Nu kommer vintern—Öland, southern Sweden, winter 2001

In the southernmost counties of Sweden, winter arrives later than in the rest of the country. But when it arrives, it definitely arrives. One day in mid-December, the snow starts to fall, nor does it cease to fall until it has covered the world in a thick white blanket that remains until spring.

Yuko and I had just got married before I left for Sweden, and in December she came to visit me there. Together we drove across the southern part of the country from Malmö to the Hanseatic city of Kalmar and onto the island of Öland. Over 6 km long, the Öland bridge was the longest in Europe when it was built, and is still an impressive sight. We had fitted snow tyres to the car at the start of December, as required by law, and were amazed at how effective they are, although driving in falling snow at night can be tiring.

It was a lot colder on that side of the country than in Malmö. The daytime temperature was below -10°C, which at that time was the coldest I had ever experienced, and the biting wind meant that ordinary clothes were inadequate to prevent you from getting chilled within a few minutes.

Here are some photos Yuko took in Öland that convey some of the bleak majesty of the place in winter.

windmill
Windmill and stone circle, Öland
ruins
Dara at the ruin of St Knut’s chapel, Gråborg, Öland.
ponys
Ponies in Öland. We really felt sorry for these guys as it was bitterly cold.
dusk
Windmill silhouetted against the sunset sky
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