Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ship Shape

Ales Stenar, about 200 feet long and 60 feet wide

Ship-shape; ship cult, millennia before the Vikings

One side

Backpackers at the site; we're glad we're not backpacking in this weather

The tiny harbor of Kaseberga

Tiny, but it supports a fish market well known for smoked salmon, eel, etc. The line was nearly out the door. I think the sign says "fish for sale." Note smoke coming from the smoke-house behind the building. I love smoked fish.

Until coming here, I had always associated swans with fresh water; the Baltic coast we have seen is loaded with them.

It finally stopped raining, and we had a chance, Saturday afternoon, to go and look at Ales Stenar, the largest of the Swedish ship-shaped standing stone circles. There are dozens of them, mostly in southern Sweden. Ales Stenar is in the 4,000-6,000 year-old range. Some argue it is merely a ship-cult site; some argue for a solar orientation/observatory. It is impressive in any case. Only one stone is missing, possibly, and its absence may simply have marked an entrance.

Ales Stenar stands on a beautiful grassy bluff above the tiny fishing hamlet of Kaseberga, overlooking the Baltic. It is late spring, and already the place is crowded. Walking around, I quickly figured out that as many are here for the fish market as for the megalithic site. I am savoring both!

Vicki adds:

June 13, 2009 Southern Sweden

We have spent two days in a very nice parking lot about 200 yds from the Baltic Sea. We came to see the megalithic standing stones in a “ring” in the shape of a ship. However the weather was so bad yesterday with gale force winds, rain, high of 55, that we just stayed in the camper and enjoyed being couch potatoes. Today was just misty and this evening it has cleared up completely. Being Saturday, the parking lot has been quite busy with about 200-300 cars and campers coming and going. About 6 of us are spending the night again. There are restrooms-which we actually don’t need- and free wifi and it is quiet and free. A great combination. Mark and I walked up to the stones on the cliff over the sea earlier and then through the small fishing village. I am sure it will all be posted on his blog. I have been catching up on email and researching Stockholm. It is supposed to be raining hard there for the next two days so we will take our time getting there. We wanted to fly from there to St. Petersburg in Russia but it is very complicated to get a visa and the whole trip of 3-4 days would probably cost about 2 grand so I think we will skip it.

I realize that as of yesterday I have been retired one year. I must admit that it seems much longer what with all we have done, and yet I only have to start to think about it and it feels like yesterday. Memory is such a completely strange thing. Retirement is a marvelous thing but I do miss all my family and friends. Please write as you have time. Vicki

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