30 March 2019 - Andrarums Alunbruk - Pulken i Vattenriket
All photos here https://goo.gl/iSojvw

Simply fantastic day, temperature around 15 degrees, blue sky and bright sunshine, you can't expect this new and exciting day on the road in Viking land! Today we are many, also thanks to good weather. Leaving the city we immerse ourselves in the splendor of spring colors. We cross wide wooded areas and endless cultivated fields of an intense green to reach the Bligehöj lookout near Harlösa. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view of Lake Vomb and Romeleåsen. Let's stop for the inevitable coffee and orange cake. Meanwhile, two elderly couples are on an excursion. I ask if they want to taste the cake and the coffee and not if they do say it twice, appreciating in a particular way. We leave in the direction of Andrarum to reach a very beautiful place, Andrarums Alunbruk. It is one of the largest factories in Sweden for alum production. The factory was founded by Jochum Beck, who in 1637 obtained permission from King Christian IV to produce alum. The factory was purchased by Christina Piper in 1725. Until her death in 1752, Alunbruket experienced its heyday. 900 people lived here. The factory was a sort of "state in the state" with its own currency, its stores, its pharmacy, its shoemaker, its saddlery, its own taverns, its own school, even its own prison. Alum in the past was widely used in yarn dyeing, in leather tanning and in paper processing. Huge quantities of wood were needed for the production of this product. In 1686, Karl XI issued a regulation according to which all forests within a two-mile radius of the factory, the so-called Verkalinjen, would be used by Alunbruket. So the factory could buy all the wood at a very favorable price. This regulation did not apply to the forests belonging to the nobility or to the church. This led to the disappearance of much of the area's forests. The factory ceased its activity in 1929, today the department stores and the huge mountains of processing residues remain. From the top of one of these you can enjoy a wonderful view. We take a lunch break near the river that flows near the beautiful houses of that era, now transformed into a B&B and into a splendid café stuga. Before leaving, you cannot miss a good cup of coffee. We quickly travel thirty kilometers to reach the Pulken nature reserve. The name of the area derives from "pulk" or "pylke" which means small water collection. The spectacle that appears before our eyes is something indescribable. About 10,000 cranes rest for the spring before flying elsewhere. Depending on the day, up to 15,000 specimens can be added. There is a huge crowd watching these beautiful animals, hopping and dancing, taking flight and landing in large flocks. To prevent birds from destroying the surrounding crops, tons of wheat are scattered. In addition to cranes, there are numerous species of birds, including the golden eagle. This unique and wonderfully beautiful place is called the crane B&B! Before leaving we make the last coffee of the day and right now we meet again the two elderly couples on a trip. One of the women asks me if she still has some orange cake left! Until next time.