It was a normal, gloomy day in early February. My friend Lula and I were sitting in the reading room at uni. I was trying my best to read, but I kept getting distracted by travel images running through my head. Ever since I returned back to Denmark from Iran, I’ve been dying to get on the road again and explore something new. There’s not much to do in Denmark during the winter months, and I felt like I needed to spice up my everyday life a bit.
I started researching the internet, looking for cheap flights and day tour options. I asked Lula if she wanted to go with me, and she was just as enthusiastic. The only problem was that neither of us had big money to spend. I had no job at the time (just recently got one at an open air museum!), and I was saving my money for the eclipse trip to USA in August. So we decided to go for a day trip, and the Swedish city of Lund seemed like the perfect choice, being close to Copenhagen, cheap to get to (just 109 DKK for return tickets with Flixbus!), and very historically interesting.
We wrote to our friend Zille and asked if she wanted to join us, and she did, so on February 16th, we were off to Lund. We left Copenhagen at 7 AM, and arrived in Lund 90 minutes later. We had the entire day to explore – in fact we also had the entire evening, as our bus home to Copenhagen was at 10 PM. We decided to make the most of the day and see everything of interest, resulting in sore feet and legs for all three of us!
The City of Lund
Lund is a relatively small city with a population of 88,000. The city is one of the oldest in present-day Sweden, and archaeological discoveries suggest that the city was founded around 990 AD, when much of Southern Sweden belonged to Denmark.
Lund soon became an important Christian centre and remained so throughout the Middle Ages. In 1658, the city was transferred to Sweden and in 1716, it became the capital of Sweden for two years.
The main site in Lund is the cathedral, which is the largest metropolitan church in Scandinavia. Lund Cathedral was built in the 12th century as a Catholic church dedicated to Saint Lawrence, but became Lutheran during the Danish Reformation in the 16th century.
We spent quite a while in the cathedral. We explored the old crypt, which, unlike the rest of the cathedral, has been left untouched since 1123. We lit candles and each received a fortune paper. And we stayed to hear a short 20-minute church service, which of course was in Swedish, so I really had to concentrate to understand the bishop!
But the most interesting part of the cathedral was the Horologium Mirabile Lundense, a 14th century astronomical clock. Twice a day, the small organ inside the clock plays the anthem in dulci jubilo, while six wooden figures – the Three Wise Men and their servants -, pass by and bow for Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. This was really cute, and I’m glad Lula knew about it so we didn’t miss it!
Cultural sights were the main thing that we came to Lund for, but we didn’t want to miss the beautiful parks that the city has to offer. One of the parks that we went to was the 19th century botanical garden, which was named a historical landmark in 1974. This garden is home to 7000 species of plants, of which 200 are found in the greenhouses, which, unfortunately, were closed when we were there.
We went for a short walk in the beautiful winter park, where the snow still covered much of the green ground.
The Drotten Church Ruins
When it comes to museums, Lund is extremely rich. We spent many of our hours in different historical museums, the first one being the church ruins of Drotten, an underground museum hidden beneath a street in the center of the city.
Drotten was the second largest medieval church in Lund, believed to have been built around 1050. Like most of Lund’s churches, Drotten’s Church was demolished during the Danish Reformation, when the once-Catholic country became Lutheran. In 1984, archaeological excavations revealed the remains of the old church, and after much consideration from local authorities, who originally had other ideas with the area, the ruins were saved, and the museum opened three years later.
There’s not much to see down there, but the history of the place makes it so worth the visit (which is free, after all). Oh, and there’s even an Italian restaurant set among the ruins. Too bad it was closed when we were there!
The Historical Museum of Lund University
The next museum that we visited was the historical museum, which is part of Lund University. The museum was founded in 1805 and is the second largest archaeological museum in Sweden, and it houses a large collection of over 10 million artefacts from all over Scania, including the Iron Age settlement of Uppåkra, which was really interesting to see. We learned a lot about Uppåkra and many of the other finds last semester, so it was cool to finally be able to see them irl!
Kulturen – An Open Air Museum
The next museum was probably my favourite of all – mainly because it’s open air (I love open air museums!). Kulturen was founded in 1892, and is Sweden’s second oldest open air museum, and is a cultural history museum. It was founded by Georg Karlin, who wanted to preserve the old farming society’s buildings, together with furniture, clothes, paintings, musical instruments, weapons, tools etc. of the time. The buildings were moved to the museum from all over Scania, Blekinge and Småland.
The museum consists of a small traditional indoor museum with over two million artefacts from the period, and the open air museum with over 30 buildings from the 17th century, including the cutest wooden church, which we decided to chill in for about an hour or so… It was cold outside and we liked the atmosphere of the church!
Unlike the other museums, we had to pay a small entrance fee at Kulturen, but it was so worth it!
The Search for the Old Moat
One of my friends from archaeology had told me that it’s possible to see part of the old moat somewhere in Lund. He wasn’t sure where, but he pointed to a place on the map, which seemed more likely than others – a pond in Stadsparken, a huge city park, which was founded in 1911.
The time was nearing the end of the daylight hours, and it was getting dark quickly. I was maybe a bit overly enthusiastic about the moat, and eventually had to leave Zille and Lula behind in my search for it, as they didn’t want to get their shoes dirty in the mud. After about 10 minutes of searching with no help from my phone that had died because of the cold weather, I finally found some water – a pond. There were hundreds of ducks swimming in the pond, and it was awesome, but I’m not sure if I actually found the remains of the moat or not.
It was getting too dark to continue the search, so I decided to go back to the girls and call it a day.
After nine hours of sightseeing, the skies had turned dark and we were getting extremely tired. We still had five hours to wait for the bus, so we decided to kill some time in different thrift stores, before having dinner at Subway and settling at Espresso House for the last three hours.
It was a long day, but it was worth it to experience the beautiful city of Lund, and spend some quality time with my two girls! It’s definitely not the last time I’m doing a day trip from Copenhagen – I’m going to try to do it more often to spice up the days where I’m not constantly on the road 😉