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Couldn't see ABBA anywhere

As we were unpacking our suitcases I asked my wife had she enjoyed her stay in Warsaw, she said yes, a fabulous time although it would have been better if you hadn't been humming ABBA tunes all week, you don't even like them. I then asked her did she still want that kitten, she slowly said yes, I replied good, so with that out the way I felt I could finally tell her. 'I'm planning on going off to Sweden before the colder weather sets in'. 'When?' 'Friday' Expecting the normal expletives and abuse worse than a Jeremy Corbyn critic I was taken off guard with 'I see, well say hello to ABBA for me just don't backtrack on the kitten'. (We already have a Dog and an older cat which I think is enough)
So come Friday evening with the week put to bed and the weather forecast looking excellent I packed the van up and set off for Sweden.
Three immediate points 1) Its a long way, I set off at 8.00pm on Friday and it was 9.00 pm on Saturday before I settled down in in Ystad on Swedens Southern coast. 2) Julians book is unusually light on Sweden and therefore quite a bit of internet planning is required ahead of any visit. 3) It was obvious that if the crops had not been harvested a number of these sites would have been inaccessible.
I decided I would follow Julians journey along the Southern coast before heading North to Falkoping, the Neolithic heart of Sweden, and finally pick off a few sites on the West coast as I headed home.
Early morning start and I visited two modern sites (estimate around 500AD), Disa Ting a stone square located on the shoreline and the mighty Ales Stenar. This may be a modern stone ship, however, it is a very powerful place. As I climbed out of the van I could feel myself being pulled towards the site, as I moved around and up the mother earth site it is located on I felt my pace quicken and as I ascended the final ridge I broke into a trot and there they were, heart breakingly lonely overlooking the sea and crying out to distant lands. Inside the 'ship' the hairs on my legs, hands and neck all began to feel the static given off by this place, the stones are all different materials, lovingly shaped from bright pink to dark blacks, they begin to morph into people, small people, fat people, tall people, people with helmets, people with beards. I became aware of a dog fighting with my walking boots and decided it was time to return to the van. On the way back I felt strangely emotional, what had taken place back there, had I somehow seen my future, was I to be part of those stones in some way, for ever? Shaking all such feelings off I moved on past the Trollasten, Tagarp Fem and off to Gardlosa, easier to find that reports suggested, and then Gladsax, here it feels a little uncomfortable as you simply drive up to the farmyard, dump your vehicle and set off across the fields, no one batted an eyelid and it was well signposted so assumed everything OK, and what a site, the burial chamber sits on top of a circular stone wall and commands the countryside. Believed to be one of the oldest sites in the area. Quick stop at the huge Kings Grave and onto the beach for Harvangsdosen. A wonderful sight with the sea crashing in as a backdrop discovered after a storm rather like our own Scara Brae. What I had not expected was the whole area was littered with Neolithic to Iron age remains and where ever you walked you discovered something new and unmarked.
Time to head North to Falkoping, the town itself has remains of passage graves everywhere, on roundabouts in front of banks and in parks. Just North of the town is the important site of Ekornavallen. Nothing could have prepared me for this. A huge site sloping down to the river just covered in standing stones, stone circles, passage graves, cairns, stone triangle and every sort of monument between neolithic and iron age. Swedens Kilmartin! Like a child in a sweetshop, where do you start, just wallow in the joy of zig zagging from one feature to the next. Too soon it was time to move on which raised an important question, quantity or quality, was I trying to see too much and not spending sufficient quality time at the individual sites? Should I pencil in fewer sites for my visits and get to know fewer sites better, but which ones, how do you know before you get there? Any way I did go on, to Karleby and the Luttra, both multiple sites with prominent megaliths situated atop of small hills and all perfectly aligned. Time to head South to the Varberg area to visit Klastorp and Blotabordet, however, the really fascinating site was the hillside of Grimton, a huge burial ground used from early neolithic and up to 500 AD (or so). Here there was a huge boulder circle, numerous stone circles, cairns, a stone traingle and various other standing stones covering the hillside and clearly little visited, in fact, and as is usual, I had nearly all the site completely to myself. Finally I stopped at Gillog on the way home just North of Malmo. Here it is an easy crawl/stoop down the passage into the main chamber of this wonderfully preserved burial mound. The scale and quality of this site would not look out of place on Orkney and a great way to finish my visit. Sadly time to head home, pleased to be seeing the family again but sad to be saying farewell to this warm welcoming country. I placed the van in the direction of Calais, set the cruise control and let the gps navigate the intricate motorway network back home to Lincolnshire. I never did say hello to ABBA, I did however, stop at Brugge for chocolate and that seemed to work just as well

Posted by costaexpress
25th September 2016ce

Comments (8)

I love how you just decide to pack your van and go somewhere that to me sounds impossibly distant and exotic and doomed to failure, language barriers and possibly monsters. I should try to be more fearless I think.

Brilliant stuff - photos?
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
25th September 2016ce
Bloody nora costa, you're a super trouper.

You do like to take a chance, take a chance, take a chance.

So I say
Thank you for the field notes, the blogs I'm reading
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a stone or a cairn what are we?
So I say thank you for the field note
For giving it to me


Now go and get that kitten.
Evergreen Dazed Posted by Evergreen Dazed
27th September 2016ce
Ah, ED you've given me the dreaded ABBA ear worm. I don't like it:)
Costa lovely blog as usual. I too am full of admiration for your get up & go. I've seen so many Swedish detective shows that I can see the coastline well in my minds eye. I think Ales Stenar is featured on one of the many Wallander adaptations ( possibly a Rolf Lassgard one but not sure) Edit..It's a Krister Henriksson episode.
I'm sure I'll never be able to get to all these places but having someone describe them so is a great treat.
Posted by carol27
28th September 2016ce
Two kittens, then she'll let you go back for that extended 'do' that you've gotta do (A..BBA - do - do - do ..have another earworm on me Carol : ) ) spencer Posted by spencer
28th September 2016ce
That's even worse Spencer...bastard:) Posted by carol27
28th September 2016ce
Brilliant! Feel rejuvenated in fact Bjorn again.

Tried many times to add photos, will not load, think the file sizes are too big and I do not know how to compress them
Posted by costaexpress
29th September 2016ce
Have you got microsoft office picture manager? It's very easy with that (oh maybe you've figured it out.. I see you've posted some) Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th September 2016ce
Apologies Rhiannon, the second I posted I thought this is not good enough and got straight down to sorting it. Did not use picture manager so will give that a go Posted by costaexpress
29th September 2016ce
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