We’ve been in Sweden now for 12 days, and it’s rained on 9 of them; so definitely no lookin fur the sheepen – sorry, but only Benny Hill fans of my vintage will understand that – for the youngsters, think Benny Hill, think innuendo; nuff said!
Our journey from Denmark took us to southern Skane, where we stopped at Gislovslage (pronounced Yislervz lairger), before taking a pilgrimage to Ystad. Followers of Henning Mankell, and more particularly Wallander, will know Ystad to be a bleak, grey place, where it rains all the time, no-one smiles, and there are dead bodies around every corner; thankfully none of this is true – the place is colourful, full of character, and the inhabitants are charming – and all alive!
From here it’s around Sandhammaren, stopping at Simrishamn, and Ahus, before the small island of Hano, and another British war grave; this time from the Napoleonic War.
A short hop north east from Hano gave us a small taste of what (I think) is in store for us. A devious course through small uninhibited islands, skirting (barely) submerged rocks (some, even charted), to wonderfully quiet, peaceful anchorages; and this on the days when it didn’t rain!
All things come an end, however, and the following days journey to Karlskrona was ‘lit up’ by a spectacular thunder storm – no lack of boat speed that day!
Karlskrona is a wonderful city; once home to the Swedish navy, it sits on 33 interconnected islands; and whilst the naval presence is now minimal, there are a multitude of reminders of how the place must have looked back in the 18th and 19th centuries – the beautifully preserved fortifications, the wide avenues and monumental buildings around the spacious squares. The fact that the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage list speaks for itself.
Today we turned north into the Kalmar Sound (with the incessant rain), as we make our way towards the archipelagos which stretch, unbroken, for the 150 miles up to Stockholm. Let’s hope July will be less moist!