The final country of my Big Adventure this year was Sweden. I’ve visited Germany and Denmark several times before (although I’d never been to any of the places I visited on this occasion) but this was my first ever trip to Sweden.
Very early in the morning of 27th June Bärbel and I left the Alte Strandvogtei and drove back to the port at Rønne – the capital of Bornholm. Bärbel’s ferry left at 8.00 and mine at 10.30.
Hotel Sekelgården, Långgatan Street, Ystad
It’s only an 80 minute crossing and the ferry terminal at Ystad was just a 10 minute walk from our hotel, I left my bag and headed for a tea shop for lunch and a hole in the wall to buy Krone.
I met Alison from her train and together we returned to the hotel; later investigating the restaurants and the commercial and pedestrian streets nearby. We’d allowed ourselves an extra day and night at the first hotel in order to explore Ystad.
So the next day after breakfast we headed straight to the Tourist Office and picked up the little leaflet “A historical walk through Ystad” which took us on a route which included the main sights.
“Ystad has a long and exciting history. The oldest buildings originate from the 13th century and the variety of buildings that have been built since shows how the town has developed over the years.”
The town centre has kept its original plan within the three ‘gates’ – the north, west and south with the east ‘gate’ towards the continent being the harbour. We would see more of the harbour as we left town the following day.
Ystad’s Theatre is Sweden’s best preserved theatre in the original form and dates back to 1894.
Norra Promenaden park was created in the early 19th century. It retains its period style with winding paths that meet in front of the cafeteria.
Kemnerska gården’s oldest parts date back to the early 16th century. The commemorative plaque suggests that Karl XII stayed here during visits to Ystad on several occasions between 1699 and 1716. This has now been proven wrong! The building stands behind our hotel.
At Sladdergatan/Norregatan crossroads stand two 16th century buildings. Ånglhuset is the town’s most ornate half-timbered building.
And Brahehuset is the oldest and most elaborate of three similar brick houses in Ystad with blind tracery and original 16th century paintings.
There are lots more colourful buildings and homes in Ystad. Roses and Hollyhocks are popular blooms outside the doors and there are no front gardens.
St Mary’s Church [S:ta Maria Kyrka] is the oldest preserved building in the town and was built in about 1200. We spent some time in the church which has beautiful features including oak sculptures and wall paintings.
It stands at one side of the large main square Stortorget and next to The Latin School.
The Latin School : The Latin School is mentioned in books from the 1530s and is considered to be Scandinavia’s oldest, preserved, school building. It was used as such until 1841.
Just behind the Latin School you can see part of this example (of many) Art Nouveau buildings in Ystad
Continuing our tour eastwards from Stortorget and St Mary’s church we came across the Pilgrändshuset – the oldest half-timbered house in the Nordic countries dated 1480. It’s a town of superlatives!
The Pilgrändshuset stands on the corner of a busy pedestrian shopping street (Store Ostergatan) and appears to be ignored by most people.
Arrival at Per Helsas Gård or Court Yard, was a welcome tea stop on along our route. Needless to say, this is the only preserved block of half-timbered houses in the Nordic countries.
We ended our tour where we had started at the Ystad Art Museum. It shares the building with the Tourist Office and shop. We had just 40 minutes or so before closing to have a look round but we’d bought tickets that covered our entry to the gallery from Charlotte Berlin’s Museum which will be the topic of a separate post; along with the Ystad Abbey.
The Pyramid of the Swedish Language and Alphabet by Leif Eriksson – Swedish Archive of Artist’s Books (YKM)