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Published: September 7th 2020
Impressive wooden church built in the 18th century.
Some random small towns and villages
When we started planning our vacation this year we thought that going abroad was not a good idea. It felt like our best option was to stay in Sweden and make a road trip here. Well, we have not seen much of Sweden so we were OK with that. For various reasons we decided to first take one week off in June and then travel in the south of Sweden and then take three more weeks later in summer and then travel north. Here is the first blog entry from the shorter of the trips.
Here comes a short introduction to some of the places we went to this week.
=> Brahehus Castle
- Strictly this is a not a castle, it is a ruin. The ruins of Brahehus overlook Lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden. It is a popular place to stop at, in part for the great views over the surrounding landscape and the lake but also because there is a good place to break a long journey since there is a restaurant and truck stop nearby.
=> Habo Church
- Impressive wooden church built
Strictly this is a not a castle, it is a ruin. The ruins overlook Lake Vättern, the second largest lake in Sweden and is a popular place to stop thanks to its spectacular setting
in the 18th century.
- One of the most successful movies in Sweden in 1998 was Show me Love
. It is a relationship/coming of age drama about young people who live in the (incredibly boring) town Åmål. They hate their hometown and want nothing more than leave for the big city. Still today, more than 20 years later, many people in Sweden think of Åmål as the apotheosis of all boring small towns. Well, we were passing by so we thought we could stop and give it an hour of our time. And the verdict? To us it seems like a pretty good place to live in. Its reputation of being a boring place is undeserved. A fun fact: the movie Show me Love was not shot in Åmål. Most of the scenes were shot in Trollhättan, where Sweden's equivalent to Hollywood is. We will write more about Trollhättan in our next blog entry by the way.
- Mårbacka is a mansion that in the first half of the 20th century was the home of author and Nobel Prize laureate Selma Lagerlöf. Today the mansion is a museum dedicated to her life and works. She is
Emma sitting in one of the windows of Brahehus Castle
buried in the cemetery in Östra Ämtervik, a village a few kilometres down the road from her home. In that cemetery there is another grave of interest. One of the villagers, Jan Nilsson, was a bit special apparently. So special that Selma Lagerlöf used him as an inspiration for the main character in her novel the Emperor of Portugallia
- a small town, only 4500 people live there, with high ambitions when it comes to sculptures in public parks. There are well over 20 sculptures on display in three different parks in Hällefors. Many of the staues are created by renowned sculptors such as Carl Milles
, Bror Hjort
and Carl Eldh
. The town itself is also well worth walking through. Another highlight in Hällefors is its Folkpark
, a traditional dance, party and amusement park. These parks are common in Sweden and the claim of fame of the one in Hällefors is that it was the very first Folkpark in Sweden.
- Nora is a small town with a well preserved historical centre with picturesque low wooden houses.
- One of the most successful and influential architects in Sweden during the 20th century was the Briton Ralph Erskine
The movie Show me Love is a relationship/coming of age drama about young people who live in the (incredibly boring) town Åmål. Åmål has since then become more or less synonymous with this movie
the decade following the end of the Second World War the small town Gyttorp grew very fast. Ralph Erskine was then contracted as the designer of a great number of houses and buildings in the town centre. These houses are special and make Gyttorp very characteristic.
=> Uttersberg - Uttersberg is a small town about 2 hours drive west of Stockholm. It is one of many small towns that was booming thanks to a local industry and then went into decline after the industry was either closed or relocated. Some of these towns have survived and are even thriving today, some of these towns are struggling by but are suffering from high unemployment and some of these towns have vanished completely. For Uttersberg it seems to be going well. At least it is going well for the local art gallery. We heard of this gallery only because they have a copy of the sculpture Non-Violence
, a sculpture we have photographed in many different places over the last 10 years or so. We wanted to take a photo of the one in Uttersberg and add it to our collection
. What came as a surprise to us was that also the rest
Still today, more than 20 years later, many people in Sweden think of Åmål as the apotheosis of all boring small towns. However, to us it seems like a pretty good place to live in.
of the gallery was so good. It was such an unexpected place to find an art gallery that easily qualifies among the 10 best galleries in Sweden.
Presented above is a pretty random sample of what you can see if you make a road trip in southern Sweden. Some of these places we came to by chance. We decided to stop for no particular reason and more often than not we left pleasantly surprised over what we found. This week we also visited a few places that we deliberately included in the plans for the trip. Those places we will present in separate blog entries. The next one will be about the town Trollhättan, where we will write about Back to the Future, a milk shop and where Ake has a place that he could perhaps call his own...
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