Sofiero Castle in Helsingborg

was a summer royal palace, just across the Öresund from Denmark at the narrowest point. In the top picture below, the little darker grey rectangle is the castle at Helsingør Denmark, better known as Elsinore from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

King Oscar collected rhododendron from around the world and took advantage of the brook and ravine to establish unusual varieties.

While Margareta developed the rest of the grounds with many kinds of gardens, including an enchanted forest which made a nice photo op for Jen Jill.

One lovely, wooded section features “sounds” most naturally provided by birds and wind. The blackbirds cooperated astonishingly well by singing near their sign as if on cue.

A magical, musical soundtrack added another element to the sculpture garden. You can hear the violin music in the clip below, just complementing the rushing water of the creek.

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!

Minneapolis Expats

Today we met up with a nice couple who moved here from Minneapolis. They’ve been in Malmö since October so we had a great time comparing notes on local amenities and our experiences with relocating. They are tons of fun and a great resource! They live near the Turning Torso. We walked through Stor Torget, which is also on the little map. The rides are a temporary summer thing. And the wind is so strong here I don’t think I’d ever risk the Ferris wheel! Hyllie is the second train stop out from Central Station. The red x is about where the library is, and Lilla Torg is a favorite for restaurants with covered outdoor seating, especially this week with all the rain predicted.

I’m finally getting around to finding some cash for the few things that require it. These are the first Kronor I’ve seen… the rate is about 10 sek to one dollar. So I need to find a store that takes cash in order to break down these bills. What I need are small coins of 5 or 10 kronor (crowns) for use in coin operated machines, for bathrooms and storage lockers, etc.

Cash is generally not used at all in Sweden. The intention is to eliminate coins and paper gradually. I think their currency is fun, though! They feature cultural icons rather than political figures. These are Greta Garbo and Birgit Nilsson with Jen-Jill.


Lily, Bry, and I rode to a nearby community on the coast. It was paved trail all the way so pretty easy. Next time we’ll bring swim gear and enjoy the water.

And here is the Øresund Bridge in the background. Denmark will open to our state (Skåne) on June 30, so maybe we’ll be able to see Copenhagen this summer.

Jen-Jill, gazing longingly toward Norway. I guess we’ll have to be content seeing Sweden and a bit of Denmark for this year.

Midsommar Celebration

We were lucky enough to be invited to a Midsommar party at a lovely private home in Södra Sandby, just outside Lund. The hosts live in a beautiful restored 1914 house with a large yard. And the weather was perfect, which we are told is not the norm. Someone mentioned that 2 of the last 6 years had good weather. That is usually part of the conversation, along with how the strawberry harvest is doing (not at its peak this year, but it will be a good one!)

The group was very inclusive, with people of different backgrounds and ages, with English as a common language, which made it easy for us to join in the fun. The kids met some peers who will most likely run in the same circles around Lund! They had a good time playing games, and chatting. And Lily loved their bunny, Jupiter, a cuddly little guy! There were enough kids to keep the party lively.

Jen-Jill got her own blommakronor so she could properly introduce the feast.

Many traditional foods were served, including a cheese pie, beet salad, and 5 kinds of herring, my favorite was in a creamy mustard sauce. It is the “baby” herring, suitable for the timid palate. The day-long feast was enjoyed by all and we are really grateful to Philipp and Anna for including us in their celebration!

Katt Kulturen

Sophia would be very proud to see her pal embracing the cat walk of the Malmö canals. Lots of cool feline sculptures but this one looked like a safe bet for those who are have not completely embraced Katt Kulturen!

And this little beauty sits on the walk along the bike path. She has a lovely cream- colored bib, paws and stripe on her nose- So pretty!

Levers, Locks and Labels, oh my!

Today I thought I’d post about some of the things that have stymied me. It seems like there are an endless number of switches, knobs, locks faucets and other hardware to navigate. It’s hard to pee in a public restroom when you’re not sure the door is locked. I finally figured out how to use my credit card or Apple Pay to get in to the bathroom though!

I’ve spend a lot of time trying to open, close, lock and unlock windows, doors, and appliances. Not to mention the use of lights, fans, faucets, and said appliances. Most puzzles are quickly solved but a few have posed quite a challenge. What is this knob? It’s not a switch for filtered water, or for adjusting flow or a tiny faucet for Jen-Jill! It doesn’t do anything! Or so we thought… on the first day at the apartment, Bryant figured out how to run the dishwasher. It worked fine. The next day, I could not get it to run. Bryant tried it again and he couldn’t get it to work either. We called the building repair person. He took a look at it and started it with no problem (Eye roll, heavy sigh) I asked him to show me and he did. There was nothing wrong. He was nice about it. A few days later we went to Lund for a tour of the house we will be renting. Their kitchen sink had the same mystery knob and I asked what it was for. Magnus explained it’s the water shut off to the dishwasher… ??‍♀️ Of course- that’s why the dishwasher ran and then suddenly didn’t! Good to know. The repair guy must have turned it on without thinking to mention it because it’s so obvious. Magnus and Louise are making a book of notes about how things work in the house we’re renting from them.

Next issue, the dryer would stop mid cycle. It would turn on and off over a period of time, like a fluff cycle or something, except the clothes were not dry. What does that flashing light mean (a water drop with a tilting bottle) Is it over heating? Is it too full? Does it hate me?

Answer: It has a small reservoir that collects the moisture from the clothes as they dry. It must be emptied periodically. So the first time we used the dryer, it worked great, but the next time it started this “empty the tank” business.

This is an excellent thing! We will definitely get one for the St Paul condo, no venting to the outside, and it really works, lots better than the no vent washer/ dryers that I’ve used before.