Kastleholm


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Smakbyn restaurant in Kastleholm, Aland is the creation of award-winning chef Michael Bjorklund and receives rave reviews. Kastleholm itself gets its name from Kastleholm Castle, built in stages from the 14th to 17th centuries and open to visitors after two major restorations. Other local attractions include Jan Karlsgarden, an open-air museum made up of about twenty buildings transported from different parts of Aland to a farm near the castle, and Vita Bjorn prison that operated near Kastleholm Castle for two centuries and re-opened as a museum showing how prison conditions evolved over that period.

From Mariehamn, we passed through the 19th-century Lemstrom Canal and spent a night in Kastleholm where we explored the castle, Vita Bjorn prison, and Jan Karlsgarden museum, and finished the day with an exceptional evening at Smakbyn.

Below are trip highlights from May 4th, 2019 in Kastleholm, Sweden. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps

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Brrrr
It’s a cold morning with the temperature just above freezing, at 33F.
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Calm Weather
The weather may be cold, but it’s wonderfully sunny and calm as we pass through Kalmarviken en route from Mariehamn for Kastleholm.
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Waiting
Waiting for a bridge opening at Lemstrom Canal. The bridge opens every hour on the hour for ten minutes between 9am and 5pm this time of year, and regular bridge openings only started a week ago on April 27th.
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Green Light
We got a green light to enter the canal at precisely 9am. We’d timed our arrival for 8:50am so didn’t have to wait long.
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Lemstrom Canal
Passing through Lemstrom Canal, built in 1882 to provide a shortcut to Mariehamn from the bay Lumparn.
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Rodko
Beacon and light looking north to the island of Rodko.
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Aland Golf Club
Aland Golf Club has two 18-hole courses. The course visible, Slottsbanan, currently is under renovation and will re-open in 2020.
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Kastleholm
The view from our berth at Kastleholm Gasthamn to Kastleholm Castle.
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Sand Filter
Most watermakers have a pleated paper pre-filter that needs to be changed periodically. In areas with lots of plankton or other impurities in the water, “periodically” can be as frequently as once per day. So we elected to install a media filter in front of the watermaker pre-filter. The media filter is essentially a small version of the common sand filter used on most swimming pools. These filters are a bit bulky, but are remarkably effective. We can make water in highly plankton-rich waters and still only need to change the pleated paper prefilter annually.

Every 1 to 3 months, depending upon use, we back-flush the media filter, which just reverses the water flow through the filter. With the sea water flowing in the opposite direction, the impurities are flushed out of the media filter. In the picture you can see that the water is visibly dirty for the first minute or so during back-flush. Once the flush water clears, we reverse the valves back to the normal position and the filter is again clean and ready to return to work.

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Kastleholm Gasthamn
Moored at Kastleholm Gasthamn. The marina doesn’t open for the season until June 22, six weeks from now, so we have no power. But surprisingly, we do have freshwater.
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Kastleholm Castle
We walked a short trail from the marina to tour Kastleholm Castle. The castle was built in stages from the 14th to 17th centuries and was rebuilt and extended after being plundered or destroyed by fire several times over the centuries. After the final fire in 1745, a first restoration took place in 1891, and another was completed a century later in 2001.
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Kuretornet Keep
Looking south to the eastern wing (left) and the 30m-high Kuretornet Keep. The royal chambers were in the upper floors of Kuretornet Keep , which dates from the 16th century and is the best preserved part of the castle. We’re lucky to get inside at all—the castle only opened for the season two days ago on May 2nd.
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Eastern Wing
The last kitchen was in the eastern keep, along with the castle’s oldest well. Part of the castle’s original ring wall is visible at the bottom right of the photo.
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Inner Courtyard
Looking across the inner courtyard at Kastleholm Castle towards the the southern wing. The scaffolding demonstrates the different phases of construction work and the technology used. Visible in the background are walkways along the top interior of the castle.
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Northern Wing
The northern wing beyond the inner courtyard, viewed from the walkway along the top of the southern wing.
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Coats of Arms
The northern wing contains a two-floor museum that includes displays of archaeological finds from the castle and the coats of arms of all the castle’s fief-holders.
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Dirona
View to Dirona from the Kastleholm Castle grounds.
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Vita Bjorn
The Vita Bjorn prison operated near Kastleholm Castle for two centuries, closing in 1975. Inside is an interesting display showing how prison conditions evolved over that period to become more humane. These are a display of some of the shackles used for punishment in the early period of the prison.
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Jan Karlsgarden
Jan Karlsgarden is an open-air museum made up of about twenty buildings transported from different parts of Aland to a farm near Kastleholm Castle. This is the view north across Jan Karlsgarden with the castle visible in the background.
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Wind Damage
We saw lots of trees blown over around the open-air museum, but this is the only visible building damage from Storm Alfrida.
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Smithy
Blacksmith at Jan Karlsgarden open-air museum.
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Pressing Shed
The pressing shed was used to press homespun fabric to remove creases. Heated iron plates were placed on wood laid over the fabric and forced down with the pressing log visible in the background.
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Smoke Sauna
Smoke sauna at Jan Karlsgarden open-air museum
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Logs
Walking out to a restaurant for dinner, we passed a large stack of logs, likely from trees felled in Storm Alfrida.
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Smakbyn Complex
Smakbyn, the creation of award-winning chef Michael Bjorklund, is a striking complex that includes a restaurant, distillery, conference facilities and a shop. The restaurant receives rave reviews and we were really looking forward to our meal.
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Kitchen
Chefs at work in the huge open-air kitchen at Smakbyn.
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Smakbyn Dinner
Dinner in Smakbyn’s airy, light-filled dining room. Smakbyn focuses on local products—Jennifer’s lamb was walking in the adjacent field last year and James’ perch was caught locally. Both were exceptional—we had a fabulous evening.
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Windmills
The evening sun lighting up the windmills at Jan Karlsgarden open-air museum as we walk back to Dirona from Smakbyn.
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Dusk
Dusk looking north to Kastleholm Castle from our berth at Kastleholm Gasthamn.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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