Skåne – It’s Swedish for beautiful

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Skåne, pronounced like this, is the most southerly county in Sweden and stretches from Malmo in the West to Simrishamn in the West. Absolut Vodka lives in Åhus where you can tour the factory for free, and the region is one of the richest areas of farmland in Sweden so is famed for its food scene. The endless flat fields, calm orchards, green landscape and beautiful coastline led me to put Skåne on my to-visit list a long while back but Sweden’s biggest-ever selling TV show The Bridge as well as Wallander have put Skåne on the global map, but for different reasons. Where Wallander revelled in the beauty of the region, The Bridge was much more gritty, with little need for gently waving fields of rape. If anything, this photo from the BBC Wallander could neatly sum up why I wanted to visit.



The bright colours and endless blue skies look so inviting, even grumpy Kenneth Branagh couldn’t deter me from wanting to see it. After Wallander’s Ystad charmed everyone senseless, visits by British tourists increased by nearly 20% so I’m far from alone in wanting a slice of Swedish life. From spending two days in Copenhagen where flights are far cheaper than to Malmo, we took a train to Ystad. Our accommodation was Our House, a fifteen minute walk from the centre of town. It’s a great choice in a quiet location – the rooms are well sized and spotlessly clean with our shared bathroom being shared by just us and our travelling partner. Breakfast in the morning allowed me to go overboard on eggs and coffee.

Just twenty minutes stroll away was the sea – when we went in late May it was empty but I doubt it’s ever overcrowded – and the Ystad Saltsjöbad Spa hotel and fantastic restaurant. We ate in the smaller, American-themed diner called Vitas and the burger was so good it destroyed my strong belief that you can’t get a good burger outside of London. Perhaps I’m unfair as it was Bristol that let me down with the world’s grimmest burger or as it should be called, a rubberised disc of meat. Bread and butter accompanied the food and it was a novel touch to have the bread skewered on a spike. While the cocktail cost upwards of £10, it was worth every kroner.  With the choice to sit in the gorgeous bar or out on the terrace hearing the water lap against the shore, you can’t go wrong.

For our other meals, we weren’t so lucky, mostly because we were stuck with the notion that eating past 9pm is a thing. I can tell you, it’s generally not a thing in Ystad, even less so on a Sunday night. At Broderma M we ate pizzas from the posher end of the menu, but the service remained indifferent. When I asked a waitress if she had any local beers she flatly said “no” and poked her finger at the menu. Huh. But it was fine and stopped us from starving to death. It also had the bonus of having some genuinely hideous furniture that seemed like a hipster attempt gone horribly wrong. A real gem of a cafe was Soderberg and Sara, near Ystad train station. The cinnamon bun was outstanding, but even better was the cardamom bun which could only be described as life-changing. With this king of buns came a fantastic flat white. I was in paradise.

Ystad is a very pretty town that doesn’t need to have any outstanding features to make a visit worthwhile. Simply being in Skåne itself is treat enough, but the town and surrounding area offer plenty of attractions. If you’re a fan of Wallander, there’s the film museum and guided tours as well as this website of locations used in the films.


Tim models the hell-chair range

Around Ystad

Forty minutes along the coast is Sandhammeren with beautiful white sand. Some say this is Sweden’s finest beach and pictures from there look more like a Caribbean coast than one facing the Baltic Sea.


Sandhammeren Beach

We headed to Simrishamn on a grey day to pick up bikes and cycle around the coast and orchards. The first cycle place was closed but luckily Hotell Turistgården had plenty of ladies bikes with baskets we could use. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I loved that basket and the staff made hiring the bikes the easiest experience possible. No booking fee and a fee of 130 kroner per day (about £11) is a very fine deal. We headed north of Simrishamn towards the coast and found a stunning spot about 3km from the Hotel. The beach was completely empty, the sand soft and bright yellow, the waters freezing but intensely blue. I’d happily have spent the day here if time had allowed. Here’s our journey to the beach:

bike route


Sweden is home to some of the most peaceful moments of my existence, and this beach was no exception. Lying on the sand, looking up at the big sky I was getting into the relaxed state that almost always leads to falling asleep. Once I slept through a ferry dropping passengers off on a small island and setting off again.This time, I managed to move from the beach to the rocky outcrop round the corner where I spotted some picturesque boats and a deserted house.












After about 90 minutes of lazing about, we headed further north. I imagined that Vik would have a cosy cafe so we cycled onwards with grumbling tummies to find Vik was a beautiful village lacking any food whatsoever. As luck would have it, about half a mile north of Vik is the Österlens Golfklubb with a glorious cafe. Ok, I had half a pint, a banana and a cinnamon bun but it beat eating sand. The cafe served sandwiches but despite my numerous trips to Sweden, no sandwich sandwich with mustard, cheese or fish in is getting past my lips. Which is most sandwiches.

We took a more taxing route to Simrishamn, via back roads to Gladsax and onwards to the Hotel. Away from the coast, we were in a world of trees, open fields and the occasional tractor spraying muck on the fields. Yet again, the variety of the countryside in Sweden reminded me why my love affair with the place doesn’t weaken over time. I don’t think it’s possible to have a bad trip in Sweden.



Skåne is an ideal place for a short break, easily accessible from Copenhagen, one of Europe’s finest capitals and just 40 minutes from Malmo. It offers a different taste of life to what you might know from Stockholm or Gothenburg where the pace is slower but the pleasures of life are savoured. A long lunch, a brisk walk, idling on the beach are all enhanced by the natural beauty of the area.


wobblelikejelly |Photos of the year

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It is to my eternal regret that I don’t get enough photos printed – it’s obvious that photos look better in tangible form. In the absence of real photos, a gallery of my favourite photos from 2014 will suffice for now. It’s been a good year, with plenty to see and do. Enjoy!

Brussels is easily one of my favourite cities and having been there four times, it is somewhere I feel very comfortable in. If someone who hasn’t bothered to visit Brussels tells you it’s boring, just come to me and I’ll bore you senseless with Brussels love. Grand Place at night looks like nothing else, and with new lighting installed, everything looks more sensational than ever.

Grand Place

Norwich is somewhere I raved about back in February and rightly so. It is quite simply a great city in its own right. It is remote enough from other big cities to have to bow to anyone and it’s all the better for it. I was especially “omgomgomgomg” about the John Lewis building and my trip seemed to focus on the architectural gems of Norwich. Go!


This year I went to Paris for the third time, but every visit feels different from the last. This time the weather treated us to a carefree April trip full of rests in parks and a daily mojito. I fell in love all over again and our trip up Tour Montparnasse gave us the added bonus of not being able to see it ruin the skyline.

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Liverpool, what a swell place! As I left Liverpool after a fantastic day of sight-seeing, I regretted deeply that I never went to university there. I doubt I’d have ever left. The cathedral was an absolute highlight for me and I’m keen on going back and just gazing lovingly at it.


Bosnia and Croatia made up my summer holiday destinations this year, and despite being mistaken for a drugs traffiker (I’m usually mistaken for Harry Potter) sitting on a coach which was vaguely on fire for 8 hours, almost throwing up every time I went near the harbour in Split, I loved it all. Mostar and Sarajevo hugely appealed to me, even if the cities made me think seriously about the evil that humans can do to one another. Croatia had gems in the form of Zadar and Plitvice Lakes, with Zagreb offering a vibrant capital city experience.


Sarajevo Town Hall




Beautiful Mostar


Zadar’s superb waterfront


Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes




If you were to sum up the holidays I have been going on on the past few years, you will keep coming back to Spain and Scandinavia – and rightly so! God damn, I love them both so much. This year I went with my friend Rokos to Andalucia and saw some sensational places, from the gobsmackingly gorgeous Ronda to the incomparable Alhambra in Granada. Cordoba had the Mezquita and a charming city to boot and Seville was just a knockout place for food, drink, sights and the shock of 35c weather in late October.







Seville - Alcazar

Seville – Alcazar

Alhambra - Granada

Alhambra – Granada

Alhambra - Granada

Alhambra – Granada

Berlin through a Soviet lens

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I love my Zenit TTL, which was a brilliantly judged 31st birthday present from my friend Lee. Having the camera has really gotten me excited about the possibilities of using film again. I had the thought that the endeavour would be horribly expensive, and I’d end up with some awful quality lens that would just remind me of that horrible moment in my youth when we collected the film from Boots to find that the pictures of a verdant wood I had taken actually resembled nothing more than a blurry broccoli. That hurt.

As a teen without a camera phone I purchased the dreadful disposable film cameras that did the job of taking a photo without any finesse or joy. As digital came along, I never bothered with film for about 10 years and now I’m obsessed. Europa centreThe Europa Center holds strangely fond memories for me; I suppose I must have gone there both when I lived in Berlin as a child (around 1984-87) and when we visited as a family in about 1994. The lights here are evocative of many old shopping centres and it is so refreshing to see these remnants still popping up. The liquid clock is pretty cool as well.

Lovely shop


This shot is a stark reminder of the warmth and mood that film can give. This doesn’t look like a photo taken in 2013, but something out of the 1980s, with the beige-caramel tones really popping out.



The above photo was taken in the Olympic Park, and it was completely freezing outside, but the architecture was beautiful enough to keep me taking snaps. The view is of the swimming complex which was sadly closed for some sort of renovation work; I had hoped to go to the pool and see if the Swastika was visible around the pool like I’d been told.



This building, a stone’s throw from Karl-Marx Allee, is the sort of architecture that gets me all giddy. I love the staircase attached to the side and the uniformity of the block which has enough features to keep it interesting. As Berlin continues to change, many old East German blocks are being tidied up, and the city loses a little more of its eclecticism with the changes.


Whilst not perfectly in focus (it was bitterly cold and I was close to being fingerless) there’s something about this, taken in the soulless Sony Centre in Potsdamer Platz, that appeals to me. I think I like it because it isn’t immediately apparent what the shot is of.