Tag: visit Blekinge

Discover Långören – An Island Retreat

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….fourth up is the island of Långören.

Background Information About Långören

This is the most eastern island in the Blekinge archipelago.  It has a historical tradition of being home to marine station pilots and fishermen, from about 1750.  The pilots would guide both civil and military vessels, until the station shut in 1960.  The pilot station on Långören was responsible for the other pilot stations around the archipelago islands.  The island is very flat and at risk from rising sea waters.

Our Adventure To Långören

The day we chose for our adventure the weather was not the best, but at least it was dry. We caught the boat from Torhamn, and it was a very small one due to the jetty for the larger archipelago boat being under repair.  However, the children loved it and didn’t even mind bouncing around the sea in the gusty winds!

I had decided to base our day around the nature/culture trail.  The island is very small (the 2.5km trail route covers most of it), but due to it being out of season we only had one boat option to get there, and one to get home, leaving us 6 hours on the island.  I also knew there would be no shops/cafe for hiding in, eating, drinking, or warming up, so we took EVERYTHING!  We started the trail at the Pilot House and the children loved this.  The side that is not the youth hostel was open for us to just wander in and look inside at our own risk.  A few rickety narrow staircases later, and we were emerging at the top, taking in the views.  Even on a foggy day, they were impressive.  You can lift the hatch and walk onto the roof, but we had very strong winds and with the three children I decided we could look from the high windows.

We were then out into the elements for the rest of the day looking at points of interest that ranged from medieval times to World War 2.  The children love the old bunkers, so we stopped and made our lunch cooking spot sheltered behind one from the strong winds.  They explored, built a den, and climbed while I cooked some food from my outdoor recipes.  We used our hobo stove for cooking as there are no fire pits around this island to cook safely on.  The sun even popped out for about 10 minutes. 

After lunch we flew our kites.  I had packed them as a bit of a time filler, but they were perfect due to windy weather.  Twin 1 found them very amusing and didn’t stop laughing the whole time they were flying them.  They really enjoyed doing this, and it made being so exposed in the elements for 6 hours much more fun 🙂

After this interlude it was time to complete the trail to make sure we didn’t miss the one and only boat back to the main land.  There are a few summer homes on the island but there is nothing else, and we didn’t want to be stranded there!

How To Get To Långören

The archipelago boats run to the island throughout the summer season.  You can either take the boat from Karlskrona town centre, or catch one from Torhamn.

What To See And Do On Långören

  1. Nature and culture trail:  This is a 2.5km route through the village and countryside of the island.  It takes in ruins from medieval times between 500-600 years ago, as well as World War 2 fortifications.  There are signposts along the route detailing what you can see, and you can collect a paper guide from either the harbour or the Pilot House.
  2. There is a very small exhibition about the history of the island at the Pilot House, but you can also go up to the top of the tower and take in the surrounding views.  These are stunning (especially on a sunny day) as the nearby islands are so low lying as well you can see for miles.
  3. The island is abundant with wildlife so there is plenty of spotting to be done.
  4. There is a lovely small chapel to take a peek inside and stop for a quiet moment.
  5. You can rent kayaks from the cafe so you can explore the waters surrounding the island.

Where To Eat On Långören

There is a coffee shop which is seasonal, so do not rely on it as your sole supply of refreshments. It is usually only open throughout July.  There you can find homemade cakes, soups, and ice creams, while enjoying a very natural and unspoilt view.  It is housed in a historical building.

Where To Stay On Långören

Part of the Pilot House is a hostel.  Check the website for details on how to book, prices, and what you need to bring along with you.

This island is definitely somewhere to head to if you want to get away from it all as there are no distractions.  Just gorgeous Swedish scenery, simple living, and nature.  If you are content just being, choose a nice day and head out to it for a good dose of calm, peace, and tranquillity.  Just remember to take your refreshment supplies for the day!!Discover Långören, Langoren, Blekinge, Sweden, archipelago, www.mammasschool.co.uk

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

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

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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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