Ystad: charming town, Ale’s Stones

While we were staying in Malmö we made a trip down to Ystad. This small town is on the coast of Southern Sweden and faces Germany-Polish coast across the Baltic Sea. This quiet town has become world famous for the popular BBC series, Wallander. We aren’t fans of the show, instead, we came to see Sweden’s Stonehenge, the Ale’s Stones.

 

We actually left quite late in the afternoon, but you wouldn’t know bright it still was out. When we arrive it was strange to be the only people to be walking around. We parked in the centre, took a little walk before dinner. It felt eerie how everything was seemingly perfect and yet deserted. Another strange thing was every window we walked past was impeccably decorated with a lamp or vase and pot plants and it didn’t seem like anyone was home.

 

We wanted to visit another Swedish pub, after the fabulous meal we had the night before in Malmö. We found it hard to find somewhere open that evening, but we did find the historic Bryggeriet Restaurang & Pub. It is housed in a medieval style building, which is quite stunning. Although the atmosphere was quite causal the restaurant was actually fine dining. The menu was in Swedish but a nice waiter explained all the dishes to us.

We ordered for Octavia an entree of  ‘Fish & Chips’. Unfortunately, we got a bit lost in translation and didn’t realise it was more updated version. It was actually salmon gravlax, caviar, dill, beetroot, housemade potato chips. She didn’t like it at all, but I did. Marco and I ordered the fish and pork mains. I had the Trout with roasted cauliflower, caviar and fish broth. Despite how it looked, it just tasted fantastic, even Octavia liked it. Marco had the Pork Chop with roasted fennel and vegetables. He really liked it and would not share a bite.

After dinner, we made our way to the Ale’s Stones. This megalithic monument is located in the old fishing village of Kåseberga, around ten kilometres southeast of the centre of Ystad. It is also home to a flock of sheep, which graze on the same land.

We arrived quite late in the evening, so all the restaurants, cafes and fish smokehouses nearby stores were shut. It was a great time to visit though because there were only a few people who were also viewing it at the same time as us.

 

These stones are thought to be at least 2500 years old, from the time of the Scandinavian Bronze Age. This makes it only slightly younger than the English Stonehenge and has the same underlying geometry. Although it was originally assumed to be a burial monument, it is now thought to be an astronomical calendar. The ancient Scandinavians would have been able to use this calendar, by observing the sun rises during summer and winter solstices. This is evident, as the sun goes down on the northwestern stone in summer and it rises on the opposite stone in winter. This would of help them time annual religious ceremonies and schedule planting and harvesting of crops.

There are 59 stones that make up the ship-shaped monument, which is 67 meters long and 19 meters wide. Each stone weights at between 500kg and 1.8 tonnes and carbon dating show they are between

 

This was such an amazing place to visit. It has always been my dream to see the English Stonehenge, so getting to see Sweden’s Ale’s Stones was something I’ll never forget. The lack civility really connects you to its ancient past. It was so calm and still up there, except for the cool wind and the crashing of the waves on the Baltic coast.

After visiting Ystad, we spend our last night in Malmö. Our next stop on this road trip is Göteborg, with a couple of short stops in Lund and Heisenberg.

 

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