RoadTrip #35.2: Öland escapade: Sandbybadet beach, Karlevi Stone, Gettlinge grave field, Långe Jan lighthouse, and Eketorps borg (Day 3)

It’s Day 3 on the Swedish holiday island of Öland. I really had a taste of the Swedish lifestyle as we enjoyed breakfast outside the cabin and dipped our feet in the cold, cold sea in the morning. The day was then spent on the road, visiting some of the popular sites in the southern part, including one of Sweden’s oldest rune stones, the island’s largest Iron Age gravefield in Gettlinge, a tall lighthouse built in the 1700s, and a walled fortress from 300 AD.

The cabin we booked in Sandbybadets Camping could fit 4 people, but we thought that it was too tight. It also has a small table with chairs and a kitchen where one could cook small meals. The service building with the showers and toilets was a few meters away. It was cleaned every day, and since it was summer, the camping seemed fully booked. Missy joined us for breakfast as usual, and she had fun exploring the cabin’s crawl spaces, even on a long leash.

We planned to explore the island with my husband’s stepbrother and his wife. Before we left the camping, we managed to take a quick tour to the Sandbybadet or Sandbyviken beach. It was wide, with fine sand, and cool waters. And jellyfish. We thought of taking a dip later on – how exciting! I’ve never taken a bath in the beaches of Scandinavia because I’d always thought that the water was too cold for me.

Anyway, we left at around 9am. The first stop we took was to the Karlevi Stone, located in a field on the western side of the island. It is one of the oldest rune stones in Sweden and contains a poem written in a special verse form called a “drottkvätt”, meaning, “poem to a chieftain”. According to the information plaque, the poem pertains to Sibbe, a king of the sea strong in battle who just died. He was compared to the Norse god Odin. Interestingly, the stone was inscribed in AD 1000 when Scandinavia was transitioning to Christianity. And thus, at the back of the stone are the words “Inonin.. eh”, shortened for In nomine ihesu (“In Jesus’ name”). The transition was kind of similar to how the pagan faith of my Filipino ancestors was converted to Christianity in the 1500s by the Spanish colonizers. It has been mixed Catholic and pagan culture since then.

Öland is teeming with historical sites. The next stop was the largest Iron Age grave field on the island – the Gettlinge gravfält. It consists of mounds, stone ships, stone cists, stone circles, a tricorn grave, limestone slabs, and stone-filled graves. There were like 200 graves in the area, and only 25 had been excavated. Among the remarkable finds was a cist containing the remains of a man with his weapons.

Driving farther south, we encountered animals on the road, mainly sheep and cows.

At around 12:50pm, we reached the southern tip of the island, marked by the tallest lighthouse in Sweden at 42 meters – the Långe Jan. It was first lit in 1785 and has 197 stairsteps to the top. Entrance was not free, and they only accept payment via the Swedish mobile payment app, Swish. Or by cash. I totally recommend climbing up the lighthouse, as it offers amazing views of the coast! It can be very windy on top though.

In 1948, the lighthouse was electrified and became automatic and unmanned. How cool?

The southern cape is also teeming with wildlife. We were welcomed by members of a bird-watching club, who allowed guests to try their telescopes to see seals and wild birds far out the coast/sea. We also took a walk on the ‘pebbl-y’ beach – it was very refreshing!

Driving away from the southern cape, we met animals on the road, again. Something to really watch out for. The Swedes are respectful to the locals of the island, though, and wait pantiently to let the animals pass in their own tempo.

For lunch, we enjoyed some food at Carla’s Cafe in Näsby.

And for the last part of the roadtrip, we visited an interesting, and ancient, structure – the walled fortress of Eketorp. It’s a living history museum which provides a glimpse of the Swedish life around AD 300. Visitors can check out the traditional village houses, and try out activities like archery and ancient crafts.

We decided to part ways at 4pm, as we needed to go back to the cabin and check out on Missy – who was fine and getting the hang of the cabin life. It was a fun-filled day filled with sightseeing, through which we got to know the island more. We planned to meet up again the next day and explore the northern part. More about that on the next entry. 🙂

It’s really different if you visit places with a car. However, we didn’t get to experience how it would be with the public transportation on the island. It seemed like the buses were rare and the stations far apart. Anyway, I’m excited to write about day 4 of the summer holiday in Öland. #spreadloveandpositivevibes



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