Påskkäring, Easter Witch

My friend, Brandie, suggested we get out of town for a bit since her husband and daughters are working from home this week due to Swedish guidelines regarding the new covid variant.

We drove to the southern most point, Smyghuk but it was under construction so we went to Vellinge Blommar, a huge garden center with gift shops, cafe and displays, like Bachman’s. They do a big haunted house in the Fall and are currently going all out for Spring!

I learned about the Easter Witch, an odd blend of pagan and Christian traditions with elements of Halloween, May Day, Easter etc.

In ye olde days, folks would scare away and/ or hide from witches who might be on the prowl during their meetup with The Devil. In modern times, kids dress up as witches and carry baskets of homemade cards or spring branches to give out as they go door to door in search of treats. And now witches are a big part of Easter decorating!https://www.minnesotanoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/img_6833-2.mov

https://sweden.se/culture-traditions/easter/

The video clip doesn’t have sound for some reason. The witch was talking about getting all of the eggs painted in time for Easter.

This week I plan to clear out the winter decor and bring in a bit of Spring. Hilary is doing remote lessons until March 9, while Lily is in-person. The ice skating rink and ski track are no more, but the patios are reopening and international citizen’s hub has resumed a few outdoor events

Kings Park

Spent the day in Malmö while Bryant took his driving hazards test. He’ll post about that interesting experience sometime!

Cloudy but warm, 53 degrees. A nice day to roam around, but the kids stayed home to clean their rooms

Malmö castle as it used to be…

And how it is today, with restorations

“Diana” sculpture (meant to look magical by moonlight) Some trees remain in Kungsparken from 1872 when it became the first public park in Malmö

Man and Pegasus (there is a copy in Iowa, too!)

Birds have been on the move lately. Saw a flock of about 10 trumpeter swans flying in a V formation. So cool to watch the swans land on ice!

These gray herons seem to have a nest near the windmill and they were staying close by.

And here are the old and new libraries just across from the park.

IKEA Digital Days

Pre-covid, Bryant’s big event would have been at an exciting international location. Instead he got to travel to a studio in Malmö where his game show style presentation was broad cast live to 5,000 people via the internet!

His segment was well- received, and he enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame. Plus he was able to see some other people irl for a change.

Here is an edited down excerpt from some of the sessions:

Luckily I’m an introvert or I would have been jealous. But it is too bad that we didn’t get to go somewhere fabulous…the last two years were Amsterdam and Shanghai! Instead I went on my usual walk, although this time I found a sunny spot to listen to a piano recital outside the University amphitheater.

Snow

About 2 inches fell this week, and though some melted, enough remained to change the scenery and provide sledding opportunities. Our kids weren’t interested, but lots of neighbor kids made the most of a small hill near the bike path.

At least the colder weather has made the paths less muddy!

Kulturen

This open-air museum (the White House) in the heart of historic Lund is a collection of Swedish architecture from all eras. Some structures remain on their original sites while others were relocated and restored using authentic materials and techniques. The project began in 1882 at a time when the City was modernizing sewers etc, and so includes artifacts uncovered, dating from the Middle Ages. The indoor/ outdoor living museum now exhibits Swedish culture up to 1930.

While the indoor exhibits are closed, the grounds are open, so an area which is normally crowded with tourists is now easily accessible! I’ve been taking full advantage of the opportunity to walk there most days. The first building, known as Locus Peccatorum, was the site of an infamous murder.

Each building has an exhibit related to its time and place in history, such as the printing museum. The Deanery is one of the most interesting, with its medieval elements and historic moments that are attached to the place. It reminds me of visiting the Columbus house in Spain and seeing the actual furnishings used by his family. I’m really looking forward to the Elsa Beskow exhibit.

Exploring Kulturen has been a nice distraction while we wait for things to reopen. Hilary’s grade starts back to in-person next week. Covid rates locally fell by 40% over the last 2 weeks and Sweden tightened up borders, hoping to stop the UK strain. Waiting for Spring!

Ice on the streets (and in my heart)

With temperatures hovering just around freezing, and rain overnight, we skipped this morning’s walk. By the time I headed out on errands (pain meds and new toothbrush to assist Lily with her braces, poor kid), the sun was out and most ice had melted. Before sun up we heard lawn-mower-like sounds and assumed the city was de-icing streets. I think it was the machines that put down this nifty pattern of ice melt. I walked 2 miles and didn’t notice more than a couple of slippery patches. They were very thorough.

Lily walked to school because of the ice but it appears she would’ve been fine biking.

The pond ice must have melted in the rain yesterday and it wasn’t quite cold enough to refreeze. The swans seemed happy!

And some roses just won’t admit it’s winter!

This might be the last visit from Little Robin Redbreast because the condo association says we shouldn’t feed the birds anymore. We don’t think it’s worth the energy to pursue the matter, but it pisses me off.

I’m feeling quite anti- Sweden lately. They also moved forward with a plan to require Swedish language testing for citizenship. And this is under center left leadership. I hope they take note of what happens when fascist bullies go unchecked. It’s a slippery slope!

Winter

35 degrees today but with quite a strong wind at Lomma. It must have been pretty cold for the kite surfers!

In spite of the clouds, we could see the Turning Torso in Malmö pretty clearly and even a bit of the Oresund bridge. There were several ships visible as well.

Bryant will likely add some of his photos. It was so cold that I didn’t have my phone out for long! We walked out on the pier where we had an excellent view of the kite surfing. I was amazed at their speed and how high they could soar above the water.

I think we had some effects from Filomena. Mostly rain and some flakes that didn’t accumulate, unlike the unusual snow in Spain! Here are Laura and Marina, making the most of being stuck in Portillo due to dangerous roads.

And the swans at Stadsparken make channels through the ice. The sound is interesting, especially as they swim away at the beginning of the second video.https://www.minnesotanoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/img_6236.mov

https://www.minnesotanoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/img_6241.mov

Dinner and the castle grounds

After a few anxious minutes waiting outside, not quite sure if we were in the right place, we great doors opened and we were treated to warm glögg, live music and a self guided tour of the mansion. It featured a room built to accommodate a very large painting the owners had commissioned, which ended up being too big for their home in Gothenburg.

Then we were seated in the dining room and the traditional julbord buffet was served at our table as a covid precaution. I’m sure we tasted more dishes than we would have in a buffet- I wouldn’t have tried much herring. I liked the creamy horseradish version ok, but the smoked salmon was by far the best of that course!

We liked the lingonberry parfait best, but the the kids were tired and didn’t want us to take the option of a stroll around the grounds before dessert, so we were too full to properly appreciate dessert.

The next day we walked around the estate, which was filled with amazing naturalistic landscaping that felt natural but featured convenient hardscape. Benches, steps, statues and interesting rock formations led us to the best vistas and sheltered nooks. It was windy and muddy in the off season but wildly beautiful.

The bird migration station, where we saw swans and a few herons from a distance.

Tjolöholms Slott

Built by the wife of a British-Swedish aristocrat, who died just after building began, this castle has a relatively short history. The Dickson’s wanted a horse farm close to their Gothenburg home. They hired an architect and began construction in 1894, on a stretch of rugged coast just south of Gothenburg. It was a working port and farm which employed over 100 people. Today the “workers village” accommodates visitors. This is where we stayed in Mor Amanda’s Stuga. Just below the estate’s church, conveniently located to make sure the villagers had no excuse for lack of attendance.

More soon about dinner at the castle and exploring the grounds!

Vinterpromenade

No wind today so we drove to Lomma, just a few miles west, to enjoy a change of scenery. The shallow water with exposed sand bars means easy walking and lots to look at along the shore, with strips of sand that extend out into the water.

Yesterday we explored the outskirts of Lund and found yet another tiny community, knästorps, built around a church yard. The bishops garden has self pick kale still in season. We found a more pleasant route to the Hoje river and a bridge that crosses over the highway behind Tetra Pak which makes for a nicer walk to the å (also the word for river!)

Some gardens still have roses blooming! 40 degrees without wind makes for a very nice nearly vinter promenade.