Sweden’s Southern Coast
Tuesday-Tuesday, August 7-14
After spending five days exploring Aspo and Karlskrona, we hopscotched along the Sweden’s southern coast for a week. JUANONA berthed in three different marinas as few spots along the outer coast offered protected anchorages. Although eager to reach Copenhagen for a wedding, our cruising offered opportunities to visit some interesting sites; some more so than others, but all worth the tie-up.
This town surprised us as the waterfront just seemed like one big marina for people making their way along the coast. Yet, behind the street ringing the harbor a lovely little town awaited our strolling.
we passed street art adorning utility boxes and drain pipes
As we made our way to St. Nicholas Church built in the 12th century, and explanded over the years.
Inside, the brightly colored pulpit shone in start contrast to the stark white walls.
What I found interesting is this church served as one of the pilgrimage stops for those early Christians making their way to/from Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Vadstena in Sweden, and Nidaros in Norway.
The hub of this Pilgrim Way was Lund Cathedral in Lund, Sweden. The powerful Archbishop had quite an impact. I remembered how this religious head basically ruled over the Danish island of Bornholm with Hammershus, a huge fortress located on the northwest coast of that island, an important stronghold.
And, you can imagine the Danish King didn’t jump up and down with joy to have such an influential guy serving as a de facto ruler…
Anyhow, as always, I enjoy connecting the dots even if I can’t always remember much about each mental dot.
Having read about a great pizzeria (yes, I DO search these out), we managed to grab an outdoor table
just before a rain storm hit (thankfully, we had just run back to quickly close Juanona’s hatches).
Although delectable, it didn’t beat our favorite of the summer: the pizza pie we ate at the family-run cafe located on the Aland island of Kokar :)
With a forecast of gale-force winds for Friday through Sunday, we wanted to stop in a town offering more sites to see. Ystad, 27 miles down and around a point, provided the perfect harbor.
Before turning the corner we spotted a site we had earmarked ever since reading about it in some cruisers’ notes: Ale’s Stones.
These stones impressed us as we sailed past and we could only imagine how it’d feel to be amongst them.
Once we got settled into our berth, we made plans to take the local bus to see them. Which is how we ended up standing amidst this ancient stone outline of a ship a few days later.
Comprised of 59 boulders, this ‘sunship’ is 67 meters long and 19 meters wide, with the bow and stern featuring the tallest stones.
Although there is no definitive explanation of why these stones appear here, historians surmise the orientation relates to the earth’s calendar of solstices and equinoxes.
Constructed between 500 and 1000 C.E., the ship uses some stones from a nearby Neolithic burial chamber from around 3,500 BCE.
Remarkably this historical site has survived hundreds of years without much damage. Even when the military used it for an air reconnaissance facility during the 1940s (!).
We checked out the view looking out from the coast.
With such a splendid, unencumbered view it’s not surprising to learn that this landmark served as a navigation aid as noted on a 1684 chart.
To ensure this site cemented itself in his memory Max performed a feat his father Abbot used to do. :)
But, Ystad itself had some interesting sites to see, such as the Greyfriars Abbey. Built in 1267, forty-one years after St. Francis de Assisi’s death, this Franciscan friary served as another strategic support for the archbishop in his power struggle with the king.
In the mid-1500s during Martin Luther’s Reformation, the Lutherans tossed out the brothers, and the abbey became a Protestant church. Over the next three centuries it served as a hospital, a crown distillery and finally a crown granary (where the king stored the grain that farmers paid as taxes).
When cash replaced grain in 1871, the abbey fell into disrepair with the town making plans to demolish this ‘eye sore’.
Luckily a group of town folk protested and raised funds to restore the buildings and grounds to its past glory.
The museum did a wonderful job of explaining the history of the abbey and its inhabitants.
A self-guided tour led us along cobble-stone streets to half-timbered buildings (and a lot of brick) from the Middle Ages, such as a place where pilgrims stayed.
The Mayor’s house where King Karl XII (who fought Peter the Great in the early 1700s and who bankrupt the country) stayed…
Another landmark stood in the center of town: St. Mary’s Church. A wedding prevented us entering; yet, what we really wanted to experience was hearing the famous town watchman’s bugle sounded from the spire.
He began at 9:15 PM and continued until 1 AM at fifteen-minute intervals, a service begun in the 17th century with no interruptions except during WWII. Hard to believe but supposedly true.
For those who have read the Swedish author Henrik Manning’s mysteries, you’d recognize Ystad as the locale his protagonist, Inspector Wallander, frequented. The town offers a tour, but we passed on taking it. Yet, I do want to rewatch the BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh as the Inspector.
In addition to the historical places to see we were thankful to be escaping a pretty rough ride out on the water. We woke one morning to find sand covering the boardwalk along the marina. Walking to the showers we had to keep our mouths shut to avoid swallowing grit.
And, of course, whenever we hear of a good chandlery a stop-in is a must.
With the winds abating and a favorable forecast we left for our last overnight stop before landing in Copenhagen.
The one-mile canal shortened our route by 10 miles. Max borrowed one of the marina bikes to use up our Swedish Kroger’s on beer and wine, while I opted to stretch my legs walking through a neighborhood filled with a mix of vacation and full-time residences in this resort town. But, not much else attracted us.
Tuesday-Thursday, August 14-23, 2018
We awoke the next morning and left Falsterborkanalens for the 24 mile sail to Copenhagen.
Along the way we passed to leeward of a wind farm,
which literally took the wind out of our sails and dropped our speed by a half knot.
This city is so close to Malmo, Sweden a bridge connects the two, one featured in another series, ‘The Bridge’. And, no, I don’t just watch TV series…
We entered a marina, formerly a Tuborg brewery, now aptly marked by port and starboard beer bottle beacons.
One of the two dates we had scheduled for this year’s cruising landed us in Copenhagen for another special event on August 18. We’d been extremely fortunate to attend three spectacular weddings during the summer, beginning with Chris and Karina’s in St. Croix, followed by Brook and Micah’s on Orr’s, and now Nina and Peter’s in Copenhagen.
A friend from Maine who introduced us to Nina joined us aboard over the four days of celebration.
We flew code flags on JUANONA, and Max decorated the dinghy as our ferry to the ceremony, including Norwegian and Danish flags in honor of the wedding couple’s birth countries.
The pictures say it all :)
During our visit we pedaled around the city on the marina’s free bikes, revisiting neighborhoods we had last toured in December.
The summer crowds made us very appreciative of being able to travel off-season.
Since we had seen many of the popular sites our time was spent just cycling around. Doing so we spotted two new places to explore: the graves of famous Danes in Assistens Cemetary, also used as a beautiful park.
In addition to Hans Christian Anderson and Soren Kierkegaard, one of Max’s heroes, the physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962), was also buried here.
While searching out those famous Danes’ resting places I noticed one named “Fred”.
I thought that seemed both odd and, yet, pretty cool that someone had used their nickname for their grave stone. However, when I saw a second “Fred”, it really seemed odd so I google translated it only to learn it’s “Peace” in Danish…
On our way back from the cemetery we happened upon the Niels Bohr Institute.
Max returned the next day and asked the receptionist if it was possible to peek inside. Someone overheard the request and took him to Bohr’s office and lecture hall, left as they were in the 1920s and 30s when this was the epicenter of Quantum Physics.
Not only did Max get an impromptu tour of Bohr’s office and classroom, this guide turned out to be one of the three physicists who created the current building display out front which is connected directly to the CERN accelerator.
Definitely a highlight of Max’s cruising summer :)
But, what really made this port so memorable were the people. In addition to Nina and Peter and their family and friends, such as some Aussies sailors with their young daughter Raphaela (the latter making me miss our grand nieces Vivian and Olivia),
we were lucky enough to have some Orr’s Islanders aboard, namely Steve Arndt as well as a visit from Sarah and John Birkinbine who had just finished a Baltic Cruise.
With August drawing to a close it was time to leave this city and head towards the Kiel Canal. However, Copenhagen remains a destination we to which we definitely intend to return.
Next, dinosaurs and a reunion…