Angelholm, not the home of angels or angles but a cool Swedish town that life somehow took me to. You’ll pronounce it “Eng il haulm” (kind of). For the reason I went there, you’d have to go back to my days partying as a backpacker in Chilli Blue hostel in Sydney, Australia in 2009. After meeting Daniel Evans from Derby in the hostel, we ended up sharing a flat and a room together in Parramatta. After a few months there we went travelling through 4 out of the 8 Australian States or Territories together culminating in our final beer together in February 2010 in Hobart, Tasmania. We toured the sights of Melbourne, beaches of Sydney and some remote parts of Tasmania.
I stayed in Angelholm for a couple of nights in February 2015, originally was going to stay a bit longer but times got tight in the end with my 99th country looming and the need to sort out visas and passports back in the UK ahead of that. In those couple of nights, Daniel and I did some great reminiscing of old times. I had my own room too in their cool apartment.
It was also really peculiar to see Dan’s Derby County Calendar on the wall, as when we were in Australia, my team AFC Bournemouth were in the basement division and I joked with Daniel that one day we’d be in the same division. With Derby pushing for play offs at the time (2009 – 2010) and Cherries having just escaped conference football in 2009, it didn’t look possible. However really oddly, yes and really spookily the day I arrived in Angelholm for this reunion was not just 5 years exactly to the day we said our goodbyes, but Derby County and AFC Bournemouth were joint on points in positions 1 and 2 in the English Championship! We were both top of the league. On that exact day – joint top.
How crazy is that? Life has these weird coincidences sometimes. And that was freaky and real!
It was still a bit bittersweet though – a slight sadness that 5 years had passed and we’d stayed mates in that time only through Facebook. But that’s the way life is when you travel. The chances of being in the same place at the same time as someone. We were best mates for a few months in Australia and then suddenly, both our lives drifted and changed for the better. Crazy. Daniel ended up in Sweden and I ended up in Hong Kong.
It was a fitting time to meet Dan again though, here in February 2015 and this time Dan played tour guide driving me through the snow to a few of the main sights in Angelholm. It was really just a quick afternoon stroll and catch up before we hit on the beers again! Still, here are 6 sights if you head to Angelholm (which is well positioned as a stop over town between Malmo and Gothenburg). The town has a population of around 40,000.
1. Angelholm Church
Sweden is a Protestant country and Angelholm has a striking white central church. There has been a church on this site since mid 16th century but if you want to see the ruins of the earlier church, you have to head for Luntertun on the way to the beach. The current church is from 1861 (but with later interior) but has an old 15th century small bell. It’s next to the main square.
2. Angelholm Beach and Pier
White snowy beaches are not the place for topless Swedish girls, sunglasses, beach volleyball and cold beers. However I was there in winter time. In Summer months in Angelhom, this is the place to be.
Amusingly there is also a building by the beach called “Clitterhouse” and they sell food and drink, busy in the summer obviously.
We also walked to the end of the pier. A bit different from our days of hiking in the Blue Mountains.
3. Angelholm Harbour
Dan and I took a stroll in the cold winter along the beach and to the inner harbour. Ice cream kiosks are shut down, there are no boats moving and in winter this place is a white wonderland. I have no doubt that in the summer it is the place to be!
4. The Old Courthouse
I originally thought this colourful building to be the Town Hall but it’s actually the old courthouse, we passed it on our walk by the church and main square.
5. Pedestrian Street (Storgatan)
Bereft of cars and a street of shops this is downtown Angelholm. In one shop, Sofia custs and styles hair, in another shop Daniel and I get a carryout (read: lots of beer).
6. “The Boomerang”
A brief reminder of our Australian backpacking days is provided on our walk through the park to the train station. “That’s the Boomerang”, says Sofia, it’s a government building shaped like the Australian hunting weapon and in fact it’s the new Town Hall.
Of course the real purpose of my visit to Angelholm was to hang out with Daniel, meet his girlfriend Sofia and chill out and chat. So there are a few other cool things to do in and around Angelholm that we didn’t get round to.
Tourism is an important industry in Angelholm, and like many Swedish towns, it is based by the shore with a 6 kilometre long sandy beach (the one we saw in Winter). This is popular in summer for bathers, sailors, wave surfers and wind surfers. There is also an ice cream manufacturer, Engelholms Glass which produces about 1.2 million litres of ice-cream every year. Angelholm also has a Railway Museum and and Air Force Museum. Additionally, Angelholm is oddly known for its clay cukoos – in fact Ängelholm has the only orchestra of clay cuckoos in the whole world with which performed at the “Allsång på Skansen” in 2007. Pretty quirky fact but one that clearly passed me by as the reunion progressed!
While staying with Daniel and Sofia, we also toured Hamlet’s Castle which is in Helsingor, across the border and water into Denmark so I hope to write about that place too.
Thanks to Daniel and Sofia for hosting me in Angelholm. Hope to see you both again soon. If you’re heading to Angelholm there is even a backpacker’s hostel or if you need a hotel, here are the hotels in Angelholm.
Here are some videos from my time in Angelholm: