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Megalithic Sweden

Denmark-Sweden 2016


View Travelling the movies on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14790345124033.jpgSo I planned to visit Lund but finding the flyer with all kinds of interesting sites near Ystad made me decide to skip Lund and go to the Ystad area again. First a stop at the Sandhammaren. I passed the sign yesturday on my way to Ales stenar but didn't stop to have a look. Today I make it a special trip. It's an area with beautiful white sand dunes, didn't expect that here! I took some time for a walk on the beach.

Near Gislöv I went looking for the Bragestenarna (rock carvings), went up the road, down the road, O, wait there is something. I pull over, park my car on the roadside and when I get out I see I almost parked on top of the rock with the carvings. No parking area, no obvious sign, just the plaque with some info. You do have to have some imagination to make out the carvings.large_1297706_1479034530164.jpg

The sites Hällristningar vid Järrestad (rock carvings) and Stenstuan I did not manage to locate (no road signs or I missed the road signs) so I head back to Kivik [Kivik-travel-guide-665464] for a second try at Kungagraven/Kiviksgraven. This time the entrance I used yesterday is fenced off, and today's entrance to the site is through the restaurant. After paying the entrance fee I walk towards the grave. The big door is open but I´m a bit disappointed to see concrete walls and ceiling. The tomb isn´t in it´s original state, pity! But inside are some of the original carved stones as they would have been in the original setting. It looks like painted rock but the paint is only to be able to make out the figures.large_1297706_14790345497005.jpgKunga-/Kiviksgraven

A bit north of Kivik, near the small town Vitemölla is another megalitic site: Havängsdösen, a 'stone chamber tomb' what made me suspect it to be something like Kungagraven. I try to get to Havängsdösen by walking up the coastline but after half an hour walking I decide to turn back and drive a bit further up, if there are opening hours to the site I don't want to be late. It was a nice walk on the beach though! A bit further up there is a parking lot with a sign pointing to Havängsdösen. So it's a dolmen inside a stone circle, freely accessible so no openinghours. I could have continued my walk along the beach since I was already half way there, but hey, I didn't know what to expect. The dolmen is located on a hill and it has sea view.large_1297706_14790345836796.jpgHavängsdösenI think it's almost as beautiful as Ales stenar! The neighbours are Ravlunda firing range, heavily protected by barbed wire and surveillance cameras which makes it look even more dramatic. I walked along the beach up to the point where I turned back earlier, so now I had done the full path from Vitemölla to Havängsdösen.

On my way back I stopped again to look at some stone circles in the forest (no sign on the road side, but I spotted the stones while driving by) also another pair of grave hills on the other side of the road. No parking area, probably the sites are not interesting enough since they are found all over the south of Sweden

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Posted by Stefmuts 22:32 Archived in Sweden Tagged ruins sightseeing petroglyphs dolmen megalithic Comments (0)

Disas Ting and other stuff

Denmark-Sweden 2016


View Travelling the movies on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14790337439587.jpgGoogling stone circles I found another one near Ales stenar (which was already on my must see list) Disas Ting stone circle in Svarte, well, more like a stone rectangle. It's located right at the road side so not to be missed. The name comes from a legend, where a maiden named Disa conducted legal hearings (ting) on this site. I couldn't find the whole story and this, from the plaque on the site, is a bit vague but maybe my fellow travel buddy's can tell me more (?)

Then on to Ales stenar, the most famous stone circle/stone ship of Sweden. Here a big parking lot with information billboards and flyers in several languages but no sign of a stone circle yet. I took a flyer and discovered there are lots more sights to discover. I started walking following the signs and after a bit I was alone with just meadows and sheep.large_1297706_14790337775595.jpg In the distance Ales stenar came in sight and getting closer it became more and more impressive.

The stone circle/ship is built overseeing the coastline and the site is not polluted with touristy stuff like icecream carts, info stand or a restaurant. I sort of expected the whole tourist souvenir shebang so I was pleasantly surprized. I wasn't the only visitor but I managed to get some pictures without people in it, makes it look just a bit more magical.

Next I went to Kivik [Kivik-travel-guide-665464] to find the bronze age grave mentioned in the flyer. It has a double name to make things easier; Kungagraven/Kiviksgraven But I managed to find it quite easily. It's an royal tomb (Kungagraven = Kings grave) a passage grave.large_1297706_14790338024844.jpg I can enter the site but the tomb itself is closed on mondays

Also a tip from the flyer: Halsberg stenar, nothing megalithic this time but the work of a miller. He carved the mill´s history and parts of the bible in several rocks which are displayed in the garden at the mill. The museum near the mill is also closed on mondays but at the garden a sign asks visitors friendly to leave the entrance fee in the mailbox at the gate and so I do. I'm the only visitor at this time.

To not have a full day of stones and graves I also visit Ystad today. This medieval town is like an open air museum with it's pastel-coloured half-timbered houses and the cobblestone streets. I have a (very) late lunch in a backery shop near the main square and have a chat with one of the other visitors, an old man who after living in Berlin for a while came back to Sweden. After a walk through the town I install myself on a bench in the park near the abbey and just enjoy the sun and the view for a bit.

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:34 Archived in Sweden Tagged landscapes city tomb coastline megalithic Comments (0)

Sweden here I come!

Denmark-Sweden 2016


View Travelling the movies & Road Trip Denmark - Sweden 2016 on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14766348264502.jpgAcross the Øresund Bridge I enter Sweden and start driving north. I make a detour to visit Kullabergs naturreservat, my old roadmap says there's something special about it so I go and check it out. It's a wild rocky coastline, not like the rest of the coastline in this area. You can do a boattour or one of the hiking trails, I did neither, I just followed the path from the lighthouse down, walked around a bit and walked back up again. I still have a long drive ahead and I wanted to take a look at the stonecirkel nearby as well.

I saw the sign on the roadside, but it wasn't too easy to find. I asked a woman in traditional clothing directions and she offered to take me there since she was already taking some other people, so I got a regular tour of the domarringar. She knew a lot of interesting things about the circles, the one were at is for the man, there are two more nearby (smaller ones) and those are for the woman and children. There are several others in the area but they are from different tribes. She also told about local medicine, communication methods (a peace of wood on a string which made a sound when swayed around) and more, so I stayed longer than planned and listened to her stories.

After that I didn't make any more sightseeing stops and I arrived at my campsite (Lysebergsbyn) at 17:30 and I was surprised to see the tent area being half full, so I'm not the only one going around Sweden in a tent

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:33 Archived in Sweden Tagged coastline sightseeing lighthouse megalithic Comments (0)

Dowth, Knowth & Newgrange

Ireland 2008


View Ireland on spec (2008) on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14348108455769.jpgToday we start of with taking some pictures in Carlington, Abbey, tower , city gate, the Mint and near the harbour King Johns Castle. Then off to Monasterboice, a 5th century settlement where there are three high crosses and a round tower, Muiredach’s Cross should be specially beautiful. The route was more difficult, the route planner gave destination reached in the middle of the highway (?) but we did find the site. The round tower is roof-less and there are also ruins of two churches. Near the tower is the 6,5m high West high cross and in the centre of the cemetery the beautiful decorated Muiredach’s Cross, North high cross is tucked away in the back and less decorated.

Then off to Newgrange [Newgrange-travel-guide-1309872], another ‘must see’ on my list.large_1297706_14348113229302.jpgMonasterboice, West high crossIt’s Europe’s most famous megalithic Passage Tomb dated around 3200BC which makes it older than Stonehenge. On our way to Newgrange we see the Dowth tomb, my book says not accessible to visitors so we don’t stop there, doesn’t seem much to see anyway. Dowth was unprofessional excavated in 1847, which left a crater in the centre of the mound, we later learn that the site itself can be visited and only the passage chambers are not open for the public. At the Newgrange visitors centre there are also tours to Knowth, one of the other important sites besides Newgrange. We decide to take the Knowth tour and a good choise it was! A bus took us to the site where we were greeted by a guide. The guide had a whole lot of story to tell in too short a time, about how the site over the years has been occupied by the builders, the early Christians and the Normans who even had their settlement on the mound.large_1297706_14348113868488.jpg The funeral ritual according to the experts: only the bones were after the cremation interred in the tomb. The tomb itself we were not allowed in, but we could go inside the corridor a bit, and we could take some pictures there. The site consists of a large double tomb hall and several smaller passage graves around it. The large tomb has ornate stones all around and the finest specimens are placed at both entrances. These stones are 1/3 of all decorated stones found in Europe of this age, so a really special site. Unfortunately, after the tour there was not much time to roam around on our own.

To Newgrange again by bus. Here the ornate entrance of the passage tomb has been restored as the specialists think and calculated it must have once looked like. White quartz stone with rounded granite boulders.large_1297706_1434811371447.jpg At the entrance is a stone carved with a three spiral shape that is adopted by the archaeological service as its logo. You can visit inside the tomb, but no photos or video, so I put my camera away (I know myself)

Through the gate with its skylight through the narrow corridor to the burial chamber, here are three richly decorated niches, in the eastern niche is a stone basin and the ceiling is decorated with spiral and zigzag shapes. In the days around December 21 (winter solstice) the sun shines in attendance about 17 minutes through the skylight on the northern wall of the recess. This was discovered in 1967, there were already stories about the midsummer solstice as at Stonehenge so they gathered around on June 21, but nothing happened. Then someone came up with the idea to come back on December 21.large_1297706_14348125139572.jpg

In the western niche again the three spiral shape, just like at the entrance and on the outside at the rear. To get an idea of what exactly happens at sunrise around December 21 they turned off the lights and when everyone is a little used to the dark sunrise is simulated by shining a light through the skylight. The real event must be a very special thing to experience, which is however only for a small select group of people. Each year there is a lottery held among people who want to experience it.

On the way out we can see the ornate stonework in the walls, upon entering your eyes are a little less habituated to the dim light and you don't see them. Back outside my camera clicked just in front of the entrance ... I just can't help myself!

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Posted by Stefmuts 04:23 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes castle megalithic high_cross Comments (0)

Deflecting to Carrowkeel passage tomb cemetery

Ireland 2008


View Ireland on spec (2008) on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14345715699880.jpgIn Roscommon there is a castle ruin you can visit, the outside walls are still there but inside not so much. No entrance fee like most places here in Ireland. Back home they would have put a big fence around it and a ticket stand, here you just have to close the gate (because of the sheep) In Boyle we visited another Abbey, here restoration in process. You get a ticket at the entrance, but again no entrance fee, I guess they just want to know how many visitors they get a day. On billboards you can read all about the history and how the restoration works, explaining the numbers on the bricks (It's just a big jigsaw puzzle)

At Lough Arrow we drove into the mountains, a roadside sign made us curious 'megalithic cemetery'. It was just a small sign and we didn't know what to expect since I hadn't read about it in my guide (turns out there is a small section on it hidden away in lots of text about the area) The road got smaller and smaller and then a gate.large_1297706_1434571615908.jpgBoyle Abbey, The big puzzleA sign on the gate asking to close it behind you (sheep again) told us we could still continue our drive, though I got more and more the idea we were driving on private property but there were no signs telling us so. A bit further up the road there was a small parking area and a sign saying busses could not continue after this point. We were not a bus so we went on. The road was more like a path here but the tire marks in the dirt told us we still were on the right way. On the end of the path again a even smaller parking area and from there we went on foot.

We followed the path up hill to what looks like a light grey pile of stones but it's not, it's the first of a number of passage graves (14 says Wikipedia), three of them are in reasonable state. The first one from the path is the most beautiful of the three. Above the entrance is a light opening and in front of the entrance a keystone, one could maneuver around it and enter the tomb but I only stuck my hand with my camera inside.large_1297706_14345716595992.jpg It's still a grave so it didn't feel alright with me to enter, though a box of matches was placed in a crack near the entrance. The tomb is placed in a way the sun shines inside on the summer Solstice (21th june), I looked it up on the internet. The second and third tomb don't have the 'skylight' above the entrance and at fourth tomb there isn't an entrance to be found, caved in perhaps? Here on top of the hill you can see more tombs shattered around the area but we think we have seen the best preserved ones so we leave it there.

We went on to Drumcliff by Sligo [Sligo-travel-guide-1311086], visited the cemetery where W.B.Yeats is buried. The cemerery also has a beautiful high cross and a nice view on the mountain Ben Bulben. Then Donegal, again to late to visit the castle. We found a nice B&B near Killybegs

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:36 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes mountains nature tomb megalithic Comments (0)

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