Tag: Karlskrona

Discover Tjurkö – The Stone Cutter Island

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….third up is the island of Tjurkö.

Background Information About Tjurkö

Tjurkö has the nickname the “stone cutter island” due to its past history.  In 1862 it became a source of quarrying for rock and stone, and there was a small “village” of buildings built to accommodate both this production and the labourers who worked there.  Some of whom where prisoners.  Business boomed until World War 1, and then it never really recovered.  It was continued on a much smaller scale until the 1950’s when it ceased altogether.  Remains of the buildings can still be seen and visited.  There is evidence that people first settled on the island of Tjurkö around 400-500 AD, and the population is known to double in the summer months as those with summer cottages swell the permanent inhabitants’ numbers.

Our Adventure To Tjurkö

As it was only a fortnight since the snow left us, and we were not yet in the season for the archipelago boats, we were limited at the start of our adventures to islands with bridges (so we could drive), or all year round boats.  Tjurkö is the third island along in a string of three, all connected by bridges to each other and the main land.  The first thing on our agenda was to do the culture trail at Herrgården.  This is a 1.5km trail around the old stone quarries and accommodation.  The trail was really well marked out, with some really interesting buildings that you could read about on the information boards as you went around, and also take a look inside.  This was so exciting for my trio, who loved reading the history and role of a building and then looking inside.

After enjoying our really lovely and very scenic walk in the spring sunshine, we headed off to Tjurkö Skans, a fort in the middle of the island.  This underground military fort was used in both World Wars.  We have seen similar things in other places before all locked up, so imagine our delight when we could creep inside into the dark, damp, and cold interior to explore with only our torch for light.  It was a huge adventure, and twin 2 was a little bit scared.  The little lady, to my surprise, was all up for exploring every dark corner, and we all had fun going in and out of the empty rooms, before heading back into the sunshine to walk over the top of it.

With the “sightseeing” done, it was time to head to a sandy sheltered cove in Hägnaviken, to play in the sand and enjoy the views, whilst cooking on a small campfire .  My three always totally lose themselves in their play when they are allowed to just be on a beach somewhere, and today was no different.  The water was cold so we kept the boots and waterproof trousers on. But the sun was warm, the wind was asleep for once, and it was so lovely to ditch the hats, gloves, and coats.  They had a very happy few hours there.  I think they really enjoyed the freedom that having less bulky clothing on generates!

How To Get To Tjurkö

In the summer months you can take one of the archipelago ferries from the centre of Karlskrona.  It will stop at many islands on the way, you just alight at the right one.  There are also buses from the centre of Karlskrona all year round as part of the public transport system.  As the island is linked road bridges, it is also possible to drive there, the method we used outside of summer season.

What To See And Do On Tjurkö

  1. At Herrgården you can take the 1.5km cultural trail around the old stone quarrying area.  There are signs to read on the way about old building remains, or what happened there, and is a lovely little loop to amble gently round.
  2. Tjurkö Skans:  This is an old fortification used both in World War 1 and World War 2.  It is roughly placed in the centre of the island.
  3. Hägnaviken:  There is a lovely sandy beach to be found here, where lots of fun can be had!!
  4. Of course there are trails to be hiked as well like anywhere in this beautiful country.

Where To Eat On Tjurkö

  1. Öboden Cafe has supplies for refreshments, as well as a gallery and selling some souvenirs, but is only open in the summer months.
  2. Tjurkö Stengods is another coffee shop and sells stoneware as well, also only open in the summer months.

Where To Stay On Tjurkö

Stenbräcka Kurs och Lägergård is the perfect place to stay near the sandy beach on the island.  It offers camping (tent and caravans etc), or you can rent a stuga (cottages from 4-6 beds, with their own toilet facilities and some with kitchens, some without), or there are rooms in the youth hostel on site too.  You can find out more information on their website

This is a beautiful place with a very interesting history.  Everything is relaxed, even the sightseeing, as that meanders around a short and beautiful trail.Discover Tjurkö The Stone Cutter island, Tjurkö, Tjurko, Sweden, Blekinge, www..mammasschool.co.uk

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

 

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
 

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