Visingsö and Gränna

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In late August last year (2017) we decided to go somewhere on a mini vacation with our half year old daughter Wilma. We decided we wanted to go somewhere calm but still nice and not too far away from home. Some place we could reach within a couple of hours drive and Visingsö seemed like a good place to go. I’ve been here before, but I was very small so I don’t remember much. Visingsö is an island located in the middle of the second largest lake in Sweden, called Vättern. 

Our first and only real stop at our journey from home to Visingsö was at Gyllene Uttern, just outside of Gränna. It’s an old inn with a stunning view over Vättern and Visingsö. Basically it was just a stop for lunch and a way to spend some time waiting for the ferry that would take us from Gränna to Visingsö. We had pre-booked a slot time on the ferry to make sure we would fit. Getting on the ferry was easy and the ride only took about 25 minutes. 

We had booked a room on a pension (lodging) called Visingsö Pensionat and it was situated just a couple of minutes driving from the harbour, right behind the church. After checking in we got informed that we were just off season (missed the season with justone week) so much would be closed on the island (restaurants and hotels). So we made our way into the small community of Tunnerstad and the grossery store there to buy some food for us. It was a quite quiet evening considering we have a 7 month old baby.

DSC07679Waking up the next day to a stunning day we took off exploring the island a bit. While Sofia slept in a bit me and Wilma took a walk (I pushed Wilma in her stroller) in the oak forest before breakfast. We begun to the south and passed an mulberry groove which was cozy but not much to see really. We continued soutwards until we reached the southern part of the island. Here we found Näs castle ruin that clings on to the erroded cliffs. Parts of the castle has already fallen down into the lakes cold water. This castle was once a home to several of the Swedish kings in the early ages. The castle ruin has a quite interesting history to tell. 

Turning back north again we stopped at Sverkers Oak, a place where king Sverker is said to be slain by his enemies. We also stopped at a cist grave but found it was not much to see there. We headed back to the docks as it was time for lunch and one of the few places still open during the off season was Restaurant Solbacken. Had a good lunch and then we took a stroll down to Visingsborg castle ruin, which ones both housed Swedish nobility and later on russian prisoners of war. After this we took the car northbound on the island but did not really find much of interest there. We were looking for a store that was supposed to sell clothing but it had closed for the season so we turned back home to the pension again. 

During a walk in the afternoon/evening we came upon a nostalgia museum (BP gas station). We spent some time looking at the incredible collection. The museum is free of charge but volontairly donations are welcome! 

DSC07708The coming morning I took Wilma in the stroller again and took a walk around the Brahe church and got some gorgeous shots of it in the early morning sun. After breakfast we checked out and took the ferry over to the mainland again to explore the town of Gränna. Gränna is mostly famous for their peppermint rocks and the Gränna Museum with it’s exhibit about the Andrée expedition to the north pole. We entered one of the many peppermint rock stores/factories but the show off how the candy is made was closed for the season (seem to be a curse following us here). We bought some candy and then decided it was time to go home. At first we had planned to visit Brahe hus, yet anther castle ruin but the weather started to turn from nice to bad so driving home felt more appealing. 

Check out the gallery for some more pictures from Visingsö and Gränna. 

 

Visingsö official: Visingsö

Trafikverket: Ferry tickets, prices & time table

Gränna official: Gränna

Roadtrip Sweden: Matfest i Västra Götaland

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Yesterday it was the Matfest i Västra Götaland event, an event that started 3 years ago. We were lucky with the weather, we have actually been lucky with the weather for the whole month so far. Today is the first day when they weather actually start to resemble the fall. Yesterday it was sunny, 20° and just a slight breeze on occasion. I met up with my best friend Marcus and his wife Anna in Kungälv and then we headed off to Tjörn and Orust. Before we went I got this photo below of Bohus Fästning.

Since Tjörn is closest this was the first stop for today. We arrived to Mällby Lantgård where we did a small quiz walk before we did some shopping in their self-service shop. My haul was some lemonade. Next stop was a farm called Johanssons Gård. Here we bought some marmalade and some organic potatoes. We also got a small tour in the garden which was nice. On our way to the south of Tjörn we passed a sour dough bakery  (Alvar and Ivars Surdegsbageri) that this day decided to initiate their cider factory as well. Turned out to be a really nice place with a great view of the ocean. Next up, in the south of Tjörn we went to a sour dough bakery named Lottas Bak & Form. After that we drove to Skärhamn for a late lunch.

After lunch we headed north to Orust instead. Here we had planned to visit just a farm and a beekeper. Our first stop was Håvs Lamm & Delikatess. They had a really nice little shop, a very nice view and some very nice cheeses and a lot of different lamb products to choose from. On our way from the farm we saw another sign, Orust Must. We went there as well, and since we didn’t buy any cider on the last place we decided to buy some here. I got me a nice 3 litre bag-in-box.  Then we were on our way to the beekeeper, Tavlegårds Honungsgård, where we would buy some more stuff. This would also be our last stop since the event would close at 16:00. Since the weather was so nice we decided to find some place to have icecream but luck was not on our side today. All the places were closed so we decided to turn back home again.

Some facts:

Matfest i Västra Götaland ran it’s third year this year. It spans over Västra Götalands län and promotes locally promoted food with over 200 locations to visit.

Below is my haul for the day. Cheese, honey, lemonade, cider in a bag in box, some candy, marmalade and smoked lamb. All pictures from today can be found here!

Roadtrip Sweden: Smögen/Lysekil

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After getting a small tax refund this year we decided to spend them on something nice and since we both needed some relaxation we thought that going to a spa somewhere in Sweden could be nice. So we called Sofias mother and asked her if she could cat-sit Astrid, our cat. She said yes. We packed our bags and went for Smögen Hafvsbad. A measly 1½ hour drive from Gothenburg is not to shabby, right? We’ll I might have taken a wrong turn in Munkedal so it might have taken some more time.

Anyhow, checking in on our room which must have been the hottest room ever, chaging into swimming trunks and heading down to the spa to discover that there was not so much of a spa really. One swimming pool and one bubble bath plus one normal sauna and one steam sauna. But you could order something to drink so that kind of makes up for it. And then of course there was the treatment room too. We had a body scrub treatment with sea salt, oil and some aromatic herbs.

Dinner at the hotel was really nice. Fish of course, I would not expect anything else from an old fishing village, and it was cooked into perfection. We staywed 2 nights so we had plenty of time to try out the breakfasts too.

On our way home from Smögen we stopped in Lysekil to eat some lunch. After lunch we took a small walk around town. Just as we got back to the car the rain started to fall. I guess that was a signal that it was time for us to get back home again!

Roadtrip Sweden: Varberg

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I’m not sure of this qualify or not really because it’s so short. This weekend was crowned by our stay at Varbergs Kurort. We just stayed one night but it made wonders. Upon arrival we checked in, then headed down to the SPA. After a coupe of hours in the SPA it was dinner time. We had a wonderful buffé and after the food we took a short walk on the beach and I took a great shot of the sundown. Then we headed back to the SPA and spent yet another hour or two there, this time all by ourselfs.

After the breakfast we checked out and then headed for the Varberg fortress some kilometers away. I’ve always wanted to go there so visiting this before we go home felt like a natural thing to do. We could see the fortress from the SPA the previous day so we knew it was big, but how big it really was you only realize standing in front of it.

In the blazing sun walking around the fortress was simply put: hot. We ended up on a café about halfway around. Strengthened by soft drinks and some resting in the shadows of some trees we continued. Well inside the fortress gate we decided it was too hot to go on the guided tour. Instead we just walked around for a while and then we called it a day and returned to the car. And that is about it. Lamest post ever, I think.

Pictures will come within 12 hours!

Roadtrip Sweden: Anten-Gräfsnäs

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With this trip it’s the same thing. I’m writing this posthumously. It was a Wednesday. Not as sunny as I had hoped, but sunny enough. We picked up Sofias brother at the central station and then headed for Alingsås and from there to Anten. The goal for today was the museum railway from the old stations of Anten and Gräfsnäs. We arrived about an hour early so we spent some time looking at the surroundings and the museum in the old railway building.

Some time before departure we climbed aboard the old train and found a seat in one of the old wagons. Then the whistle blew and we were on the way. Except for some screaming children in our wagon and the constant smell of charcoal from the steam locomotive it was all in all a pleasant journey. The railroad goes along the lake Anten and offers a very beautiful view.

Somewhere halfway the ride we stops to refill water meanwhile the staff tells more about the railway, the locomotive, the tracks and offers you to join the railway association that runs the railway here. When the water is refilled it’s time to go again and after a 20 minutes ride we finally arrive in Gräfsnäs.

Gräfsnäs has a lot to offer, there is a public beach, a café, a heritage centre and the castle ruin. We made a short stop at the café and then proceeded onto the castle ruin. The castle of Gräfsnäs has a quite interesting story. Said to be cursed, it has burned down twice, so maybe there is some truth about the curse!

We also tried our luck at some of the geocaches in the area. We found 2 quite easy and then decided it was time to head back to the train station since we did not want to miss the railbus back to Anten station (where our car was parked). A roundtrip ticket costs 120 SEK, well worth the money if you feel like travelling in a historical way.

Roadtrip Sweden: Läckö

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A bit against the idea behind this blog I have to write about our small day trips, some weeks after we’ve done them. But I’ve been a bit too busy working and a bit too less busy doing recreational things. However, in the end of June we decided to go to Läckö Castle. It is kind of a “short drive” from Gothenburg, I think it only took us about 1,5 hours or so and that includes a small stop along the way to log a geocache. It wasn’t a fancy cache in any way but still.

When we reached Lidköping we picked up Sofias brother and then continued to Läckö. The castle lies in a really beautiful environment and today the weather was perfect. We bought our tickets to the guided tour, but since it was yet about an hour until the tour would start we decided to walk around in the areas where the tour would not take us. A peek in the church became a small informal rehearsal for our own wedding, walking down the aisle. No guests or music though.

We also strolled in the famous gardens for a while which also summoned my more artistic side with the camera. Sadly, I’m not as much of a photographer as I think I am but at least some pictures came out alright.

As for the guided tour of the interior of the castle, I’m not so sure. The things they told is interesting but it was not at all as I remembered it. See, I’ve been here before as a kid and from what I could remember there were lots of paintings and gold and furniture in this castle. Obviously I remember wrong. The tour guide did have a good explanation for this though and when consulting my parents about this they said that the castle did not have much decorations when we visited many years ago.

After the tour we went down to the café and hade some nice cold drinks and home-made cookies. We also searched for a mystery cache that I had solved before we got here. although I could not get the final coordinates100% correct it was quite easy to find it anyway. After logging that one we proceeded down to the docks where the viking ship Sigrid Storråda lies. Getting a good shot of the dragon head was easy!

As a final we decided to find one more geocache before heading home and we decided to take one situated on the opposite beach from the castle. Finding the cache was easy and we also found something more. Something more rare and possibly dangerous. A viper. Not far from the cache a viper had curled up on the soft moss sunbathing when we almost stepped on it. The last picture for the day I thought.

On our way home we stopped to take some pictures of the rape fields. In the distance I could see an old windmill and decided I wanted to take a closer look on it so we went there. And to my surprise there was a geocache in the area as well so we headed out to find it. After having searched the area for a while we almost gave up but suddenly I got an idea. I started looking for something I had not looked for before and there it was! Since I think it’s worth mentioning I’ll post the link here to GC4NZVR – Riddagårdskvarnen