Swedish meatballs in Denmark

We made it to Copenhagen!! Against all odds as it felt at times. In fact, we gave up at one point and spent a day and a half in Kalmar, where we only stopped because F had run out of wool!

One problem solved but the next one took awhile to untangle! Now we’re safely tucked away in Kastrup marina, next to Copenhagen airport, listening to a storm pass through – thunder and lightening feel right over our heads! And only about an hour after we arrived! We are eating the Swedish meatballs, bought from a Swedish supermarket (no, not IKEA), along with another local dish called Kroppkakor (meat-filled potato dumplings, https://www.oland.se/sv/kroppkakor), which we tried yesterday on the way to Denmark! Better late than never…

Anyway, back to Oskarshamn where our crew, Admiral D and Pro Helmsman K stepped off and headed back to Blighty. From here we set off also, into another bumpy, cold southerly, towards Öland. We sailed about halfway down the Island to Borgholm, renowned for it’s ruined castle and royal summer palace. As far as we could tell, the town doesn’t have much else to offer. It had the feeling of a particularly dreary English seaside town out of season, with disappointing restaurants and a hotel that looked as though it hadn’t seen any upkeep since the 80s. It boasted a spa (included in marina fees!) however when we bounded in ready to relax and rejuvenate after a long day we were directed down to the basement (pipes and cement floors included) to long, cold corridors with hardly any windows, an unheated swimming pool and partially heated sauna and hot tub! On the plus side, the sun shone, we were warm and dry and we had a great walk the following day to the castle ruins.

Here’s the marina on our way in with the hotel in the background…

Borgholm castle, built in the 13th century was, as with Kalmar Castle just across the channel, an important stronghold for the Nordic States as they battled and negotiated for territory over centuries. It is known for it’s variety of architectural influences following multiple rebuilds in Renaissance, Gothic and then Baroque styles. Renovations seem to have been ongoing since it was burned in a fire in 1806, however since the 70s the castle has been used for tourism, festivals and concerts. Even ABBA performed early in their career!

We had a quick glance at the Royal summer palace, said to bring “Royalists” from all over Sweden! No photos of the house but the gardens were absolutely amazing!

And the area is protected by national park so we had a great walk back to the boat

We also took some bump photos. Bump is due to join us in October (maybe November) 2019 all going well. She seems pretty happy with sailing so far but we’re looking forward to hopefully getting her on the water next year… On the left photo below I’m stood inside the trousers of one of the larger Kings of Borgholm Castle (apparently his waistline was 180cm) – there was a lot of talk of food through the ages, including pies with live birds to entertain the guests! So that’s where the nursery rhyme comes from…

From Borgholm we pottered across to Kalmar, only 20miles but promising good coffee, a sheltered marina and a wool shop! We were not disappointed. The town is lovely. There’s a large, sheltered marina in the centre for visiting boats with a decent chandlery next door. The castle was just a short walk from the marina, protected by the sea on all sides!

We spent the morning wondering around town and found a fantastic coffee shop for breakfast.

Where we sat in the sun for a little too long!

We walked to the water tower, which we could see peering over us from the marina.

Then we found the old market square, filled with lovely little old houses. And behind it a walled off garden with historic buildings preserved from an 1800s farm. Apparently going to the loos was a social affair where everyone sat together and chatted while going about their business!

We finally made it to the castle itself, which started as a defence tower in 1180 and again evolved over the centuries to house the various Swedish and Danish monarchs who reigned.

The map shows the geographical boundaries during that period to better show the importance of the area as a stronghold. Kalmar is just next to the long, thin island off the Southeast coast of Sweden (light green as Gotland was dark green, or Danish-controlled at the time). Again the castle was destroyed many times in battle and thus rebuilt over the centuries. Various treaties were signed with seemingly little to no effect – if only we learned from history.

Again food was an important status symbol, with large banquets held to impress guests of the castle…

With live birds in pies… or pies in the shape of birds, or fish… “Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie…”

After a full day as tourists we went for drinks with John and Linda on their Najad Ianassa. We couldn’t resist saying hello to some fellow English sailors with such a stunning yacht. It was lovely to hear about their travels so far and they had some excellent recommendations for our sail south!

After an early dinner, we headed to sleep set for a long motor the next morning when the wind finally settled…

By HalVentures

We are a couple who love to sail. Gareth is an award winning yachtsman who has traveled the world as a delivery skipper. Hal is the first big step to fulfilling his dream of taking his own boat into the Arctic Circle. Fran has been sailing, mostly racing, all her life. She is slowly learning the ins and outs of a cruising lifestyle. (Everything is a little bit slower...). Next year we plan to cross the North Sea (in April... don't ask) and cruise the West Coast of Norway before undertaking a three week expedition to Svalbard in July 2015. We will do our best to keep you updated as we get on...

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