To discover new places, enjoy good food and meet colourful people with exciting stories to tell sounds like the perfect day out to me. If you have never set foot in the Västergötland Region, or visited Lake Hornborgasjön – one of Europe’s most important wetlands, I will try to explain what makes this place so very special.
I’m not in the least interested in birds, quite the opposite in fact, but Trandansen Visitor Centre and the surrounding area really are worth a visit. It is often said that the cranes come with the spring, usually around March-April, and this is something that really has to be experienced first hand. Every year, 150,000 visitors come from near and afar to Trandansen, where you can get exceptionally close to as many as 15-25,000 cranes. It is definitely possible to visit Trandansen independently, but when accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, like Niclas Fällström, you learn lots of new things; like the fact that cranes love potatoes (this is actually why they first started taking a break by Lake Hornborgasjön), that they usually form life-long couples, and that they live for around 18 years.
Our journey continues towards Ekornavallen – one of Västergötland’s most remarkable areas of ancient remains, with plenty of hidden secrets from bygone times. It is thought that this place was first used around 5,500 years ago and that it remained in use until the Viking Age. Fascinating – but to be honest, I am more curious about a story I have heard. I ask Nicklas, our guide, if there is any truth in the legend about the river Hornborgaån – that it hides a goldmine made of sand?!
After many tales and interesting stories, our trip finishes with a veritable cheese party Falbydens Osteria. We help ourselves to the tasty morsels laid out on their wonderful Cheese and Delicacy Buffet and are told that Västergötland, and the Skaraborg area in particular, has long been the centre for Swedish cheese making. For more than five generations, Falbygdens Osteria has promoted good cheese Culture.
Happy and contented, we enter the shop, where a 25-metre long cheese counter awaits. A Cheese Host explains that the range on offer include varieties from all over Europe and that there are thousands of different tastes and textures to choose from, as well as the very best local efforts. – Just let me know what you’d like to try, so we can help you find your very own special favourites.
I’m completely stuffed and could not force down even a single slice of cheese right now, so I decide to visit the gift shop and the pleasant Spring and Easter Market before determining which cheese variety I like the most. I have had a wonderful day! Would you like to have the same experience? Between the 21 March and the 19 April 2015 you can enjoy a ‘Crane Dance and Cheese Experience by Lake Hornborgasjön’.
The package costs 395 SEK and includes:
- Cheese tasting of a couple of locally produced specialities outdoors, in natural surroundings
- Visit to Trandansen Visitor Centre
- Cheese and Delicacy Buffet at Falbygdens Osteria
- Cheese Hosts at Falbygdens Osteria give information and inspiration.
Photo: Jonas Ingman, Tom Sundh, Per Nadén, Jennie Lund