Friday, July 28, 2006

Remarkin' about Brunnsparken

As I have mentioned in a previous post, just to the west of BTH lies a wonderful park/forest called Brunnsparken. It was voted Sweden's best park in 2005. You can read more about it at but I will attempt to give a quick guided tour in this post, again from the comfort of your own monitor.

I had heard that there was a flea market at the pavillion there every Sunday during Summer. So, I went to check it out. I hadn't really been to a flea market before, so I didn't know what to expect. There were many sellers there, but not many buyers. And they didn't seem to be selling anything that I wanted or needed. So, I just had a quick stroll through, long enough to take this photograph.A pleasant surprise was finding that there was a museum (called a naturum) just next to these stalls. Even better, it was open on Sunday afternoons! It's basically like a big old hall, with a small film screening room located on the northern side (but I didn't watch the film as it was in Swedish). Below is a view inside the building taken just inside the western entrance. Closest to the camera is a fancy model of the buildings in Brunnsparken, and in the distance you may be able to make out a display of the different timbers that can be found in the forest.
Here is a closer view of the miniature model.
Thankfully, the naturum had some free (I hope they were free, because I didn't pay :-P) detailed maps of Brunnsparken. Armed with this and my camera, I set out to take some photographs of the main attractions. Just near the naturum is this hedged garden, which is rather pretty.
The next photo is of Directörsvillan, which is the first building one comes to heading SW from the naturum. You can find more info about this building at
Heading along the path past Villa Emma, you can see the tennis court. In the distance is Ronneby Brunn water park, which I could tell was packed with people on such a lovely day.
The main body of water in Brunnsparken is named Trollsjön, or Troll's Lake. This sounded intriguing and/or dangerous. I decided to have a look. It seemed rather innocuous, quite idyllic really. The water was very blue. There was even a jetty. The two photos below are of the lake, one taken from a distance and the other taken on the jetty.

Continuing westard along the path, I saw this rather large rock. I decided it was photoworthy. After comparing this with the giant rock out the back of the apartments at Hjorthöjden, the one at home is actually bigger, but this one was still impressive.
Towards the western edge of Brunnsparken there are several farms, basically located in the suburb of Risatorp, if my map is correct. I thought this design of fence was quite interesting. Normally, the poles are parallel or perpendicular to the ground. Instead, these ones were on about a 20 degree angle.

Heading northward now, I looked across the pond to see some of the houses on Risatorpsvägen.

Travelling back through the centre of the park (as opposed to going around the edge as I had been doing) one comes to two of the main gardens. The first is the Scented Garden, which has a lot of trellises. A photo is below.

Right in the middle of the park is the Japanese garden. This was very well presented. The dirt beds had been raked meticulously - you can see this in the photo below. The rock at left was definitely different, like it was only partly finished being carved.

The view below is really stereotypical Japanese I guess. I was very tranquil and very cool and shady there. The stone carving at the back was some kind of bird bath I think.

Here's where I decided to head a little off the main track. I had completed a full circuit of the park and wanted to make my way to the edge again but without going over old ground. So, up in the northeast corner, I found this notice about a cairn. It was a big pile of stones which apparently covered a huge burial pit. It was quite old, so thankfully there was no smell of rotting flesh and bones.

Closer examination of the stones comprising the cairn revealed that this place gets used for orienteering courses. This was apparently stop number 16.

Travelling out along the ledge a little, you can look eastwards down to the flat plain below. I was told that during Spring, a giant display of white flowers was made here, in beds which spelled the word Fred. No it's not some obscure Flintstones prank. Fred is Swedish for peace. You can see the remains of where the flowers once were in this photo.

Here are two more views from the ledge. The first looks basically northeast towards the town, and the second basically southeast towards the water park.

As a final 'cutesy' photo, here is a duck with a few ducklings, taken in front of the ponds at the northwest corner of Brunnsparken. I had to be REALLY quiet when taking this photo, as she was understandable very protective of her young.

Until next time,


Monday, July 24, 2006

Riding to BTH - a virtual tour via photographs, now with 96% less effort required!

I thought it would be interesting to show you some of the landscapes I ride through each morning on my way to work. This not only will provide you with an idea of what sort of area Blekinge is, but if I remember to repeat this exercise later in the year, it will be a way to show the effect of the seasons on Ronneby. That's an if, not a when. It is also a way to view my journey from the comfort of your computer screen, without having to move any pedals or change gears. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

This first photo is of the edge of the set of apartment blocks at Hjorthjöden, looking down towards the long sloping road that takes you towards the city.

Here is a view from near the top of that sloping road. As you can see, most of the surroundings are forest, with the occasional road and street sign thrown in for good measure. (Speaking of street signs, one of the most amusing from an English point of view is at BTH, where it says Farthinder. No, it's not a way to stop flatulence! It means speed bump.)
One makes a sharp right turn part way down the hill. Along this street is where I have seen the deer, since there is quite a lot of forest. The western end of the street is relatively flat compared to the eastern end. The eastern end is where the more conventional housing starts. It's hard to get an idea from this next photo, but at the eastern end of the street is a very steep slope downwards. This is great fun to ride down in the mornings, but a real pain when riding up the slope in the evenings. In the distance, you may be able to see the crane at the construction site at Vidablick.
Speaking of cranes at Vidablick, here it is. Vidablick is a sjukhem, some kind of hostel.
Continuing in an easterly direction, behind Vidablick, there is a gravel path. This path leads to the edge of Brunnsparken. For more information, see It is here where you really feel like you are out in the country, even though you are only about a kilometre away from the centre of town. This photo was taken further along the same path. This is another place where it slopes down towards the east, but it is not obvious from the photo. At centre left, you may be able to see the sign indicating one of the entrances to Brunnsparken. Also interesting is that there are streetlights along this path, and there is a paddock on the right hand side.
Here is a view into that paddock. Yes, it seems the sheep here get streetlights. Maybe they like to read? Anyway, I think it's cute that they have a little bridge built for them so they can cross the pond.
At the end of that gravel path, one comes to a T-junction. Looking eastwards, the view is as shown below. There are plenty of rocks and trees. This environment is perfect for frogs. I often see baby ones about 2cm long trying to hop out of the way of my rapidly approaching bicycle tyres.

Finally, making a left turn and following the winding path down the hill, one is confronted with this glorious view. At the moment, there are plenty of ducks and ducklings about in the ponds. After a minute or so riding basically straight ahead, one reaches the Ronnebyån, and on the other side is BTH.


During my second week here, G, A and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean Två: Död Mans Kista. From what I have learnt so far, the k in Swedish behaves a little like the c in Italian, so that the start of kista sounds more like the start of chest, and less like the start of keyster. Anyway, back to the movie. We saw it at the one-screen cinema in the eastern part of the town centre - Centrumbiografen They show one film per week, and only one or two screenings per day. The seats were very comfortable and had plenty of leg room, as there were not many rows of seats. We sat near the front and took full advantage of the 3 or so speakers situated under the rather tiny screen. The movie itself was quite good, especially the make-up/special effects.

The following day I opened my Swedish bank account - no, that's completely different to a Swiss bank account. So hopefully one day I can actually get paid. This is good, because my scholarship runs out in 3 weeks!

On the Saturday night of my second week here, I went to B's licentiate party, which was a BBQ powered by garlic and chilli next to the river. In Sweden, a licentiate is sort of like a half-PhD, and is a qualification in itself. It was a really great Summer evening (except it was rather cold on the walk home), and B's father even set off a couple of amateur fireworks. A photo from the evening is below. In it, you can see Jö at the food table, while E is chatting in the background.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Rest of Week One

I can't believe it but it's already up to my fourth week here, and I haven't even finished writing about my first week! Time to rectify that...
On Tuesday (I think) of my first week, I went bike shopping with A. This task took quite a long time, because the three (yes, three, in Ronneby!) bike shops were on different sides of the town. In the end, I settled on this one

from the Norwegian guy simply because it was fairly cheap (800kr) and it was more the type of bike that I was used to in Australia. It has had a few issues since then, but I've been able to deal with most of them. Thankfully, the seat no longer tips upwards at the front so I don't fall off the back whenever I'm riding. I've also put on two lights so that I can see when I'm riding home in the dark towards the end of the year. The front wheel reflector has also been reattached thanks to some garden ties! As an added bonus, the bike has a gear system - although it did take me a day or two to work out which gear corresponded to which type of slope. The gear system comes in handy on the way home, as most of it is uphill. Also, my luggage finally arrived on that Tuesday.

On my first full weekend here, Ronneby had its Festival - a bit like a small version of the Royal Show back in Perth. It takes over almost the entire town centre. There were heaps of stalls, and a huge number of people who had come to buy things. G had never seen so many people in Ronneby. A couple of photos of the event are posted below. I didn't end up buying anything because I was not confident speaking any Swedish. The first photo is of some of the rides in the town square, and the other is of some the stalls near the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Pub.

I have also taken a few photos from around the area of our flat. We live in a suburb called Hjorthöjden. The sign for it is below. Basically it translates as 'Deer Heights', because we live in an elevated location, and there are some deer in the forest quite nearby. I have seen some a couple of times, but they are always too fast for me to take a photo.

The next photo was taken about half way down the hill of Lindblomsvägen towards more of the main part of Ronneby.There is also a photo taken out of our balcony. The bike shelter is at centre left. The other photo is of the steep path on the other side of the flats, near Årdervägen. I don't like going up the hill this way by bike as it is quite steep and there are too many bugs in the air.
The first Friday evening I was here, we had a BBQ out the back of our block of flats. Then we went to the beach volleyball court just near BTH to work off some of those calories. In one photo, A is showing off her muscle tone whilst J and G set up the net. The other photo shows the car which we had to protect with covers which was parked dangerously close to the court. There were cars everywhere due to the Festival being on. Despite the covers, the car was hit a couple of times. Fortunately, there seemed to be no visible damage. The BTH building is in the background at the left.

Saturday night was an evening of fun at M's flat, which is just 2 buildings away from our own. M is my office neighbour at BTH. G made nachos, and most of the time was spent on a game of Settlers. A link about the game is at, however I laugh loudly at the suggested game time. We took almost 8 hours! This game had so many rules to remember that it would take me a few times playing it in order to get used to it. The night concluded (at 3am!) with a quicker game of Robo Rally.

As a final note, I include this photo of the vapour trail of one of the many aircraft that fly over our building. This happens a lot in Sweden, but rarely happens in Australia...I think it has something to do with the air temperature. Anyway it provides a little entertainment when you get a few planes crossing paths (although not at the same time!)

Take care all,


Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Birds and the BTH

Today, a little bit about where I'm working/studying. It's a place called Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, or BTH for short. For more info, see the webpage which is in English. I have my own office, which is something I'm not used to. It's nothing special, but I will be spending most of my daylight hours here. A photo with part of the view out the window (another thing I'm not used to from work in Perth) is shown below.

A better view out the window is shown in this next photo. Unfortunately, I neglected to factor in the reflection from the window, so you can see a bit of the camera and me in it. Between the house and road is the Ronnebyån, which at its southern end connects into the Östersjön (Baltic Sea).

One of the main things you notice about Ronneby in Summer is the number of birds. Just in front of my office window there is a curved awning-type-thing which has quite a lot of bird droppings on it. During my first week here, I would watch the everyday activities of a baby seagull (fiskmås). It was so cute. The grey fledgling lived in a nest at the right-hand end of the awning and I used to watch it slide down the curve towards it. It was rather defenceless and there were times when groups of adult seagulls would land on the awning and squawk loudly, perhaps taunting the baby, which used to try to stay as small as possible in the corner. Unfortunately, since the Friday of my first week here, I have not seen the baby. Either it very quickly learned to fly, it moved home, or it died. With each passing day, I suspect more and more that the latter is the case.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Journey Here...Copenhagen to Ronneby

In order to get to Sweden from Denmark, the usual method is to cross the Öresund. So, getting on the train at Tårnby, I went back past the Kastrup station at the airport, and then across the large bridge between the two countries. This particular train terminated at Malmö, however every second one continued on to Kristianstad. Because of this, I had a 1.5 hour wait at Malmö station. I decided it was a good opportunity to take some photos, and I went for a stroll around the city. Being a Sunday morning, there was not much that was open.

The first two photos are of the train station just behind the canal, and a bridge over the canal.

Next is a fountain and a statue surrounded by Swedish flags.

Walking further south, I came to a kind of pedestrian shopping mall. The most interesting thing here was this set of artworks which was a marching band sculpture. Here is the entire creation as well as a close-up of the trumpeter.

As seems to be the norm in cities I visit, it was not long before I found the cemetery. The graves here were all quite old, and there did not seem to be many of them - there was lots and lots of space to walk around...maybe the mortality rate is negligible in Malmö?...anyway, most of the graves were 'family graves', where, you guessed it, you could have eternal fun for the whole family! Here are two views of the park-like ambience.

I also managed to photograph this family of birdlife. The canal system from in front of the railway station continues along the west side of the cemetery.

As I headed back to the train station, I noticed something coincidentally amusing - a coffee shop named Wayne's Coffee.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to stop in for a coffee. I had to get back to the station. The next train journey went from Malmö to Kristianstad. There are a lot of forests and fields as you pass through the Skåne region. Last time I was here, the trains ran all the way through to Karlskrona. However, they are currently doing something with the train lines, so the rest of the way had to be travelled by bus. Without my luggage, there was fortunately not much I had to transport from the train to the bus. The temperature was a pleasant 24 degrees. I arrived at the Ronneby bus stop at approximately 2:05pm and G and A were waiting for me. This was almost 54 hours after I had arrived at Perth airport, and only 24 hours later than my envisaged arrival time.