Another Day in Helsingborg

The last few weeks have been so very busy with new activities, more office visits and work travel for Bryant, more clubs and socializing. I even had my first meeting with the women’s birding group in Lund. I am the only non Swedish speaker and it will take time to fit in. They were welcoming and tried to use English as often as they remembered!

I invited a friend and her 2 year old to visit the Elsa Beskow play area at Kulturen with me, and we had a lively morning. She was too busy to try on the apple hat that I knit for her, but I think it will fit.

Kulturen is a pretty good place on a rainy day. It was nice to play tea party again- it’s been a while!

Bry and I went to Helsingborg once last year but only visited Sofiero, the Botanic Garden. We didn’t make it in to the city.

Today it was challenging to decide on an outing for this weekend since we hadn’t really planned ahead. We decided to take the train to Helsingborg for lunch and to see the Old Town and Medieval Tower. But our bank card was not working with Skånetrafiken or something, so we couldn’t buy our tickets on the train like we normally do, and since the train was already en route, we had to get off at Eslöv and use an old fashioned kiosk to buy tickets back to Lund.

It would have been a whole hour to wait for the next train so we returned home to fetch the car. That meant we arrived to the beach for a very late lunch at a waterfront restaurant, Sea and Salt. We were quite hungry by then but the food and views were worth the wait.

The girls didn’t want to take the time for the ferry across to Elsinore Castle on the Danish side. You can just barely see it in the photos…but they agreed to walk back into town to see Kärnan, the tower.

So close to our goal! We had ascended the first set of steps toward the top of the tower, when we heard a chorus of sirens and realized that fire, police and ambulance personnel were rushing up the steps, past us, toward the top of the tower, a steep climb. I couldn’t see what was going on so I waited off to the side, then went up one more level to join B and the kids. Just ahead was a man with a head injury. He probably fell on the stone staircase. We stayed out of the way, not knowing what was best to do since we were kind of trapped in the middle of the action. Finally a police officer came to tell us that we needed to go back down the way we came. It would have been lots faster to just let us take the last staircase up to the top, but they didn’t want us to go that way. And by then the kids wanted to call it quits.

So we still barely saw Helsingborg! I’ve seen more of it on YouTube- some pretty good segments there. The man looked like he was going to be OK and H pointed out that had we been faster up the stairs, we might have been called upon to give first aid and help until police arrived. So good thing I took a rest after the first set of steps- here’s the photo they took after mocking me for stopping, just before the sirens.

A crowd watched us make our way back down the stairs. Awkward! I guess police were stopping them from entering the area, so there was a backlog of curious tourists waiting to climb the steps to Kärnan. I’m sure they wanted to know what was going on. And then we nearly ran into a couple out walking their exotic birds right next to a wedding party outside another medieval landmark, Saint Mary’s Kyrka. Our options for getting out of the area were pretty limited. We were all feeling a bit on edge. The white cockatoo? is perched on the shoulder of the woman in the middle photo. The man had a large green bird. It was a weird day. The public library looks fun though, and it’s right by the train station. If I want to see Helsingborg I will probably have to take the train on my own or with an ICH friend perhaps, because I doubt the kids will want to go again. Maybe I can talk them into the ferry trip to Helsingør?

Bonus Sommar

We tried to squeeze in as much outdoor time as possible during this streak of amazing weather in Skåne.

Here is our hike on a section of Skåneleden Trail near Barsebäck strand, site of a 6,000 year old settlement, now preserved as pastureland, restored with native plants. The 1712 Stenbock’s ramparts were maintained (but never used) so the land wasn’t farmed or developed.

Stenbock’s rampart in the background, built circa 1712 to protect the coastline

Bry had yet another birthday celebration when friends invited us to Malmö for lunch. I didn’t get many photos… but we were treated to some yummy ice cream and had a nice outing together. We also ate out a couple times in Lund now that covid cases are very low. Finally were able to get reservations at the Skissernas Museum restaurant offering a twist on traditional Swedish ingredients. The kids didn’t love it, but they were good sports. It was fun trying new things. Lots of unusual flavors, most of which were a hit. Bry and I loved all of it. Better for date night than a family meal perhaps.

And we went to the Falsterbo Bird Show where I joined the Swedish Ornithological Society and a women’s bird watching group that meets in Lund. We watched Red Kites and Honey Buzzards (up to 1000 per day during this week each year) while an announcer called out tips and sightings (in Swedish) over a loud speaker- it was a blast! They say it’s one of the best places to watch migration in all of Europe. We didn’t know to bring chairs and kaffe, ha!

Then to the apple orchard for lunch…one of my favorite places. And we got our first batch of apples and bottled juices. Finally had my coffee because we could not find a cup anywhere in Falsterbo. All the birders brought their own thermos. We even tried the grocery store (which opens at 8:15) but no luck. Oh yes, L got her glasses and tried special contact lenses which might result in better vision, but she needs another appointment to practice getting them in on her own.

Family Tree

Spectacular weather this week and so many happenings that I couldn’t keep up!

Lisa, head of Lund’s Family History Center reached out (months after my initial query), offering to show me how to use the digital Arkiv of Swedish records, even though the center is not yet reopened yet post covid. She explained a lot about the Husförhörslängder books. The pastor of each local parish would keep a detailed record of each household, including births, deaths, occupations, address, dates of anyone moving to or from the house, etc. The primary purpose being to assess each church member’s biblical knowledge, each confirmed member was given a letter grade! (My 5th great-grandmother, Kerstin Pehrsdotter, had all A’s) As the printer was broken and I did not bring a memory stick, I was not able to get a copy of the records. I took a few photos and will go back later to get the files we downloaded.

I think it will be very difficult for me to access these records on my own since Lisa’s knowledge of Swedish, the abbreviations used, the meaning of lots of shorthand/ numbers and such was essential. The books are not searchable except by Parish and range of years, so she only found my family by knowing approximately where to look in each book. Since I knew my great- grandfather’s birthday and the Parish his father was from, we were able to find them and go back 3 more generations!

My 2nd great grandfather had two sisters, Hanna and Ingar, who both died from measles in January of 1856. Lisa said that was very common and often children who shared a bed would be infected around the same time. Many families went on to have more children with the same names, which was the case in my family, too. It’s one reason that matching up records on Ancestry can be very challenging. One needs to see the whole family listed together for context. My great-grandfather, Sigfred, had an older brother, also named Sigfred, who died in his first year. Seeing how many people died from diseases that have been eradicated through vaccination drives home the following message.

Those who refuse to be vaccinated in the name of personal freedom are selfish assholes, oblivious to history and undeserving of the privileges they receive from living in a society that protects them in ways they won’t reciprocate or even acknowledge. They ought to be shunned by society. They should feel FREE to stay home, away from other people and public life if they choose not to be vaccinated. The data is available from credible sources around the world. There is no excuse for such mind-numbing ignorance. That’s my opinion, based on peer reviewed data from multiple sources and knowledge of historical and scientific fact…

One reason we know we found the correct family in a sea of similar names is that many of them emigrated to Bornholm, Denmark before moving on to the US. The husförhörslängder shows these moves! Lisa did extra research on her own and sent me the information that she found. I put the names and dates into Ancestry and found matches going all the way back to 1715, mostly from the same couple of parishes in central Skåne. She offered to meet again soon to search the land records, which should show us the exact locations of the houses from the husförhörslängder. Most of these still exist today and I might be able to go see them! I’m lucky to have found someone who is so enthusiastic about genealogy.

Lisa’s notes including the move to Bornholm after Else’s 1872 death

Rainy Days

After a fast paced summer and the initial excitement of returning to school, it feels like our break came to a screeching halt. L caught a cold as soon as school started. And I guess we’ve all let down our guards a bit because I got the cold as well. I did meet up with new people from International Citizens Hub and sat outside in a busy courtyard, sharing a table with people who also have colds right now, so L might not have been the source of contagion. It was my first time being sick since the pandemic started. Because we are all vaccinated, I wasn’t really concerned, but I did go to the walk up testing site near Stadsparken just to be a good citizen and so that I could safely attend all of my newly scheduled events. Turns out that my symptoms lasted awhile so I had to cancel my cooking class, ICH tour, and dinner plans anyway. I’m feeling quite sorry for myself for having to miss out now that there are finally things to do! The weather has been cool and rainy, with a few short stretches of pleasant weather in between showers. So I stayed home all week and only went for short walks.

On one walk I noticed that I could see the Uppåkra church steeple, marking the iron age archaeological site that we visited last week. I will be treasure hunting when I walk in this area from now on! Apparently treasures have been found lying right on the surface. Watch this video about a lucky eleven year old here. Well, she was digging at the site, but the guide told us about a woman who just randomly found an a gold token near here, so I have hope. There is a whole room in the Lund museum with those amazing finds, just from the Temple and other Uppåkra excavations.

On the horizon to the left is the village of Uppåkra. To the right is the highway and outskirts of Lund, connected by the bike path.
In the center, the church steeple is just visible. Beyond the trees is the Höje river, likely the settlement’s source of water.

A rainy forecast for the next few days again, and Bryant had hoped to do something fun for his birthday, but we’ll try for next weekend instead. Probably for the best while we still have lingering cold symptoms. We did get to try a popular restaurant, VED, which shares patio space around Lund’s oldest building, Krognohuset on a lovely evening last week, with friends who came up to visit from Malmö.

After dinner we enjoyed Lund by night. The town was lively, with a festive vibe as weddings and social events are being held outdoors, and students begin to move back. Programs at the University are partly on-line, partly in-person so we anticipate a busier atmosphere around Lund this year. The Domkyrka is even more impressive at night, I think. The nearly full moon was very low in the sky and lent an eerie glow.

Lunds Universitet also has a different look. They are celebrating its rise in rank in the world’s top 100 universities.

We enjoyed an evening at the beach in Lomma, so though I’m feeling gloomy at the moment, we have had lots of fun recently, and I’ll try to remember the sunny days.

Uppåkra Arkeologiska Center

Just a couple of miles from Lund is this amazing, mysterious site. It doesn’t look like much, but under out feet are treasures from the past. Hopefully more funding will allow them to emerge. My detectorist’s* curiousity is piqued! Here is the description at the entrance…

We invited friends from Malmö to join us for a guided tour in English. The weather cooperated, and we caught our bus from Lund and strolled down pungent country lanes to the Uppåkra church, which marks the site entrance. This guy wins the prize for displaying his entry sticker to full effect! Yes, it looks like the skull of an ancient Mickey Mouse, but it is probably a depiction of a lion by a craftsperson who’d heard tales of the mighty beast but never seen one. IMHO the craftsperson wasn’t really into this project that someone told him he had to make.

The church is an excellent landmark when it comes to locating the archaeology center, but surprisingly, it wasn’t the building of the church that resulted in rediscovering this iron age settlement. It was the construction of the house, seen here…

Sofia pointing out the original excavation site which runs under the house and barn (it was part of a long house)

The ceremonial house was 3X bigger and taller than this model. It held a sacred chalice and bowl, a figure of Odin, etc. now in the museum in Lund. The sign in the background marks its location. You can read more and see photos of the finds Here

Model of Ceremonial House, finds that came from distance lands, the mound with remains of the oldest Nordic brewery.

The ceremonial house was about 10 meters tall, in the space behind the guide.
Every dark dot on the photo marks a find picked up by metal detectors- they are everywhere!

Our enthusiastic guide invited us back to see the treasure trove which awaits if ever the funds permit excavation of the other 98% Just imagine! With less than 2% uncovered, they’ve already found a murder site confirmed by Swedish CSI, a cache of “sacrificed” weapons, hundreds of coins and tokens, a feasting site, the oldest known brewery of beer and mead, along with the very important ceremonial center. It makes me want to join the Detectorists* If you haven’t watched this series, I highly recommend.

Catching the bus going opposite directions, our friends heading back to Malmö as we boarded the bus to Lund.

Första skoldagen

Neither kid wanted me to walk with them to school. ISLK had half day/morning, while Katte had half day/afternoon tours, staff presentations and class schedule pick up. So I walked H most of the way (she made me leave her at the Old Town wall/rampart) to her group’s designated entrance, watched from a discreet distance (the observatory at Stadsparken) and then continued past Katte grounds, through Gamla Lund to ISLK to meet L for an early lunch.

H has one class at Stadsparken, in a group of buildings purchased by Lund Kommun as the population grew. L and I went to my favorite cafe at the Botanic gardens but she decided she wanted a cooked lunch. We went to Creperiet i Lund where they had Peach for their crepe-of-the-day and a savory ham and cheese with salad, so we shared one of each. Yum.

Today it is raining fairly heavily, probably for the whole day, and both kids have team building activities outside. They skated by last year without much in the way of rain gear. Both of them rejected my offer to take them shopping for rain boots, and raincoats with more coverage, maybe even a rain hat or poncho, and rain pants. They think rain stuff is for little kids and old people. I predict they will change their minds after spending the whole day outside in wet clothes! I’m planning to do some indoor walking at the mall tonight while they try on rain gear!

Back-to-School

After a summer of R and R plus a confidence boost from her latest theatrical success, Lil returns to ISLK tomorrow, eager for independence and feeling ready to go back to a familiar space with familiar faces.

She says it’s fine with her that Hil graduated from ISLK and will be going to Secondary School (like high school or university prep) at Katedralskolan. This school is also in Lund, a bit closer to our house but in the opposite direction of ISLK.

Though it was founded as the Cathedral school in 1085 by the Danish King Canute the Saint, it is a public school and no longer affiliated with the church. Read more about Katedralskolan here.

There are fewer nerves this year, even for H, because she has several friends who are in the same diploma program.

There are six “schools” housed at Katedralskolan, so even though there are 1500 students, it probably won’t feel too big, especially compared to Central High in Saint Paul which had 3,000 kids.

We are all looking forward to seeing inside these historic buildings, alas, coronavirus restrictions are limiting any unnecessary visits. But I might find a good reason to go over there soon!

Sommar Summary

Trying to get back into the blog again after our trip to MN. Kids start school on Monday so I guess it’s time! Here are some pics of Twin Cities Theater Camp’s outdoor production of The Wizard of Oz. Lil played two roles this year, Nikko, sinister leader of the Flying Monkeys, and Munchkin #1. She was downright scary as Nikko and did a fabulous job staying in character, especially considering that the entire stage was visible to the audience so the performers were always on stage. We are all very proud of her and the TCTCers for their hard work and dedication to the performing arts. It was a challenging season for theater camp!

We were able to visit with lots of family, friends and neighbors during the 6 weeks (2 for Bryant) though it flew by so fast that we didn’t manage all of the socializing we had hoped to include. Bryant’s parents spent a week with us and Uncles CJ and David also came to MN to attend Lily’s play and my nephew’s graduation party. Good times!

Lil also got to celebrate her 13th birthday a few times, lucky kid!

I’d best wrap it up before I lose this part that I completed! There’s a lot more summer fun I haven’t included, but it will have to wait.

A Grave in Grove

Remember when they were replacing the stairs to part of the cathedral and discovered a mysterious corpse last Fall?! The new staircase is finished, and now I’m wondering if archaeologists have learned anything more about the man who was buried beneath. I’m booking a tour of nearby Uppåkra, a major dig near Lund, where I may be able to find out more about it.

Lund translates to Grove, so that is the name that comes up whenever we translate a web page into English. Strangely, it appears in the “L”section of any pull down menu or list, even though it reads “Grove”…Not much new to add to this story, but the construction project on the back of the cathedral finished over the summer so we now have new views to admire sans portable offices and heavy equipment!

We had drinks at the Cathedral Wine Bar just across the street . Fantastic people watching and the traffic noise wasn’t too bad even though it’s on a major bus route. We also discovered fresh currants, which I’ve seen at the farmers market but hadn’t tried yet. They make a nice cocktail!

Vandrings i Söderåsen

(Hiking in Söderåsen national park)

Finding myself with a (mostly) free day, I decided to go back to Söderåsen. Jen and I had hiked there last fall, and I wanted to see it in the summer. It was REALLY nice.  For those that want the geographic placement, we live in Lund (blue dot) and the park is the green tree marker in the middle. It is about a 45 min drive from the house.

Last time, Jen and I hiked an easy trail of about 4km, with only a bit of grade. We were rewarded with nice views from Kopparhatten. It was the yellow trail marked below. Today, I took the blue trail up the other side of the valley – about twice the distance at 7,7km.

Full map here.

The trail in the bottom of the valley was very nice – super shady and the sound of water rushing all the time, with a nice boardwalk for most of it.

When the blue trail split off from the yellow, however, I got 500m of this. It was kind of brutal!

I finally got to the top of the valley and stopped to make some lunch at the Liagården camp area (def coming back here for backpacking!). I just had some ramen and crisp bread, but it was nice to get out the kit and boil some water. I am including a selfie in these pics so that Jen does have to look only at landscapes! 😀

That bottom-right pic is a thin finger of land with a steep drop on both sides. It feels a bit like a ships prow, but it does have awesome views at the end!