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ÖLAND    INFO & DIARY

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 GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)
Öland is just an island in Sweden, however, I have decided to make a tour around it, all by it self. It is the second largest Swedish island, covering 1342 square kilometres and measuring 137 kilometres in length, giving it around 500 kilometres of coastline. It is the home of 24.600 Swedes and a lot of great nature.
Here are around 400 old wooden windmills, several rune-stones, ancient fortresses, unspoiled nature with 32 species of orchids and a total of 13.600 ancient monuments!

I have found a few sights, I must see, and hope to experience so much more along the route. Sights, map and plan. The planning was almost as time-consuming as the actual trip, but I have experienced how much I can accomplice to see - and in an even more relaxed state - planning it well from home. As with my most recent trips, every sight have a precise GPS-coordinate, all fed into the GPS from home. Start with "1", and then on to "2" - it can't go wrong!
If the campsites are full, closed or in any other way inaccessible, I am going to sleep in my re-designed VW Lupo anyway, and I can do that anywhere, as long as it is 150 metres from a house: "Allemansrätten". Curtains, full size madras and tea kitchen. I used it for 45 nights in England/Wales, and sleep absolutely perfect!

DIARY
23/8 I leave home in the morning, and have to fight the intense traffic around Copenhagen. Then, when I get to Sweden it opens up, and the country seems to be desolated. The E22 leads me across the southern Sweden for the first 250 kilometres, then I make a shortcut across the countryside.
Sweden is the land of conifers, huge lakes, heather, read barns, barren bedrock and endless stonewalls. I enjoy the ride, and are in no hurry.

After five hours and 370 kilometres, I reach the long bridge to Öland. While I look for lunch, I head towards the first sight; Gråborg. It is way out in the countryside - like most of Öland. An old farm marks the entrance, and soon after; The remains of Sct. Knut's Chapel. Only a few walls remains of this 12. century building.
Behind it, a massive wall, made up of loose rocks are the remains of Gråborg. It was build in the Iron Age, and the ring-wall is 640 metres long. I walk around it, and across the centre, trying to capture the magnificence with my camera and imagination.

In my search for some runestones, I pass the village of Runsten. No runes, but the church is fine. The Öland villages reminds me of England; only ancient buildings. I do a loop in one of them, and enjoy the timber barns and sandstone buildings.

My next sight is the runestone of Lerkaka. It is right next to the road, and made of a huge slab of the local sandstone. A double headed serpent holds the runes, and the carvings is drawn-up with read. It is from around 1000.
On the other side of the road, a line of small wooden windmills are found. I love these old machines, but I better restrict myself; else I end up with several photos of every one of them. 
Another runestone; Bjärbystenen is less than a kilometre away, and it is pretty much the same design - and it faces the shadows as well.

Next up is Ismantorp Fortress, a huge ring fortress way out in a forest, and just like Gråborg; without any humans. The area is open with scattered  Juniperus and other wild flora.
The ring-walled village hold 84 houses and nine mysterious gates out to the forest. Only the lower part of the wall remains, but considering the age, it is impressive. The wild flora thrives, but I don't find any unfamiliar plants.

I stop at one of the many national parks, but only the impressing slabs of sandstone catches my attention. A bit further on, I reach a beach. Despite it actually is the sea, it does look more like a lake-side.
Then I reach the impressive Borgholm Castle. Again, it is made by the local sandstone and limestone, but this huge construction is pretty much intact - although only the walls remains after a fire in the 18th centory.
It should hold a good museum, but I have seen enough museums in my life.

I rather head up the island in the persecute of yet another runestone; Tingsflisan. This huge slab stand on a grassy hill within a village. It is pretty much the same design, and the sun is again on the wrong side.
I realises; I am getting through my list of sights rather fast, but it is a perfect sunny day, and I fear the next two days might be pretty grey and even rainy. Never the less, I make a pit-stop, when I finally find an open restaurant - or pizzeria. At least, they serve falafel.

Besides from the numerous small wooden windmills, here are additional stone-build. Some are old and rather fallen-apart, but the huge Sandvik Kvarn from 1845 is intact - except the ground floor, which now contain a restaurant. One of the biggest windmills in Europe.
At the seaside, Byrums Raukar are some sandstone formations at the seaside. The low sum lights them up nicely, and I do a walk along the beach, hoping to find some small fossils.

The low sun also reminds me about camp - or no camp. I realises the natural stop at the end of the first day will be a at the northern point and Långe Erik; the light tower. I pass several camps along the road, but I rather spend the first night in the wild (- ish). I stop at another beach, but again, it is made up by sandstone pebble, and rather lake-like.
The northern peak is beautiful. Nice beach, a tiny fishing port and of cause Långe Erik. The low sun is perfect for photos.
I walk along in the area till the sun sets. Then I park on a parking lot, all by my self, and start on the diary and photos.

It does feel a bit chill during the evening, but I brought my massive English duvet, and that will keep me warm. I'm done with photos and diary at ten, and it is pitch dark. It has been a great day, and now I just hope for plenty of sun in the morning. Photos of the day: Day 1

24/8 After a good night's sleep, I wake up at eight. I only used the sleeping-bag and a blanket; that was sufficient. The sun is ready, but I need breakfast before take-off. I was not able to find UHT-milk, but the almond-milk works perfect for my muesli. The beach is 10 metres away, and I take a stroll. A wall of pebbles, then  just short grass all the way out into the sea. It look so much more like a lakeside!

I follow the northern road, then the eastern coastline, and the 76 kilometres turn significantly longer to the first planned sight of the day. A bit down the road, a truck is loading the gear for drilling the fiber-net-cabels, and after a while, I recon I give him a hand, so he  - and I - can get on. On the way south, I find a bakery, serving expensive tea, but with fast internet and a toilet. When I try to logon to my rarely used travel-Facebook account, it turns out it been blocked. Just another indication of; I travel way too rarely!

Despite my sincerely efforts to reduce the amount of windmill photos, I just have to make a few more: One is made in rocks, the other red (and one nice, one well maintained.....). Another motive is made by the  long lines of post-boxes. It seems like the second most expensive mail is only delivered at one place in the village.

I stop at a farmers stone pitch. In this area, the (in Denmark) well-known red sandstone is common, and within it is fossilized Trilobites and other sea creatures. Then I make it to the eastern moors and the red light tower. Again, the beach look like a lakeside. Sct. Britas Chapel is just a few of the outer walls, but it must have been impressive a 1000 years ago.

A finger sized caterpillar is crossing the road, and I get a portrait. Where most farms are ancient buildings, most have brand new machines, and huge ones too. When I re-visit the Lerkaka runestone, the sun is on. As I get a bit peckish, I find a "Lanthandel", serving a vegetarian smörgås and some nice tea.

The next planned sight is the runestone of Gårdby, found in the cemetery. A brand new tombstone is also in runes.
As I get further down south, the landscape is dominated by moors. Some with cows, other with sheep. I turn out on a gravelroad to meet the sea and Sandby Ringfort.

Again, it is just a circular bunch of large stones. However, the nature is pleasant. I do a walk along the sandy beach and cross the fields. Then I head further south, passing several ancient stone bridges. Several times, I pass some huge slabs of stone, resembling the runestones,  but without the inscriptions. They might have been lazy, skipping the chiselling and only done the paint? It is gone anyway.

The Seby stone, on the other hand, have its carvings. Like the others, it originates from around 1000, and the design are just alike. Next up is Grågåds tiny fishing harbour. I had expected a bit more, but is is cosy and relaxed. I head on through the few villages with the old houses and barns. Most in stone or rude timber, painted red.

One of the ancient ring fortresses; Eketorp have been rebuild, and despite the unusual entrance fee, I give it a go. It is the smallest, but the buildings within it, and the tiny museum is nicely made. Here have been three forts through time, and excavations have revealed a lot of items.

Around five, I reach the southern tip with it light tower; Långe Jan. The area is flat with grass, geese, sheep and black cows. Another ancient chapel; Sct Johanne's, is only a grassy mount and the cross. A endless stone wall; Karl X Gustaf's Wall from 1653 stretches 4,5 kilometres across Öland.

I had planned to eat and sleep here, but the restaurant closes one minute too early. I do a walk around the meadows and beach line. Some of it is made up by small slate-pebbles, other by small blue mussel shells. A tiny Sheppard's hut stands on a minute mount, but the major building is Långe Jan with its 42 metres.

Out in the sea right outside it, huge flocks of swans an cormorants sits on the boulders. Geese grasses on the lush, green and short grass along with the black cows. I pass Karl's wall once again, and find my way up the western coast to Grönhögen, where an old mill have been transformed into a restaurant. Their vegetarian choice is a four cheese pizza - so be it. They have internet, and I sit and work till they closes at eight.

As the summer is over here, accordantly to the weather forecast, I plan to head home tomorrow afternoon. I have shared half their summer, I'm told. I head back down south to spend the night at the southern point. Somehow, I finished the diary and photos at the mill, but there are always something to work with in the car at evenings. Photos of the day: Day 2

25/8 A few showers during the night are the only thing interrupting my ten hours sleep. The morning start with a few glimpses of the sun, but when I reach Gettlinge Gravefield, the clouds have taken over. I stop at one spot, and are amassed over the amount of Roman Snails, despite here are only grass, not even a single bush.
The stone ships and huge boulders are impressive - and with a bit of sum; truly amassing.

I was looking forward to be crossing the nature reservation of Stora Alvaret, but it is the most farmed area of the entire Öland, I think. Only a few fields are only grassed, but they do not really reveal anything interesting. On a harvested fields, I spot 11 cranes, way out.
The central part of the island is dominated by the (by Danes) famous Ölands-brud, and endless walls crosses the fields. They are boosted with electric fences by now: So much more easy to build!

The next stop is within the Gettlinge Gravefields, but way older: It is the huge burialmount of Mysinge, now just an overgrown hill on one of the highest areas on the island. On the upper site side of the road, Mysinge old quarry is found. Considering how many walls here are, and how many Danish gardens have this kind of slabs, I had expected the island to be hollow by now. However, I have not seen one serious quarry.

My last planned sight is the very special runestone of Karlevi. It does not look like any of the others, although it is from around the same time. Here are no two-headed snake, but a lot of runes. It is a poem, written in drottkvätt, and on the backside with Latin letters: INONIN...EH, which very well should have been; In Nomine Ihesu: In Jesus' name.

As the weather doesn't cooperate, and I have run out of sights, I might as well drive home - to work. It is just before noon, and I have been driving 410 kilometres on Öland, covering most. I avoid E22 on the way home, and enjoy the smaller roads through endless forests and then farmed fields. I stop for lunch and a few nice motives, but it seems to me like Halland and Blekinge either look a lot like Skåne and Kronoberg, just less populated and without the pretty details.

I have been "abroad" for 54 hours, driven 1190 km in total, taken 552 photos and spend just a few kroner:

Expenses DKK
Diesel 323 43
Bridge 322 43
Food 401 53
Entré 63 8
1135 148

Photos   Map & Plan   Diary