Sweden 2021 part III - Öland Island southern half


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April 6th 2021
Published: June 16th 2021
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Borgholm churchBorgholm churchBorgholm church

Borgholm is a rather nice place to walk around in. The church in the town centre has a style that is a bit interesting

Stone ships, stone walls, a stone polishing machine, stone quarries and rune stones





We are now going to write about the rest of what we saw and did when we visited Öland. In the title we claim that it covers the southern half of the island. Please don't look too closely at a map. Because we have taken some liberty with what actually is in the north and in the south.



Borgholm Town

There are no cities on Öland. In fact the entire population on Öland is only around 26,000. Mostly the communities on Öland consist of villages and hamlets. If we are generous we could say that there are two towns, Färjestaden (6000 people live there) and Borgholm (the home of 4000). Told you, we have to be generous to label them towns.

In the previous blog entry we mentioned Borgholm Castle. That would be the major attraction in Borgholm. But it was also a rather nice place to walk around in.



Köpingsklint

Just outside Borgholm Town is an area called Köpingsklint. Klint means cliff and refers to the sharp and steep edge of Köpingsklint. When we had
KöpingsklintKöpingsklintKöpingsklint

On that tableland above Köpingsklint there are several ancient monuments showing that people have lived here for well over a thousand years. This is a so called stone ship
climbed up the cliff we were met with a vast moor covered tableland. On that tableland there are several ancient monuments showing that people have lived here for well over a thousand years.



Hillforts

On Öland there are the remains of at least 17 hillforts. We visited several of them and can recommend them all.



Eketorp

Eketorps Borg or Eketorp Hillfort was in use during the Iron Age. Today it has been reconstructed to give an idea of how it may have looked when it served its original purpose.



Sandby Borg

According to Wikipedia Sandby Borg is partly reconstructed. We would not agree to that. It is no more than a ruin. A nice ruin, it is absolutely clear where the walls of the fort used to be, but still a ruin. The setting of Sandby Borg is quite spectacular as it is overlooking the sea.



Gråborg

With the dimensions 210 times 160 meters Gråborg is the largest hillfort in Öland. It is quite massive, which makes it difficult to take pictures of it. That might be the reason why the Wikipedia page on Gråborg at
Eketorp Hillfort Eketorp Hillfort Eketorp Hillfort

Eketorp Hillfort was in use during the Iron Age.
the time of writing does not have any picture of it. Instead there is a picture of the nearby St Knut Chapel. The size of Gråborg makes it worth visiting. But strictly, St Knut Chapel is what really makes the trip out there pay off. At least if you like ruins that is.



Quarries

There are several stone quarries on Öland. Once it was a major industry on the island to quarry for stone but the heydays are long gone. Today, the stone industry is totally dwarfed by other industries on the island.

We stopped at Gillberga Stone Quarry mainly because it is featured in one of the author Johan Theorin's novels. Once we have read about a place in a novel it is a bit fun to visit it.

Since we are writing about stone quarrying we have to mention a rather unique windmill. It is in Jordhamn on the west coast on Öland and it was used to polish stones from a nearby quarry. Before this method was developed the hard work of rubbing the stones was done by oxen or horses. This wind powered polishing machine is the only one of its
"I fart in your general direction""I fart in your general direction""I fart in your general direction"

"I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries." A quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We just have to quote that each time we see a fortress wall
kind that is preserved on Öland.

Next to this stone polishing machine there is also a reconstructed animal powered equivalent to give perspective on things.



Dröstorp ghost village

Dröstorp was never really a village, only a congregation of a few houses. Today only a few crumbling remains are left of the houses and the stone walls that once surrounded the gardens and the fields.

We have in the previous blog entry mentioned that the environment is difficult and the soil is thin in many places on Öland. Well, in Dröstorp the environment was totally unforgiving and the soil was almost non-existing. The people who lived there must have had a very hard life even on the best of years. It is no coincidence that they finally had to give up and move elsewhere.



From the Bronze Age to 15th century

Öland has been inhabited for several thousands of years and there is plenty of evidence of this on the island. There are lots of runestones, stone ships, burial mounds and other ancient monuments, big and small. Many are well over 1000 years old.



Agricultural landscape of southern Öland
Eketorp Hillfort Eketorp Hillfort Eketorp Hillfort

Today Eketorp Hillfort has been reconstructed to give an idea of how it may have looked when it served its original purpose.

The agricultural landscape of southern Öland is a world heritage. We find it hard to see why it is so special. But from what we understand it is a combination of long traditions and difficult environment that is the reason why UNESCO became interested in this part of Öland.



Långe Jan

Långe Jan, or Tall Jan, is a lighthouse at the southern cape of Öland. Modern navigation technology has pretty much rendered the lighthouse obsolete and today its value is mainly historical and as a symbol.

Next to Långe Jan is Otteby, a popular place for bird watching. We are not bird watchers so we didn't bother to stay there.



Karl X Gustav's wall

Karl X Gustav's wall is a wall which is built from the west coast to the east coast of Öland. The construction of the wall was ordered by Karl X Gustav, at the time he was a prince but later he was the king of Sweden, for keeping the royal animals contained.



Degerhamn southern alum factory town

Near Degerhamn is a small village that grew up around the local alum factory. The factory has been closed for
Sandby BorgSandby BorgSandby Borg

Sandby Borg is no more than a ruin. A nice ruin but still a ruin. The setting of Sandby Borg is quite spectacular though
many decades and most of the factory buildings have been torn down. It was still interesting to visit the village as it is a good example of a classical factory town.



Offering stones

On Öland there are several so called offering stones. These are probably connected with ancient pagan traditions that making offerings of food or something that is valuable to you will bring luck. They were more difficult to find than we expected. Only at the third attempt to find an offering stone we did actually manage to locate one. It seems like offerings are still made on that particular offering stone because there were lots of coins on top of it.



Middle age churches

There are several middle age churches on Öland. We decided to visit two of them. We chose to see the one in the village Resmo and one on the village Vickleby. Both churches have a history dating back to the 12th century.





This marks the end of our trip in Öland. But we won't finish our blog quite yet. On our way back to Stockholm we made a few stops we
Gråborg hillfortGråborg hillfortGråborg hillfort

With the dimensions 210 times 160 meters Gråborg is the largest hillfort in Öland.
would like to mention. Oh, actually our trip back to Stockholm had a theme to it. We will here only mention the things that don't fit in that theme. The rest we will actually publish in a separate blog entry.



Pelarne church

Pelarne is a small village in the district Småland. The church in Pelarne village is quite spectacular.



The jerking stone

In a forest not far from the town Vimmerby is a huge rock which is so carefully balanced that supposedly a human can tilt it back and forth. This is believed to be the largest rock in the world that can be moved using only muscle power. However, we tried and couldn't move it. You probably need to be several people doing the pushing and you have to know exactly where and how to push to make it move.



Norrköping

We stayed one night in the city Norrköping on our way home. It turned out to be a very interesting town with a special character. In the central part of the city there are many well preserved old industry buildings. One day we might go to
Gråborg hillfortGråborg hillfortGråborg hillfort

Gråborg is quite massive, which makes it difficult to take pictures of it.
Norrköping again and possibly we'll then make a separate blog entry. Today all we do is post two photos from Norrköping to give you an idea of what we are talking about.



We hope you enjoyed reading this. To be honest, we are not quite finished with Öland yet. We have one more blog entry we plan to write. It will be about windmills, because there are windmills everywhere on Öland.


Additional photos below
Photos: 41, Displayed: 28


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St Knut ChapelSt Knut Chapel
St Knut Chapel

St Knut Chapel is close to Gråborg hillfort and is in many ways more spectacular than the fort.
TussilagoTussilago
Tussilago

The Tussilago is one of the earliest flowers in spring. In early April they can be seen on Öland
Gillberga Stone Quarry Gillberga Stone Quarry
Gillberga Stone Quarry

We stopped at Gillberga Stone Quarry mainly because it is featured in one of the author Johan Theorin's novels.
Wind powered polishing machineWind powered polishing machine
Wind powered polishing machine

The only remaining wind powered polishing machine can be seen in Jordhamn
The stones were pulledThe stones were pulled
The stones were pulled

The stones were pulled in a circle until they were smooth
Animal poweredAnimal powered
Animal powered

Next to the wind powered stone polishing machine there is also a reconstructed animal powered polishing machine to give perspective on things.
QuarryQuarry
Quarry

In this abandoned stone quarry people have been building stone towers
Dröstorp ghost villageDröstorp ghost village
Dröstorp ghost village

Dröstorp was never more than a congregation of a few houses. Today only a few crumbling remains are left of the houses and the walls.
Rune stoneRune stone
Rune stone

Öland has been inhabited for several thousands of years
Rune stoneRune stone
Rune stone

There is plenty of evidence of the previous generations that have lived on the island. For instance this rune stone
Ancient monumentAncient monument
Ancient monument

There are lots of ancient monuments on Öland
Stone shipStone ship
Stone ship

The stone ship or ship setting was an early burial custom


16th June 2021
Rune stone

Historic remains
The stones have stories to tell.
17th June 2021
Rune stone

Often memorials
Often the rune stones are memorials over relatives who have passed away. That particular stone was raised to the memory of Sibbe the Wise. /Ake
16th June 2021

Exploring villages
Not all Unesco sights are equal. I like the look of these stones. It isn't Stonehenge but connects us to the past and makes us think, ponder and appreciate.
20th June 2021
Stone ship

Interesting!!
20th June 2021
Pelarne church

agree. Interesting!
20th June 2021
Pelarne bell tower

Interesting. The pioneers here built separate bell towers because the church roof were too weak ti withstand the heavy bells.'
21st June 2021
Pelarne bell tower

Thank you for telling us
Actually I didn't know that. Thanks for telling us. /Ake
20th June 2021
Easter decoration

Love it! Thanks for sharing this series ;o)
21st June 2021
Easter decoration

Glad you liked it
It was a fun little journey we made. It makes me happy to know that you liked to read about it. We have some more stuff saved. Those will be coming up in two more blogs. /Ake
15th July 2021

Öland
Before reading these blog entries, I had thought about a trip to Öland for a future visit to Sweden. It seems very much my cup of tea, with interesting and off-the-beaten-track attractions. Reading this has confirmed it's still a place I'd like to visit. And I do like getting to the end of your photos, Ake 😊
20th July 2021

You need a car
We would recommend that you have your own wheels when traveling on Öland. A car makes sense but a bicycle or a motorbike can also do the trick. Public transport is scarce and trains are non-existing. Ake

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