Sunday, July 29, 2007

Panorama-rama: Excursion #5
Helsingborg and Kullen

My fifth week of classes looked something like this:

  • 20 hours of Swedish class.
  • 5 hours (at least) of homework.
  • 1 lecture (about Swedish film!)
  • 3 field trips (first to the Museum of Sketches for Public Art, second to the Botanical Gardens in Lund, and third to the Folketspark for a night of Swedish folk music and traditional dance).
A fun week, no doubt, but add Thursday night’s cocktail party to the list, and by Friday evening, I was feeling pretty tired. The idea of getting up at 7AM on a Saturday morning to travel with 80 other people to Helsingborg and Kullen didn’t sound too appealing.

Nevertheless, I dragged myself out of bed in the morning, took the bus into town, bought a sandwich at Mormor’s (the best bakery ever, with the exception of Berkeley’s Cheeseboard), and boarded the bus.

First stop: Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg.

As the Swedish name probably suggests, the “kulturhus” is quite literally a “culture house,” containing a concert hall, theaters, Helsingborg’s local school of music and the arts, a café, a recording studio, an exhibit on the history of Helsingborg from the Ice Age until today, and modern art exhibitions (hence the banner with the giant mole in the picture).

“Dunkers” refers to Henry Dunker, dubbed “the Galoshes King.” Dunker ran a large rubber factory in Helsingborg in the 1880s, Helsingborgs Gummifabrik. He became the richest man in Sweden by producing a huge variety of rubber products, including tires, balls, shoes, rubber bands, weather stripping, and, of course, rubber boots (indispensable gear here in Sweden!). He was know both as an industrialist and a philanthropist, and when he died in 1962 he donated his fortune to the city. Thanks to Dunker, Helsingborg now has created Dunkers Kulturhus, Kultusmagasinet (museum), the Helsingborg campus of Lund University, and new seating in the Helsingborg stadium.

As we left Helsingborg, the skies looked rather threatening, and I worried that we might get rained on later in the day. Our next stop was Kullen, home to Kullaberg Nature Reserve. Luckily, as we drove up the coast, the weather stayed clear. We had some spectacular views of the water and we could see Denmark across the sea.

Sweden is gorgeous. I know I’ve said this before, but I am blown away every time I go to another part of the country (and to think I’ve only really seen Skåne!) You can tell Swedes really love their nature, and rightly so. Kullaberg offered yet another stellar opportunity to witness Swedish nature at its best. Bring on the panoramic shots:

The unique thing about Kullaberg is that it’s very much unlike the typical landscape of Skåne. The town of Kullen lies on a peninsula and Kullaberg is on a mountain that rises above it. The slopes are extremely steep and end in sheer cliff drop offs, which makes it all the more gorgeous and equally treacherous. Fortunately, if you stick the marked paths and/or paved roads, it’s very safe and the views were breathtaking. This was the first coordinated excursion I’ve made where it wasn’t raining (finally!) and the beautiful weather was a great bonus.

Kullaberg was very windy (as you can see in the pictures), but we managed to find a more sheltered spot to each lunch, and enjoy the view. There is a lighthouse at the highest point of the “mountain” (it’s really more of a very large hill) that is Scandnavia’s strongest light. It makes sense, as this peninsula juts out into the Öresund between Sweden and Denmark, a passage for many ships —- you wouldn’t want to run ashore. In the picture above, we're looking down to the shore below -- it's hard to get a feel for the scale, but we're about 175 meters up (about 575 feet).

Definitely worth the trip!


Sally said...

I need a thesaurus to come up with some new words besides, "wow, gorgeous" Breathtaking? Stunning? Exquisite? Boy, I wish I could be there to see it in person. We need to start saving for a "return" trip!

I can't wait for a personal tour of Southern Sweden from my own Swedish-speaking daughter.

The Dunkers Kulturhus looks like its worth a trip too!

I'm still thinking about the smoked fish from a few posts back, however. Yum. Maybe it's time for dinner here in Berkeley.

Thanks so much for the time you put into this blog. The writing is both descriptive and engaging---it's lots of fun to read.

Carla said...

I agree-your bolg is so much fun to read! Makes me feel like I'm there with you, just seeing you have fun! (Although if I had money (and no job-how that would work I don't know) I'd like to think I'd be right there with you!

R said...

Thanks for your travelogue! Scott has been keeping me up to date with your adventures. Best, River