Gothenburg – Malmo- Trelleborg

Tuesday 13 August 2019 – Sunday 18 August 2019 Gothenburg – Malmo- Trelleborg

The final section of our Sweden adventure

After reading about Gothenburg and talking with fellow travellers, who warned about motorhomes being broken into, we decided to be safe and stay in a campground where there was security, regardless of the expense. This also gave us a great opportunity to catch up on housekeeping.

Gothenburg

Gothenburg is situated by Kattegat, an arm of the North Sea, on the west coast of Sweden.  It was founded as a heavily fortified, primarily Dutch, trading colony in 1621.

We decided the best way to see Gothenburg in one day, was to go on a free walking tour, which began at Gustav Adolfs Torg. The meeting place is a square with a statue of the city’s founder Gustav Adolf II. This part of Gothenburg is quite pretty with the Stora Hamnkanalen running through the centre.

Free Walking Tour

After being introduced to a small part of the history of Gothenburg, we began our walk.

The sights of Gothenburg:

Statue of Gustav II Adolf is only a copy. Apparently, Gothenburg ordered a Statue of Gustav Adolf II, which was sent on a boat to Sweden, but the ship sank in the North Sea. It was rescued but the rescuers wanted an exorbitant amount of money for its return, so as a result they ordered a new because it would be cheaper. Not sure if it turned out that way though!

Gustavi Cathedral (Domkyrkan)

The present cathedral is the third to be built on the same ground in 1815.  The first one, from 1633, was destroyed by fire in 1721, as was the second building in1802.

Feskerkorkan (Fish Church) is the holiest fish market in the world, opened in 1874. This fish market could be mistaken for a church, as its design was inspired by Norwegian Stave Churches and medieval Gothic architecture (hence the name ‘fish church). At the time, it was a technical marvel as there are no pillars inside, with a roof supported instead by powerful beams. Inside you can buy fresh and cooked seafood. Outside is a statue which represents the buying and selling of fish in the 19th century.

Järntorget (Iron Square) is a square where iron was weighed by scales before exporting it through the city harbour. On the former site of the scales is a large, granite fountain called De fem världsdelama (The Five Continents), with five bare, female sculptures representing 5 continents: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The structure in the centre of the fountain is adorned with stamps which were used by the iron merchants who traded in the city.

Haga is a quaint neighbourhood southwest of the city centre. Haga district was established around 1650, but didn’t grow until 200 years later, when workers came to live in the city, during a period of high industrial growth. These buildings were to be demolished during redevelopment works in the 1970s, but Gothenburg’s residents rallied together to preserve its character. As soon as you enter the cobblestone streets, fringed by renovated and replica 19th century houses with wooden facades and brick buildings, as sense of stepping back in time envelopes you. The streets are full of cafes selling delightful baked goods and boutiques and street merchants with an abundance of art and craft items. Looking at it today, you would never guess this area was a slum with a very seedy reputation.

Located on a corner of a street in Haga is Café Husaren which sells enormous (the size of a large dinner plate) cinnamon buns. There is a Swedish tradition called ‘Fika’, which when translated means a break with coffee or tea and a sweet cake with a friend. It is all about taking time to stop and socialise: to take a pause. So, we decided to try it. The bun was delicious and extremely filling and the company divine!

Last stop of the walking tour was square Götaplatsen where one of Gothenburg’s most famous landmarks is situated, Poseidon the sea God, inaugurated in 1931. It is at the top of the Avenyn, a Paris inspired boulevard which also has shops for the rich and famous. When the city celebrated its 300-year anniversary in 1923, it was decided that Götaplatsen being in the centre, required a piece of artwork. Due to the short time frame, a temporary water tub was installed and 87 years later, Poseidon was put in the tub. He is standing naked and at first, the people of Gothenburg thought it a little bit embarrassing, but after university pranks, dressing him up at end of year celebrations he soon became accepted.

At the end of the walking tour we were amazed when the guide pulled out a small electronic device which enable participants to pay by credit card. We have never witnessed this before; Sweden definitely is heading to be a cashless society!

Things of Interest on our walk

Sculptures

  • Outside Gustavi Cathedral is a sculpture of a half woman, half fish sitting on a rock.  Apparently, if you sit on the other rock and stare her in the eyes you will see your future!
  • girl riding a mythical animal is representing the world from their perspective
  • human with dog face is representing how to take it easy
  • flagpole tie with a mythological creature
an interesting sign

After the end of our walking tour we headed back to our campsite. Although, Gothenburg is a city with little historical sights it was a nice place to visit.

The next day we headed to our next destination Malmo.

Malmö

We arrived at our campsite on the Lagunen Marina, about 5 km southwest of Malmö, overlooking the Baltic Sea.

Malmö is a coastal city in southern Sweden, lying at the eastern end of the Ǿresund Bridge, a long road and railway bridge-tunnel running to Copenhagen, Denmark. It is the third largest city, founded in the 13th century and was an industrial city with a port and a shipyard which was demolished in the late 20th century. Today, it is a thriving multicultural centre and is the capital of the Skåne region.

Once again, we have opted for a free walking tour of Malmö. After a short walk we caught a bus into Central Station, Malmo city.

Central Station opened in 1856 and now is the centre for both local and long-distance trains and buses. Most of the long-distance trains are in the underground section and on street level are the local trains. On one side of the street level platforms is the food court with a variety of cuisines. A great place to have a nice lunch and very reasonably priced.

We crossed the bridge over Ostra Hamnkanalem and through the busy streets.

Free Walking Tour Malmö

We met our guide at The Stortorget, the largest square in Malmö, constructed around 1530. At the moment Malmö is hosting The Malmö Festival, which began in 1985 and showcases art, music, culture and a variety of food that reflects the intercultural feelings and people of Malmö. Most of the activities are free and in Stortorget there is a stage where rock music will be played.

On the edge of Stortorget is City Hall built in 1546. The facade was renovated in the 19th century with historical sculptures. In front of City Hall is a bronze fountain which marks the site of the ancient city well.

St Peter’s Church is the oldest building in Malmö, built in the early 14th century. During the religious wars in the 16th century many of the medieval frescoes were destroyed but some of them have recently been restored. Unfortunately, the church was closed at the time of our tour, so we couldn’t go inside.

Apoteket Lejonet (The Pharmacy- ‘The Lion’) is the oldest pharmacy in Malmö, founded in 1571. The pharmacy still operates today, and the interior is absolutely amazing.

Just outside the pharmacy in the pedestrian street of Sodergatan is entertaining bronze life size sculptures of a band of musicians. The sculpture is called The Optimists Orchestra and it is said to represent life in Malmö by looking for something good in everyone or everything. 

The Griffin’s head has been the symbol of Malmö since 1937 when the King of Denmark granted the city’s arms and it extended to the entire province of Skåne from 1660. Once pointed out, you see it everywhere.

Gustav Adolf square was founded in the early 1800s and is a very popular marketplace. It is named after King Gustav Adolf II, who was the country’s king when the place was created. The square became the central point when the king decided to remove the walls of the old city and create a new district. In this square, there are 5 fountains which in summer are flowing with water and in winter the top of the fountain becomes a heater with flames shooting out. It would be an amazing thing to witness. 

Malmö Casino is a former park restaurant, which was opened in 1881 by King Oscar II. After extensive restoration work in 2001 the Casino now resides in this old building.  The casino is run by the Swedish government. An interesting concept!

Slottsträdgärden is a community gardening project which originated with an idea to create an ecological garden within the city. There is a café with a very original idea, a greenhouse come café. It is very quaint.

Slottsparken (The Castle Park) is a city park that has water as its main theme. It consists of beautiful big stretches of woodland, ponds with ducks and park benches everywhere. The park used to be a training ground for the Malmö Household regiment during the 19th century.

The Slottsmöllan (The Castle Mill) is also here. Apparently, you can visit it, but it was closed today, and the guide was unsure when it was going to be open.

Malmöhus Castle is the oldest preserved renaissance castle in the Nordic countries. It was originally built as a minor citadel in 1436 and destroyed in the Skåne uprising. The castle was rebuilt and destroyed several times. After a fire in 1870, the main building and two-gun towers remained, and were restored in 1930. Today it houses temporary and permanent exhibitions.

Out the front is a permanent exhibition titled the ‘White Buses’. This was an operation by the Swedish Red Cross and the Danish government in 1945 to rescue concentration camp prisoners in areas under Nazi control and transport them to Sweden, a neutral country. The term ’white buses’ came about because the buses were painted white with red crosses, to avoid misunderstanding with military vehicles.

The Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper in Sweden located in the western harbour. The building was opened in 2005 and twists 90 degrees from the bottom to the top. It is partially offices and apartments.

Lilla Torg was built in 1590, because Stortorget wasn’t big enough to cope with the increasing trade. Today it is a cobblestone square with cafes, half-timbered houses and shops selling local handicrafts. This is where our walking tour ended. Hedmanska garden is one of the oldest houses here.

Something Interesting:

The tunnel connecting the road to the Ǿresund bridge was constructed so the road and rail traffic coming across the bridge wouldn’t impact the airplanes landing at the Copenhagen’s airport. Its impressive length and bi country position inspired the popular crime drama “The Bridge” or “The Tunnel” which is about a decapitated body with the body parts found on each side of the border causing a conflict between the countries of who should investigate. A very interesting drama which is now into its 3rd season. 

Malmö is a lovely city to walk around, since many of the streets are pedestrianised. It has beautiful historic buildings and lovely well-maintained parks. It was a very friendly town and the transport is amazing.

Malmö  bus

Our next destination is Trelleborg.

Trelleborg

We arrived and parked our motorhome at a nice park in Trelleborg.

Trelleborg is a port city in Skåne, Sweden, it is the southernmost town in Sweden located about 15 kilometres west from the southernmost point of Sweden and the Scandinavian peninsula.

Visited: Ales Stenar (Kåseberga), Trelleborgen (Trelleborg) and Foteviken (Höllviken peninsula)

Ales Stenar is a megalithic monument and is the largest and best-preserved ship setting in Sweden. It consists of 59 boulders, and is around 70 metres long, 19 metres wide, with each boulder weighing between 500 and 1800 kilograms.  The boulders are arranged in the shape of a ship hull and was erected between 500 -1000 AD.

There are several interpretations of why Ales Stenar was erected. Maybe it is a burial site, but no grave is yet to be found; a symbol of power and a gathering site; a monument to a very important person or a gigantic sundial, a solar calendar because the ship’s central line points at the spot on the horizon where the sun rises on the winter and summer solstices. One interpretation does not necessarily exclude another. Ales Stenar is quite impressive to see. To think these stones were all moved by hand and to this day the mystery and secrets still exist as to who or why these stone where raised. To witness either the winter or summer solstices would be amazing!

Trelleborgen is the only reconstruction of a ring castle from the Viking Age in Sweden. The Viking fortress was unearthed in 1988 when construction began at this site not far from the ferry terminal. After archaeological work was completed, the reconstruction of part of the former fortress began.  The reconstruction of the rampart is built exactly where it was unearthed and is built of timber and a six-metre-high earth wall. It is interesting to see a small section of what once stood here in the 13th century, even if it is a reconstruction. Today there was a demonstration of Viking games.

Foteviken is a reconstruction of a large Viking Age settlement on the Höllviken peninsulas in southern Skåne, where a Viking battle took place in 1134.  The village consists of two parts, one dedicated to the indoor museum, where there is information about Vikings, who they were, what they accomplished, where they conquered, and some myths and legends associated with them. Outside is the open-air museum, a rebuilt Viking village with buildings, objects and belongings copied from those of the Viking Age using the same techniques as the Vikings used. The small village is inhabited by volunteer members of the Scandinavian Viking Explorer Group living the Viking lifestyle.

On the hill at the Norde Gate is the Stones of Hola, a ship setting. It is similar to Ales Stenar in appearance but on a much smaller scale. From archaeological findings, this is a common Viking Age grave where the dead were cremated, and the ashes dug down.  Below the ship setting is the Cairn of Fote, where King Fote’s restored cairn is.

We walked through the village, but there were only a small number of volunteers living and working the land. It is interesting to see how basic the Viking way of life is.  

From here we drove back to Denmark to a campsite outside Copenhagen.

Sweden is a fantastic place to visit. Although it rained every day, we were still able to walk around and visit all the places we hoped to see. We connected with relatives and made lifelong friends which enabled us to see much more of this beautiful country.

We found it interesting that the Swedish government controls the sale of liquor and applies a 25% tax. Supermarkets and other outlets can sell liquor up to a 3.5% alcohol content, anything higher is sold by specific liquor shops under the control of the government. Education including university is free for all Swedish citizens and you can sit for an entry exam into University as many times as you like until you pass. Also the 4 casinos in Sweden are owned by the government.

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