A Sunny Sweden For Our Last Days.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
402Trip End Dec 31, 2013
The sun finally has made an appearance in Sweden!
We've had some dismal days weather wise, but as we crossed back into Sweden from Denmark and headed to the Port City of Karlskrona, we were blessed with blue sky's. Karlskrona is a gorgeous city. Not at all like one imagines a port city to be. Historic buildings and colourful flower boxes line cobblestone streets and with the sun out, it took on a fairytale quality.
People were friendly too. We got chatting to a retired navy man who initially came to tell us off for parking where we did, but on finding out we were all the way from Australia, wanted to give us the full history of the buildings of Karlskrona in his deep Swedish accent.
The Port is still an active Navy Port and so that area, whilst UNESCO Heritage listed, was out of bounds (a guided tour could be had the next evening but we couldn't wait that long.) The friendly staff at the tourist office however, told us the UNESCO listing referred to the whole city so we enjoyed seeing the old buildings, churches and houses.
It was tempting to stay on in Karlskrona for the night, but we still had some hours of daylight left and our time with the hire car was running out fast. We set "ABBA" (our GPS) to take us to the Island of Oland, reached by a 6 km bridge which our tourist information brochure proudly tells is toll free.
We reached the town of Borgholm on the island at around 9pm, with no accommodation booked. On trying the caravan park for a cabin we were told it was booked out for months (memories of Bayview). We drove around asking people in the street and were referred to a cafe in town that had backpacker rooms above and there was one room left! Bunk beds (again!), bathroom down the hall and a rank smell of dirty socks - but beds for the night nevertheless! Borgholm, and in fact the whole narrow island of Oland is a top holiday spot for Swedes and caravans, and large campervans are everywhere
The following morning, after ascertaining that we could do our washing at the caravan park, we decided to extend another night at the backpackers, but as our room was booked we had to move rooms. This was no hardship, as we were moved to a room with a double bed, so we weren't complaining! We spent the day exploring the north of the island in our car and then after having dinner in the backpackers kitchen, got chatting to some Swedes who travel all over Sweden and the world playing bridge.The four of us got stuck into red wine while discussing travel and we are a little bit ashamed to say we got told off for being too noisy!!
The next day was our last day of the hire car and so we drove around the whole of the South of the Island where the Agriculture Landscape is UNESCO Heritage listed. It was a bit hard to get the feel of why it was listed, but we think it is that "strip" farming still takes place i.e. a narrow field of peas might be next to a narrow field of potatoes. The farmers live in the villages that line the road rather than on their plots and lots of low rock walls are used to keep animals in and out. Anyway it was quite picturesque.
The drive back to Stockholm was 5 hours and we witnessed two bridges being lifted to let boats through. We squeezed the hire car back into its very narrow space, dropped the keys in the "late" box and headed off on foot to a cheap backpackers close by we had booked.
A flight tomorrow takes us to Tallinn in Estonia for one night and from there it will be onto Helsinki in Finland by boat.
Footnote: Naval Port of Karlskrona, Agricultural Landscape of Southern Oland are UNESCO World Heritage listed.