Snapshots from my LU walking commute

Towers lifted off the cathedral with this giant crane

The botanic garden has a collection of the types of stone found in Sweden. Last photo is a birthday gathering for Katedralskolan friends, playing kubb. Such a wholesome party for 17 to 19 year olds. We hope the friend group stays this way!

Sunshine Island

Rønne harbor and the church where our 2nd great-grandparents were married.

The Danish island of Bornholm, called the sunshine island because it has, on average, more sunny days than the rest of Denmark, lies in the Baltic Sea near Sweden’s southern coast. We’ve been planning a visit since we first arrived since it’s an easy ferry ride away, but somehow it didn’t happen. With our first visitors, my brother CJ and his husband David, in town for Easter break, we decided to book our tickets for Bornholmslinjen, the ferry from Ystad.

I’ve been working on a family tree for ages and wanted to find out more about our Bornholmer past, so I contacted the tourism board and found a local tour guide and historian who enjoys genealogy. He was quite enthusiastic about the project and discovered a booklet in the local library documenting the story of our 3rd great-grandfather. This treasure included names and addresses of the families descending from said grandfather and led me to meet one of our 4th cousins, who happens to live in Lund! Anne and I met for fika a few weeks ago and arranged to see each other again when more of her family, including her father, the one who authored Åke Andersson’s history, would be gathering for Easter in Bornholm. Such an amazing series of events! So we spent a couple of fantastic days in Bornholm exploring our Danish Bornholmer (and Scanian) roots.

After several hours of lively conversation, getting to know each other and trying to fill in some of the blanks from the years since our branch of the Åkessons left Bornholm, we explored the beautiful town of Svaneke. Per and Hanne showed us some of their favorite places and shared Danish candies even sending some of these delectable treats home with the girls. What a generous, warm welcome to Bornholm!

Per’s grandfather and my mom’s great-grandfather were brothers. They both grew up in Sweden but married women from Bornholm after emigrating to the island for better work opportunities. Several of Åke’s children left Bornholm for the US while some stayed, Per’s grandfather being one who remained in Bornholm. Åke remarried and remained there until his death in 1897.

Next, Hans, the genealogist, was able to assist us with the research he did on our 2nd great-grandmother and her family since obviously Per did not know about that part of our history. Hans was able to find many locations where family members had lived and some of the places were still much the same! The first location was a tiny row house which was once right on the harbor, with the wind mill on the street behind it. Coincidentally, the hotel we booked was directly in front of the house. Our 2nd great-grandmother, Anna, lived at #26 Møllegade/ Millstreet, the blue one, with the front of the house facing the windmill. There it was, right outside our hotel window! She was 3 years old when she lived here in 1860 with 2 sisters and 2 brothers.

Anna married Peter Augeson in 1878 at the Skt. Nicolai Church.

Photo from Per’s research of Åkesson/ Andersson families

Below is Nyker or new church, one of the distinctive round churches of Bornholm which retained many pagan elements and served also as a fortress. They were built as a community space that could be defended. Great acoustics, too! Photo- hourglass timer so folks would know how long the sermon would be. Easily barricaded doors. Women’s entrance over the bronze age fertility stone. Anna’s parents, Klaus Peder Pedersen and Kirstine Margrethe Busch, were married at the “new” round church in 1848.

We also visited more of Anna’s relatives homes in the area around Rønne, including a farm which is now a pottery studio.

Anna’s mother moved around quite a bit and showed up in other Parish records late in her life. The interesting thing about it is that from here, modern Bornholmers and Scanian Swedes just a few miles away can see one another’s lights. In a show of solidarity they flash headlights at each other on a designated night every Autumn. They say they have always had a love/ hate relationship.

Back to Åke Andersson for a bit. He lived in this yellow house, built 1875 near Aarsballe, with his second wife, a widow he married in 1877, along with the two youngest of his children. His first wife was our 3rd great-grandmother, Else, who had died back in Sweden in 1872.

Some photos from the area in and around Rønne and some prints from the museum.

Update -svenska kursen

This week we completed Nivå 1 exams. I think I’ve passed both the oral and written, but we won’t have results until next week. The speaking exam was given in groups of 3 with each us having a role to play for the first part. We were told to prepare to speak about 4 different topics without knowing which we’d be given. We got the hardest one imo – shopping! I hate having to use numbers, and the scope of conversation is quite limited. My role was to be anti-commercialism as we “shopped” for a friend’s upcoming birthday party. After we stumbled along on that theme for 10 minutes, we had to discuss our opinions about shopping and answer questions from the teacher such as Do you like internet shopping? why or why not. What are the pros and cons of second-hand shopping. I’d forgotten the word for second-hand shopping so my partners had to try to explain it to me in Swedish!

I was much more comfortable taking the written exam. though it was quite challenging. We went to the official university exam site, a 15 minute walk east of the university, which meant a 40 minute walk for me. And it rained heavily so I brought extra socks and shoes to change into and wore all my rain gear. It was a proctored exam with about 100 students, with lots of ID checking and strict protocols to ensure no cheating…a little intimidating! It was our first time seeing each other since we’ve been on Zoom only. But of course we were not allowed to talk much before the exam. I needed the entire 4 hours to complete my test, so almost everyone had gone before I finished, but I wasn’t the last! The exam had 2 reading comprehension sections which were brutal. One was a newspaper article and the other was 3 pages of a real website, from which we had to find pertinent information. We needed to write 2 essays with specific details. I got ridiculously stuck trying to tell my friend where we should meet in Copenhagen. Why didn’t I just say meet me at the bus station or something like that!? Instead, I said meet me at the bench to the right of the amusement park doors…I forgot the word entrance, which is ingång (ingoing) of course. Then I panicked and erased the whole section. I have a really hard time making up details or playing a role. So, yes, I needed the whole 4 hours and my desk was covered with shredded eraser debris!

Level one is finished and level two begins today, in person, on campus. It will be a nice change, I think, though working from home is probably more my style! It’s a 35 minute walk (the bus is also 30 minutes so I don’t bother) from our place to the university and we have 2 sessions most days. There won’t be time to come home for lunch, or between sessions. I’ll have to get used to getting my work done at the library, I guess, or ride my bike. It’s not easy on the cobblestones and I get nervous about bike traffic. It’s a real thing here! Maybe my classmates will want to work together. Most of them are doctors, dentists, and other professionals who have been recruited to work in Sweden. They must pass this course (and the advanced semester) in order to stay in Sweden, so they have a lot more pressure to do well. I’m just trying to enjoy it and learn enough Swedish to enhance life here. It’s an adventure… I remind myself. I try not to feel too guilty about taking a spot at one of the world’s top 100 universities, which could be given to someone who is desperate to stay in Sweden. At least I try to be a good ambassador to Lund and help the newcomers as much as I can. I’m not new here anymore! Hard to believe that we’re coming up on 2 years in Sweden!

Buying my Thermomix! More on that in another post!


The long jetty with bath house and restaurant

It feels a bit like wonderland lately, with so many teas and outings and social invitations that we can’t keep up! I feel like I should take advantage of every opportunity this autumn because, come winter, things will slow down. So the party goes on, and my introverted self will have to hang on a little longer. I slept for 11 hours straight after this busy week! That hasn’t happened in years.

Brunch at the long jetty which is “remarkably long” – I couldn’t find out how long. We never get the timing right to eat here, and this time we arrived on time but with no reservations so we had to eat upstairs. Seems like the best seat in the house to me!?!

Reservations are also an issue for Alice och Katten, the Wonderland-themed tea place which has intrigued me for ages. Finally a friend suggested it and followed through with said reservation and it was lovely. We know for next time that we should order one or two pots of tea for the table to share! Baby Max was a joy, scones and cakes, so-so, Alice atmosphere A+

Lots of people are buying places in Eslöv, a small town which is more affordable but still has easy access to Lund by train, and bike. I went to visit some friends and delivered baby Daniel’s pumpkin hat, my best one so far!

I’m sold on this German-engineered All-In-One kitchen appliance, Thermomix, demonstrated by my friend, Carole! We made the most amazing Butternut Squash Soup and savory custard simultaneously! We even made the vegetable broth base, a paste which can be stored for a long time in the refrigerator and then added to recipes as needed. So I don’t need to ask friends to smuggle in anymore heavy jars of Better Than Bouillon! And no more preservative cubes…the Thermomix can make it!

You clean and peel veggies, prep ingredients, but then the machine does the rest with auto settings from the wi-fi, it weighs, chops, mixes, steams, sauteés, whips and can even velouté (and also sous vide, which will hook Bryant) with very little mess, all at one time. It’s almost the Jetsons. Carole had her first one for 15 years and recently upgraded to the internet connected model. Stephanie already owns one, too, though she left it in Spain. Too bad Google Meets won’t make for a good cooking party, because I think all of us should have one of these babies!

The new knitting exhibit at Kulturen is fun. We got there right before closing one day so I’ll go back for a better look. Their gift shop is always a favorite and I think the restaurant has reopened. It’s still on my list. Also heard there is a cafe in the basement of one of the University buildings that’s very nice. Mostly locals know about it. I can see why they might keep quiet about some of these places. Tourism has picked up a lot in the last few months. It’s hard to get photos with all these people getting in the way, lol!

Cafe in this building on the right.

This area was the Kungshuset botanical garden. Some of the trees were planted in 1889, and some, mostly evergreens, in 1868 when the rune stone ring hill was installed using 7 local stones. The largest stone reads something like “Sven and Torgot made this in memory of Manne and Svenne, God rest their souls, but their bodies lie in London.”

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.