Introducing Karlskrona - My home sweet home for all seasons

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 17, 2011

I was thinking that my stay in Sweden had allowed me to visit so many countries which I had blogged about. Yet, when it boiled down to my hometown Karlskrona, it seemed like I should know it inside out but frankly I didn't. So, the studious child in me got me to dig up more research on this city that I loved so much and that had given me an abundance of family joy more than I imagined.

Introducing Karlskrona - My home sweet home for all seasons

If I were to describe Karlskrona in three words, it would be peaceful, quaint and friendly.

Situated in the south of Sweden, Karlskrona is a small town with a population of 35,000 and is often called a "city of archipelago". The city was founded in 1680 by King Karl XI, contributing to the name Karlskrona, and it became Sweden’s naval base. Sweden was, in that period, the dominant military power in the Baltic sea region. Fortifications were built to protect the naval base and bridges were built to connect the island with the mainland. More people moved to Karlskrona and the city soon blossomed.

Despite the fact that it may be a relatively small town, it actually has plenty to offer including parks, churches, museums, shopping street, clubs, endless cafes, and of course the surrounding archipelago. What I love is the simple, slow-paced and relatively stress-free life that I lead here. Well, not that being a mum is as easy as lifting a finger, but at least I am not rushing around like a headless fly like how I used to back in Singapore.

The people here indulge in life - they laze in the parks to read a book or have a picnic, they go to the beach and bask under the sun, they have BBQs out in the wilderness, they have Sunday jogs through forests trails, they take time to appreciate the blooming flowers and fluttering butterflies. These are things that I didn't remember how to do or didn't have the opportunity to do back then. I forgot that life was meant to be simple.

I was also pleasantly surprised and impressed by how friendly and helpful the locals were. Strangers would greet me or smile to my baby on the streets, they would hold the door open for me at shops or banks, they would help to lift my stroller up when it got stuck in the snow, they would let me cut the line in supermarket when they saw I was buying only a few items while they had a trolley full, they would even give up using the elevator and take the stairs just so I could fit my stroller and baby into it. Honestly, it never failed to warm my heart every time. This is what people - even strangers - should be all about. Helping each other.

What amazed me most was the incident that happened when I first got here. We went shopping for some winter clothing and the careless me left my whole bag in the changing room, while we proceeded to make payment and went home. How possible could it be? Just when I stepped out of the car, I remembered my bag and we immediately called a friend whom we bumped into at the store when we left. He was still there. I wasn't very hopeful about recovering my bag because it had been a good twenty minutes and I was sure somebody else had used the same changing room. To my astonishment, my friend said it was dangling from the hangers in the room, exactly the same manner I had left it. My phone, my camera and all other belongings were still intact. Again, how possible could it be? I was starting to feel that I had reached a safe city free from crimes, thieves and pickpockets. To a big extent, I was right.

Some interesting facts about Karlsrkona:

1) Karlskrona has since 1998 been on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

2) Sweden is divided into 21 counties (subdivisions) and Karlskrona is the capital of the Blekinge County, which, not surprisingly, is the smallest county of them all.

3) The main square of Karlskrona is the biggest in Scandinavia, and actually the second biggest in Europe, after the Red Square of Moscow. That is pretty impressive, considering I had walked the square thousands of times but not realised it.

4) Karlskrona is host to the Lövmarknaden (The Leaf Fair) - an important event which takes place on the day before Midsummer's eve. Booths and stalls are set up in the main square area and along the streets, attracting tens of thousands of visitors. No joke, for once in this usually peaceful and sparse city, people are packed like sardines.

5) The city has maintained  its street structure since it was founded. All of the streets follow a grid pattern which allows the wind to blow freely from the ocean right into the heart of the city. Brrrr. No wonder it gets chilly in town.

6) A main attraction of Karlskrona is the wooden statue of Gubben Rosenbom - one of the first few inhabitants - located in front of the Karlskrona Admiralty Church. The life-size figure is actually a poor box - if you lift his hat, you can put in a coin for the poor.

The figure holds a placard in one hand which states (in Swedish):
I humbly beg of you,
even though my voice may be weak,
come and put a penny in
but first lift my hat.
Blessed are those that care for the poor.
Karlskrona was the place that enabled me to experience the beauty, splendor, warmth and chill of the four seasons. Having only lived in sunny Singapore previously, I never knew what it would be like to throw snowballs or walk through a yellow forest in autumn. Now I do. While it may be a little despairing to experience a gloomy winter where you can only see the sun for a couple of hours (after being so used to it), nor was it fun to keep on having to shovel the snow or scrape the windshield before you can use, or even see, your car, I definitely would not have exchanged this experience for anything. Spring, summer, autumn, winter, I loved them and I loved them all.


Spring in Karlskrona usually takes place from March to May. It is a time when the wintry climate and icy roads give way to sunny skies and warm temperatures. While it might still be chilly, it doesn't stop the people from taking a dip in the beach. I would probably ice up and can't swim, so I'd rather watch them.

Spring is also about growth, renewal and new life. A time when the flowers bloom and trees become green again, spring makes you want to admire the beauty of nature, the vibrant colours of plants and flowers, the grace and charm of the bees and butterflies more than ever.

For us, spring means that the lakes will no longer be iced up and we can admire the blue waters while feeding the ducks, swans and seagulls. It means that the snowy roads will soon clear up and we can go on road trips on non-slippery roads again. Best of all, it means that we can soon pack our thick winter clothing into boxes and don a simple jacket whenever we go out. Just think of how much time it saves us. I take about 10-15 minutes to dress Angel, alone, into her winter clothes and boots!


Summer is my favourite season of all - not just because of my name, but because summer is the time to indulge in outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, cycling, strolls and picnics in the park etc. It is also the best time to bring Angel out on road trips, go visit the zoos, have outdoor BBQs, play in water parks and playgrounds.

I took these pictures above during my first summer in Sweden, even before jw and I got married. I was pleasantly surprised by the tranquility and beauty of Karlskrona, especially so during the sunset. Wonder why the sky was so orange in the last pic? Well, that was because in order to enhance the colours of the sky and the sun, I had a brilliant idea - to take the picture through my shades. You should try it someday, just put your digital camera (DSLR might be too huge unless you have giant ET eyes) behind one side of your sunglasses, snap and take a look. You might be surprised at the results! Hopefully in a good way.

During the summer days in June to August, it is also the time when the day is longest and night is shortest - we love how it is still bright outside at 10pm! When jw told me that I could take pictures of a "pink" sky in Karlskrona in the evening, I didn't really know what to expect. Turned out that the sky was really splashed in a pretty shade of pink, blue and purple after the sun set. A truly awesome sight that I had never seen before.

It is also only in summer that we can witness the pictureque blooming raps field. These yellow flowers only last for days and we would take time to admire them whenever we drove past the fields.


Autumn is somewhat associated with melancholy since it marks the end of exciting summer and the start of cold winter. Maybe it was partly because I had never seen yellow trees before, I found autumn to possess its own beauty and allure that cannot be replaced by other seasons

In the months of September to November, it would be when the leaves and foliage change colour, when we start putting on thicker clothes and beanies, when we excitedly plan and book our upcoming winter holidays. While it meant that we could no longer swim in the beaches and have to make do with the indoor swimming pool instead (which Angel loves because of the kids pool and array of toys), it doesn't daunt us from taking a hike in the woods, visit the zoo or stroll through the park on a Sunday morning.

One good thing about autumn is since the winds are getting stronger, it is the best time to go kite flying before the snow starts falling from the sky. Yes, I mean fly kite literally. I can't remember when was the last time I flew a kite in Marina South, but it definitely wasn't as easy as how we did it here. All you need to do is to release the kite, loosen the string and voila - the kite flies high up into the skies in an instant. You don't even have to run about to catch the wind or worry that your kite will fall. Instead, we regretted that we didn't have enough string!


The winter season is definitely the most foreign one to me before I came to Sweden. I had never seen snow before, not to mention having snowball fights, building snowmans, skiing, snow sledging or even imagined I would one day set foot on a frozen lake. Yes, the pictures above are of a lake which froze up and people could ice skate or play ice hockey on it!

While winters may be long and last from late November to February or even early March, it does not mean that we would stay cooped up at home just to avoid the cold winds and splattering snow. I love to take Angel out on afternoon walks, and many times, we would walk to the iced up lake to look for the ducks, swans and seagulls which would congregate in this unfrozen junction. Feeding the animals is one of her favourite hobbies, so we would usually bring some bread along with us. Doesn't the white, icy lake, blue skies and pictureque houses paint yet another beautiful image?

Winter is also the time to immerse in some snowy fun like we've never done before. Truth was, we really never did it before! We loved to bring Angel out on weekends to hit the slopes and have fun with snow sledging, snow digging, and have a delightful BBQ out in the woods. I didn't know a burnt chicken wing and a cup of hot Milo could taste like heaven. This would definitely be an experience to cherish because it would be mission impossible when we get back to Singapore next time.

All in all, I do love living in Karlskrona for the past three years - every day of it. And I will definitely continue to do so for the next year - because life to me is simple, and it's what you make out of it.


  1. Girl, I think u should send this post to Karlskrona tourist office! Beautiful photos of our little town and detailed description. Hehe and I really didn't know the town square is the biggest in Scandinianvian!


  2. Nice descriptions of our town : ) I think karlskrona stay have shaped our lives for our future in singapore. do you know under the square are actually underground stowage of gunpowder and secret offices (not in use anymore)??!! Guess where's the entrance? Cheers : )

  3. @JJ
    Yeah you mentioned but I didn't find much info on it. Sounds so mysterious and interesting though! I forgot where's the entrance!

  4. @gingerbreadhouseonsesamestreet
    hehe I didn't know too till this year. Quite amazing horr. Thanks for your compliment!

  5. As I told FT before, it's really AMAZING how all of us get to realise how simple and satisfying life can be after we have left the rat race in Singapore.

    Continue to enjoy your time in Sweden, hopefully Angel can fight with my son in the future, be it in Singapore or Bangkok.

    Oh oh, maybe she can give ceekopek Eddie a kiss!

  6. totally agree with what you said, life is really simple and happy here. yeah hope angel can make friends with your son next time! and a kiss from Angel, anytime anywhere! =)


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