Published: August 2nd 2011August 2nd 2011
Hello everyone… and here I am in Sweden for a couple of weeks. Having had my “summer hols” last winter in Oz and NZ – I thought I better have more “summer hols” in Europe. (Well if I don't get away travelling every month I get withdrawal symptoms. )
Each summer when my dear friend, Lesley, comes back from Dubai where we used to teach together we have some holiday time together… and the rocky landscapes, forests and lakes of Sweden are the perfect antidote to the desert sands and highrise towers of Dubai!!!
We arrived at Arlanda airport north of Stockholm and took our rental car North about 450km at Tallhed near the little town of Orsa. Michael and I had some lovely times there at old wooden cottages which belong to my good Swedish friends Lars and Lillemor – who we met about 20 years ago doing house swapping…. So it was good to go back and for me to re-visit some very happy times…Michael sitting in the snow with a cup of coffee in his hand, cross country skiing, campfires and summer walks to the fabodar ( farms), swimming and fishing in the lakes. The weather was a
bit variable when Lesley and I arrived but on with the boots and rain jackets and we are quite happy to set off and see what comes. The forest floor there is a mass of lichens (which the deer/elk eat) and mosses and heather and it’s so beautiful as the light falls through the pines and birch trees. You are never far from a lake and Orsa lake has wonderful beaches – and is so shallow you can walk out for ages and still be up to your waist …and very hot day there found us just reading and loafing about all day…popping into the lake to cool off from time to time. And of course there are lots of little villages and collections of red painted and wooden houses some with grass roofs and there are always café stops with nice cakes!!!
I now have my Kindle which is great for travelling and have downloaded lots of free books …so have just read about Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition (a brilliant read) which is just the thing to read on a hot day to cool you down!!!
After a few days in the north – we set off and drove south
Les wants this planter for her balcony.
to Lake Vattern where Lars and Lillemor run a hostel ( more like a guest house) and Les and I knew that as soon as we arrived we would be putting on the aprons and settling in to the kitchen. The hostel is in an ancient beech and oak forest and as they also have a café and restaurant and everyone in Sweden is on holiday then you can imagine how busy it gets. No sooner have you finished with breakfast than you are preparing a smorgasbord lunch and in between everyone wants sandwiches, cakes and icecreams …. Then its tea/coffee and cake time in the afternoon and most evening some of the guests have booked an evening meal so Lesley and I just “mucked” in and having done this before we now have the hang of where everything goes, how to refill the coffee machine and how to work the BIG industrial dishwasher…. And every now and then Lars says to me – “ make a cake”. We all worked so hard and we were knackered after 3 days so I don’t know how L+L survive day after day. Every now and then we could take a break and
walk through the forest and down to the lake…and one evening we all went into Vadstena – the nearest town with a castle churches and cathedral ( it’s a pilgrimage place)and little cobbled streets… and were surprised to see hordes of people there having fun as it was an evening when everyone comes to show off their “classic cars”…and they seem very fond of “old” American cars…. This reminded me of a full size Pontiac I used to drive in Canada when I lived there in the 60/70s.
And so then it was time to move on again – take the rental car back and bus to Stockholm City Terminal where we were met by our next host Bengt. I have swapped my house with a family here in Mariefred on Lake Malaren…its about 50 miles from Stockholm. Bengt and Eva and their son Erik left the following day to go to Eastbourne leaving Lesley and I in this idyllic spot. Mariefred again is a pretty town – cobbled flower bedecked streets, wooden houses, with a great castle – Gripsholm which also houses the National Potrait Gallery.
The weather is fantastic and we are enjoying the house and garden which
Artist Anders Zorn house.
has several sitting areas… a sunny deck and shady spots under trees…so great for relaxing and sunning ourselves. Richard and Catherine and Alice (their dog) came to visit us over the weekend – so lovely to spend that time together.
And so we take a leisurely time getting up having breakfast and then decided what to do that day… a walk in the town, or a day at the beach or a drive to another castle famous for its tea shop and cakes or as yesterday a wonderful walk through the forest and by a lake …and I even let Lesley go in front and she didn’t get us lost once!!!
Well that’s the news… hope to hear from you to tell me what your latest news is… this blog is great for me to keep in touch with so many of you and also to be able to share some of my photos.
Much love to everyone.
There are more photos below