We spent a fantastic week at Kalmar and one of our days out was a visit to the island of Oland which we could see in the distance from the campsite. There is a bridge joining it to the mainland which we crossed before driving all the way around this long narrow island famous for it's windmills. It's mostly agricultural but the capital of Bergholm where we finally stopped for lunch is the summer home of the Swedish royal family. The town is very laid back with wide streets, lined with wooden houses as well as many richly decorated mansions on the outskirts and in the woods which we strolled through in the afternoon. The marina there was very interesting too with several visiting boats, one from as far away as America!
All too soon it was time to say 'ayeu' to Per, the friendly owner of the camp and move on to our next stop at Stockholm. Here I had booked us a place at the camping-car park on the edge of the city. It turned out to be on one of the islands which make up this beautiful capital. Although a large bridge went overhead it wasn't too noisy but there was very little space between each of the vehicles in the park. Lucky I booked as it was full by the evening and people were being turned away. We set off to explore as soon as we had settled in and found the walk along the water's edge to town fascinating with it's houseboats and waterhotels as well as the wonderful view across the water to the town hall.
There is so much to see in Stockholm we had to choose a small selection to see as too much museum visiting is exhausting. Plus it's always good to have a reason to come back again. One of the best visits was to the open air historical building museum called Skansen. It's the largest of it's kind in the world and custom built on one of the other islands in the archipelago. All of the buildings there have been taken from their original places and reconstructed in a lovely landscaped park. Each house has it's own guide, dressed in the costume of the particular era, who delighted in telling us all about the history and life of their building and having their photos taken with us.
We spent the whole afternoon looking in all the different houses and shops and of course I took lots of photos as there just wasn't time to sit and sketch as we went around. I think it would take me at least a month to do it justice!
We also visited the Vasamuseet while on the museum island which is a display of a ship brought up from the seabed from about the same era as the Mary Rose in Portsmouth. This ship has been wonderfully restored and there 7 levels where you can see each part of the boat as well as the artefacts they found during the excavations. We spent the whole morning there going from the keel to the mast and taking in the amazing history. They even had displays of the skeletons of the sailors on the top floor!
Unfortunately the weather wasn't so good and when it rained all the day we wanted to look around the rest of the city we had to give up at lunchtime and take shelter. We decided to move on a day early as we really are country folk and 3 days of city life was enough for us! We took the road south and found another campsite right by the Baltic sea where we spent an idyllic afternoon and night at Trosa. We were allotted a wonderful plot on a raised area with our own deck to sit out on where I painted this lovely view. The village we visited the next morning was a delight too and we have promised ourselves to return one day to stay for longer.
Here is a sketch I did on that wet afternoon in Stockholm. Sweden is famous for it's crispbread and the range of varieties is incredible. I remember from my childhood how my parents always took crispbread rather than bread with their supper on weekday evenings and when I went to Sweden I finally understood. There isn't a lot of fresh bread so this is a good alternative and of course I had to buy one of each sort to try and to bring home! My favourite had whole sunflower and pumpkin seeds all over the top, yum!
Next stop is Norrkoping where I was born and the excitement was growing as we drew nearer this place I had only seen in my father's photos.