That has to do with me having been on a small trip to the southern parts of Sweden..
I came home with 331 photos (But then I had deleted a lot in the camera already, being afraid I'd run out of memory cards), and I'm happy to say that a lot of those turned out really great. Probably about half of them I would've wanted to post here, but then I knew I would run out of Bandwith before you were even able to say the word "Bandwith", which meant I had to cut down a lot on the images. Taking away everything that didn't directly had to do with the locations, such as flowers I photographed there, I had about 50 images I would have loved to post. Still too much. Even when being really small and with a high compression, the images are about 20 Kb each.. 50 x 20 Kb is about 1 Mb. I've got around 100 people on my Friend List, and even if not all of them are actually reading my LJ.. even if only 50 of them does, it would mean it would be 50 MB of Bandwith in one go. Even if I have lots more bandwith than that per month, I've posted a lot of images already and might want to post more, so I thought it best to keep it to a minimum. That way, even if this post is full of images.. some 35 - 40 of them, I've really kept it to a minimum, taken away all the "artsy" photos and photos of specific things. I'll most likely gonna post those, themed, in luka91_photo in the near future instead (So if you want to see those photos, you might want to add that to your friend list or bookmark it and have a look there in a couple of days) Unless you all decide to donate a dollar each through PayPal to Photobucket in my name (luka91), when all restrictions when it comes to Space and Bandwith will be lifted.
Now... This summer has been mostly rain, especially down south where the News (TV and papers) has been able to fill their usual drought of news in the summer with reports about floodings.. There's nothing like showing the force of streaming water and images of traffic-lights where only the top sticks up from the water etc..
Checking the weather reports and seeing that the weather seemed to improve, and not going to exactly the places were it was the worst, I decided to go..
Some rain would pass.. going from the south of Sweden to the north. Since a lot of the trip were a stretch of transportation, I dedided to meet the rain and hopefully when I arrived the rain would have passed, and the plan actually worked..
Started out, it was ok weather.. About 2 - 3 hrs down I met the rain.. And it rained a lot..
Since I'd done a wrong turn previously, ending up on the road I hadn't planned taking, I had to do with a sort of improvised alternative and use small roads to get back on track.. Which actually was really lovely (except for the rain). Ended up on a really fun gravel road. In Sweden it's said that those kind of roads are created by cows, as in.. Once upon a time, when they did have cows there, they made tracks which people used as well, and the the paths grew and then it became roads. Lots of curves, up and down hills.. One of those roads were extreme when it came to that, because the hills were sort of steep and short.. That meant it went upwards, and once you were up, it went straight down again before a sharp curve.. (One thing I've always wondered about, in some curves that seem to go on forever, is if you're actually driving in a circle... At times it sure feels like it.. you turn.. you turn.. you turn.. and it never seem to end). Not only was it fun to drive, it was extremely beautiful too. It's sad that one forgets, often, how beautiful a lot of Sweden is. Some of that have to do with Sweden being full of forests and often when they make new roads/highways they go straight through those forests which becomes slightly boring when you're surrounded by a wall of trees on both sides for miles upon miles, creating the illusion that Sweden is only deserted land where nobody lives etc. That way, it's really nice to get past that wall of trees and get to places with fields, old farms, enclosed fields with horses/cows/sheep etc. The kind of views that's really good photo-op and you see in million of tourist-broschures, postcards and stuff. Sweden (and Norway) does lend itself to picturesque images a lot, but usually in those the sun is shining from a BRIGTH blue sky.. not rain coming from DARK blue/grey skies..
View from the car of a gravel road that at least doesn't dust :-p
Hävla Hammer Forge
Along the road, I found "Häfla Hammer Forge" (You got the English and Deutsch buttons at the top right). Well.. It was a nice place to make a brief stop at. The main problem, I guess, is that Sweden is littered with those kind of places, and you sort of grow tired of them, and you don't really appreciate them as much as you maybe ought to.
Further down that road was a village called "Regna" (approx. "Rain!"). This summer, with rain, rain and even more rain, a sort of ironic place. Thought I might stop and take a picture of the Village-sign along the rain, with the rain etc, but it simply rained too much at the time so it wasn't exactly the time to stop and take images. Sure I wanted rain, but I guess I didn't want that much. I would've been totally soaked, including the camera.
The next time I stopped, I found Stinging Nettles with lots of Snails on them. Did take photos of them (at least they won't move, as cats and bees and other various animals has a tendency to do), and I want to issue a warning. Don't use extreme macro when doing that. I did, which meant that I more often than not touched those STINGING Nettles.
Alvastra Monestary Ruin
My first target was the ruin of the Alvastra Monestary. One of the few major ruins, as such, we have in Sweden. Sweden is old, and does have a "living history" since about 1,500 years ago (not counting rock carvings). As in.. There's a lot of stuff left to see or not to see, all over. There's some problems though. A/ Sweden is full of woods. That way, a lot of major buildings has been built of wood. Forts and stuff. The problem with wooden buildings is that they're fragile in the sense that they could easily be burned down or "dismantled", or if abandoned aren't preserved. That way, you might see a lot of stone-foundations left, but no building. B/ If they've been built with stone, they still could've faced being torn down or just have fallen apart when abandoned and you only see a pile of stones. That's mostly the really old forts, dating back to the 7th - 8th century or something. C/ If they've been built of stone, usually from the 12th century and forward, they're most likely still in use, such as castles, churches etc, which means they're taken care of and usually in very good shape. That's nice since you're able to see houses from that time as they were back then, but that's not exactly good if you're looking for ruins. You'll most likely find only piles with stones or nothing at all. That was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Alvastra, because it's one of the few places that is still standing, sort of. Having actual walls etc.
It was built back in 1143 and used until the 16th century sometime when it simply closed, and it's said that a lot of the stones were used by some king when he built a castle some miles away in Vadstena (Which today has the main Monestary in Sweden).
Obviously, a great place to photograph at, and you could spend hours there. Didn't spent that amount of time, but did take some 75 images there (so this is only a fraction of them to give an idea of what it looked like).
The ruin is situated in a really great place with a "mountain" on one side (Omberget, which slopes down to the second largest lake in Sweden) and with a really fruitful plain on the other side.
That's why, I guess, it's been a popular area to live in for thousands of years, and obviously (as the area on the other side of that lake, and in-between the two largest lakes in Sweden) are littered with ancient remains, and I guess it's hard to walk that far without stumbling over some of them.
The sign says: "Cultural Path"
I only got so far as in starting the car and drive across the main road before I saw the next sign about an ancient remain. Some Pile-Dwelling they've found the remains off.. Even if nothing is really visible off it as such, today. Unless, I guess, if you go there with a shovel and start digging. That's a shame, in a sense, since it seemed to be a really intriguing place. Especially since they don't really have a clue to what it actually was, even if the common idea is that it was a sort of meeting place for special occasions. Whatever, it was a really huge "building", and since it was out in the middle of a bog, probably something with religious connections (Gatherings with lots of food and joy as well as sacrifices of humans and animals). I guess they're slightly baffled by it, since it's so huge and so old (about 5,000 years old) and they've not found anything like it north of the alps. Of course, since they don't have a definite clue about what it was used for, I've seen various interpretations, even if I sort of goes with the one I described. Whatever, it make you curious. I mean.. we're talking about the Stone Age here, What I don't understand is why they put such a lot of effort into building such a huge thing in the middle of a lake/bog only for a couple of villages around it to be used 2 - 3 times every year. At least in a time when it can't have been that many people around. In that case, it must have been some cultural center there. The capital of the kingdom or something (and they've not found something like that yet). Then that might have been either a religious centre, or as would think, some kind of major market place where people from all over came and traded every now and then, including festivities. But, if it was something like that, I think they would have to rethink, in parts, Sweden's earlier history (Which might affect what they do know happened later).
Now, that pile-dwelling was at the far end of a field, with a footbridge leading to it, with sheeps in it. As I approached them, I only wished it was all she-sheeps since he-sheep could be sort of unpleasant to deal with (Even if I figured they'd probably not have dangerous animals where tourists are gonna walk. Hopefully!! :-p). Great.. I love sheep (or all animals really).
Now, they were mostly very suspcisious, and fortunately reserved rather than defensive, even if most of them came and had a sniff at me.. except one of them, the white one in the image above, who seemed to really want to be cuddled, and the only one coming forward when I went back and seemed to like being scratched below the chin..
Only a mile later you have Rökstenen/The Rök Stone, what's said to be the most important Rune Stone in Sweden because it contains such a lot of text and that way give an insight in the literary traditions and forms in those times, even if they aren't entirely sure how to interpret it, or really.. there's different views in how to interpret it. That has a lot to do with the text referring to various myths and tales which hasn't survided until this day since they haven't been written down at any time. That way, it's a lot of guesswork in what, exactly, the text to refers to, since they know that it does refer to something.
It's got a pretty interesting history as well.. I don't remember it all, and can't find that text again, but I think they found it out in a field and when they built a church there long ago, they used it for some part, the foundation maybe. Since one side was visible, they always knew it had runes on it.. But it came as a sort of surprise when they removed it and it was runes all over it, on all sides. Then one might think they would take care of it, but they actually used it to build some other house on the lot, until they finally put it up on the yard of the church. It stood there for some time before they moved it outside, put a roof above it and built a sort of museum next to the parking lot..
The first image I had, before the cut, was taken at the same place. As I said. I had been able to get to the area when it had stopped raining, and as the clouds parted it was a lovely sunset behind Omberget. With some mist in the distance, some trees on the very open plain. I think that image sort of looks like those images you see from Africa of the savanna.
Since it's so open there, there's lots and lots of wind power stations there.
After that, I continued driving south.. Took a break and called Johanna, which became a far longer break than I had thought. We ended up talking for more than an hour, which meant it had time to get really dark before I got around to start looking for some place to stop. I didn't exactly wanted to stop next to the road, but find some place away. In the end, I ended up just taking some gravel road I found, and along it, after having driven on instinct, I found a parking lot for some Nature Reservation... leaving to figure out where the heck I were, once I woke up and it was bright outside.
Woke up, it looked like a fine day with lovely sunshine.. :-)
Was able to figure out, after some driving, where I was able to drive on.. Eksjö, Vetlanda, Emmaboda.. Lot of driving and I found a place off the road, by some lake, where I stopped, had some cinnamonbuns, chocolate etc.. Since it had started getting warm, I changed clothes too, to something lighter and more comfortable..
For some reason, this looks very typically Sweden..
A sunny day in a City of summer with the sea, sailboats, tourists and ice-cream.. really lovely..
Got in, found a place to park the car.. and vetured out in the city..
Had seen a park on my way, which seemed to be quite lovely so that became my first stop.. Spent some time there photographing flowers and statues and pigeons..
"Grodan" (The Frog)
Really loved this one (But it seemed too heavy to take it home with me)
ok.. one flower..
After that I spent time walking around, looking at the city since I've never been there before, as far as I know. Not sure what to say.. It's like most Swedish towns I guess.. Nothing that stood out as really special. Obviously formed by being by the sea, the center of Karlskrona is on an island, or really.. most of Karlskrona are on several islands, and of having been extremely important for the Swedish Marine for several 100's of years.. That way it has a really huge "central" square, and wide streets made for parading etc. Somehow, you sort of ended up on that square whatever way you walked. Mostly because everything is built around it.
One thing it shares with a lot of cities, which was made more visible by the wide streets, was that all cities seem to have signs that points in some sort of general direction, and you're not really sure what way to go, since it doesn't point out a specific street or anything.
Karlskrona isn't that big, and there's not that much to see. Nothing I'm heavily interested in anyway. And being alone, it's sort of hard to motivate yourself. Started thinking about moving on, and was at SPAR to buy some stuff I could have for "dinner" later. Then I got a text-message from greenskye, asking if I were in Karlskrona, and if I still was interested in meeting her.. (I had made a "provocative" SMS-to-LJ post, where I wrote about being in Karlskrona and a hint to her/asking about her, and it worked ;-p).
Didn't do anything specifically. Mostly took a stroll to look at the water on one side of the island, and when we grew tired of looking at that water, we walked across to look at the water at the other side of the island. Talked. I bought us some ice-cream. Generally relaxed. Obviously it was a touch reserved at first, since we had never met before, but once we found our footing it was lots of fun. At least I think that, and I do think she had a good time too.
One thing that suprised me, with her living there, so close to the sea, was the fact that I had to teach her what a barge and a ferry was :-p (Sorry.. You know I had to mention that :-p)
You didn't think I would miss out on and forget a door, did ya?? :-p
One thing we sort of talked about some, was spotting things. I'm not sure if it's because she lives there and I don't or if it's my photograhic mind (probably a combination of both, but I think it's mostly the latter). Even when I'm not really looking for things, I still sort of spot things. Kinda hard to explain really. I sort of look at things constantly, even when I'm just taking a slow stroll, chatting with someone. Even if I think about something else, I sort of let my gaze wander around, without really thinking about it. More like a sort of background noise, and suddenly there's something that jumps out of the noise. A pattern, something in colour or something.
Those two images is sort of explaining it. I've talked to frida about it a lot, that I often take images that extremely few other gets. Most only see a boring house in the first image, while I see the beauty in the symmetry of the 4 levels of it.. The upside-down V's the roof makes. The kind of thing you often need to explain to someone, and once they see it say.. "Oh!! Yes.. I see. Interesting :)". It's the same with the other image. Just a boring corner of a house, and you doesn't even see the full house in the image and doesn't get a sense of what it actually looks like. Now, that house only has a single colour all around. It's the sun that make the right side look orange while the left side in the shadow has a dark red colour. With the white corner forming a border between those areas. The white forming a cross.
Well.. Eventually we had to say goodbye. She going home, I'd go on, on my trip. I'm really happy to have met a really lovely and fun person, and I'm happy that I was able to bring you at least one day with some sunshine.
Next stop was.. you guessed it.. Kristianopel. Actually I've been there two times before, and I simply adore that place.. almost..
It's a place that's really hard to describe in any way..
It promote itself as a touristy town, and very much live out of that, with a major camping area with live music every night, a guest harbour etc. It has lots and lots of small shops selling craft etc. That's sort of the bad point.
The good points is that it's a really neat town, which has an old stone wall (When it was Danish in the 17th century, the Danish king wanted to build a fortressed city there, because it was a strategic point close to the border of Sweden. I'm not sure if the wall really got finished as such, and it's been teared down a couple of times (part of it at least), but it's been sort of restored, even if it's only about half of it and not the same heigh as it once had. Still the wall today is close to a mile long and really impressive. I guess originally it was somewhere between 2 and 3 miles long, surrounding the whole city of that time, and up to 20 ft high. The sad thing now, is that most of the wall today surrounds the camping. Nice protected area, but it sort of diminish the wall. Not saying the area shouldn't be used, but couldn't they at least build cabins or something that would fit in with the enviroment.
It's also really neat because they have some really neat wooden houses with tons of flowers, and it call themself the Town of 1,000 roses (Because they have a lot of different kinds of roses there.)
Found a place some distance away from the town where I stayed over night. Not at all sure what happened during the night, but it started raining. Not sure if it was before I fell asleep, or if I woke up sometime during the night or if I just woke up really early. All I know is that I was really tired when I woke up. I think I might have called Johanna to wake her up, but I'm far from sure, and in that case I fell asleep again afterwards.
Eventually I got going. The first stop became Brömse on the border between two districts, and once upon a time between Denmark and Sweden.
As I wrote earlier, the southern parts of Sweden were Danish once upon a time, and Denmark had an ambition to rule over the whole of Sweden. In a sense they did without Sweden ever becoming Danish as such, but they had problems with rebellious attempts, and in the 1520's the one who became the first real Swedish king, Gustav(us) Vasa, lead a rebellion against the Danish and Sweden really became Sweden. That didn't stop the bitterness between Denmark and Sweden, and it often escalated in wars, and Sweden and Denmark often were allied with different allies. In the 30 year war, Denmark was weak without any real enemies, while Sweden was allied with France against Germany, since Sweden had ambitions for Germany. Denmark, obviously fit well into the plan. Bitter enemies since long, and it Sweden had Denmark, they would have a good front against Germany, thus Sweden, with some help from Holland, were able to really push Denmark up against the ropes. All was ready for the final push when Sweden changed tacticts, which had a lot to do with France. France didn't really need the north fighting it off in wars. Especially at a time when they themself really needed to be friends with both Sweden and Denmark, and the French started negociations for peace between Denmark and Sweden, and the treaty was negociated and signed at Brömsebro in 1645. One of many. Sweden and Denmark had fought it off before and would fight a lot more times after that. I guess it's importance is the fact that it was the first Swedish "victory" in a sense. A sort of overturning, and from then on, in all wars to come Sweden were able to advance and win over Denmark.
Brömse, of course, was an important place, right on the border where it meets the sea. The interesting thing isn't as much as what to see there, but to sort of sense the history. To sort of be reminded that there was a border between Denmark and Sweden there, that Kristianopel was a major Danish town, not Swedish as it is today (In Kristianopel a lot flags with the "rebellious" Swedish/Danish-flag (Red with a yellow cross)). A "remain" of the wars with Sweden is located there as well.. the "fortress" Brömsehus (on the Danish side). Despite the rain, I walked the 700 meters (1/2 mile) on some slippery, wet and muddy path to the place of it, but since it was made out of wood, there's no real remains of it to be seen, except the "built" place. But, as I did when going through a field, at the Pile-dwelling before, I encountered an animal..
Friend or foe???
It was all alone there, as far as I could see. I think it's a heifer, but I'm far from sure. At least I hoped it was, and with the same thoughts as before, I guessed they wouldn't let potentionally dangerous out in fields where tourists might walk, I walked, even if those horns sort of draw attention to themself. It seemed to be slightly more afraid of me than I was of it, so.. Went on, had a look, and when I returned the same path it was gone. Either joining the 200 others that had been hidden in some bushes when I walked past the first time :-p, or it had keeled over in shock or something..
I had an umbrella, to protect from the rain, but only ordinary clothes.. No boots or anything. When I got to Brömsehus I had thought it wasn't that bad, having made it out there without getting that wet (from the mud and grass etc), but I don't know what happened on the way back. When I returned to the car, my shoes and the lower part of the shorts were soaking wet. Couldn't bother to change, so I put the heat on full and at full blast in the car and pointed it downwards, which worked fine.
I reached Kalmar. Still raining, if not that much. The only thing I was interested in really was the castle so I drove directly to it. That close to the border to what was once Denmark, and with a key location, obviously one of the main castles and harbours in Sweden.
Took a stroll around the outher wall, with the cannons, then a stroll around the castle inside of the wall. Wasn't that interested, and sort of behind in time, so I never went into the castle. Saving that for some time when I have company. Part of the reason was the fact that it cost money and didn't allow photographing.
Instead I went on to one of the main reasons why I did the trip.. the major Tourist-attraction in Sweden.. the island Öland (It's almost completely empty and about everything is closed in the winter, but during the summer you have a million and two small shops, cafés and tourists there). Öland really is totally worth it, because it really is amazing with all the stone-walls, the windmills, old churches and a really fantastic landscape. But that's when the weather is nice (which it is for the most part). Now it was raining, and even if it sort of stopped, all was wet and grey, which sort of dampened the mood. I was still tired too, I think. Felt a bit grumpy. All that wasn't helped by the traffic. Öland is lovely with lots and lots of small roads (They only have one major road). Former, narrow, windling gravel roads, and it's pure joy driving on them and say "Ooh" and "Aaahh" at every curve, when something new and beautiful are revealed. That's when it's not traffic. Since the tourists go there anyway, be it rain or shine, it's still as much people. The thing is.. When it's sunshine most people are occupied doing things. Getting a tan on one of the numerous beaches, looking at ruins or windmills. When it rains, they don't do that.. Instead they all sit down in their cars and drive around the island, and those roads simply aren't made for it. I got really stressed by it, being unable to drive along in my own pace (when there were two cars behind me), and you always need to keep close attention to the road because of all the traffic. It made it hard to admire the landscape, made it close to impossible to see that small place you could stop at to take some photographs etc.
I figured that out really quickly and got bored so I made the decision to start making my way home instead, since I needed to get home the day after anyway when my father, who looked after the cat, was gonna go away on some trip.
The ride home wasn't anything special. Didn't hurry that much, but still made good progress and made it home the same evening. Only had a small stop in Mönsterås, which was really lovely, to get some food etc. At about the same time as I got out of the area with rain. The rest of the road, the weather was mostly nice without much of rain, and it started to feel a touch better.. and once I got home, I was greeted with a quite lovely sunset over the lake we have here