Rok and Lake Takern, Sweden Week 54 16th-18th May 2012
Bought a digital copy of the Reise Map of southern Scandinavia in the hope it would be as useful as the map of Mongolia from the same publisher.

Unfortunately its lacking in detail. And in some places the roads don't join up. Our road atlas of Europe that we purchased in Hungary has more.

But rather pleasantly we realised the gps map we have has lots more detail.

Our preferred way of navigating has become to select a small town from the road atlas, feed it into the gps as destination, and tell it to find the shortest route.

These small roads and tracks are so far in very good condition, and infinitely more interesting than the major roads.

They also provide more stopping places.

An unnamed lake we stayed the night beside.

And carried on our way the next morning.
The runestone at Rok.

Runes are an early form of writing.

This particular stone contains a longish story without images. It is also well documented.

Runestones were first erected from 4th to 12th centuries. Viking times.

Most are around 1000 years old (between 950 and 1100 AD), and celebrate some aspect of an individual or family life and/or death.


As is common in Scandinavia the runes have been highlighted in red.

The stones may have been coloured when first erected but that has long since faded and disappeared.

Found mostly in Sweden and Norway there are also some in Denmark and a few others in places the Vikings visited.

There are 33 known runestones in Norway, and 26 in the Isle Of Man (where I was dragged up).

Guess who is going on a runestone hunt in the Isle Of Man when we get there in September.

The Scandinavian runestones tend to be stones. The Manx runestones tend to be carved as rough crosses, perhaps a result of the merging of Norse and Celtic cultures. The Celts raised crosses. But more of that when we get there.......

There is no connection between the runestone and the church it stands outside.

Apart from the location that is.

Very nice is the explanation of both runes and the story depicted on this particular runestone.

We have to wonder at the effort required to work it all out and translate.

All four sides and the top are covered in runes.

The arrows and numbers explain the sequence in which it must be read.

Left to right, top to bottom, must have evolved later!

Just north of Rok is Lake Takern.

Its a stopping off point for migrating birds as well as home to lots.

These geese are on their way to somewhere important.

We weren't aware of the significance of Lake Takern but the large notice board and map of the area outside the church led us in the right direction.

To the west of Lake Takern is a hill that's predominantly limestone.

The lime provides for a richness to life in the lake.

The level was lowered in the mid 19th century which made it just the right depth for birds.

At this time of year its full of water and birds.

Greylag geese.

We had lots of trouble identifying the geese.

We didn't stand a chance with the other 269 species of birds that have been sighted.

Another well laid out park.

There are towers and hides around the lake.

A bit soggy off the boardwalk.

Throughout our walk we heard bitterns, but didn't see any. A couple of enthusiastic ornithologists showed us the picture in their bird book. "...drum" in Swedish. It sounded like the noise from "duff duff" car stereos, without one of the duffs and only every few minutes....... (well I know what I mean!).

The birds that dwell in the reads tended to avoid us. We could hear but not see.

Mum, dad and the kids.
Have you ever tried that trick of standing in a crowded street looking upwards.

We looked too but couldn't find it.


Not just an ordinary map.

This is in relief and the legend is also in braille.

Had to think about how many blind bird watchers there are. The air is full of the sound of birds.

The tower at the southern entrance to the park.

Its thatch on the sides. The ramp is for wheelchair access.

Just like Store Mosse there's a telescope provided. And a reference book.

There's a colony of terns just in front of the tower.
Geese are related to swans (or the other way round). 

The long necks let them look every which way without having to move the rest of their bodies.

They are also very much like swans in that when approached they quietly walk or glide away. Keeping that distance which means they never quite fill the camera viewfinder.

Most infuriating. Don't they know they are there to be photographed!

We noticed a few motorhomes arriving around 4pm as the car park was beginning to empty of cars.

We stayed overnight along with ten others. German and Swedish registered.

Between Lake Takern and Lake Vatern there's the limestone hill which is mostly nature reserve. Ekopark Omberg.

A nice drive along the edge of Lake Vattern (a rather large lake, too large for us to walk round).

At the northern end of the nature reserve is Borghamn and a small limestone quarry.

Its a very light coloured limestone. Cut out of the rock in large blocks. 

Sweden is camper friendly. It seems as long as we are discrete, don't obviously set up camp, and don't stop too close to houses, we will be tolerated.

It feels comfortable.

We have however encountered signs like this on small forestry roads as we are closer to more populated areas.

Also some locked gates. And those subtle large rocks or piles of stones placed across the entrance to likely parking spots that suggest "no". 

But apart from that we keep seeing birds.

A common crane.

Sigtuna and Skolkloster, Sweden Week 54 19th May 2012

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