Guide / Blekinge
”It quickly became clear to me that people here know the value of togetherness”
On farmers markets and art festivals
20 Jan 2022

Karolina has a rather colourful professional background, with a history of working in the education management industry, lecturing about tourism, marketing, management and leadership among else. Most recently though, she has built up a reputation as a fragrance expert.

— I work with scents. I travel for them. I make them. I teach about them. I live them. And I sometimes write about them on my blog Bottega Olfattiva. Lately, I have been matching together art and scent for the exhibition Aquanauts: Expeditionen which you can see in Kulturhuset in Stockholm until the 6th of March 2022.

Karolina in the scent lab.

Last year, she left the busy city life of the Swedish capital Stockholm to move to a tiny village in Blekinge in southern Sweden.

— It still is quite horrifying sometimes (for such a city rat like me), but it’s here I can find peace, be creative and get acquainted with so many different scents which I never experienced before. And there are flights to Stockholm from here when I need to inhale some car exhaust from time to time!

For someone who hasn’t been to Karlskrona and Blekinge, how’d you describe it?

For a person who was raised in a small town, Karlskrona has that cosy feeling. For city rats like myself, it is a great summer destination with its beautiful archipelago. It’s even called the sunniest place in Sweden due to the highest number of sunny days per year. Due to its naval history, it’s a UNESCOs world heritage site as well. And it’s like Chicago with one only similarity: it’s windy!

Photography: Visit Karlskrona.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Blekinge:

Even though I have lived here for such a short period of time, it became clear to me that people here know the value of togetherness. Cooperations on a small and big scale describe this place and make this place worth visiting.

My favourite weekend routine:

Because my house is more than 100 years old, we are consequently working with it. It’s a never-ending story and there is always something to do. But in the summer, it’s a true pleasure to hop on a bike and explore the surroundings. In several minutes you can reach the coast with its small natural beaches, bridges, and cliffs. Skinny dipping in the evening? Yes, you can! Even during the winter, there are saunas out there.

Summer excursions. Photography: Visit Karskrona / Andreas Blomlöf

My favourite cultural spot:

Konst i Blekinge arranges a lot of different performances and exhibitions. Well-known artists take as much place as the newcomers in Blekinge’s art scene. Corona or not, there is always something happening here! Sweden is a land of different associations, and there is a small art association called Konst i Blickpunkt that annually arranges The Arts Dot festival. It highlights art and creative innovation, and I’m really excited for their next edition!

My favourite place for dining out:

I love my lazy afternoons (there aren’t many…) at Blomlöfs Rökeri in my village of Brömsebro, their smoked shrimps and a fish soup is to die for! They have restaurants in Karlskrona and Kalmar as well but taking a glass of white wine is always easier when you can just walk home. For a tasteful evening in Karlskrona, I’ll always say KAI Krog. They have a Scandinavian approach to Japanese cuisine, and their beautiful plating and carefully chosen flavours match the great seaside views perfectly. Don’t miss out on their sake!

Kai krog.

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:

The coworking community place POT Karlskrona. A great spot for both IRL and digital meetings, podcast and green screen studios for those who need to broadcast some nice material. Fresh meals and healthy snacks. And perhaps the biggest plus: inspirational meetings by the coffee machine.

My favourite breakfast place:

Late breakfasts at Kafé Måsen in Torhamn are the highlights of the summer in eastern Blekinge. Try a classic shrimp sandwich or something sweet. The location is great with a wonderful sea view and a great start for an archipelago adventure. Archipelago ferries leave that little harbour several times a day. And if you’re visiting Torhamn on your way back, the national dish of Blekinge kroppkakor will be waiting for you!

Kroppkakor: a true Blekinge icon.

My favourite excursion:

Just take a trip to the nearest loppis (flea market), grab a map of some other flea markets out there and let it guide you! I have a feeling that every single village around has at least two flea markets. And you can find gems there.

I love biking around, there are so many beautiful spots here that every nature lover will surely appreciate. I’ve found a lot of places where you can just listen to the silence, practice yoga, work out, paint, write a poem, have a long picnic with family and friends, swim, sunbathe… You choose, the possibilities are endless.

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:

I got very much into local food craft while living here. Food is a great part of our life and we understand the importance of eating fair and eating local nowadays, more than ever before. Shout out to Orranäs Gårdsmejeri that makes delicious cheese, mostly from goat milk. But if you are a halloumi kind of person you must try their saffron halloumi, an unforgettable experience! Near to Orranäs, in Bredäng, you can visit Bredäng Musteri och Ciderbryggeri where they make and sell freshly pressed apple juice, cider and other local products.

My favourite hotel for a staycation:

Pensionat Järnavik, in Bräkne-Hoby. A perfect spot for a retreat in the countryside with inspiring surroundings, tastefully decorated guest houses, delicious food, and possibilities for some wellness treatments and other activities in one place.

My favourite example of tech innovation in Blekinge:

Blekinge is known for its Technical University (BTH). They lead research in software engineering and strategic sustainable development in-house or through international collaborations. The university makes not only Blekinge but the whole world a better place.

My favourite route for a run or walk:

Just go outside and run! There are kilometres of nice paths to discover here. But if you need a plan, just grab a map of ARK56 and enjoy the coastal trails in UNESCOs biosphere reserve. You can walk, run, bike, or paddle. It’s around 50km long and you can choose a part you would like to explore. Free of charge, of course.

The UNESCO heritage archipelago ARK56. Photography: Visit Blekinge / Jacob Zockerman.

My favourite space for great design:

In a land of traditional architecture Studio Living in Karlskrona stands out. You can rent an apartment for a stay or for a meeting in a modern wooden building, the Björkholmen area is known for matching the old shipyard workers’ housing with a modern design.

My favourite local media:

I follow the previously mentioned Konst i Blekinge for a daily dose of local art, but it’s also my way to discover the area.

My favourite thing at home:

Calmness. And my three beautiful hundred-year-old tiled stoves. Also our garden, it has the potential to host garden parties for a lot of people. But it’s scary at the same time, I’m still not good at gardening…