We continue our journey across the southern end of Sweden. For the first time in a long time, we are traversing a landmass as opposed to travelling up or down it.
The morning is spent at Karlskrona, a historical Navy base with a history dating back to the 1600s when Sweden was a great power.
The naval base was established in 1680 and the model was studied and copied throughout Europe. It’s now World Heritage listed. A museum of naval history is on the base, but we’re drawn by the small ships display with boats through the ages including the bow of a boat from the 1600s to collapsible boats used during WWII.
We’re in the heart of farmland at the end of summer – the countryside is virtually bare post harvest, bar the fields still in progress. Tractors, hay balers and harvesters are common sights on the road as they travel from field to field.
Aside from the heavily fruited apples trees in front yards, and the beehive of activity at harvest, you wouldn’t know that autumn is on the way – the weather is perfect, the trees still green. About the only crop still growing is corn.
Unlike Norway, there are no tunnels here. The roads have been blasted out of rock. The red farmhouses and barns are still prevelent, but as often as not, they’re set on a white stone lower floor. Farms are on a large scale here – the barns are enormous.
A new style of building has emerged too, stone set in white plaster, creating a giraffe pattern. Very picturesque. We pass one with a pedigree dating back to the 1700s; it’s pristine.
Most of the afternoon is spent on the road, the E22, heading west towards Malmo. The afternoon light, usually my photographic buddy, is against me today. Having swung around, it no longer lights my view, but comes straight through my side window, rendering all shots into black shadow. It’s a fickle friend. All the light is on Chris’s side and it’s all I can do to watch the beauty of the countryside unfold, or plead for photo stops.
On one of the latter I meet a farm cat, a tabby on patrol through the harvested stubble. She considers her options: scaling an embankment for the chance of a pat, or committing to patrolling her field. Her work ethic prevails and she pads on.
In the late afternoon, we have our largest deer sighting yet; two herds on the edge of the forest, quite close to each other. One has at least 30 deer in it. They’re very shy creatures, deer. I’ve never spotted one that’s not near a bolt hole back to the safety of the forest.
Part way through our journey to Malmo, Chris decides it’s too late to arrive today and we head futher south, to the coastal town of Ystad. It’s quite late when we arrive but we settle near the sea and are treated to a glorious pink sunset.
There’s time to reassess our forward journey tomorrow.