Thursday, August 31, 2017

Stjernsund

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Stjernsunds Slott (castle) is situated near Askersund at the northern end of Lake Vättern. The manor was founded in 1637 and has been owned by three different noble families, and also, back in the 1800s, by the royal family.  Since 1951, it belongs to The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities. The castle as museum is open to the public in the summer; and in a separate building down by the lake below the hill there is a Castle Café, where we had the pleasure of having lunch on the third day of our trip.

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▲ Inside the café/restaurant ▼

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After lunch we went for a little walk up to the castle and around the estate:

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As decorations in the path leading up to the castle, they had used old millstones.

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The front of the castle. We did not go inside (I think there were only guided tours).

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There was a small exhibition in a couple of rooms next to the reception and shop in one of the wings. I did not take any photos in there but I bought some postcards.

043 Stjernstunds slott i Närke, Albert och Augusta Cassel, ägare från 1898-1951
The last owners of the castle before
the estate was bequeathed to the Academy.

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And this is the view they were looking at from those stairs.

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Down by the lake near the café

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Wooden owl on a pole down by the jetty.

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Huge tree at the gable of the café.

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Farm buildings on the estate

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The Stjernsund estate is also known as the origin of the Swedish Red and White breed of dairy cattle. (I did not know that before our visit, though…)

Perla (SRB)

This postcard shows a cow named Perla. On the back of the card is printed “f. 8/9/1895”. I think that’s the cow’s birthdate rather than the date when the photo was taken. (How old does a cow get??)

Postcards for the Weekend

Linking (the old postcards) to Postcards for the Weekend 51

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Votive Ship in Medevi Church

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Enlarged image of the ship in the church at Medevi Brunn, from the photo in my previous post. (Also repeating, below, the original interior photo + one of the exterior, so that you won’t have to go back to compare.)

One reader asked in a comment to my post yesterday from Medevi, about the ship hanging from the ceiling in the church. Spontaneously, I was going to just answer that such model ships are rather common in churches in Scandianavia (and also some other European countries). They are called votive ships and were usually donated by sailors thankful to have been saved from a storm at sea. The name “votive” comes from the Latin term of Ex-Voto, meaning “made after a vow”. The practice goes back to the Middle Ages.

Googling Medevi church to check for details, I find something else about this particular votive ship that I did not know, though: It has a reputation of being able to predict the weather over the next 24 hours – at an accuracy of 99%. If its front points towards the altar (which in this church is to the north, rather than to the east, as is otherwise the common practice), it will be rainy, and you had better stay in. If it points towards the door (south), it will be sunny, and you will be able to spend time outdoors. If the fore of the ship points east or west, the weather will be mixed … I did not know about this when we were there; but looking at the photo now, if the altar is to the north, then the ship in my photo is pointing  west – and the weather was indeed “mixed” that day. (We had rain later in the day, having rounded the north end of the lake...) The ship’s ability to predict the weather is said to be due to the quality of the hemp rope that it’s hanging from, which is said to react to air humidity. All according to Swedish Wikipedia. The same article also says that the ship was made by someone who was a patient in the asylum at Vadstena in 1821. Intriguing; but I’m afraid I can’t find any more details about that!

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The interior of the church is also unusual, not only in that the altar is on the north side of the church, but also because the pulpit is above the altar. As we just popped into the church very briefly when we were there, I didn’t really take all these details in! (So thanks to Sandra for asking, and making me look into it further!) Moreoever, I learn that the main entrance from the south was only for the nobility, who then sat down on the left side (west side), facing east. The commons and poor people came in through a door on the east side of the church, and sat facing west. With the altar and the pulpit in the middle.

Thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve seen this particular arrangement anywhere else, or at least not in any church of this (small) size. The usual standard in old churches is to have the altar to the east, and the entrance – and the tower, if there is one – to the west. And a raised pulpit usually to one side, and a little in front of the altar. (Although in big cathedrals, the layout can sometimes be a bit more confusing; and I’m really no expert!)

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InSPIREd Sunday

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Medevi Brunn

Medevi Brunn is Scandinavia's oldest health spa, located on the eastern shore of Lake Vättern, in north-west Östergötland, Sweden.

The spa was founded in 1678 by baron Gustaf Soop (the owner of the estate back then) and the physician Urban Hjärne, who examined the water from the spring and found it to be of the same mineral water quality as other popular health spas in Europe at the time. In 1679 the dowager queen Hedwig Eleonora came here for a cure, which probably contributed to the spa’s status and reputation growing.

Most of the buildings date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The health center was closed in 1982, but the buildings are still used as hotel/hostel; for tourists in the summer, and for conferences and camps etc. Water from the spring is still served to visitors, and certain other traditions also kept up - like a brass orchestra band playing in the summer evenings, including a ceremonial march down to the building where the water is served. The buildings are listed (as being of historical interest) - but sadly, to me, some of them look a bit run down now. (I have been there once before, but that was back in the early/mid 1980s.


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The Inn


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Bust of the founder, Urban Hjärne

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Gifts are welcome…

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The spa building where the magic water is still found

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We had a drink from the well, of course.

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This may look like a church or a town hall, but it is not…
Have a guess, before you read the sign beneath the next photo!

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This is the church! (Popular for weddings, I understand.)

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InSPIREd Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Friday, August 25, 2017

Postcards for the Weekend – Patterns

Maria’s chosen postcard theme for this weekend is Patterns & Prints.

Flickering through my postcrossing cards from last year, some “owl patterns” stood out for me:

160404 RU-4556888

From Russia, April 2016. Card printed in Finland.


160530 FR-687164

From France, May 2016.


160607 CZ-924696

From Czech Republic, June 2016.

160601 FI-2725425

From Finland, June 2016

Whoo-hoo there… Are you an early bird or a night owl? Winking smile 
I’m neither, really. More like the owl on the right, both in the early morning and late in the evening!

Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the Weekend 50: Patterns & Prints


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