We have a long train ride behind us, Sara and me. We leave Freiburg im Breisgau immediately after the Christmas holidays with the family to visit Sara’s friends in the Swedish city of Karlskrona. We’re a little unlucky. Thanks to the chaos at Freiburg Central Station, coupled with a lack of information on the train, we miss our opportunity and can only leave one day later than planned.
When we finally sit in our train, head towards Copenhagen and try to sleep, we also have to deal with a drunk who first falls from the seat onto our lap and then onto the floor, which means that the on-board service takes the train to Mainz station for the first time Unscheduled can hold longer to give the ambulance and the federal police the opportunity to get the guy off the train and take a closer look.
After a nice stay in Copenhagen we arrive in Karlskrona late at night. Sara’s friends are waiting for us there, inviting us to their home and with whom we will celebrate the New Year together.
Sara still knows Vida from the days when she herself studied in this city. However, Sara moved to Germany, Vida stayed and started a family.
The family lives in a pretty, typically Swedish wooden house on the outskirts of the city. Although Karlskrona is small, the distances are not short. This is certainly also due to the fact that Sweden has a lot of space. So we have to take the car to get to the city center.
ona is located directly on the Baltic Sea, we are never far from the sea. The sea is always calm and I have the impression that there is only a cozy lake behind the shore, instead of the forecourt to the oceans.
There are also many islands in front of the city and a lot of nature. You want to get into the kayak straight from the shopping street and paddle up to the house on your island.
The weather plays along. Even if the sun hardly rises so far in the north and sets again very early, we at least have clear weather and, due to the low position of the sun, usually an incredibly beautiful light.
Of course, I also like to use this for my photos.
Our hosts give us a free hand and are happy to leave their car. Therefore, we can explore the area on our own.
The architecture leaves nothing to be desired with Swedish clichés. White and red wooden houses can be found on every corner and make a beautiful picture.
The trees have no leaves, so the colors around us remain in a picturesque complementary contrast of orange and blue.
For Sweden, this city is important for its university and as a naval base. Fortification was strategically important as early as the Middle Ages, because ships on the way between the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic can easily be intercepted from here.
We stroll through the city and the shops. Restaurants and bars in particular have closed these days, so there isn’t much to experience. But the rest gives us strength.
We visit a naval museum where we learn a lot about Sweden and its ships. We can also enjoy a buffet in the museum canteen. Similar to what we know from Ikea and the Swedish way of enjoying local food cheaply.
Vida kindly takes time for us to show us some nice places. For example, we go to the small island of Aspö, which lies in front of the city. A car ferry brings residents to the mainland or vice versa for free. All islands in Sweden are served by public transport for free, I am learning.
Aspö is very pretty and the idea is fascinating that you live in a district of Karlskrona that is an island of its own and that, conversely, you live in your house in the middle of the sea, but drive to work as normal.
Here, too, a citadel once again testifies to the strategic importance of the place.
We celebrate New Year together in a pretty Persian way. Many friends of our hosts come and there is a great meal. We drive up a hill for the fireworks. The view goes far, only Karlskrona is apparently not in a big party mood and the fireworks are very small.
Our hosts take us around town by car. We use the daylight to drive to the numerous lakes. The days in Sweden are coming to an end again and nobody should have suspected that the global corona pandemic is looming in the next few weeks.
Next, we will take the ferry to Poland to visit the famous Baltic metropolis of Gdansk.