Across from Kalmar, Sweden is the island of Öland – connected to the mainland by a long 6 km bridge. It is actually on Öland where we are staying as Gilles prepares for his Ironman race on Saturday.
For the past 2 days, we’ve had some time to explore around this very large island … in fact a big chunk of the 180 km of the bike portion of the race will be on Öland, so there has been plenty of territory to explore.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the Dutch vibes I was getting from our brief time in Sweden. Well, that impression was solidified by the discovery of windmills throughout the island.
I should mention at this point that I have a *thing* about windmills. Maybe it was the influence of a Dutch mother, but I have this endless fascination with these silent giants … something even Gilles didn’t know about until I suddenly shrieked STOP! STOP! STOP!
Normally that reaction would have given him a minor heart attack behind the wheel of a car, but on this day he actually laughed when I explained that “I stop for windmills”.
Öland windmills are very different from the Dutch style. They have a box-type wood construction that sits on a “pedestal” with a platform and long ‘tail’ at the back.
My very limited research calls them post mills and the entire millhouse would turn on that central platform. I suspect the long tail at the end was used for leverage to turn the millhouse.
However, as we continued our travels on the island, we also discovered other windmill types, including the traditional Dutch stone construction.
On an island with so many windmills, you can reasonably assume it is a very windy place. You would be right …. which is going to be rather tough for Gilles on Saturday as he struggles with the brisk east winds on the bike course.
For Öland, that means it is also a great location for many of the modern wind turbines that most people claim to hate. Dozens and dozens of them, in fact.
Personally, I love them.