudging into the plus!!  The adventure was on 🙂

The first part of our trip to Aspö was an adventure in itself for the children.  Driving the car onto the ferry, and then sitting in it for the crossing.  These types of ferries are very common across Scandinavia (it’s made up of so many islands!).  They go across fjords and either cut journey times (by making it unnecessary to drive all the way round the end of a fjord), or connect totally isolated islands, such as Aspö.  The children thought this was amazing fun, and sat and ate their packed lunches while enjoying the view out over the totally calm and flat fjord.

Aspö Adventure Exploring Sweden Island travel Sweden www.mammsschool.co.ukThe plan for our day on Aspö was to visit their castle first, and have a wander around that, and then head out on a hike.  The best way to explore Aspö is on foot or by bike.  Lots of countryside and not many roads, and only small ones at that.  We had packed our supper between 5 rucksacks, and we were planning to cook it on an open fire.  Drottningskär Citadel was built in the 17th Century, and is very unique in that it remains undamaged and unchanged, since it has never been attacked.  Its main purpose was, together with Kungsholm Fortress on an island opposite, to defend Karlskrona’s sea approach.  Karlskrona being the new home (back then) of the Swedish navy.  It is a beautiful place.  You can wander around all of it (for free), and there is also a very formal dining restaurant in part of it.  The children loved running through the long upstairs living quarters, going up and down the dark and wonky tunnelled steps to discover the different parts of the castle, and going round the ramparts at the top (with no railings we had a firm grasp of our fast moving, always tripping over each other twins!!).  It was lovely and peaceful, calming, and the views were stunning.

After our castle visit, it was time to head off exploring the island on foot for a hike.  We decided to head through the forest on the north west side of the island.  The views, as usual, were stunning, and we walked 3km before emerging out onto a rocky view point overlooking the sea back towards our island one way, and Karlskrona city the other way.

Some thoughtful soul, had even placed tree stump stools, so you can sit and enjoy the view!  This was the mid point on our hike (the return leg would be going back along the way we came), so it was here I was hoping to find a fire pit, and I was not disappointed.  Dadda set about getting a fire going, while I sorted out the food. The supper menu was hot dogs, corn on the cobs, and tortilla chips, followed up by our fire cones (marshmallows, banana, and chocolate in waffle ice cream cones) and I had remembered the tin foil this time!!  We had taken flasks of hot squash and hot chocolate with us.  While we were cooking, the children had an abundance of trees to climb, and set about trying to conquer as many as they could.

The return leg of the hike was done a bit quicker, due to the fact that tummies were full, and also Dadda and I had our eyes on the clock, aware that if we missed the 6pm ferry we’d have an hour’s wait until the next one at 7pm, with three tired little people!  We’d had a really good adventure, and all three little people had loved it too.  We managed to catch the 6pm ferry and enjoyed the sun setting over the fjord while it sailed back.  I can’t wait for the summer season when more ferries start up and we get to explore more of our own archipelago.  The boat from our island will allow us to go for a cycling adventure over on Aspö too, which will be fun.

 

Aspö Explore Sweden www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Country Kids

Kreativum Science Centre Adventure

Kreativum science centre sweden curiosity home education learning science www.mammasschool.co.ukDadda had taken the day off work, so with everyone’s lurgy starting to abate, we needed an adventure that wasn’t too rigorous.  Kreativum Science Centre seemed perfect, being about 40km down the road from us.  I have written a previous post about this ( http://mammasschool.co.uk/education/science-and-spiders/ ) place back in January when we first visited.  We bought annual passes at that point for all 5 of us, but Dadda hadn’t been yet.  The centre is really good and has lots for children (and parents) of all ages to do.  This is why I purchased the annual passes, and after 2 visits, they have paid for themselves 🙂  Plus, I realised it would take several trips to the centre to have a go at everything!!

Today we spent 4.5 hours at Kreativum Science Centre.  It was so nice having Dadda there too.  Obviously I enjoy his company, but when we go to places all three children have a habit of all wanting to go in different directions at the same time!  So the extra pair of hands helped me, as well as allowing the children more freedom to indulge in wherever their interests took them.  On our last visit to the Kreativum Science Centre we did manage a lot, but there was so much we hadn’t done.  Today we went round a lot of those, including the bubble section which was a huge hit.  Other new sections that we tried were logging, giant Lego construction, boats, sound, motion, and puzzles.  We revisited some of our favourites from last time, such as the child-propelled little carts.  We have done a lot of the centre now, but we still have the whole outdoor part to do, so we will be heading back for a day in that part next time.  All three were so busy the whole time we were there.  They were intrigued, curious, and adventurous in wanting to try everything.  It really is the perfect place for them to be curious!!

Exploring Kvalmsö – A Snowy Hiking Adventure

I’ve been dying to head out to the island nature reserve of Kvalmsö since I read about it.  It’s another one only accessible by foot or boat, and has oak meadows, open pastures, flat rock, and beaches.  It’s quite a long hike for little legs (around 5km from the car and back), and so I planned to take some food to eat, cooked on the fire pit once we reached our half way point (details of that will be in another post!!).  So, with the snow falling gently but persistently all day, we decided it was as good a day as any to set off on our adventure to Kvalmsö 🙂

It is going to be so lovely to see how all these places change over the course of the seasons.  We walked over a very wide track, and a lovely bridge took us from the mainland onto the island.  From there we walked around the southern part of the island to make it to the nearest fire pit.  There is a lovely little cove there and I am already planning returning when it’s warm for a day’s adventure there splashing in the shallows and trying to catch mini beasts in the water, and again using the fire pit for our meals.

The children were tired after the walk there but pottered off to investigate every rock and tree, as their curiosity doesn’t stop their tired legs!  We all refuelled and after we packed up, were keen to get going to get some warmth back into our toes and fingers.

They did so well especially as it was the afternoon, so had already had a morning playing outside and in the snow already.  All three are now snuggled up in bed, safe in the knowledge that their hike for the week is done, and they have a few days to recover 😉 !!!!!

 

 

Exploring Kvalmsö - A snowy Hiking Adventure, hiking, sweden, exploring www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids

On the Hunt for Bronze Age Rock Carvings.

So, off hiking into the woods we went today, as I started going along with my only resolution of the New Year….to explore the wider Sweden, now that I felt I had truly explored our island.  Although, I am sure it will still throw me some lovely surprises in the future!  The first place I wanted to head to was Hästhallen where there were some Bronze Age Rock Carvings.  Opposite the woods that they were in, is a nature reserve too, so I thought we could investigate that afterwards.

 

We were not disappointed.  Due to it being below freezing and in the middle of winter we had the historical site to ourselves 🙂 However, we did have to brush off quite a few pine needles from some of the carvings that were filling the grooves, being in the middle of a pine forest! These rock carvings were discovered in the mid 1700s and at the time the landscape was totally open.  They date back around 3000 years from the Bronze Age.  They depict ships, animals, figures, and the sun amongst other things.  The children were fascinated (and had a very rapid introduction into not trampling all over the rocks they were carved on!).

After spending some time taking photos and chatting about them, we decided to check and see if there was a geocache in the area, and there was…only about 130m from us!  Off we set, and with the clue written in both Swedish and English this time, we were fairly confident that we might find this one.  It was hidden in fab place in amongst rocks, and the children got it out easily.  There wasn’t enough loot for everybody to have something, so we decided to just add to it instead.  However, there was a travel bug on a keyring, that had originally travelled from Germany.  The idea is that you photograph where it has been, and then pop it into another geocache, and fill the details in online.  However, we aren’t really doing geocaching at that level at the moment.  We are keeping it simple while they are young, so we took a photo for our memories and put him back…..I don’t know when we’d next head out geocaching and I’d be very likely to forget him when we do!!  But we learnt something new and all three thought it was a great idea.  I am also loving that the mini men like signing their names too on the logbook…still surprises me!

We returned the geocache to its cosy location and headed back towards the nature reserve.  After a below freezing picnic…bbbbbrrrrr……we found a great rock field that the children had a blast playing in.  They made up imaginative scenarios, they pretended to make fires to drink their hot squash beside, and they generally scrambled and climbed everywhere!

So, our first destination has been explored.  I have definitely got one more planned for this week, before our little lady heads back to school next week.  Then we will just have to keep a little closer to home as we only have the afternoons to use, but still enough time to leave the island with her wonderfully early school finish times 🙂  Even the drive home was a stunner……

Completion of the Island Exploring!

It is exactly 2 months since we moved into our new home on the island, and today we spent three hours exploring the last part of the west side, that we hadn’t managed to reach before.  We have done an awful lot of walking, and have re-discovered that the term “footpath”, is a very loose description in Scandinavia (we have previously walked in Norway).  We have waded through bogs, pushed through walls of reeds, and today we had to work out where the path went through dense trees and bushes, and under our feet were mossy boulders as the pathway!  You certainly don’t go out for an easy cross country stroll here.  We had Dadda with us today, and whilst we were trying to put what we saw on the map onto the ground (i.e. a path marked on the map, but only what looked like an animal track on the ground), he found another app with a much better map of the area.  It actually put us on the map and the supposed paths too (Google maps doesn’t go into enough detail for our area), so we could actually work out that something that didn’t look like a path, was in fact the way we needed to go.  As we pushed through the undergrowth, the closer we got to the seashore, we found someone had very kindly tied ribbons to trees and bushes to mark the path.  So it is very remote, we’ve had a difficult walk to get there, and then we pop out onto the rocky shore to find someone has built their hut there!!  It does make you wonder how!  I have to give it to them, they have very peaceful surroundings (as long as we are not out for a walk), and a stunning view!

We have found some lovely places on our walks, and have definitely got our favourite spots, and it will be interesting to watch these change now as the seasons go by.  I feel that we have thoroughly learnt our way round the island and its remote countryside, and now we can start exploring slightly further afield, and more of the beautiful nature and scenery the country of Sweden has to offer.

 

Solo Exploring Hike

img_0915Today all three were in school again for the morning, so after I’d driven and done the just over 2 hours it takes to do the shopping, I really felt the need to stretch my legs in the winter sunshine.  There’s the south west part of the island that is uninhabited, and a few weekends ago we’d tried to link up paths from the beach on the south part, to the south west part.  We had been thwarted, but I think had got very close to managing it.  I wasn’t sure about the route I was taking, so I really needed to head out without the children on this one so I didn’t make them walk in unnecessary circles!  I had 90 minutes before I had to collect our little lady (who finishes first today), so put my boots on, and joined the Swedish cult of power walking!!  It went really well, and I located the footpath through the woods, and did eventually manage to get out onto the peninsula we’d been heading for a few weekends ago.  On the way back, I did notice the path split the way I was going and then to the right as well, so it may well join up with the part we had been doing, and maybe we need to tackle it from the way I was coming from today.  I have been loving their short school days as it allows us lots of time together still, but when you’ve taken on a walk a little too far for the time available you realise just how short their day is….I was doing a hiking jog back to school to get there on time!  I had been rewarded though with some amazing views on the end of the peninsula, and some crystal clear icy cold water.  Walking through the woods it was so quiet.  Not a sound.  So peaceful.  I did stop to wonder how many moose and deer were possibly watching me!  The views were amazing, and now I can take the trio down that route.  There a couple more on the uninhabited west side that I need to investigate, and I think if the weather is ok, I may try on Thursday, but set off first thing so I’m not panicking about the distance to cover to get back to school!!  Solo hiking is something I am not used to either.  When the children were in school/preschool in the UK I had my lovely collie dog, Jack, with me, and it was so lovely just being the 2 of us sometimes.  Then since March there has always been children at home.  So having lost Jack after 12.5 years, and all children occupied this morning, it was a very strange experience to be on my own.  No responsibilities, quiet, but a little lonely.

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We have discovered from our little lady that now she has her library card the school are asking her to choose an english book she’d like to read, and then ordering it in for her brand new!  I can’t believe how much the school are doing for her, and looking after her so well.  She has chosen the first Harry Potter book, and she’s just finished the whole collection through for the first time and really enjoyed it.  We own from book 4 onwards, but not the first three.  So she’s asked them for that one.  Within 48 hours it had arrived, and she gets some time at school when she can read it.  Her class are fascinated by what she is reading and how she makes sense of all the words!  So, the school/island library will now be slowly building up an english written section!  Lets hope she chooses some good books in the future 🙂  It just makes us so happy, how much the school are doing for her and thinking about her, and helping her to feel settled and happy there.

Once we had all back home today, as seems to be happening frequently at the moment, the plans were cancelled.  This is because she was creating in her bedroom, and to my surprise the mini men were making things with pens and paper that involved writing their full names, and asking me to show them how to write other things.  It’s amazing to see them wanting to do this, and taking the initiative, so I am happy to cancel whatever I had in mind, and encourage it whenever it takes their fancy.  I’m pleased they can put pen to paper and write their letters, and their full names, and want to write more words….and all without a minute in school 😉  I caught them doing their own maths the other day too….mini man no.1 was trying to tidy up a number of little toys, and mini man no.2 was commenting along, “if you have 5 toys and I take 2 away, how many have you got now?”!!!!!  It made me chuckle so much, and it went on for quite a while too.  They wouldn’t have ejoye the formal education set up in the UK, but they have shown they are learning and doing just fine with the very ad hoc method we have got going on, as well as learning through their play, and most definitely through their tidying up!!!

Tired Legs, Rosey Cheeks, and Pink Noses!

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Today we were starting out at the main beach on the island for our hike, and trying to walk round to the next large peninsula.  There is no footpath marked on any maps (map 1), and we added what we managed to do onto our map afterwards (map 2).  It was one of those gorgeous winter days that are bright but freezing.  We set off, and at first we did find a footpath that wasn’t too bad, and we hoped it would go on round to meet the other footpath that was already on the map.  However, about halfway through the outbound leg, the footpath got very heavy going, especially for little legs.  There was a lot of clambering over boulders, pushing through long reeds to avoid the boggy areas, and lots of clumps of ground tripping them up!!  Eventually, unfortunately, the path fizzled out.

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I hadn’t bothered to take our map, that is a work in progress, out with us, trying to conserve it a little knowing there was no footpath marked on there.  However, having got home and seen just how close we were to a path running down the island onto the peninsula, it might have helped to guide us a little away from the water into the woods to try and pick up that path, and then use it out onto the peninsula.  For another time, maybe we’ll try the path heading south and work back from that and see if we can get the two to join up that way.

img_0801 img_0800 img_0799 img_0798 img_0795We turned back and headed the way we came.  The three little people did very well.  We walked for about 90 minutes and it wasn’t easy terrain, but we got minimal grumblings and they kept going.  Once we got back to the main beach, they played on the swings and the beach while I set up a now very windy picnic.

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I had brought the Kelly Kettle with us to have warming drinks with our sandwiches and soup, and then to toast marshmallows for pudding.  However the wind had picked up so much, that if we toasted marshmallows over the kettle base, the children would have been set alight by the flames.  One thing about Sweden and the outdoors, is that there are designated barbecue areas everywhere, even somewhere that is remote and you would have walked to.  So to avoid disappointment, we decided that we would try and start our tiny marshmallow toasting fire, in one of the huge fire pits on the beach!  At least it was protected from the wind and lit, it just flew through our small amount of twigs we’d brought for the kettle base.  It served a purpose though, as we had toasted marshmallows, and had our first experience using a Swedish outdoor fire pit 🙂

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Bikes, Hikes, and a Surprise Geocache

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The mini men have been desperate to ride their new bikes all week, but due to them not being able to start off on their own, and being a bit unreliable, I’ve not braved taking them out on my own.  So, first thing this morning, before their gymnastics, we headed off to an open space for them to have a good ride, as well as accidental game of bumper bikes!  The next job of the day was to plant some apple seeds.  We have left a very small, but bursting with life garden back in the UK, full of roses, fruit trees, and a riot of colour for at least 8 months of the year.  I know we have arrived here in autumn, but there needs a little bit of input to create colour and attract more wildlife come the summer, other than reindeer.  Oddly, I will be more restrained and there will be less put in it than the UK garden, as the rest is sooooooo big and will take a lot of looking after.  So, in an attempt to get things started, we have planted 6 apple seeds indoors, to see how we are doing by the warmer springtime with them.

img_0676 img_0677 img_0678The afternoon saw us head out to explore the south west part of the island.  This is largely uninhabited, apart from the odd dwelling here or there, and is definitely, wild, rugged, and exposed to the elements.  It was certainly a very fresh walk, and as usual, extremely beautiful.  We set off with a rough idea of where we were going, but as usual footpaths appeared that weren’t marked, marked footpaths never occurred, and then I had a marvellous idea.  Turning on the geocache app, I remembered 1 of the 3 on the island was located down this end of the island.  We were only 450m from it (only…..for a little child’s legs, turned into there and back being 900m which is practically another km added onto their walk, but they were up for it, and we were rewarded with the view).  We popped out of a heavily wooded area, to be greeted with a wide view of the open sea, it was beautiful.  Not another soul in site added to its beauty as well.  It would have been even better had we been able to stay for the sunset as that was amazing, but we may not have made it out the woods again as it would have been extremely dark.

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We did indeed manage to locate the geocache and signed the log.  We were really pleased as the other 2 on the island have eluded us so far.  When we eventually turned round and had walked back home, we had been out for 2 hours and 45 minutes.  They had walked incredibly well and certainly enjoyed themselves, as well as getting the added bonus of a geocache.  I think though, by the time the log fire was lit with a couple of stories on the CD player while I made supper, the fresh air and exercise they had done hit them, as all three snuggled under a blanket on the sofa.  Another very lovely day as a family, very laid back, no rushing to activities that take up half the day (the boys gymnastics is 45 minutes total and just 100m from our doorstep), and lots of healthy outdoors life and views to be had 🙂

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