Happy Thursday! In Denmark – they call it lille Fredag or little Friday. I’m ready for the weekend this week. It has been an interesting one being an American living abroad. And while the outcome of the U.S. election was not what I had hoped for, I am trying to remain positive and spread love. We are all part of #TeamHuman. And the world is watching. BIG TIME.
As a travel and culture writer, one of the things I have loved most about starting this blog is being exposed, enlightened and educated about how beautifully diverse yet similar we all are, the world over. What makes us different should not divide us. Sometimes what we don’t know or understand makes this difficult. But I am not going to spread fear. I believe in love. I’m trying hard. I will continue to try and build bridges. Between my world community. With my American community back in the States. I have lived and loved in red states AND blue states. And while I feel much pride about the results from my Oregon, I believe there is much work to be done. In many places. But that it can be done. It must be done. Let us build bridges. Together.
It may seem simple to think that a travel blog community could help. But stay with me here – I believe it can. Show us your corners. Your faraway places. Educate and inspire. Please continue to share and connect and illuminate. Bring us together, however far apart.
Sweden is super cool. Yep, you heard me. I know, I know. I live in Denmark. But our Scandi neighbor really is. Cool. In a completely different way than Denmark. I mean Copenhagen is cool. VERY COOL. Sometimes, maybe possibly – a little too cool for school. Don’t get me wrong. I love it here. In all it’s tatted, skinny black panted, chunky white trainer wearing, oversized trench coated, giant scarf wrapped, top-knotted or bearded, coffee drinking, Tuborg swilling, design toting, bicycling glory. I said I loved it – remember?
But today – it’s all about Sweden. Denmark’s tall leggy blond and blue eyed cousin -Sweden. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. Not all Swedes are tall, blond or blue eyed. But… Sweden’s flag is blue and yellow. Coincidence? I don’t think so. And so is IKEA. All blue and yellow. (P.S. – you pronounce it ee-KAY-uh here. Not EYE-kea.) And every time you step inside one of those enormous Swedish box stores and think – jeesh, I just came in for cheap candles and a couple picture frames – do I really have to wind through all of these displays? Just think of how big Sweden is! Compared to Denmark anyway. It’a all relative. But Sweden is pretty big! Have you looked at a map? Much larger than Denmark. In fact, Sweden is the third largest country by area in the European Union. And it’s all kind of tall and long. Another coincidence? I don’t think so. (*wink, wink.)
AREA: 450,295 square kilometers (173, 860 square miles)
POPULATION: 9.9 million
DENSITY: 21 people/square kilometer (54 people/square mile)
And of all those 9.9 million people living in Sweden, 85% of them live in urban areas – mostly Stockholm, Gothenberg and Malmö. That means there is a lot of land with nobody on it. Lots of space for all the moose. And farms. And trees. And nature. Lots of nature. Want to know the coolest part about Sweden? All of that land and all of that nature is available to everyone.
Especially lovely to roam old growth forest – beech trees as old as 200 years at Osbecks Nature Preserve, Hallands, Sweden
Get outside – southern Sweden
You heard me. It’s open to EVERYONE. Sweden has a law called Allemansrätten that gives the right of public access to everyman. It literally translates to everyman’s right. Also known as outdoor access rights or freedom to roam, it means that you have the right to walk, hike, bike, ski or camp on any land in Sweden. The only exceptions to the rule being that you can’t tromp through someone’s private garden, across cultivated land or hang out near homes. Because that would be just rude and really kind of creepy. But everywhere else – open. Yep. It’s awesome.
As an Oregon girl – this resonates with me. In the state of Oregon we border the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful stretch of coastline. But when we visit, we don’t say we’re going to the beach or the shore – while both are there. We go to the coast. The Oregon Coast. It is also known as the “people’s coast.” And for good reason. Every inch of the Oregon Coast belongs to the people and because of that you have access to it. Where it is safe to do so – of course. My inner Oregon-ness appreciates Sweden. In fact – it feels a little like Oregon over there. Especially when you start throwing in evergreen trees across the landscape the further north you travel.
Come on over to Sweden. But bring your passport. You’ll be checked. Even if you’re Danish. Maybe especially if you’re Danish. Just kidding. Maybe. But once here – roam where you want to. Roam around the land. Explore Sweden. That is cool. Sup-ah cool. And Swedes take advantage of it. We’re lucky to have Swedish-American friends living in Sweden while we’ve been here who were willing to share one of their favorite places to hike and explore.
Only 2 km off E20 in southern Sweden near Hasslöv
Autumn is a beautiful time to visit southern Sweden.
Allemansrätt lets you explore the Swedish countryside
Today, we’re going to Skåne, the beautiful region at the tip of southern Sweden. Think rolling green hills, tall beech forests, farms full of brilliant yellow rapeseed, old castles, rocky coastlines, little inlets and islands all await you in Skåne. (Pronounced “skona.”) From Copenhagen – you can drive across the Øresund Bridge to Malmö and head north or take the short 20 minute ferry from Helsingør, Denmark to Helsingborg, Sweden. Then take the E20 north in the direction of Gothenberg. Need a place to stay? Try super charming little Torekov or nearby Båstad. It’s not a bad word. It’s pronounced BO-stah and is the home of the Swedish Open. And unless you’re a huge Björn Borg fan or are just really into tennis, steer clear of this place for two weeks in July every year. Otherwise it is a charming little outpost to base your outdoor exploits.
Swedish seaside town in southern Sweden in fall’s colors
Fall colors in Torekov, Sweden, Skåne
Now that you’re here. Let’s get outside! Only about 10 minutes outside Baståd heading east on route 115 is the gorgeous Naturreservat Osbecks. Officially you are now in Halland County, but just right on the border of Skåne County. If coming from the E20 motorway, take the exit towards Hasslöv. After 2 kilometers there is a sign saying “Hiking area”. There is should be a football field on your left. Turn right onto the gravel road and follow the road up to the car park. A forest of beech trees cover this open nature preserve. Parking here and pick a trail. Autumn is an amazing time to visit as the leaves are turning, coloring the landscape and there is a crispness to the air.
The trees here at Osbecks are mostly deciduous with many beeches, birches and old oaks, which is why it gleams in autumn. Some of the trees here loom overhead nearly 200 years old. History rocks at this nature reserve in the form of stone age and bronze age cairns. Literally piles of rocks that farmers of yore piled to the side of their plot – both marking their territory and allowing cultivation. See if you can find them! But remember, the general rule when accessing allmansrätt is:
Do not disturb – do not destroy.”
Look out for tree snails and song birds, ferns and funghi. Sweden is proud of the diversity that has taken root here. Plan ahead and pack a picnic. There are several spots where you can make a fire in the pits available. Firewood is available free for your use. We grilled hotdogs and roasted marshmallows while soaking in the views. It was a perfect end to a perfect afternoon.
Grilling hotdogs (pølsers) over open fire in Osbecks Naturreservat
Tasty and fun end to a hike in southern Sweden
Hiking in southern Sweden forest ends with grilling
Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in Osbecks Nature Reserve, Halland Sweden
Seriously more delicious after being outside in the beautiful fall Swedish forest.
Time to grill after beautiful fall hike in southern Sweden
Can you believe all this lovely is just over two hours from Copenhagen. Cross the big bridge or take the ferry. Go for a hike. Pick ligonberries. Hunt mushrooms. You can. It’s allowed. It’s allemansrätten. Tack Sverige! Thanks Sweden!
Southern Sweden spreads out in farm land and forests – fabulous view from the picnic grill
Hiking in the southern Swedish forest – it may have tasted like marshmallow!
Happy to link this post and introduce a new collaboration of travel bloggers today. Join myself, Katy of Untold Morsels and Clare of Suitcases and Sandcastles in a new supportive and inspiring linkup community we’re calling #FarawayFiles. Read more here about how we started it, what we want it to be and how you can engage. We’d love to see you there!
It’s Onsdag. Its on. Let’s travel somewhere – virtually – together! (For previous Wednesday wanderings – click on the menu above and read earlier versions – we all need inspiration!) Time to add some color and graphic imagery to your wanderlust this Wednesday. Today I want to share one of my new favorite cities. I know, I know – I have a lot, maybe I’m just a lover. Of new and beautiful and amazing. And THAT is Stockholm. Well, new to me anywho. It’s actually chock full of history and culture and art and action and water and all the trappings of a city that will charm your socks off. I almost felt like I was cheating on my Scandinavian partner with whom I have entered into a committed relationship. Sorry Copenhagen – I still love you, but Stockholm was quite a flirt and I enjoyed the performance!