Torekov is a little seaside town in the southern Swedish province of Skåne (roughly pronounced ‘skornay’) or Scania in English. It’s a place I feel very at home and of which I have happy holiday memories.
If you’ve watched any of the various Wallander series on TV or read Henning Mankell‘s books, Skåne is the part of Sweden where the stories are set and filmed, although that takes place further south than Torekov, which is at the tip of a rocky promontary called Bjärehalvon. Quite different from the more mountainous north, Skåne is gently undulating, not to say flat in parts, inland, with both rocky and sandy beaches along the coast.
A former fishing village, with just a vestige of its old industry left, Torekov is now a very upmarket place, full of rich Swedes based in Stockholm, who pretty much have the monopoly on all most expensive houses.
I’ve always been fortunate to stay with friends or rent locally, so I am happy to leave these tiny, picturesque 18th century fishermen’s cottages to those wealthy enough to afford £600k for a holiday home. But the fact that these places still exist and are beautifully maintained, make Torekov an extremely pretty and pleasant to visit.
On a similar latitude to Edinburgh, this part of Sweden has a slightly milder climate, protected from the cold North Sea by Denmark. It can be fiercely hot, and wet and windy in the same week. We had both during my short trip but even when it is bleakly windy and wet, it is atmospheric. Although, the protected waters come with a smelly cost, as, with so little tide there can, at times, be a rather pervasive smell of seaweed.
Torekov is filled with bicycles like my heavy Pashley, which make me happy, as at home I feel like a freak surrounded by speedy Lycra clad chaps racing to their desks. Although in the years since my last visit there has been a marked decrease in the number of ex-army Kronan bikes, which I loved.
It is a place where you are likely to encounter people in bathrobes in the supermarket, en route to or from their daily dip in the chilly waters of the Kattegat – the stretch of water which runs between Sweden and Denmark –
or cycling back afterwards.
And further along the coast is the marvellous rocky scenery of Hovs Hallar, where we had a good walk and a picnic on the beach. We narrowly missed sitting near a rotting seal which had washed up on the rocks but did have the pleasure of watching a few cormorants drying their wings on the rocks in the water. They stood there like this for ages.
And, as I have to get something garden-related in – I saw many of my favourite geraniums, as Sweden is the home of Pelargonium Mårbacka, which I’ve written about before. I’m always in a frenzy of annoyance about the fact that you can’t get these in the UK, so if anyone knows of a source, please let me know. The closest I’ve found is a salmon pink variety with variegated leaves that has failed to grow properly this summer and has remained about 20 centimetres high.