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Published: December 6th 2020
Exterior view of Skokloster Castle
One planet, one former planet and Planet Tatooine
Sweden is divided in 25 provinces
. These provinces have no administrative or political function but may have identical borders with the administrative regions. In the previous two blog entries we wrote about what we did when we travelled in Ångermanland Province and in Jämtland Province. This blog entry will include stories from mainly the provinces Hälsingland and Medelpad. But we will also include a story from the province Uppland. Skokloster Castle Skokloster Castle
is no more than one hour by car from Stockholm. We were passing by on our way north in Sweden and decided to stop there since Emma hadn't been there before. Skokloster Castle is large and impressive. Supposedly it is the largest castle in Sweden that has been privately owned. We would rank it among the ten best castles in Sweden. It is open for public and is today essentially a large museum. It has some interesting features worth pointing out.
=> The weapons collection is quite fascinating and is a given highlight of any tour of the castle.
=> Another highlight is the unfinished dance and party hall. They planned on building a
Decoration over a door
grand ball hall but either they changed their minds or they ran out of money. Today the hall stands empty and unfinished.
It is only the intended ball hall that is unfinished. The rest of the castle is in good condition and richly decorated. Dragon Gate
The Dragon Gate
is a Chinese business and culture centre outside the town Älvkarleby. The actual purpose of this project is unclear and we seriously doubt that the original plans for it have been met. We wanted to see this place for ourselves because when it was constructed there were a lot of controversies around it.
How can we describe Dragon Gate: A fake Chinese temple located next to a Swedish highway. Söderhamn
When does a town go from "small" to "medium sized"? When 10,000 people live there? Well, in Söderhamn
there live almost 12,000 people so with that definition it would be a medium sized town. We stopped in Söderhamn because they have one of the models in the Sweden Solar System
project there, namely the one of the planet Neptune. We have written more about Sweden Solar System in a previous blog
entry if you
Corridor in the castle
wish to read more. Lill-Babs Torg
Järvsö is neither a small nor a medium sized town - it is no more than a village. For Swedes Järvsö is known as the village the singer and actress Barbro "Lill-Babs" Svensson
, an icon in the Swedish entertainment business, came from. Lill-Babs Torg is a small square named Järvsö's most famous inhabitant. Delsbo
, also no more than a village, there were two things we wanted to see - Pluto/Charon and Dellenbanan.
=> Pluto/Charon is one more of the models in Sweden Solar System. Throughout Sweden there are at least 20 models that are part of Sweden Solar System. You could probably make an interesting Sweden tour by visiting all of these models one after the other.
=> The defunct railway line Dellenbanan is today used for draisine rides. The tour starts from Delsbo train station and we can guarantee that it is good fun for young and for old. We really loved this! Gröntjärn
The small lake Gröntjärn has three interesting features - it is picturesque, the in- and outflow of water is
The weapons collection is quite fascinating and is a given highlight of any tour of the castle.
via underground streams and that it can differ up to 13 meters between the highest and lowest water level in a year. Harsa
Harsa is a small place popular among cross country ski enthusiasts. In summer skiing is not an option though, but it was a good place to stay for two nights. Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland
As of 2020 there are a total of 15 world heritage sites in Sweden. One of those is the Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland
. Many farmers in Hälsingland Province were in the 19th century very well off. They were outright rich and wanted everybody else to know it. The way they displayed their wealth was to erect lavishly decorated farmhouses. Building large houses, or even mansions, when you have a lot of money is not new. What made the farmhouses in Hälsingland unique is that they didn't live in these houses. They built them solely for housing grand festivities. Actually these houses were often not in use at all for maybe a decade or two. It was only for the biggest events in your lifetime, typically weddings, that they were opened and guests were invited to come
Another highlight is the unfinished dance and party hall. They planned on building a grand ball hall but either they changed their minds or they ran out of money. Today the hall stands empty and unfinished.
There are maybe as many as 1000 of these farmhouses in Hälsingland and seven of them were in 2012 included in the world heritage list. We visited the farmhouse Bommars. We will probably pass through Hälsingland next summer as well. Hopefully we will then have time to visit one of the other six UNESCO listed farmhouses. Ljusdal
In August 2019 an art festival took place in the small town Ljusdal
. As part of this festival dozens of artists created street art. These works of art are scattered throughout the town, mainly on walls, and make the town unique. Probably there is no other town in Sweden where this much street art can be found in such a small area in a town centre. Hudiksvall Hudiksvall
is the largest town in Hälsingland Province. It is located on the coast and was prosperous in the 16th century when trade in wood products and furs was big business. What makes Hudiksvall special is that there is an unusually high number of wooden houses in the town.
In Sweden Hudiksvall is also known for Glada Hudik Theater,
a theatre where adults with intellectual disabilities are
The Dragon Gate
The Dragon Gate is a Chinese business and culture center outside the town Älvkarleby.
the actors. Swedish television has made several documentaries about this theatre. Old time petrol station
This is a bit odd but quite charming in a way. Some years ago three friends in and around the village Gnarp
decided to recreate three petrol stations in the style they looked in the 1950-ies or 1960-ies. They managed to locate genuine pumps, signs with correct looking brand names and even oil cans and boxes with spare parts for cars of that era. A somewhat odd project but we truly enjoyed our visit to one of them.
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