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Örebro and Skåne 2

SWEDEN | Monday, 3 November 2008 | Views [1149]

Executive Summary    

OK, I think I’ll try and do Executive Summaries for all the Blogs from now on.  This blog covers the 5 weeks in (mostly) October between our first big trip to the UK and the second smaller trip to the UK.  Emma worked on a final report for a project back in Australia for most of this time.  We were based in Örebro in a studio apartment loaned to us by Anders and Agnete, but spent the middle 2.5 weeks in Malmö housesitting for a dancing couple and visiting our friends and Copenhagen and doing a lot of dancing.  During this time the weather shifted through gorgeous autumn leaves to the early frosts and snowfalls of winter.  It was also the time of year when daylight saving ends and the days suddenly become very short (well, the full day length continues to shrink smoothly, but sunset is suddenly at 4:30 instead of 5:30).


Autumn Leaves

Train Troubles
Living and Dancing in Malmö
Sights in Malmö

Örebro (continued)    
Örebro Castle
Icehockey and
Frozen Lakes

Autumn Leaves

We returned to Sweden to a blaze of autumn leaves.  England had been starting autumn while we were there, but that mostly consisted of some lovely, subtle, earth tones creeping in amongst the green canopies.  As we landed in Västerås, however, we had our first inkling that the autumn change was proceeding in Sweden at a different pace altogether.  We saw some splashes of colour amongst the trees from the plane as we landed, but we were more interested in negotiating the 2-3hr homeward journey to Örebro and getting to bed at that point.

Next morning, Sunday, was Emma's birthday, and Sweden arranged for a gloriously blue, sunny day in which to enjoy the autumn spectacle.  We walked around the neighbourhood and took photos and marvelled at the colours, before walking into town and doing the same.  We ended up getting a picnic lunch from a cafe and heading to Stadsparken (the city park) to enjoy a birthday lunch to remember.

In Australia, when leaves turn brown and fall off, it means there's a drought on and the trees are dying.  Most of the trees keep their leaves year round, and even in Canberra (where I lived for a few years), where some of the older suburbs have been planted with oaks and other European trees, I don't recall any great show, just that the leaves turned brown and fell off.  In Sweden, on the other hand, the leaves turned bright yellows, oranges and reds.  In fact, often we'd see a single tree that started off green on one side, and shifted through the spectrum of yellows and oranges to bright red at the other side - couple that to the blue sky behind and you had a natural display rivalling anything spring offered.  Spring has lots of small wildflowers (usually, appropriately, yellow and blue) sprinkled across the green grass, but the big patches of almost pure spectral colours appealed to my big picture brain.

Anders told us later that this was one of the most spectacular autumns they'd had in a few years.  You seem to need the right combination of low temperatures, frosts and probably low rainfall at the right time as well as fewer storms that would blow all the leaves off.  The most spectacular trees were the maples, with the brightest red leaves, so autumn in Canada would possibly be even more spectacular.  I'm not sure, but I think that the red pigment is actually added to the leaves as they die by the tree (red pigment is a powerful antioxidant), rather than being there the whole time and being revealed as the green chlorophyll disappears.

It was an amazing day, and all I can suggest is that you look at the photos to get a better idea of what I can only try to explain.


Emma started her second stint of work the next day - 4 weeks working from home on a project she'd started on in Australia.  I did my best to stay out of the way, difficult in a 1 room, studio apartment.  Anders and Agnete rent a small place for when Anders had to work late in town and they very kindly let us stay there the whole time we were in Örebro.  It was small but big enough, across the road from a supermarket and busstop and only about 30min walk to town.  It was also very close to Svampen ("The Mushroom") - a huge, spaceage watertower looking like a flying saucer on a pillar and one of the symbols of Örebro.

In order to keep out of Emma's way, and get some blogging done, I spent most mornings walking into the city library and using the computers there.  We were a little sneaky in that Emma got a library card too, which meant I could use the computers for 2hrs a day instead of just one (and making the journey in more worthwhile).  The walk in and out is pretty good, taking me past the castle in the middle of town, a couple of churches and along the main cobbled street.  For the time I was at home, I bought a headphone extension so I could watch TV in bed without distracting Emma.

With Emma's cousin Anna's very kind help, we got a mobile broadband internet connection for the laptop so that Emma could work.  Having no personnummer (Swedish ID number – we had a 1 year working visa, but through a quirk of bureaucracy you can’t easily get a personnummer until you’d been there a year), we were unable to sign any contracts ourselves, so Anna very graciously stepped in and took on the official responsibility - the shortest time we could get was 12 months, which was quite annoying since we only needed it for 3, but a prepaid modem cost about 9 months worth of plan just to buy and had slower speeds.  So huge thanks to Anna for that.  The modem took a bit of the usual stuffing around to get working, which was a bit frustrating, but luckily the lady doing most of the work on the project back in Australia was taking her usual approach to deadlines and didn't have anything for Emma to work on in the first week.  Luckily we didn't have any big plans for the week after the 4 week block and so Emma pretty much wrote off that first week and worked the week after (ie shifted the 4 week block back a week).  We also spent the Thursday of that first week travelling to Malmö.


Since we had so many friends in Skåne (revision – the southernmost region of Sweden, including the cities of Malmö and Lund), we had arranged to go and stay there for a few weeks while Emma was working from home.  Maria and Lovisa had been drafted to see if anyone they knew had a flat to rent short term – luckily for us, two of the core dancers/teachers from the dance scene were getting married and offered us their central flat in Malmö for the two weeks they were on their honeymoon.  We did pay some rent to them, but it wasn’t extreme and it was really, really nice of them to help us out – in fact it was Emil, the same guy who had helped us out in Herräng by driving us to Hallstavik when the bus system turned out to be useless (our hero).

Train Troubles

The train trip down was a bit of an adventure.  We changed trains at Mjölby to get onto the Stockholm-Malmö line.  We waited the 30min or so and then about 10min before the train was due, noticed that it was delayed by 30min.  Oh well, we waited until 10min before the new time and it was revised up again.  There were a few announcements that there had been an accident up the line (our fellow attempted passengers helped us out with translations).  Oh well, accidents happen, so we went through the constant revising of the time until they just took the train off the board.  We kept waiting for the next announcement telling us when the train would be, but they kept giving the same message that it was delayed; luckily I had my Harry Potter.  After 2.5hrs, I noticed that the board had another train to Malmö on it, but assumed it was another phantom train, since the announcements never changed.  At the time the new phantom train was said to be arriving, I wandered out to idly check if anything was there.  There was a train there.  I asked the driver if it was going to Malmö (ie by pointing in the direction it was going and saying “Malmö?”), he nodded yes.  I figured I’d rather hop on any train going in the right direction and argue the toss with the conductors about my rights while travelling towards my destination, so I ran back in and told Emma and everyone that there was a train outside going to Malmö, grabbed my bags and went out to get on it.  Everyone followed and, despite the conductor blowing his whistle to try to get the train moving, I used all the opaqueness of my mighty arm to block the sensors allowing the doors to close (like those annoying ”helpful” people in lifts), preventing the train from leaving until everyone had got there and hopped on.  Once we were on the train, we looked for a vacant seat, before running into the conductor lady that had been waiting with us.  She told us that this was, actually, the train we were booked on, the next train (scheduled for 2 hours later and now 30min late) was right behind it.  She’d nearly missed it too.  So we got our booked seats and spent the rest of the trip wondering as the incompetence of a company that, having a train delayed for 2.5 hours, had tried to sneak it past the station full of people who had been waiting for that train (including one of their staff) without announcing it was finally there.  When the bloke that doesn’t speak the local language too well is the one telling the locals their train has finally arrived, there’s something seriously wrong.  Luckily we later found out that the delay entitled us to a refund and after fighting the front-desk mentality of “block everyone” eventually got most of our money back (well, we got vouchers to use for future travel, which we did).  So I guess Swedish Rail (SJ) beats Train Italia for the “Biggest Delay with least information” award.

One unfortunate side effect of the train delay was that we were too late to meet Emil and Emelie before they left for their honeymoon, but luckily, Emelie arranged for a friend Johan to meet us and let us in, which was super nice of him (it was a work day).

Living and Dancing in Malmö

The flat we were staying in was in another old building with high ceilings in the middle of Malmö – ie so central it was actually on the manmade island in the centre.  The island was manmade not by piling up earth to create land, but by digging a canal around some land that already existed to create an island.  And “our” flat overlooked that canal, which was nice.

The Malmö library was quite close but I actually spent very little time there – Emil had a playstation.  So I spent most of the first week playing and finishing a strategy game called Monsters.  I tell you, you could really waste your life on those things.  I’m so glad I don’t have a game console or cable TV since you’d never see me (tempting I know, but please don’t all band together and get me one, I’d know why).  They should only be given to prisoners since they’re there to waste time anyway (and you wouldn’t have any trouble from them until you had to drag them away to release them).  Anyway, after I finished that game I decided to do something more useful and read A Brief History of Everything (by Bill Bryson) that I found on their bookshelf.  Given I had about 7 days to read a 800 page book, it was quite a job getting it finished in time and took up much of that last week.  All this was done while Emma toiled away in the dining room (hey, I earned my Long Service Leave by toiling away in an office for 10 years rather than swanning about doing a PhD d-:)).

Most of the reason we were in Malmö was to dance.  And we had a great time doing so.  The Malmö and Lund dance communities are great fun and very welcoming.  Even though we were there visiting swing friends, the first dance night we went to in Lund neither of our friends could make it, so we were pretty much strangers (except for a few familiar faces), and still we were in demand for dances.  We even got a lift home to Malmö (so friendly).  Super friendliness award has to go to Ingrid, an older lady but super keen, loooves to dance and seems to know everyone in Sweden and Denmark who’s ever looked at a dancefloor.  We danced in Lund on Monday nights, Malmö on Thursday night and in Copenhagen on the Sunday we were there (more on that later).  As I’ve said in the previous blog, Malmö had a friendly scene, with an emphasis on having fun and partying, a bit like the Brisbane scene.

We got to catch up with all of our Skåne friends while there.  We had some nice dinners and conversations with Kerstin, including one with her partner Magnus.  Kerstin (pronounced “SHER-stin” if you want to try it the Swedish way) is expecting their first baby and is glowing with expectant motherhood, though it wasn’t slowing her down any.  We caught up with Maria before dancing in Malmö and stayed with her on the last night before we headed home to Örebro.  And we caught up with Lovisa a few times at dancing and for some boozy nights in and out with her umfriend Cornelia.  Hopefully we’ll be able to bring some souvenirs back to Australia in the form of Kerstin and Lovisa, who are both planning to spend some more time in Brisbane next year - Kerstin to look after her little barn while Magnus works on his PhD at UQ, and Lovisa to do more study in Brisbane.  So, look out for them and be super nice to them in return for them being so friendly to us.

Sights in Malmö

I’ve discussed the sights of Malmö and Lund in a previous blog (the Göteborg and Skåne 1 blog) so I’ll try not to repeat myself and just describe a few of the new tings I saw while there.  We were just down the road from Gustav Adolph’s Torg(Square) and the public library was slightly further on to the other side, through the cemetery.  Malmö has a cemetery right in the middle of town, and it’s quite an interesting affair.  Being on the way to somewhere, it has a well used public walkway through the middle (at one end is one of the main squares and the bus interchange).  So, rather than being consigned to a remote corner where nobody goes, the cemetery is more like a public park with well maintained walkways and lawns, nice trees and open spaces, and a whole lot of tombstones arranged in the usual way through it.  It’s a nice approach to death (though I’m sure most locals don’t really consciously think of it as a cemetery as they walk through).

On the other side of the canal near the library is one of the many kebab stands in Malmö.  According to Lovisa, there was a bit of a falafel price war in Malmö a couple of years ago, for some reason (oversupply in the market I guess).  As a result, you can get a falafel kebab (and rolled up in the style we’re used to in Brisbane, not dripping out the sides of a fragile sliced pita) for 20kr (about A$4) which is about the only time I’ve seen a food item cheaper in Sweden (except local exports I guess).  And they’re yummy too.  At one point, coming home from clubbing in Malmö, we stopped off at another kebab place doing a brisk late night trade near the pub district and got a kebab with <drool> grilled halumi on it.  Yummmm!

The library is in the corner of Slottsparken (The Castle Park) which contains, wait for it, a castle.  Unfortunately, Malmöhus has not experienced quite the renaissance that Örebro castle has.  Being in the disputed territory between Denmark and Sweden, it saw a bit more action than Örebro castle, but I guess it was built a bit later, looking more like a modern flat fortress than a tall imposing castle.  After its decline in importance, it was turned into a royal mint before becoming (in the footsteps of just about every other castle) a prison.  The main problem I guess we have with Malmöhus is that, being made of red brick (possibly some of it the result of more recent renovations and additions) it looks more like a brewery than a castle.  Maybe it’s because Örebro castle fell into disuse that saved it (allowing for a sensible, planned restoration about 100 years ago), whereas the continuous refits and sloppy maintenance of the old structure has wreaked such havoc with Malmöhusets façade.  Oh well.

One last place we went to in Malmö was Pildammsparken in the southeast.  This was a huge park with a great big lake in one corner.  The lake was nice, but the highlights were the trees in the rest of the park.  They’d been allowed to grow very large and close together (though they obscure the forest somewhat).  It was great to walk under a connected forest canopy along paths covered by autumn leaves.  The other cool thing about the tree cover was that where they weren’t, they did so abruptly.  Roads and paths were cut through the trees and through the foliage, creating straight, sheer canyons in the canopy.  There was also one big circular field cut out in the same way, creating an empty space in the middle like a bai in the Congo (though no new species of pygmy elephant was observed).

Speaking of trees, the gorgeous autumn colours we’d seen in Örebro never quite made it to Malmö.  We’d seen some amazing colours as we’d gone south on the train, suggesting that the sweet spot of autumn was slowly moving south across the country, but I guess the combination of moist air (being next to the sea) and not quite so extreme temperatures didn’t quite convince the trees in Malmö to put on the same display.  The storm that passed through on the first weekend we were there probably didn’t help, blowing quite a few of the turning leaves off the trees.  While there was some colour, mostly the leaves just turned brown.  So we only really got one good day of autumn leaf admiration (the autumn display was over by the time we got back to Örebro a couple of weeks later), but it was probably the best day of the year (and Emma’s birthday) so we’re happy.


On the second weekend we were there (the first weekend having been completely rained out) we took the train over the bridge to Copenhagen so that Emma could have a look.  The day started off a bit cloudy, but after an hour or so (it was about noon by the time we got there) it had cleared up to a beautiful fine day.  I had a tourist map of Copenhagen which had a suggested walking route on it as a line of red dots.  This path seemed to go past most of the sights I’d seen in the centre which I thought Emma would like (Christiania wasn’t really on her to do list and it was in another part of town anyway), so we followed it.  And it turned out to be pretty much the best way of seeing everything in central Copenhagen (go figure), so if you’re ever there and wondering what to see – grab the standard tourist map and follow the red dotted path.  A couple of things we saw that I hadn’t seen before were the island of Slotsholmen (Castle Island), the centre of government, and Kastellet (the Fortress).  Slotsholmen, right in the middle of the city is where the royal palace and parliament are situated.  Nice but a bit austere.  Kastellet, to the northwest near the Little Mermaid was more interesting.  It’s still a working fortress of the 18th century ramparts and bastions variety, but with the old buildings and public access it’s a bit like a park with people walking along the earth ramparts and enjoying the views of the park it’s situated in.

You can wait for Emma's photos for a better description of our walk in detail (with photos, no less), so I'll move on to the dancing.  After walking through Rosenborg gardens, and trying to avoid the big Congolese-looking guy shouting random things (though mercifully in English, so at least we knew he was a loony - though a seeming friendly one) we came to Rundtorn (Round Tower) - the old observatory with the spiralled ramp.  Next door to that was Studenthuset (The Student House) - the uni bar where the dancing was being held that day.  We found a small gathering of dancers - about 20 I guess in the bar with a live band playing.  It turned out that the band was a roll up jam session for whoever wanted to join in.  The personnel changed a few times during the couple of hours we danced but they were generally quite good (except for one girl who kept insisting on playing a long sequence of very very slow songs that she couldn't sing very well to).  Had some great dances - the folks there were very friendly too.  One girl, Hannah, I remembered from Herräng where we'd had some great dances (one of the highlights of the social dancing there), and we had a great time dancing in Copenhagen too.  Hannah is one of those dancers that has as much fun stuffing up as pulling out fantastic moves (and she is a great dancer), and it is wonderfully contagious.  In general, approaching dancing with a sense of fun usually results in better dances for you and your partner than being too serious about it - though of course serious competence probably beats silly, spaghetti armed, thoughtless incompetence, but I'm talking about all else being equal here.

After the dancing Emma and I went to a veggie buffet restaurant for dinner before heading back to the station.  The rest of the walking route (we were mostly finished when we got to the dancing) was done in the dark and was therefore pretty uneventful.  We did see a Lego display in the main square where kids were invited to add to the white city that was being built.  Everyone seemed to be having fun.  After that we carefully spent our remaining Danish Kronor to avoid having useless currency floating around and hopped on the train back to Malmö.  It was a fun day.

Örebro (continued)

There was more time in Malmö after Copenhagen, but I’ve covered most of the Malmö details above.  When Emil and Emelie came back from their trip we finally got to meet them again and thank them for their generosity, but while they were polite, they’d been travelling back from Zanzibar since 2pm the day before and were quite obviously looking forward to a shower and some sleep, so we didn’t hang around.  We spent that night (as arranged) at Maria’s in Lund, catching up with her and having dinner with Kerstin and Magnus.  Next morning we said goodbye to Maria and Skåne and had a fairly uneventful (thank heavens) train trip back to Örebro.

Back in Örebro, we had just over 2 more weeks to finish planning our final UK trip and see a bit of the town.  Emma of course had to finish off her work stint and try to ensure the person working on her final report back in Australia did their job properly and on time.

The first weekend we had Anna and Magnus over for drinks and dinner.  Emma made her famous nachos and some sangria - from the local cheapo Aussie red-wine-in-a-screw-top-carton called (wonderfully) “Kangarouge”.  This was a fun night and also heralded the night when daylight saving finishes, the clocks were once again turned back an hour and the afternoons, which had been creeping shorter and shorter suddenly leapt from a 5:30pm sunset to a 4:30pm sunset, plunging Sweden into the period of short, dark winter days, a situation that has continued to grow even more extreme as we head towards the winter solstice on 21 December. 

Örebro Castle

The weekend after we got back to Örebro from Malmö we also took the guided tour of Örebro Castle.  As mentioned before, Örebro Castle is the focus of the town, sitting on an island in Svartån (“The Black River”) with it’s slightly hunched appearance due to the circular towers at each corner that are slightly shorter than the main building (the building had a floor added during its history).  It has sat there since the 1200s, guarding the point where one of the more important routes in the area (linking the main population centres of Svealand and Östergötaland) crosses the river.  It had its heyday in the 1500s when Duke Karl (son of King Gustav Vasa – Sweden’s greatest monarch – and future king himself) lived there and turned the fortress into a mansion.  After that time the relevance declined and became another prison (though holding some colourful characters, including the famous romantic cross-dressing thief Lasse-Maja – when it could, he escaped about 4 times).  In the late 1800s/early 1900s it was finally restored and became used as the residence of the local county governor.  Nowadays it is a living building with conference rooms and such leased by one of the local hotels.  During the renovation, the originally whitewashed walls were stripped back to reveal the bare stones.  Although this was done in a fit of mediaeval romanticism, it probably does work better that way and looks great.

Icehockey and Snow

On the next Thursday night a few Jakkus were rounded up to watch Emma's cousin, Susanne's, son, Gustav, play icehockey.  Gustav is very good at icehockey.  Despite being only 13, he is playing in the league with 17 and 18 year olds and, might I add, more than held his own.  Icehockey in Sweden is the standard winter sport (soccer being the summer sport), and is pretty much the same as you'd see from Canada or the USA.  In fact we're pretty sure that modern icehockey probably originated in Canada since all of the terms used for penalties and such were in English.  Sweden has an older form of icehockey called Bandy, which is played very much like field hockey (including a round ball instead of a puck), except outside on a big rink (or frozen lake).  It is still played, but not, seemingly, with the same amount of money floating around as icehockey.  I don't think I really need to tell you what icehockey looks like since I've seen plenty of clips of it back in Australia - suffice to say that the skating ability is impressive.  To skate as well as control a puck, get hit pretty hard by opponents and either not fall down or get straight back up is pretty impressive to this wobbly, hold-the-rails skater.  In the end Gustav's team won by about 5-2.

As we left the rink that night we saw our first snowfall of the winter.  Anders and Agnete drove us back to their place for the night since the next day we were continuing up an hour or so north to visit Susanne and her family for fika (a Swedish word meaning to catch up over a coffee and some cakes - can be used as a noun or a verb).  We enjoyed the still snow covered scenery and had a lovely fika with Susanne and her husband Anders and their kids Lina (17) and Gustav in their old farmhouse.  It was a school holiday so both kids were off school, including Lina who is away at a school near Östersund studying looking after Icelandic ponies.

After Fika, Agnete took us to the cemetery in Ramsberg where Emma's grandparents (Veikko and Sylvi) are buried.  Being Halloween that day, it was the traditional time in Sweden to tend to the graves of relatives, including putting down some pine fronds and lighting a candle.  They do a half hearted American style Halloween too (much like in Australia), but it's nice to see a more substantial tradition of honouring and remembering the dead and acknowledging death as part of life.  It also bookends the growing year that starts with the fertility celebrations of Midsummer (or May Day in more southerly parts of Europe).

We drove back through some more lovely, snowcovered forest landscape, but unfortunately it didn't extend quite to Örebro.  That night we took the bus out to Karlslund Herrgård ("Charlesgrove Manor"), and old manor farm on the west of Örebro that was once used to supply the castle.  They had a bit of a Halloween night, but it was mostly over by the time we got there.

Frozen Lakes

Next morning we had the first frost of the season (that we were around for).  It was a Saturday, clear and bright and we awoke to find a frost on the ground and frozen puddles in the gutters.  We decided to take a walk out past the wetlands to the lake near town.  Along the way I took some delight in discovering that the small ponds along the way were frozen over, and even more delight in throwing rocks onto the frozen surfaces.  Large sheets of ice make really interesting sounds when hit by rocks.  For some reason we probably expected it to sound a bit like stone, with a sharp crack as a rock hits it and nothing more.  In actual fact it makes quite a resonant sound, a little bit like a large sheet of metal, or the sound you’d get if you hit a long strand of tensioned wire (eg on a farm fence) with a stick – you get the initial “crack”, but then a sort of sharp metallic “thwang” as the shockwave resonates outward along the icesheet.  It’s really cool.  As a result, I was throwing rocks as high as I could onto just about every frozen pond we passed (and there were a few being a wetland).  Usually the rocks would bounce off (and lazily skid along the ice to an eventual stop); sometimes they’d stick fast in the frozen surface; and sometimes they’d go straight through – not shattering the ice, but punching a neat hole and sending a thin vertical splash back up through it.  

It was all jolly good fun and we (I) felt delightfully juvenile doing it – glad that we weren’t in the view of the Swedes who’d probably think us silly tourists who’d never seen a frozen lake before (pretty much true on both counts).  Then we got to the lake and discovered that the frozen inlet nearest town was covered with rocks, thrown mostly by the local 5 year olds, but some of them by the adults I’m sure.  All the kids of the families enjoying a day out were out there throwing rocks onto the lake and the sounds they made.  So I continued with a newfound sense of justification.  I have now equalled the stone skipping record (infinity skips as the stone slid along the ice).  We also discovered the even more cool sound that a slab of ice broken off the edge of the lake makes when thrown onto the rest of the ice – like the single stone, but multiplied as the ice chunk shatters into small pieces that slide almost frictionlessly across the surface.

After these juvenile shenanigans, we walked back up along the Svartån to town.  Many of the rivers in Sweden have dark water in them with the appearance of black tea.  My theory is that this is due to tannins from the pine forests leaching into the water, though I’ve yet to bother looking into it.  We had decided to watch a film in Sweden and had booked tickets for “Mama Mia”, thinking it an appropriate movie to watch here.  We’d booked our tickets over the net that morning and had to pick them up (and pay for them) 45 minutes before the start or they’d be resold (not sure this is the best way, but it seems to be the usual way they do it and our only experience so far).  So we picked up the tickets, caught the bus home and had a rest and got changed and came back in.  The film was good fun, though at 110SEK (about $22) it wasn’t something we’d be doing a lot.  The Swedes seemed to enjoy it, Benny and Bjorn got a cheer in their cameos.  ABBA seems to be treated in Sweden much as it is in Australia, a slightly guilty, daggy pleasure that is making a bit of a comeback.  After the movie we had dinner and a few drinks to complete our night out and went home to bed.

Next day we revisited Karlslund Herrgård during the day and had another look around.  It’s quite a nice place, on a hill overlooking a bend of Svartån, surrounded by fields with different purposes, from orchards to veggie gardens to a watermeadow used as a supply of grass for the cattle.  They even had the first power station in the region (a hydro generator).  It was a nice place, with lots to see, but the short days and the late autumn glumness wasn’t the time to see it at its best.  But it was convenient, at the other end of the bus route that runs past our flat.  Actually, as an aside, the bus system in Örebro is quite good and really cheap – only 10kr ($2) for 3hrs of travel, compared with 20-30kr for single trips in Göteborg and Stockholm.  Though often the busses seem to leave just before we get there, at least the interchange is the main road in front of the castle so there’s something to look at while you wait.

That’s about all for that 5 week block of time spent in Sweden.  After that we went back to the UK for a week to attend the wedding of Emma’s co-worker, before coming back to Örebro for a 4 week block wherein Emma worked on some papers while based at Örebro University.  See the next couple of blogs for details.

Autumn Leaves


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