Fjallbacka; Where Fact and Fiction Meet (Part I)

If you are a big fan of the novels of Camilla Lackberg (and let’s be honest there are several million of those) then you may have pondered about, or even dreamed of going to, Fjallbacka which is her home town and also the setting of her crime series. Well, lucky you because having been on a trip there a few weeks ago I thought I would share a trip (or in fact two) around the village. If you haven’t read any of Camilla Lackberg’s books then you might want to try starting at the beginning of the series and in the meantime just enjoy the lovely pictures!!

When I arrived in Fjallbacka, having just had time to pop my luggage in my room and freshen up after a plane a train and a coach, I was met in the reception by the lovely Asa who both runs the Tourist Information on the waterfront and who also gives tours of the village and the murder sites which feature in Lackberg’s books. Now I am slightly fearful that I will miss out many of the facts of the villages history because Asa knows so many fascinating stories that to be frank you need to travel there and here them directly from her. But I will give you some snippets.

We started from the top of a snow free Fjallbacka, after I learnt how one of the townsmen had created the cardboard cartons that transport liquids – no lie, and what is amazing is when you arrive in the village you come from the back and so you are greeted with an unassuming, yet quaint, image of a small Swedish village. Go to the top of the hill near the church and the whole vista suddenly opens up in front of you and it is stunning…

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In the distance you might just be able to make out the diving board where one of the crimes in a later Lackberg novel begins as a man sits in this very spot of a morning and spots it! Here is of course where the church is which rises above the village and can be seen from virtually any street/house you walk into.

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The church is relatively new (though over a hundred years old) to the area as in times of old people would have to travel a further six miles, not that many people lived in Fjallbacka preferring the islands until the herring boom in the 1800’s. When the church was added, after the land was donated to the villagers for free, it was decided that it should be something special yet something in keeping with traditional churches. How did they do this? Well if you look at the picture above you will see that not only is the granite its made from several colours it is all sorts of shapes making it like a puzzle not your normal structure. It is very beautiful and inside it simply (and simplistically) breathtakingly beautiful…

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Those of you who have read the books will know that the church features a lot in the books, though not quite as much as the graveyard does, ha! If you have seen the TV adaptations you will be thinking I am a liar because they used another church as this one was deemed to bright. I loved the brightness though, I could have spent ages in there but Asa had some much more to show me as we wandered through the winding streets, including Lackberg’s very own fishing cabin which is staying a secret with me. The houses in the village are beautiful all having to be built to a specific traditional design to make sure it is in keeping. Don’t they just instantly conjure ‘cold crime’?

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As we wandered through the streets we also caught more of the spots from Lackberg’s books. I haven’t gotten this far in the series yet but this, sadly now closed and run down, hotel becomes a spa in one book…

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To me it looks more like it should be a house come book shop, doesn’t it to you? If any has a spare few million do please let me kow as I would simply adore to take it on. Anyway, we also saw the factory where the very rich and very naughty family from The Ice Princess is based on, but I can’t share all these sites with you as you won’t go! Now diverting from Lackberg a little, one of the places that you simply HAVE to go and visit and cant really miss is Setterlinds Bakery (it does get a mention in the books) which was non other than Ingrid Bergman’s favourite bakery where she got her favourite cake (I was reliably informed by Emelie from West Sweden Tourist Board) Mendelberg which I will report on later in the week…

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Ingrid Bergman actually moved to one of the islands just off the coast of Fjallbacka, following one of her marriages, to escape the glare at the height of her Hollywood fame. Initially, as you might imagine, this caused quite a stir upon her arrival not just because of her fame but also her occasionally hedonistic lifestyle which wasn’t in keeping with morals of the time. Soon enough though it was like she had never not lived there to the point that the town, without the council knowing when they did it, added Ingrid Bergman square after her death and indeed it is one of the focal points and most popular meeting place in the town.

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From here you can take a walk up Kungsklyftan, which we will do later in the week as a) we haven’t finished the tour yet b) it features in the opening of The Preacher which I will be discussing tomorrow and is so stunning it needs a whole post of its own, or you can take in the marina…

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…Which is what I did. Take a walk along and around the old town and  head out into one of the jetties and you get a whole new view of the village facing it straight on, again showing you how utterly beautiful it is. Can you tell I was smitten and already wondering if I could hide in a fishermans hut all of my own for a summer?

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After all that walking, and having said goodbye to the delightful Asa (who very kindly gave me a lift after I had been on the Weather Islands – you won’t believe your eyes – back to the train station and who I might be plotting doing something literary in Fjallbacka with) I realised I was starving. Whilst I should could have simply run back to Setterlind’s and bought the shop, I decided to try the recommended (by Asa) local fish store…

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…You might think this doesn’t look like an ideal luncheon stop, secretly round the back though is a seafront restaurant which only serves possibly the best fish and chips that I have ever had – coming from a Northern Englishman that is high praise indeed!

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Sitting watching the boats and the people and the waves, eating freshly caught fish goujons and just embracing the peace and quite and the fresh air was pure heaven, and the perfect break before I headed off up Kungsklyftan which we will head to on Thursday. It is honestly beautiful. Until then, who else has been to Fjallbacka? And which other places and settings from books have you been to and were they as you expected.

This post is the second in a week of Savidge Reads in Sweden after I was sent by the lovely people at the West Sweden Tourist Board to go on a cold crime adventure.

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2 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness

2 responses to “Fjallbacka; Where Fact and Fiction Meet (Part I)

  1. It was my pleasure showing you our lovely Fjällbacka. Come back in the winter and see it from a different perspective. Dark and more mysterious, When the storms batter the islands it is lovely to get indoors and tell more stories of the towns fascinating past. We are all looking forward to a new book release from Camilla. Hopefully it will be out by Christmas
    . Welcome back

  2. Ruthiella

    Love the photos; that plate of fish and chips looks delicious…

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