Local exploration

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Pic. Outside the AirBnB on Oland

This week Kate’s parents, Ian and Barbara, came to visit us in Kalmar. Having visitors is always a good chance to get on the road and have an explore of the local area.First stop, Kalmar Slott (castle). It’s the main attraction in town.

Pic. Kalmar Castle

We were lucky to go when the Leonardo Da Vinci inventions exhibit was on. If you ever get the chance I would recommend seeing it. It is incredible the number of ideas he had that were the precursor to everyday technology that we have today such as cars, helicopters, scuba equipment, parachutes… the list goes on. I had seen it nearly 10 years ago in Perth but it was well worth repeating.

Pic. The Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition

Midsummer is one of the main celebrations in Sweden and it is a time for the Swedes to let their hair down a bit. It’s always great to see local traditions so we headed to an area called Skalby Farm that had some celebrations on during the day, including traditional dancing. Skalby Farm is basically a petting zoo, cafe and massive playground which is free for people the enter. Its located within the city which makes it a great destination for local families to go with their kids. The midsommar celebrations traditionally involve decorating and erecting the maypole and then performing traditional dances around it. It was great to watch and Saoirse and I joined in for a couple of songs – mainly by jumping into the middle of it and copying whatever all the people around us were doing. While we were at the petting zoo we said we might as well let Saoirse have a look around. The highlight was a goat stealing this ladies midsommar flower wreath from her head and eating it. It was the highlight of the goat’s midsommar too I suspect.

Pic. Midsommar celebrations in Kalmar – sorry but I can’t upload the video from the midsommar moshpit…

We had the opportunity to go away for a couple of nights, so to max out our sightseeing we chose to visit the island of Oland (https://www.oland.se/en) which we reached by crossing a 6km long bridge from the mainland. Oland is an interesting place and if I was to draw a comparison I would say it’s like the Burren in Co. Clare. The farmland on the southern part of the island is designated as a UNESCO area. I think there’s a debate around farmland being seen as a world heritage area (http://www.monbiot.com/2017/07/13/the-lie-of-the-land/). It’s worth a little read if you’ve the time. Anyway, we weren’t here to debate the wider issues, it was time to be a tourist. We were lucky enough to find an AirBnB host that was happy for us to park up the motor home beside his home so that Kate, Saoirse and I could sleep in the van while Ian and Barbara had beds inside. He was a very friendly German Photographer who had visited Oland a number of times and then made the move years ago. He’s led a very interesting life and has taken some great pictures along the way (http://detleflampe.com/index.html). Hanging in his lounge is his picture of Jimmy Hendrix from the last concert he ever played.

Our time on Oland mainly consisted of walking through some wonderful nature and seeing traditional Swedish villages. Just driving down the narrow country lanes through the villages was an experience. There was a marked contrast between the barren looking South Oland and the more lush pasture of the North.

Pic. Oland Nature

Pic. 0land Culture (and Saoirse animal bothering).

With a little more time up our sleeve before Kate had to be back in work we went to a glass blowing studio that is close to where we are staying. The main glassblower person was there with his apprentice and he put on a demonstration for the people who were there. I think the sign of someone who’s truly mastered something is when they can do something that is very difficult but are just chatting their way through it as if they aren’t paying it any attention.

Pic. Glass blowing – Making a swan and the a vase

So thank you for reading this far if you have. I’m aware who the real star of the blog is so here’s a Saoirse section šŸ™‚ This week has seen more progress and she is cruising about on furniture a bit or wanting to hold our hands so that she can walk. She’ll cover as much ground as your back can take! Also, she’s started leaning in and giving us kisses. Very recently, she was leaning in to bite so this is a welcome change. Just hoping that she isn’t lulling us into a false sense of security… CHOMP!!

Pic. Our very own Pippi Longstocking- strongest girl in the world!

Now for group 1. We had Kate’s parents visiting this week so we visited some local sights in Kalmar and made the journey over to a nearby Island for a few nights. Beautiful scenery and we experienced the Swedish midsummer celebrations. Saoirse is getting bigger and bolder by the day.

 

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