Lund Choral Festival/ Opera

Free concerts all week (Oct 18-24) and one ticketed professional concert each evening, but, alas, the venues filled quite quickly and I only made it in to one free concert! Next year we know to get the pre-paid pass. Bryant and I did manage to get tickets at the door to hear Det Norske Solistkor and it was magical! My favorite was Ørjan Matre: Orphic Songs, but there aren’t any recordings of it available that I could find.

All Saints Church, aka the red church, hosted the ticketed events, probably because of the amazing acoustics. Photo from last winter!

I thought there was another free concert as part of this morning’s Högmässa High Mass at the cathedral. It was just the regular church choir, but it was an interesting experience. I tried to sit in an inconspicuous location, the back row of the first section, thinking that it would be crowded all the way at the back but I didn’t realize the multiple processions would put me in the center of the event! It was all in Swedish, of course, but I followed along OK without understanding much.

The homily is given from the pulpit to the left so I essentially sat right in the front, even though it seemed like the back when I chose the seat. All of the processing ended right next to where I was sitting. The people at the front turn around to face the center, putting me face-to-face with the far back section, argh! And it lasted for and hour and a half. The choir was a good church choir, not like the professional singers of the other concerts, but nice. And it was fun to hear them in the cathedral.

Our Musical Extravaganza continues…On Friday night we went to Malmö to join with some of the MN to Malmö group (all relocated from Mpls for jobs at IKEA) to see our friend, Dom (Bry knew his partner from Target and now IKEA), perform in Glada änkan The Merry Widow. It was a fabulous show and tons of fun even though we didn’t understand a lot of words. Luckily, the show is more about the music and drama, so it didn’t matter. We also read a synopsis in English and watched a few YouTube clips of a London production. Dom was a star in his roguish role, and, on top of having an incredible voice, he learned this role in SWEDISH while also working his other high energy job. He is setting such a great example of embracing a new language and culture. The kids were both suitably impressed and enjoyed the show, too. Dom arranged for us to meet some other cast members after the show and made us feel like special guests. Another lovely experience.

Hilleshögs Dalar and a Sunny Weekend

Bry and I continued our exploration of the west coast, a bit north of our Glumslöv hike. It was just as scenic.

passage grave from bronze age

After our hike we stopped for a quick lunch at Fish and Chips in Lomma. It was too cold to eat outside, but the food was tasty.

It was past time to clean the patio wall, a chore that we put off all summer. I started noticing a greenish tinge last Spring but never got around to cleaning. The wall, which is visible from the living and dining rooms, was looking pretty sickly and I didn’t want to spend all winter looking at it. We need to turn off the outdoor water soon, so Bryant hooked up the power washer and we took turns blasting away what I think is mostly algae. Hopefully not much paint! Algae reminded me of the Agardh algae collection, which I learned about at the Botan.

Carl Agardh studied algae in the early 1800’s and began an important collection that is now part of Lund University. His son, Jakob, was also a botanist and designed blueprints for the “new” botanic gardens in 1862. The octagonal Agardhianum is being restored. It’s such an unusual building, with a rectangular wing on four sides of the octagon. I can’t wait to see the interior! Here’s the patio before and after.

This year we bought pumpkins early- hopefully timed it right so they don’t rot.
Joined the food co-op…Lund Matvarukooperativ. The thing that looks like cauliflower is Lion’s Mane! It was delicious

The Slopes of Glumslöv

On the drive back from Ängelholm we stopped at this nature reserve in the village of Glumslöv. The trail we took leads through lovely hillside pastures to the sea. There are several stone age monuments nearby as well as 2 barrows dating to the iron age, which served as the graves for the family groups who worked the land. The Island of Ven is visible in the distance, and the coastline trail looks like a great adventure for another day. Glacier activity resulted in rare flora and fauna in the valley and along the cliffs. Signs said spring time is especially good for seeing the unusual specimens so we’ll add it to our list! And another castle to check out sometime.

Morning coffee

Bryant and I often walk to Broder Jakob’s for coffee and baked treats on Saturday mornings. It opens earlier than most bakeries and I love the atmosphere. The colors and decor are my style, with creamy white, and pinkish beige walls, high grey-blue ceilings, soft, elegant lighting, lots of plants and vintage photos. I just love relaxing inside or in the patio nice weather. I’ve never taken pictures because it’s always full of people and it feels awkward to photograph them. Then the man sitting at a table across from us arranged himself in the perfect vignette. He looked so much like a painting that I pretended to take a selfie and took a photo of him over my shoulder. I’m still amazed at how a portrait composed itself! Doesn’t he look like an impressionist painting?!

We walked through Stadsparken on the way home and saw the grey heron who often perches on rocks or trees by the pond. The fall colors really made it pop, though it’s too bad I never remember a zoom lens.

On Friday we meant to go to Copenhagen for their big Kultur Natten but it runs from 6-midnight and in spite of our good intentions (I even had a little afternoon nap and energy drink) we just couldn’t muster up the energy to deal with transportation, long lines, and big crowds. So we went only as far as Malmö to meet Bryant for dinner in the City instead. We made new discoveries even though we’ve been in the area many times. Never noticed the Lion Passage before! We were so frustrated with google maps telling us to turn right when there was no street! It was quite funny later in the evening as we came through the passage from the other side on our way back. Then dinner at the place we ate (Ruth’s, formerly Bastard) when we came to Sweden the first time almost 2 years ago! Still great food and those two got their oysters.

Saturday afternoon we drove to Ãngelholm to visit the candle factory but it was closed! I can’t get used to Swedish opening hours. So we went hat shopping and walked around the picturesque town.

Ängeltofta Estate, candle workshop in one of the outbuildings

Kulturnatten i Lund

Many parts of Scandinavia have an autumn arts festival this weekend…why don’t they stagger these!? Lund also participates in the tradition, and this year things were close to normal, with free museums and galleries, concerts, food trucks and street fair events. The weather wasn’t great for it but the rain stopped, so it wasn’t unpleasant walking around town. There were so many events going on at the same time that it was really hard to decide which ones to try!

The medieval Krognos House, oldest secular building, was open, as was the Lund Konsthall art exhibit. It was fun to get a new perspective on these places that I’ve walked past nearly every day.

We toured the cathedral, a totally different experience after dark! The kids joined us for the crypt where the legend of Fin the Giant and his wife was retold, and to see the astronomical clock again, though we still didn’t get to see its big display of sword fight and organ music. They remarked that it smells like pysanky, so I guess the Domkyrka must use a very large quantity of bees wax candles. Hopefully we can visit for a guided tour at some point. Below you can see Finn (probably Samson) and the giant’s wife (no one knows what was really going on in this column detail of the “wife”)

Lots of good music and food… a fun evening. But we tired out before getting over to the science museum for the English language sessions. I’d hoped to go to the one on astronomy. Also missed a tour of the oldest cemetery due to rain. There was a series of TED style talks that looked intriguing. And a tour of the sustainable housing development on the north side of Lund, which, along with the train platforms will be heated by excess/ recycled heat generated by ESS.

Tram platform at Clemmenstorget, the main square in Lund, and the horoscope section of the clock. You can look up your name day if you zoom in! The current “perpetual calendar” runs until 2123. There was so much we didn’t get to do! But I guess we’ll have to wait for next year’s Culture Night.

International Club of Skåne

Helped the kids pack up for their camping trip on Friday morning, then headed for Malmö with Carole, a friend from the Stadsparken walking group. She invited me to join her for the first post-covid meeting of ICS, which was formed about 20 years by a group of women from the Malmo area. They arrange all sorts of activities for members: family hikes, picnics, book club, cooking, knitting group, museum visits etc. Lots of things I’m looking forward to doing!

It’s been two years since their last in-person meet-up so it was a joyful reunion for them. We ate a delicious lunch together at Smak (Taste) the restaurant at Malmo Konsthall, got to know each other a bit, planned the next meet-up at a garden center/ cafe near Lund, and then Carole and I visited the art gallery, featuring an exhibit of Brazilian artist José Leonilson. Finally, a quick stroll through Kungsparken where the kale yard was at its best, on our way to the station. Carole and I also had a chance to get to know each other better. She’s French & Spanish, lived in Mexico for many years and has 3 kids. Her youngest is 16 but does his diploma program in Malmö rather than Lund. Her grown-up daughters are in Poland and London. We try to alternate English and Spanish so that we both get some practice.

Turns out Carole’s husband is traveling this weekend, too. So she showed me her favorite hiking trail along the beach at Bjärred. Usually she bikes out to the coast, but it has been really windy lately so we’ll try that another time.

salt bathing, with restaurant and sauna
former Bjärred train station, no train service these days
Bath house, with turning torso and øresund bridge in the background
Lots of trees down

Beautiful hiking area and beach. Can’t believe I hadn’t been there yet! Can’t wait to try brunch at the bath house sometime. I think it was good weather for the canoe camping crew. Luckily the big storm passed through on Thursday. I got soaked and had a rash from walking in wet clothes, though I had my extra-long rain coat and boots or it would’ve been much worse. The wind made it really tough to stay dry. Anyway it was probably not as windy inland, and I don’t think it rained on them.

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.