Gothenburg: countryside & castles

Though I am still in Gothenburg for another two weeks, I have moved within the city limits to stay with a family in a more suburban area (Askim) for the rest of my time here. They live in a lovely 3-story house with two small children, and I am super excited to experience Sweden in a new way: homestay-style.

This new neighborhood is very family-friendly.
Many of the houses are colorful and sweet with lots of flowers.
The house is just a 5 minute walk from a nature reserve that surrounds this very calming lake.

On Saturday, my first full day with the family, we did a day trip to Tjolöholms Slott, a nearby castle built at the turn of the 19th century. Rather than being a royal property, the castle was commissioned by a very rich merchant who wanted an extravagant “country home.” It is a 30-minute drive from Gothenburg and sits very close to the water.

Castle exterior and front lawn. Luckily, the weather was beautiful when we saw it.
This is behind the castle, with the back gardens.
A close-up of the back of the castle. Apparently this architecture is “Arts and Crafts” style, popular in Britain at the time (~1900).
The back gardens as seen from the castle. I just couldn’t believe this view – how amazing to see the sea and those islands every day!
A path along the gardens. The castle, now a Swedish heritage site, is occasionally used for weddings and parties. We saw a bride and groom doing their wedding photos while there.

I wish I could show you the inside of the castle, but photos were not allowed, and we were in a big tour group. The interior is fanciful, with every inch covered in highly detailed carvings, art, or wallpaper. There is a Queen of Sheba painting that was specifically commissioned for the castle interior and, with the way it was framed, can never be separated from the wall. The painting cost about $2000 then, which would be $56,000 now considering inflation. Also, the architect adding wooden carvings to the moldings and staircases in the form of characters from traditional Swedish fables and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. One room, the smoking room, used only Moroccan design elements.

Finally, the castle was also hosting a Jane Austen costume exhibit! Those of you who have known me since I was twelve or younger will know that I went through a serious Jane Austen phase, as I suppose many tween girls do. It was cool to see the same outfits worn by Colin Firth, Kate Winslet, and Emma Thompson in film adaptations of Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility there at the castle. It was also a bit anachronistic – Jane Austen’s stories, and the respective fashions, were around 100 years before Tjolöholms Slott was built.

I snuck one photo of the castle interior – the dress that Emma Thompson wore in Sense & Sensibility (1995).
I couldn’t resist – here is a still from the movie with the dress (found on
Now, a picture to prove that I actually did go to this castle! (Thanks to Anna for this one).

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