Sweden Rambles, Travel & Culture, Travel Diaries

Sweden, My Love: a walk in the forest

Here I am writing about my impressions on my first trip to Sweden with my boyfriend Matt, which occurred between end of February and beginning of March 2015. We stayed in the county of Skåne (Scania): Malmö, Skurup and the surroundings; while also visiting Copenhagen in Denmark.

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Day 9

On Sunday, we woke up to a glorious, sunny morning. The perfect weather for a visit to the forest in Svaneholm. We left by car and when we reached the famous underpass that had cheated us on Thursday, the hostess explained how we could still have walked on the road, only facing the oncoming traffic.

I couldn’t help but feel ashamed and angered because from that point, the road was short. We had been so close to Svaneholm! Anyhow, it was useless to feel bitter. The important thing was that I still had the chance to see this place.

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Svaneholm Castle and the surroundings

We left the car in the parking area and headed to the castle, passing by some old red-bricked stables on the way. Red bricks also dominate the castle’s architecture (Svaneholms slott), which was built in 1530 by a Danish knight. It now houses a museum and a restaurant – which were closed on the day – and it also hosts receptions. I still had the opportunity to enter the courtyard. I thought it was impressive. Come to think of it, it’s the first castle I have ever visited!

We enjoyed the magnificent surroundings of green surfaces and the blue lake circled by naked trees – it was picture-perfect – before taking the path to the forest. Then it was just trees, mossy trunks, puddles, dry leaves and more trees. I was elated to be immersed in such nature and I couldn’t imagine how beautiful it must be in spring and summer, when the branches are once again covered with leaves. Then I also realised that I was ‘only’ visiting a forest in the South and that I could not yet witness the beauty of other, bigger forests up in the North.

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The walk around the lake (Svaneholmssjön) was long but I didn’t feel it as I was busy taking photos. Sometimes I would discover a magical spot that would reveal an amazing view over the lake, framed by tree branches. I could admire the castle from afar and from different point of views. Out from the thick wood, I saw more green surfaces on which a group of people were holding a training session. We kept walking along the lake’s perimeter until we reached the car again.

I left Svaneholm feeling ecstatic and heavy-hearted at the same time. I wished that I lived close to such a place so I could go for regular walks in the forest.

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Postcard view of Svaneholm Castle and the lake

The hosts drove us to Farmor’s in Malmö. The plan was to visit the cemetery to pay respect to Matt’s father and grandfather and to have dinner with Farmor. So we left in Farmor’s car to Östra Kyrkogården (East Cemetery). While Matt and Farmor were buying flowers, I wandered near the entrance to the vast area which houses churches and burial places for different faiths.

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Minneslund

Our first stop was Minneslund, the place were cremated ashes are scattered. It was sort of a round, staired arena with a perfectly-mowed lawn intersected by a passage that led to the centre, where the ashes lay buried, covered by plants and flowers left by grieving relatives. There was also a fountain, sculpted with a leafy motif, which was not streaming water at that moment. As Matt placed the bouquet of three bright orange flowers, Farmor described how this central spot serves as a smörgåsbord for wild rabbits. Unfortunately, there were no rabbits in sight and neither were other visitors. It was extremely silent and peaceful. Before we left, Farmor made sure to light some candles at the entrance.

Then we visited the Jewish cemetery where Farmor’s mother is buried. There I learned that it is not customary to leave flowers on the graves. Instead, we left three pebbles – one each – over a leaf on top of the grave’s marble.

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Yummy in my tummy!

When we finished our duties, Farmor drove to a supermarket where amongst other things, she bought some round cinnamon buns for the post-dinner fika, to my utmost joy. At last I would be eating a kanelbulle in the right form!

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Can you see him?!

The rest of the afternoon was spent at Farmor’s apartment, eating, chatting and relaxing. We left for Skurup by train early in the evening. On our way to the house, on a path leading to a private children’s playground, we spotted at least three wild rabbits. I could barely stop myself from screaming in excitement. Naturally I couldn’t walk close to them and they were running so fast. I tried to take photos and videos but sadly they could hardly be seen in them because it was already getting dark. This special encounter made my great day even better!

My happiness was not to abate at home. Unexpectedly, my hostess handed me a gift. It’s a fabric coaster in the form of a Dala horse (Dalahäst), one of the most distinguishing symbols of Sweden. A perfect gift and a sweet gesture that kept me in a good mood, despite having to start the tedious job of packing everything back into my luggage (why is packing at the end of the holidays so much harder than at the start?).

That night I went to sleep with the sensation of having had the perfect last full day in Sweden. The next morning was going to be tough, not only because we had to leave Skurup very early but also because I had grown really fond of this place and its people.

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Have you been to Sweden? Or are you from Sweden? Leave a comment on this post or drop me a mail!
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