Monday, June 23, 2008

Sweden road trips Part II

Another long weekend, so needless to say another road trip !! The occasion- Midsummers celebration on 20th and 21st June when the whole of Sweden is out partying. I think we are on a mission to go completely broke!But if the last trip felt worth it, this one felt even more overwhelmingly so !

We started out with a plan to visit Goteborg in the southwest, 2nd largest city in Sweden. And as they say the journey matters more than the destination, it held true for us. We loved the drive and everything in betweens starting from the cute cafe we had breakfast at, the landscape, the sights- everything! We left the mostly flat with huge lush fields region of Skane and entered the sometimes hilly with tall trees and sometimes rocky terrains of Halland county of Goteland region.

Near Varberg, we visited World War I radio station
at Grimeton. Its the only such long wave radio station left in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sadly, it was closed.

Then a last minute decision landed us ;unknowingly; in the midst of a big mid-summers celebration. We got off the highway to visit Tjoloholms castle and had no idea that there was a big party on on the grounds there and we even unsuspectingly paid the entry fee thinking it was for the castle.

But it was fun. Amongst a sea of Swedish white country folks with families, here were two strangers roaming around not knowing where they were!! The castle was beautiful and the view of the sea behind it was breath-taking.

We landed in Goteborg at 3 was raining,we were famished and in a not so very good mood . So there was nothing going for the town. Its supposedly beautiful, but us being in no mood to explore, we started back, which is a pity really.

The area of Osterlen, particularly Simrisham was something straight out of a book. It was picture-perfect. Cobbled-stoned streets, pretty harbour and quaint pastel coloured houses that I have so come to love! In fact, I can't get enough of them and keep clicking almost every house much to the irritation of Ashwin

Quite near to Simrishamn is Stenshuvud National Park with stunning views, splendid trails and surreal beach. Well, the beach, don't even know where to start. Surreal, that is the only word coming to my mind. Maybe because I haven't seen a sight like this in India - deep blue sea, golden sand and hardly anyone around.

On Sunday, we started out for Kulla peninsula on top of Helsinborg even though it was dull day with a grey cast ominous sky. Yet we were lucky. It rained only whenever we were in the car. First stop, Kullaberg Nature reserve. There are some 11 caves here and great opportunity to go diving, caving, fishing, rock climbing, fishing, golfing and hiking. We took the last option- hiking. Kullen lighthouse, is considered the brightest in Sweden.

The entrance to the reserve is through the tiny fishing village of Molle which has houses perched on its steephill and a small harbour. The weather was kind to us and we could enjoy lunch there.

Sweden road trips Part I

Can it be that you put Ashwin and a long weekend together, and not have a road trip !!! So, off we went discovering the region of Skane in an Octavia. Skane is pretty much flat and full of huge lush green fields and its beautiful. We had 3 days from 7th to 8th of June and started with the southern area. We decided to skip the expressway and took the scenic route marked on the map. First day- Ystad !

Ystad with its pretty houses, cobbled streets and half-timbered houses had us mesmerized. I thought it to be straight out of a picture post-card. What could be more beautiful? Or so I thought before I saw more of Sweden later. For some reason, it was completely deserted. There were just us and some senior citizen tourists roaming the pedestrian streets. Guess it being the national day holiday and brig
ht and sunny to top it, the Swedes were out on some beach. Well, we liked it all the more.

We visited Ales Stenar, Swedish stone henge in Kaseberga which is a short distance from Ystad. Its on a cliff and the view of the sea next to it is stunning.

Next day, bright and early, we started north to the town of Helsingborg. This time we decided to stick to the highway and got there real fast. Its a pretty coastal town with a harbour and the Danish town of Helsingor in view across the sea. There are ferries takingyou across. We lingered long enough for lunch and we were off again- this time looking for Soderasen National Park which is nearby.

I think we were not quite expecting what we experienced at Soderasen National Park. Which is why it had us completely bowled over. Firstly, its really big and really green! Then it had hiking trails all over it. Since, we'd had a good lunch and lots of energy, what just started as a stroll in the park ended up in a solid 8 kms hike. And I have never enjoyed a trek as much ever in my life. I think thats because everything was just perfect and in place- beautiful weather, lots of green around, full stomach and a great trail.