Saturday, 17 July 2021

kristinehamn a few kilometers to the city on the shore of Lake Vänern—the larger of the two and biggest in all of the European Union, third on the continent, we marveled at the Brick Gothic Kristinehamns kyrka opened in 1858 and informed by a similar construction boom after the Wiesbaden school to my mind. On the lakefront preceding the harbor, there is a monumental sculpture from Pablo Picasso looking into the blue expanse, the fifteen meter high pillar the artist‘s largest and part of a series called „les dames des Mougins.“ Not overseeing the construction in person, the location of the installation was reportedly a contest between Sweden and Norway, with the latter ultimately conceding. Just outside of town in a meadow of daisies and guarded by a flock of sheep stands the Järsberg Runestone, a bit less verbose than the previous, the inscription is one of the oldest known. Essentially „I made a thing,“ the writing is translated as „Leubaz I am called…I, the earl, write the runes.“

emojional rescue

Via the always brilliant Present /&/ Correct —please check out their sundries, we are reminded that today is Emoji Day (see previously) with the original character set as designed by Shigetaka Kurita in 1999.

Friday, 16 July 2021

sveafallen finding a campsite by Möckeln Lake in Degerfors, we went to the Cultural Centre with an ensemble of boutiques for handicrafts and local artist that was also the location of a micro-geological nature reserve that compressed various landscapes, miniature canyons, boulder-strewn forests, marsh-land into one compact park created by glacial erosion over the aeons and a rushing river under a primordial ice-sheet—though some more dramatic theories posit the environment was formed by an extinct massive waterfall, many times bigger than Niagara. reminding us of home, there were also remarkable examples of weathering including glacial potholes called giant‘s kettles. In the end, we found the Bergteich—and though the trail was a bit of a parkour with climbing and jumping that was a fun challenge and treacherous at times, the markings were a bit wanting for first-time visitors, disorienting like the way-out markings in an IKEA that leads one through the entire store before one can find the exit. A bit of a hike for sure but a fine comparative introduction to the plant life and geology of the country.

askersund the sheep troop for a last inspection and rotation, we left our campsite on the Göta Canal and headed towards the northern reaches of the Vättern and the land in between the great lakes, stopping to visit at Askersund on the edges of the Tiveden Forest. Once an important trade and industrial centre—a zinc mining operation occurring nearby—that heritage reflected in the the symbol of the city, according those rights despite its small size, a smith hammering an anvil, also sort of a mascot, atop city hall (Rådhus)—and ensemble of old wooden fishing houses and a monumental church overlooking the harbor. Afterwards we headed on to Värmland and the community of Degerfors.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

the stone ship of nässja slightly smaller than the last megalith and not presently on a cliff overlooking the sea, this oval of twenty-four giant boulders near Vastena was nonetheless a pretty remarkable setting to contemplate. Sacred oak in the centre spared, traditional wisdom held that these rings were the tribunal sites for pagan judgments and trial-by-ordeal to be carried out. Subsequent scholarship and excavations suggest that these were burial grounds for tribal chieftains—likely dating from the early Iron Age.

elder fuþark visiting the impressive cloister ruins of Avestra, we doubled back before continuing through Östergötland to the village of Rök Whose parish church hosts the famous runestone (Rökstenen, Rundata inscription number 136), the five tonne megalith considered the first written document of Sweden and thus the starting point of recorded history was rediscovered in the nineteenth century as part of the medieval church’s wall. Removing it for study and conservation—revived interest in such artefacts coinciding the 1865 deciphering of the runic alphabet by Norwegian academics retrieving a lexicon lost to the ages, at around seven hundred characters, the inscription represents the longest extant pre-Christian passage and contains a bit of Norde mythology and a reference to the Roman emperor of the latter day rump state—dating the writing to the ninth century. Most scholars agree on the translation but many forward competing theories on allegorical interpretation. There was also an informative exhibit on runic writing in an outdoor pavilion and signs reminding that the church was open and welcomed one’s visit as well.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Having arrived late at our third choice campsite near the city of Vadstena—for which everything ultimately worked out though it was extra driving, on the lakefront, we opted instead for pizza from the resident restauranteur and we’re delighted to discover not only the Swedish version of the meal that one can’t get wrong (doughy but cheesy and delicious) but also that the twelve percent value added tax applied to take-out is called—because we taught you how to budget and cook for yourself—is abbreviated as “Moms.”
Skydad alternatively is the Swedish term for protection, security. Though the campgrounds were crowded,the protracted period of dusk as the sun never quite sets afforded some nice vistas of the lake beyond.

vägarna attraktioner
Traveling on towards Götaland following the shoreline of Sweden’s second largest great lake—the sixth largest in the whole of Europe and thrice the size of Lake Constance (Boddensee), we spent quite a few hours circumnavigating the large body of water, whose name just means that though more rhapsodic academics maintain it refers to the ancient personifications, deifications of the source of sustenance and commerce of the region.
A motorway rest stop offered a pedestrian link under the elevated highway to the grounds of the ruined, unfinished structure called the Brahehus, with a commanding, panoramic view of the lake and the island Visingsö. First conceived as a spot for prime real estate development, Count Per Brahe the Younger decided to build on the promontory called Gudsbacka in the 1630s—offering the monumental retreat as a dower home for his new wife.
Sadly his bethrothed Countess Kristina Katarina Stenbock died soon after construction began. Plans were altered and the mansion found some use as a guest house for dignitaries but its location made upkeep logistical impossible. Count Brahe founded the town of Granna on the shore below in 1651, orientated to face Brahehus.