Category: Exploring Sweden & Days Out in Sweden (Page 1 of 4)

Discover Hasslö – The Perfect Swedish Island To Relax On

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….second up is the island of Hasslö.

Background Information About Hasslö:

This beautiful island epitomises Swedish summer living, with its harbours full of boats, its beautiful sandy beach to relax on, and the shallow waters at the beach to splash and play in.  You definitely need to take life in the slow lane on this lovely island.  It is nicknamed “little Hawaii” due to seemingly having a lot of warm sunshine in the summer months, and it is connected to the mainland by a road bridge.  There is a small supermarket for supplies, and Sweden’s politician, journalist, and poet, Fabian Månsson originated from this island.

Our Adventures On Hasslö:

We have enjoyed seeing the island from the footpaths and hiking around it.  Good footpaths run right around most of this island, and you can either stay on ones where you are likely to bump into others, or use the more secluded ones through the woods.  We have also enjoyed a sunrise picnic in a quiet cove, in the wintertime, as I am not so keen on the very early Swedish summer sunrise times!  During the summer months we have enjoyed visiting and spending many hours on its sandy beach at Sandvik playing, swimming, cooking outdoors on the fire, and generally enjoying life.  This island is so beautiful, and despite having more residents than compared to some of the islands in the archipelago, nature is never far away to be able to lose yourself in.  It’s really handy to access too, due to it having a bridge, which the children have enjoyed watching open for boats to sail through.

How To Get To Hasslö:

If you do not have a car, you can come on a direct bus from Karlskrona.  In the summer months the archipelago boats visit the island, docking on the east side of the island at Horn.

What To See And Do On Hasslö:

  1. Fabian Månsson has both a statue and his grave on the island if you fancy visiting either of those.
  2. The beach at Sandvik provides lots of sand for play, as well as a volleyball court in the summer months.  The shallow water is excellent for children to play in as well as being able to swim in.
  3. Cycling around this island is one of the better ways to see it.
  4. There are lots of hiking trails around the island or through woods, and you can even geocache for a few treasure finds here as well.
  5. In July, Hasslö has its very own music festival which you can read about here.

Where To Eat On Hasslö:

  1. Hamn Café:  This is a beautiful café down at the main harbour on the southeast side.  You can get hot food, cold food, ice creams, coffees, beers, wines, delicious cakes and all sorts.  In good weather you can sit on the decking overlooking the sea. Check the website for more details and opening times.

    Photo: Eva Afferdal

  2. Hasslö Doppet:  This is a bakery/pizzeria/restaurant.  It serves the most delicious pizza buffet as well as other food choices.  Both alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages can be bought to quench your thirst, as well as pick and mix sweets.  They also freshly bake their cakes and breads there.
  3. Lilla Hawaii:  This is another pizza restaurant on the island where you can be tempted to buy some more pizzas.

Where To Stay On Hasslö:

  1. Hasslö Stugby rent out some cabins, as well as having space to park your motorhome or caravan.  See the website for more details
  2. Vandrarhemmet Skärgårdsvilan:  The island also has a youth hostel on it which you can book into.

We have discovered for ourselves that this is a most beautiful island, full of such lovely and friendly people, where you can truly kick back and relax in a very Swedish way.  I can thoroughly recommend spending some time exploring what this island has to offer and generally enjoying life here for a few days 🙂

Discover Hasslö, Hasslö, Visit Karlskrona, Visit Blekinge. Visit Sweden, Sweden, Travel in Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Discover Aspö – An Island Full Of History

We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden.  Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets.  With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy.  We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery.  We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit.  We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂  Enjoy the adventure with us….first up is the island of Aspö.

Aspö Background Information:

Aspö is the only major island in the area without it’s own bridge connecting it to the mainland.  It has around 500 permanent all year round inhabitants, and during the summer months the numbers swell as people come to stay in their stugor (summer homes).  The island has a supermarket, a school, and a church.

Our Adventure To Aspö

With a plan formed to try and visit as many of our archipelago islands as we can this summer, I knew we needed to get going although summer was still a long way off.  So on a sunny, blustery, early April day, with a hint of the promise of spring in the air, we set off on the car ferry to visit the first island of our adventures.  We chose to start with this island, as until the summer archipelago boats start running we are little limited with where we can explore….we either need islands that have all year round boats, or ones with bridges to them.  So, we boarded our ferry and off we headed.

Having taken the car over, it meant we could explore a lot more of the island a lot quicker, as it is quite a large island compared to many.  So, we started off with a gentle meander round the lanes, taking in the lovely wooden Swedish homes, and enjoying the scenery.  Then we headed to our first stop at the KA2 artillery museum.  Unfortunately this will be something we have to head back to, as despite checking the website before we left it was most definitely not open.  This is a common thing we have found here in Sweden that so much is seasonal. So unless you are visiting in peak summer time, July or August, you really need to check openings via phone with the tourist office, as you can find a lot closed up.  So we had a little potter around the outside seeing a few things, before heading off to Ellenabben fort.

Although you can only wonder around the outside of the fort, it is a lovely place for little imaginations to run wild, and look at some history.  You can also take a good close look at one of the guns, something my trio enjoyed the chance to do.

Look carefully…there are 2 little boys in that tree!!

After this it was time to head into one of the woods for a mini hike, some lunch, and a tree climb!  

Fully refreshed after our stop we headed over to the Kastell for our last stop of the day. 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.

There are so many hidden little gems of history to spot around this island, it is a little like a treasure hunt!  I would really recommend a visit to it.

 

How To Get To Aspö:

There is an all year round car ferry (bright yellow) that crosses from Karlskrona.  This is free of charge and runs every hour.  In the summer months the archipelago boats (which you need to pay on, and are foot passengers only), call at Drottningskär and Djupvik.  You need to check tickets and running times as these change depending on the weeks of the year throughout the summer season.

What To See And Do On Aspö:

  1. Drottningskär Citadel:  This is a 17th century naval citadel, with moats and thick stone walls.  There is lots to explore around the grounds and great for little people with big imaginations!  In the summer it hosts musical entertainment.  There is also a small exhibition about the bunkers and artillery remains situated around the archipelago.
  2. KA2 Museum of moving coastal artillery:  This is a place to explore and see big guns!
  3. Ride Icelandic Horses:  This needs prior booking so phone+46 708 703627
  4. Rent bicycles:  You can hire bicycles where the ferry docks, but this is very much seasonal. There are lots of marked cycle routes around the island, very well signposted.
  5. Ellenabbens Fort:  Take a walk around a huge underground fort that in its time was home to some very large guns.  Amongst other things it housed accommodation, kitchens, a hospital, power station, ammunition storage etc.  As much as it would be huge fun to investigate inside, unfortunately you can only walk round the fence, but it is still worth a visit.

Apart from the specified attractions, there is a lot that can be done on the island that is conducive to the Swedish way of summer living.  It is a great place to cycle around, there are plenty of bathing spots and coves, and there are hiking trails through forests and meadows

Where To Eat On Aspö:

If you don’t fancy utilising one of the fire pits to cook your food on a campfire, there are a couple of options.

  1. Drottningskär Citadel restaurant: The citadel does have its own restaurant, but you need to check opening times before you visit.
  2. Drottningskär Citadel Cafe:  Here you can grab a coffee and a snack, but again check opening times before visiting.
  3. Kiosk at the harbour where the car ferry arrives.

Where To Stay On Aspö:

  1. Aspö Lotstorn is an old harbour pilot house (tower) that has been converted.  It has five floors and is about 20m high, so some stunning views to go with it.  There are 5 hotel rooms, 1 per floor, and then there are 3 cottages as well which you can either book in their entirety, or you can rent a room, youth hostel style.
  2. Aspö Folkets Hus offers places for motorhomes and campervans.
  3. Drottningskärs Vandrarhem is a youth hostel with accommodation.

We had a lovely trip here, and I would thoroughly recommend a visit to explore this island as there is so much to see and do on it.  However, as with anywhere you visit in Sweden, please check opening times with the local tourist office before you turn up anywhere, as these can vary immensely between seasons, and would be very frustrating if you found them closed up for winter.

Discover Aspö, Aspo, Southern Sweden, Sweden, Blekinge, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Järnavik Naturreservat – Lose Yourself In Nature

Järnavik naturreservat in Blekinge, southern Sweden, is an interesting place to visit.  The environment has many contrasts to enjoy.  There are deep ravines and steep climbs to be rewarded with stunning views of the Swedish scenery.  There are bare rock areas, that then lead into forests, rich with plant life.  The northern part of the reserve, where we visited for our hike, is less stark than the more glacially formed rocky southern part.

In a past era Järnavik was a medieval port that was very busy, but today the harbour is used just for the summer archipelago boat, and private boats visiting the area by sea.  Easter weekend had seen blizzards for us for the first three days of the long weekend.  So when the sun shone bright on the Monday, we took advantage of the chance to get some vitamin D supplies and headed out to this nature reserve that we had not explored yet.

The Järnavik naturreservat has a lot of good marked trails, a number of fire pits, and on the southern end, a nice place to take a swim, although this was not really a priority in the freezing April weather!!  We were in the northern part, following a circular trail route, hoping to stop three quarters of the way round to make lunch on a campfire.

So, off we set on our route. We had not gone more than 100m when 2 of the 3 children had already started collecting sticks….our little lady’s stick actually resembled more of a tree than a stick, but all credit to her she did drag it the whole way round!  We scrambled up rock faces to be rewarded with the most stunning views across the fjords at the top, and we walked over mini bridges through ice fields that would hopefully start defrosting soon if spring time decides to make an appearance!!  The children love to see how thick the ice is, and how much they can bang it with sticks or stamp on it before it cracks.  Today it was still very thick and strong, and not giving way.  However, the sun shining on the damp moss was creating a smell of spring in the air, and despite the snow on the ground, you could feel warmth in the sunshine at long last.  As we continued our hike we knew we were coming to the place where the fire pit should be, and on a little investigation, we found it in a mini cave!  It was so fun and interesting as we had never made our campfire anywhere like it yet 🙂

Today we were not using geocaches as an incentive to keep the trio walking.  However, our little lady was just sitting chilling in the cave waiting for lunch, and to her surprise she spotted one buried in the rocks!  She couldn’t believe she had found one without even trying.  It was a great spot to stop for lunch as the children clambered up, over, and slid down massive rock boulders, and thoroughly enjoyed their playtime in nature.

The fire was roaring, the food was cooking, and we had a new treat to try for dessert (you will have to wait for another blog post to find out what that was!).  Life was definitely more relaxed being able to share the work load with Dadda, as he could look after the campfire, and I the Kelly Kettle…usually I’m juggling both and trying not to set fire to three children in the process!!  It was so nice to be able to share today’s adventure with every member of the family for a change.

Once we had eaten our fill, we dowsed the campfire, and started the remaining part of our circular route.  Once we popped out of our little cave, we discovered 2 more fire pits out in the sunshine.  It was nice to know they were there, but I think we had all enjoyed the novelty of our cave fire pit for a little bit of a difference.

We had spent such a lovely family time at Järnavik naturreservat, and enjoyed the views, the fire pits, and the trail so much.  We will definitely be returning there, and maybe, next time if the weather is warm enough, we will search out the bathing place on the southern end and explore a different part of the reserve!

Järnavik Naturreservat, Sweden, Nature, southern Sweden, Blekinge, Nature play, outdoor play, hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Renovation Bay-Bee

Country Kids
 

Blekinge Museum – The History Of Blekinge, Sweden

On our quest for adventure and discovery of our local area during the sportlov holiday in February, one of the places we visited was Blekinge museum.  This fantastic place is free to visit (a huge bonus when there are so many of you!), and it didn’t disappoint.  It can be found in the centre of Karlskrona, and although I was initially wondering whether my three would enjoy a trip there (indoor exhibitions are not really their thing), I was pleasantly surprised, although after a year of living here I should be getting used to how the children are allowed to touch and interact with everything.  Photography that shows exhibits is limited to private use only, so my photos only show my children enjoying themselves, carefully excluding the museum’s pieces from the photos!!

The Blekinge museum is all about Blekinge county in southern Sweden, from the ancient times (the county is full of iron age monuments and drawings), through to today.  It is home to a lot of archaeological finds, and details the area’s naval history as well.  We well and truly meandered and pottered around the exhibitions, but what was so nice was that in between and dispersed throughout, there were little activities aimed at the children, giving them a “break” from the more grown up stuff every so often.  It meant I got to have a good look at what I wanted to see without having to drag them round and bribe them, but they also got to play there, making it somewhere they would like to head back to again.  I only planned a couple of hours there, one inside, and one outdoors (we’ll get to that part in a bit), treating it as a place we can dip in and out of as takes our fancy in the future.

It is worth checking their website http://www.blekingemuseum.se/subsites/1  before a visit as they do lay on activities for children as well in the holidays.  This week was African painting, but surprisingly my three bypassed this in favour of looking at other things.  Other parts of the Blekinge museum that are directed at children are a play shop, an indoor play farmhouse, there are drawing and making tables…..2 of mine made masks and one coloured a diagram of an old historical ship, there is a reading area with comfy cosy cushions and a few games to try, some puzzles, and then you can head outdoors as well to a lovely outdoor play area which has a windmill, a boat shed, a stuga (hut), and a barn complete with horse and carriage.  There are lots of pots and pans, play food, plastic flowers, pretend fish etc to do role play with as well.  My three adored the outdoors, and could have spent a lot longer than the hour we did there, but unfortunately the little lady’s dance lesson beckoned us.

Blekinge museum is very laid back and is somewhere you can really enjoy taking a relaxed tour round as a family.  My double trouble are a very active excitable pair, and they were just fine in there, and all three really enjoyed it and did not find the time we spent indoors boring at all.  I’m not sure we could have spent too much longer perusing the exhibition parts, but as it is free and they were not negative about the visit, I am sure we will be heading back there in the future.  That is the great thing about free places, you don’t feel you need to spend a lot of time in there to get the most out of it, but can just keep on returning as and when.  I would really recommend popping into Blekinge museum if you ever visit Blekinge in southern Sweden.

Blekinge Museum - The History Of Blekinge, Sweden, Blekinge, Karlskrona,Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Lyckå Slott – A Reminder Of Blekinge’s Danish Era

Lyckå slottsruin is a medieval reminder that this southern county of Sweden, Blekinge, has not always belonged to the Swedish, but the Danes were once in possession of the land.  What you can visit today and see are the original outer walls of the ground floor and the foundations of the two corner towers.

Lyckå slott was built between 1545 to 1560, and was a Danish border castle on the most eastern part of Denmark as a defence against Sweden.  The castle did not  have a very long life as in 1601 it was decided the Danes would fortify a town called Kristianopel, but wanted to use the materials from Lyckå slott.  So, it was burnt down and had canon balls thrown at it to demolish it.  It just goes to show how sturdy it was with the amount that remained intact.  In 2014 there was some work done on the ruins to preserve what was left, as it has big historical importance.

We arrived at Lyckå slott to find we had the place to ourselves, and although it is something that only takes a short while to walk around, you need to leave ample time for your children to play there.  There is lots of fun to be hand clambering over the walls, running round the outside, and inventing lots of imaginative games.  In the depths of winter, as was our visit, there was lots of play time allowed, but perhaps not as much as if we had visited in warmer weather when I could have relaxed on the grass listening to their games!

Our three really enjoyed their time there, and I find they get so much more out of places and remember it better when they are able to run freely, touch, and use a whole host of senses to experience a place, rather than visit it in a clinical manner.  We have now discovered and been to another local place of interest as we learn more about the area we are living in.

Lyckå slott, Swedish castles, castle ruins, Karlskrona Castle, Blekinge Castle, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids
 

Wämöparken, Karlskrona – Experience Swedish Heritage And Outdoor Life

Wämöparken is set in beautiful Swedish nature on the outskirts of Karlskrona, in Blekinge county in southern Sweden.  There is so much to see and do there, at your own pace, or doing a little bit over a few visits.  This is a place to dwell, not rush, and if you do not get to experience everything on one day, then it is the perfect excuse to return to Wämöparken.  We decided one cold (-8 degrees) snowy, February day to visit, so we are definitely going to head back in the warmer months to experience another season in Wämöparken.

Although Wämöparken was once the site of a cemetery for victims of the plague, and also the site where executions were carried out for those who were sentenced to death, it now has an altogether much nicer purpose, allowing people to relax enjoying the outdoors as well as experiencing a little bit of Swedish history.  So what does the park have to offer?

Wämöparken Hiking Trails

The hiking trails around the area can be tailor-made to be longer or shorter for those less able to walk as far, but still wanting to get out into nature.  The trail marked with wooden poles with orange tips is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchair users.  We enjoyed using this trail at first, before heading in our own direction a little, using the smaller paths through the woods.  Although there are several fire pit points along the main trail, we opted for a quieter spot where the children could play in amongst the trees and on the rocks, and we used our hobo stove.  We had a lovely sausage hotpot followed by Nutella s’mores….yummy!!!

Wämöparken Historical Buildings

The park has several old buildings erected as examples of what they used to be.  At each one there is a sign detailing what type of person would have lived in it, the purpose of the building, and how it would have been built.  We definitely need to come back as these are open to view inside, but only over the summer season, which I knew, but we enjoyed looking around the outside of them anyway.  My trio liked thinking about the sort of people who would have lived in them and the stories behind them.

Wämöparken Animal Park

There is a small collection of some lovely animals to have a wander around.  We saw goats, pigs, hens, rabbits, and ducks.  Whilst it is not a big collection or area, it is fun for the children to see and look at the animals, something that is always a hit with my trio.

 

Perhaps the best and most luxurious mini-beast hotel I have ever seen!

Wämöparken Play Park

In the same area as the animals you can find a play park.  My three really enjoyed this space. The see-saw was the biggest hit with them, and they were on it for ages!!  I always visit things like this at the end of a hike if they are around.  My trio knew it was there so it gave them a little something to look forward to, but then also, when they get totally absorbed in it I am not trying to cajole them into another mission.

We gave the sand pit a miss on this trip!!

Wämöparken Cafe

If after a hike round the trails, a campfire meal, investigating the old buildings, pottering around visiting the animals, and a play in the park, you are in need of further refreshment, there is a cafe set in a beautiful old building.  You can get hot and cold drinks, waffles and cakes, or a warm meal.  We sampled their homemade cakes with some ginger beer and fruit juices.  Perfect after a play in the play park.  Outside the cafe there are also supersized board games on the patio.  Due to the cold these were not out for us to use, nor could we even see the boards on the ground due to the snow….so no photos of these I am afraid!!

Wämöparken Dog Agility Course

The final facility at this lovely place, is a dog agility course.  It is set in a large field and you can just turn up and use it.  You need to show consideration for dogs and their owners already using it by getting their attention before you enter in order to prevent any unfriendly mishaps between canines. But as long as you respect others and clean up after you four legged friend, this is an amazing space for you to be able to enjoy with your fur baby.  I know my border collie would have loved this space had he still been alive.

So, there you have the details about this amazing space called Wämöparken that we went and explored and thoroughly enjoyed.  I can recommend enjoying either a whole day here in any season, as there is more than enough to keep you busy during the winter months too, or dipping in and out of the area for a few hours.  It is most definitely a beautiful outdoor space that we will be returning too again and again.

Wämöparken, Karlskrona, Karlskrona, Blekinge, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Country Kids
 

Bastasjö Friluftsområde – An Outdoor Family Haven

Bastasjö is a lake that is the centre piece of the Bastasjö friluftsområde, outdoor area.  It is very convenient being only about a 15 minute drive from the centre of the city of Karlskrona in the south of Sweden.  It is a huge area of hiking trails around the surrounding woods.  What makes this place so good for families are several things.  There are a lot of marked trails in a variety of distances, so you can pick what you think you can manage.  There are also good fire pits, surrounding the lake on all sides, allowing for you to build a campfire safely and cook in the great outdoors.  At the side of the lake where the main car park is, there is also a building, which houses toilets.  You can rent this out as well if you are running an activity in this location.  

We arrived at Bastasjö in the depths of winter during the Swedish sportlov holiday, and although we were doing our own thing, it was interesting to see they had a “drop in” campfire with sausages cooking, everyday this holiday week from 10am until 1pm.  They also had other activities, for example a night run and orienteering.  There are illuminated trails, as well as ones you can use for cross country skiing when there is enough snow on the ground.  We chose our trail, the blue one that skirted round the lake, spotting a fire pit that looked good at the half way point, and we set off.

We had travelled inland for about 20 minutes to reach Bastasjö, so there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground compared to what we had at home on the coast, so it made for a scenic walk.  The lake was truly frozen over, and there were even some intrepid people having a mini ice hockey game on it…..but keeping very close to the edge still.  They obviously did not trust the ice thickness that much.  My trio were keen to use their binoculars to watch them (see my other tips for hiking with children).  They have never known sea or lake ice so thick you can run, walk, or play on it.  They were memorised.  It all helped to take their minds off the fact they were hiking with backpacks, and were surprisingly perky!  They were even surprised to find themselves at our chosen fire pit thinking the first part of the walk had gone fast, and I was quite surprised to find us there without any whinges of “I’m hungry”!

The children dropped their backpacks, and although the little lady announced she was doing the Kelly Kettle, all three raced off and suddenly starting constructing a den in the woods behind the fire pit.  I was happy at my work in the peace and quiet sorting out a lunch of hot dogs and campfire toffee apples.  Whilst I was busy, a lady who had seen us light the fire from the other side of the lake where the building is, had walked round and started taking photos….apparently she needed photos of people out enjoying the area with their children during sportlov!  Once cooked, three hungry little den builders appeared and gobbled their food up.  There was a lovely wooden shelter at this fire pit, and although it was not windy today and not such a painful experience to eat outdoors, it was lovely to be a little sheltered while we ate.  I had not planned to stay at the fire pit for the whole 2 hours that we did, but the children were so happy climbing trees and den building, that I left them to it until they were ready to leave.  Instead, I amused myself by trying to keep the fire going by using twigs from the ground, and although they were covered in snow I somehow managed, so was feeling quite pleased with myself!  

Eventually the trio felt it was time to pack up and move off, and we set off to complete the trail and the loop around Bastasjö.  They tested the limits of the ice on the lake intermittently and tried to break it with large rocks……no luck in breaking it though, it was really solid ice.  

I would definitely recommend visiting this lovely outdoor area beside Bastasjö if you are in the area, and for us it will be fun to return in the summer and see a totally different looking place to the one we had experienced today.  There are also geocaches in the area, but due to the cold, my phone battery dies very fast, so we never got to look for them today, so we will save those for the warmer months as well.  Something to look forward to coming back for, as well as maybe different organised activities we could try next time.

Bastasjö Friluftsområde, Bastasjö, Outdoors, Sweden, Hiking, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids
 

Skåne’s Outdoor Viking Museum – Fotevikens Museum

Over the summer holidays, I took the trio over into Skåne county for a camping adventure.  While we were there we visited a fantastic outdoor viking museum, called Fotevikens Museum.  The viking museum is an open air museum, which is depicting how life could have been in a viking village.  It is so good for the children and their imagination because apart from usual exhibits, they have reconstructed a whole viking town, showing various different buildings.  As is common here in Sweden, a great importance is placed on being able to interact with the museum and exhibits, therefore climbing up stairs, exploring inside the buildings, and picking up exhibits to examine, is encouraged.  A perfect way for children to learn and remember their experience.

 

We arrived for when it opened, although as we have found over the past year of living here, nothing really seems to get too busy!  However, I wanted the children to be able to bimble around at their own pace, and not feel rushed.  I paid 110 sek for me (just over £10), and 40 sek (around £3.60) for the little lady, and my 5 year old twins were free.  I get quite excited about reasonable entrance fees to places, as to take a family of 5 anywhere usually costs a small fortune!  The children excitedly headed into the viking museum village under the town wall and through the gates, the village’s protection.

We saw and explored a lot of differing types of buildings.  There was a blacksmith’s, a poultry house, tanner’s home, the guard tower (which we climbed to the top of several times to enjoy a stunning view), fishery cottage, a smokehouse, lawman’s home, town hall, weaver’s house, and a baker’s home and bakery.  Not only could we explore these buildings in the viking museum, but there were people dressed authentically, working away in their respective trades.  So, for example, at the bakery they were baking various goods and you could taste them too.  If people didn’t have a trade, they were going about their village life…chopping fire wood, making clothes, or maintaining homes.  There was even a “punishment area” complete with stocks, and a post with neck weight and chain.
The trio had such an amazing time, full of questions, and letting their imaginations run riot!  I would really recommend this viking museum as a place to visit if you are ever over this way in the world 🙂 Even after living here for nearly a year, I am still amazed by the Swedish attitude that children should be allowed to touch, feel, and climb over everything.  Of course this is by far the best way for them to get the most out of an experience and create memories, but it is such a refreshing change of attitude to be able to live with on a daily basis!

Fotevikens Museum, viking museum, outdoor museum, vikings, skane, sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

St.Lucia – Discover A Swedish Winter Tradition

On December 13th, all over Sweden, the day of St.Lucia is celebrated.  There are costumes, candles, lights, buns, drinks, and singing 🙂

So who is St.Lucia?

Along with the celebration of midsummer, the celebration of St.Lucia is a very popular cultural tradition here in Sweden. The idea behind this mythical character is that she has the role of bearing light in the long, cold, dark, winters.  St Lucia was originally a young Christian lady betrothed  to a pagan gentleman.  She cut off their engagement, and he was not too happy, so he made the Roman authorities aware she was a Christian.  Consequently she was sentenced to death and became a martyr, and the saint of light.

How to celebrate St.Lucia:

  1. Dress up: The children are dressed in white gowns, with red sashes, and a wreath of candles is placed upon their heads.  There is often great competition for the role of St.Lucia, and whilst a lot of costumes will now involve electric candles, the main St.Lucia of the celebration is still known to have real candles on her head in most places.  She is accompanied by her handmaidens (tärnor) who wear white gowns and have tinsel in their hair.  She is also accompanied by star boys (stjärngossar), who wear white robes, cone shaped hats, and carry golden stars on sticks.  The processions now often include tomtar (santa like elves) and gingerbread people.  My double trouble are going to be tomtar this year. 
  2. Food:  No celebration would be truly Swedish without having a special bun or cake made for the occassion!  On this day you eat lussekatter.  They are made with saffron, so have a peculiar flavour to them, but are very tasty. Also on offer are the pepparkakor (small thin ginger biscuits), all swallowed down with yet more glögg!  Or if you are a child, the incredibly sweet drink of Julmust, or maybe just a coffee if you are driving.
  3. Sing Songs:  Most of these songs have a similar theme about the dark and about candles, but singing is a big part of the celebration.

We will be enjoying a little St.Lucia celebration in my twins’ class one evening around this time as they sing us some songs.  They are going to be a couple of tomtar 🙂  Comment and let me know your thoughts on this Swedish tradition and if you’ve enjoyed reading about it below.  Don’t forget to share the post to let others know!

St.Lucia Discover a winter Swedish tradition, St.Lucia, Sweden culture, Swedish traditions, Swedish celebrations, www.mammasschool.co.uk

I have had a similar article published by the Newbieguide.se and it can be found by clicking on the following link http://www.thenewbieguide.se/st-lucia-discover-swedish-winter-tradition/

   

Skanör – Visit The Swedish Riviera.

Skanör, Sweden, Southern Sweden, Sweden Beaches, Skanör Beach, Sweden travel, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Summer seems so far away now, but I wanted to share a beautiful place with you that we visited during our long, lazy Swedish summer 🙂  Skanör is right down in the southwest corner of Skåne, Sweden, and you can see Denmark and the famous Öresund bridge connecting the two countries.  There is a pretty town, surrounded by long stretches of white sandy beaches and beautiful blue clear seas.

I took the trio on a camping adventure to Skanör over the summer.  It was only for 2 nights (I was the only adult with 2 five year old’s and a 9 year old, and camping is hard work!!), but we could have easily stayed a lot longer (in a hotel!!) enjoying the pristine white beaches, clean clear seas, and stunning views.  We pottered a little around the town of Skanör to get a feel for the place, before heading down towards the sand dunes.  Nestled in the sand dunes are lots of very pretty beach huts, painted an array of all the colours of the rainbow, making it such a fun place for the children to play in.  Nature, once again, presented them with a really exciting playground 🙂  We even managed to locate a geocache in the dunes too.

The beaches are so vast here that there is more than enough room for everybody, and you feel that you are in your own bit of paradise even though it is the middle of the summer and peak holiday season.  My mini men loved running along the beach (a game they did for ages), and I could let them run way into the distance as I could see them easily with it not being busy.  They also got a great sense of freedom.  The three also enjoyed running in amongst the dunes, hiding in them (I enjoyed that bit slightly less as they were vast!), and making up games using the slopes of the dunes.  If you are ever in the south of Sweden, Skanör is a must visit place to experience.

Country Kids
 

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