Day Sixty Nine

Today will be our last day in Sweden.  We were originally going to only spend a  short time here – the plan was to drive down Finland with just the last part of our journey being across Sweden. That plan was scrapped because of lack of LPG and motorhome services in Finland.  Sweden has been a welcome and interesting diversion; we’ve seen so many beautiful places and learnt so much about the country.

Our last day starts with a rainy morning. After gorgeous weather for so long, it’s a bit of a surprise to wake to rain.  Not that it matters too much, we’ll be driving to Malmo and it’s sure to pass.  

As we drive, we can see farmland being brought back to life.  Fields that were black soil only a few days ago are now sprouting green.  Even the harvested stubble remains have a blanket of fresh greenery underneath. The farmers were lucky to get their crops out in time before the rain hit.

We’re in Malmo quickly and the weather has improved.  We arrive near the new water front, next to the funky twisted “Turning Torso” building that seems to defy the laws of physics.  At 190 metres, its’s an exclamation point on an otherwise relatively flat landscape.

Malmo appears to have three distinct architectural periods.  There are the gorgeously ornate old buildings of the 1500s and 1800s in the old centre, then a jump into modernity.

 It’s Sunday so it’s pretty quiet.  The beautiful town Hall in under repair, blanketed under scaffold, robbing me of a photo opportunity.

We wander around town for a while, then stop for a light Vietnamese lunch. Luckily Bahn Mi is pronounced the same here – our waitress doesn’t speak a word of English.  I’ve always said to Chris that regardless of other language skills, I don’t think we’d starve anywhere in the world. Menu, I speak.  

We’re lucky later to make our way though the St Petri Kyrka before a christening starts.   Built in the 1300s, simple on the outside, the interior is rich in medieval frescos and painted wood features.  The alter is a gilt masterpiece depicting the life of Christ.  The frescos are amongst the best preserved we’ve seen, especially where they are naturally protected from the light. In complete contrast, the church is also gallery to some rather explict erotic pencil sketches.  Either they’re exceedingly liberal here…or the priest is a little short sighted…

 

We eventually make our way to the enormous park that edges the town.  It proves to be a highlight with its beautiful old trees, ornamental lake and even an ancient Dutch style windmill.

The park is also the venue for local planting allotments. Subdivided by tall flowerbeds, they’re bursting with herbs and vegetables: a late summer harvest.  There’s a display of bird boxes too, but as cute as it is, I’m not sure what the birds would make of this pink kitten one!

We debate the decision on how to best cross back to Denmark: the Oresund bridge straight into Copenhagen, or a ferry from Helsingborg (Sweden) to Helsingor (Denmark), followed by a scenic drive down the eastern coastal road of Northwestern Zealand.    We plump for the latter, drive up to Helsingborg and board a ferry almost immediately.  Being the shortest point between the two countries, it’s a busy crossing, with 70 ferries a day.  

The crossing only takes around 20 minutes and we land right next to the Kroborgslot, the castle Shakespeare immortalised as the setting for Hamlet.  It’s too late in day to tour the castle, but we can walk the grounds.  The castle is a stunning backdrop to Helsingborg, dominating the skyline.  Set deep within defensive embankments, it’s also protected by not one, but two moats and the Oresund sound on the other.    On the town side are a series of colourful buildings, once military, now galleries and cafes. 

Kids are making most of the setting, sword fights are in progress everywhere, those not battling it out are crawling over cannons.  It’s a great place to let your imagination run wild.  I can’t wait to explore it tomorrow.

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