Six Castles And One Ghost Tour
Experience exciting castles in Skåne: Vegeholm, Rössjöholm, Skillinge, Össjö, Tomarps Kungsgård, Vrams Gunnarstorp; all beautiful castles in the neighbourhood worth a visit. Generally they are not open for the public so when the opportunity came I took the husband (only mild protests) with me for a castle tour arranged by the tourist office in Ängelholm. It is remarkable how you often look for experiences far away and miss what is around the corner.
The small path into the wood was not to be seen from the main road but the bus driver made it. Suddenly behind the trees the fairy tale castle Vegeholm appears and the owner Stefan von Geijer is welcoming us. About one hundred years ago his grandfather decided to renovate the castle, back then in a bad shape, to its former glorious architecture from the year 1530.
Hidden by the woods there is a fantastic park with this statue of Venus shadowed by an enormous tree. Sad though he told us that he had to store the other statues indoors after a robbery last week. They managed to take one or two of the very big statues. Probably the will reappear in an auction abroad. The thieves had come back for the little Venus (now chained to the columns) but something scared them off. The tools were still there to watch.
Afterward was a nostalgic lunch inspired by Carl von Linné/Linnaeus at Margaretetorps Gästgiveri. This is an old beautiful half-timbered inn on the sunny side of the Halland’s Ridge. There is evidence to suggest that there was an inn on this spot as early as the 14th Century. Queen Margaret’s law of 1396 led to the establishment of inns at 40 kilometres intervals.
Our journey continues along a narrow road surrounded by dark mysterious spruce woods. It is not hard to imaginge the bloody battles between partisans and Swedish army from the north. Still you can experience their camping sites for horses and men. Hidden on a little island the remains of a fortress still can be seen. Across the lake the Swedish army threatened the Danish district Skåne.
Next stop will be at Rössjöholm Manor between the lakes Västersjön and Rössjön. The
building was unfortunately hit and destroyed by a canon giving a salute to honour the beautiful construction. The owner immediately built a new estate, but this time he could afford two floors.
Out of the woods again the view miles away over the plain landscape is breathtaking. Our guide Eva Thorén, is not only a fantastic story teller but also closely related to two of the castles. Her ancestors have lived for generations at
Vrams Gunnarstorp. Her brother still lives at Össjö Castle were she was born. So she had the main keys to the history of castles and landlords we met.
We visited Össjö castle (where now Hugo Berch, the brother of our guide lives) preparing for a Linnaeus celebration in July. In a few weeks the façade will be covered with wine stocks and the old holly hedge will form a lane round the castle. Should be worth a visit just to see how they will manage to create this illusion.
We went on to Skillinge Manor East of Munka Ljungby. The exceptional architecture in Empire style with the columns at the front façade, remind you of a Greek temple. Tygo Krabbe, son of the owner of Vegeholm founded the estate in 1550s. Linnaeus visited the estate during his Skåne expedition and gave the garden and park a long detailed description because of its beauty. Still today you will be enchanted by this paradise garden. The eight arcades forming a star with a meeting point in the middle impressed Linné. So are we. It is not possible to express this on a photo, unfortunately.
Time for a coffee break at Tomarps Kungsgård, the old crown estate since 1285. Today a well-known and respected gallery with only the most qualified artists. This summer they present the world famous photographer George Oddner. On the roof you could see the Stork parent proudly watching over her (his) family. They are participating in the Stork project round Skåne, with almost 50 wild Storks nesting. Link to the project only in Swedish though.
The last castle to visit is Vrams Gunnarstorp, one of the official “Linné was here” sites in Sweden. Linnaeus praised the garden’s boxwood hedge that is still there today. It is allowed to bring your own picnic with you and rest in the beautiful garden. Notice the giant tree at the entrance to the garden. In Sweden we only have five specimens of this White Basswood/Tilia .
Also here you will find a fairy tale castle with towers and ornaments.
Renovations were made in the mid 1800s, but the building is still in accordance with the Vrams Gunnarstorp that Linnaeus visited. Here they arrange one of the biggest Christmas markets, worth a visit. The owner was recently awarded for his work to collect biological gas.
About seven hours later we were back at home with a castle experience that will last for this summer I think (or perhaps this will encourage to a new castle tour at the Romele ridge also rich to castles, history and legends).
And the ghost? You have to come and see for yourself!
Most of the castles, scattered over Skåne are Danish from origin since Skåne was a Danish province some 350 years ago. It is a fascinating story of kings and princesses, hideous combats, superstition and heroe
(The reporter in a Danish TV programme said the other day that the Danes are invading Skåne once again, but now in a more subtle and friendly way. By 2020 Skåne will be Danish again, he predicted. True is that thousands of Danish immigrants settle down in Skåne and keep their work at the other side of the sound. In Sweden the houses are cheaper as wells as food and cars. He also mentioned social benefits for families with children, but salaries are higher on Danish ground.)