For more photos of Öland, visit my OneStepBehind collection
The island of Öland is at the very heart of Johan Theorin's novels. Its geography, its history, its culture and mythology are woven into the narrative on many levels, not least through the character of the wise and humane Gerlof.
Much is made of the storms, the mist and fogs, and relentless winds that show Öland's bleak face, but it is also a beautiful summer island and an absolute delight for a cyclist. We stayed in Borgholm, the only big town on Öland, and by the end of August it already had the feeling of autumn: few visitors, quiet streets (but a huge number of crows blackening the sky as the sun went down).
First stop had to be Djupvik. Theorin's website tells us:
Stenvik is a made up village on the North-West coast of Öland and in real life it's very similar to Djupvik, which is located 20 kilometres north of Borgholm. Both Djupvik and Stenvik have a small shop, campsite, a long stone beach with a jetty and lots of boat houses. North of both Djupvik and Stenvik, there's an old quarry where one of the murders in Echoes from the Dead takes place.
We then visited Marnäs.
In my books, Marnäs, is the central place on north Öland and is located about 10 kilometres northeast of Stenvik on the east coast. In real life, the central place is called Löttorp and it's located much further north. Marnäs church (where Nils Kant is buried in Echoes from the Dead) has a real equivalent, it's called Föra church and it's located about 25 kilometres north of Borgholm. Here, my ölandish ancestor Gerlof Persson is buried - it's from him the family name of Gerlofsson comes and the fictional character Gerlof Davidsson.
Actually, Löttorp is one those pleasant but dull Swedish towns that scarcely make an impression on the visitor. It is not hard to see why Gerlof is desperate to leave his old people's home.