Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On the Wallander Trail

Before I left for Sweden, Mike and Susan D'Antuono got me hooked on Stieg Larsson's book set in Sweden, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." It was the first of Larsson's three Millenium Series books and I would quickly read the second and third installments after arriving in Hassleholm. GREAT BOOKS!

Laurie read the Millenium Series as well and we made it a point to visit some of the real live Millenium sights in Stockholm a few weeks ago.

Once in Sweden, Johan Hammarqvist got me going on Vilhelm Moberg's four book Emigrant Series about a farming family that leaves the nearby Småland area in 1850 to emigrate to Minnesota. It was a very interseting set of tomes, quite different from the Swedish mysteries I'd been reading. I need to get back up to Växjö to see the Emigrant Museum dedicated to Moberg's storyline about the massive Swedish emigration to America in the second half of he 19th century.

That brings us to today's activity. Uffe Palmbrink clued me in to Sweden's other great detective series written by Henning Mankel. Mankel's books predate Larsson's by several years and feature a not so hip, grumpy, depressed detective named Kurt Wallander.

The Wallander series now feature 11 books as well as nine Swedish movies and six Kenneth Bragnagh English films based on these books. Additionally, another 22 Swedish movies based on ideas by Mankell about his star detective have been produced. Obviously, the Wallander series is a huge hit in Sweden.

Kurt Wallander is a fictional detective who lives in the very real Baltic seaport town of Ystad which is only a two train, two hour (based on not missing a connection which we did in both directions) ride through Skåne. In the books he works for the Ystad Police Department and travels all over Skåne chasing down some really evil criminals. He even has been in Hässleholm a few times in his travels.

Since I have finished the first six books in the series and Laurie has knocked out the first four stories, we felt it was now time to go to . . .

Couldn't they have moved these poles
just a few feet to the left?

As timing would have it, Laurie and I were both still reading Myron Bolitar mysteries on the train trip into Ystad.

I felt guilty.

This was my second trip to Ystad, Laurie's first. My first trip there was back in April before I had started reading any of the Wallander books. Actually, I bought my copy of "Faceless Killers" the first book in the series on that trip in the bookshop on the Stortorget. In Mankell's mystery novels, Wallander is a loyal customer of this same bookshop.

The Ystad Tourist Office has a booklet entitled "In the Footsteps of Wallander" that has maps and descriptions of Ystad's and Skåne's real life sights that are mentioned in Wallander books and movies.

We took the bait.

Wallander's Favorite Café

At Fridholf's Konditori, we shared a delicious shrimp sandwich and had some coffee, imagine that.

A tasty Fridholf's dessert
completed the afternoon Fika circle

Quaint Streets

Back in April, Ystad was a sleepy little seaport village with a population listed at 27,700 inhabitants. Now we are in the ides of Summer and the town is wide awake catering to the tourist clientele.

I love the bright colored homes, the half-timbered buildings and the rambling cobbled streets.

The oldest Hotell in all of Sweden

Yes, two L's is correct. We saw this sign around the corner from the Hotell's main entrance. It was opened in 1829.

The Main Entrance

The Hotell Continental is also home to one of Wallander's favorite restaurants. Their dining room is a very nice, up-scale chandeliered affar.

The Bröderna M Pizzeria

Another Wallander favorite hang out, it plays a prominent part in one of the Wallander book/movies, "Firewall."

Firewall is book#8 in the series and I am scheduled to start reading book #7, "One Step Behind," tomorrow.

Ystad's Stortorget

Ystad's Main Square, the bookshop is in the second red building on the right. Many of the Wallander movie scenes take place here.

It is the Tourist Season

Stora Östergatan is Ystad's main pedestrian only shopping street and Laurie finally bought the clogs she wanted in the SkonsSam shop. She bought tan colored leather Skåne Toffeln clogs made in Sweden no less!

Crazy Mane

The Stortorget has it all.

Fire Engine Rides

With only a bungee cord to secure the passengers in their seats, it was off to tour the town. Somewhere Brian FitzGerald nodded his silent approval.

Not for us.

The Church of S:ta Maria

I know it's probably Saint Maria, but when it is a female saint, this is the way it is written.

Wallander got married in this church to his now ex-wife Mona. There will be a funeral here for one of Wallander's murdered colleagues, I won't say which one so as not to ruin the shock.

S:ta Maria Church Door Ornament

Laurie liked this painting in S:ta Maria

"Take a picture!"

" Yes, dear."

Ystad grows BIG Hollyhocks

Ystad has a thriving art community

We ducked into this pottery shop and bought a small copy of the Ystad's signature Tornväktaren, the night watchman.

Throwing some pottery

Klostret i Ystad

In 1267, Franciscan monks came to Ystad and established this Old Monastery dedicated to St. Francis. They were dubbed the Grey Friars as they dressed in simple cowls and, as they were also mendicant friars, they had to beg for their daily bread.

By 1532, the Protestant Reformation power hounded these Catholic friars out of town and used the monastery as a hospital.

In 1777, the hospital was closed and turned into a Royal distillery. It would evetually become a barn for grain storage and by 1876, the old monastery was in very poor condition when the town bought the land with the intent to level it.

They never did.

In 1907, the Ystad Archaelogical Association was established with its main purpose being to restore the monastery. It was re-consecrated as the church of St. Peter and used as a parish church until the 1960s. Now it is a church, museum and garden complex that is soothing to the spirit, mind and eye.

In "Firewall," victim Tynnes Falk's apartment is near the Old Monastery.

The Old Monastery's Ceiling

Just a cool, old wooden door

A Half-Timbered House

Very typical in old town Ystad, this one is next to the Old Monastery.

Laurie by the Monastery's Duck Pond

Glass Art

Looking out of one of Ystad's art shops onto their outdoor restaurant.


Another well preserved half-timbered house, built in the 1500s!

"Say it ain't so!"

How could Pizza Istanbul possibly go out of business with a name like that?

Österportstorg's Grillen

In Wallander's very health conscious diet, this is his main Ystad choice for a good hot dog with all the fixin's.

Kurt Wallander has a whiskey
or two here on occasion

We settled for a time-out from walking and a Czech beer.

The King's Head Pub's amiable
bar keep at work

The view from inside the King's Head Pub

We were close now to our main highlight . . .

The street where Kurt Wallander lives

Mariagatan 10

This is it!

I believe he lives in that roundish bay window of an apartment on the left.

It was now time to head on back to Icelandia as it was getting late.

Cubans in Ystad?

We missed our first train home, so we killed some time roaming the streets of Ystad some more.

What is that structure coming
out of this building's roof?

A Turret and a Swedish Pennant

The Ystad Theater

Built in 1894, it was in a scene of the Swedish Wallander film "The Cellist."

It is still in use today for several cultural events.

We had a fun day in Ystad. It is a good place to be on a nice Summer afternoon.


Terry said...

Did you know they were hollyhocks or did Laurie tell you??

George said...

Laurie told me, I didn't even know they were flowers.