Tag Archives: Sweden

Cycling around Ven, Sweden

June 21, 2015

We arrived in Landskrona and took the bus to the ferry terminal. We sat outside on the sundeck, and shivered in the cool wind. I marvelled at the wind turbines, and my Swedish friends made fun of me. “Don’t you have those in Canada?” they asked. Yes, we do. But something about them is just so majestic! The ferry arrived in Ven! It is a small island in the middle of the Strait between Denmark and Sweden. We walked up the very steep hill towards the bike rental place. It was a hard place to miss because there were a lot of bikes parked out front. I would say about 700 and that doesn’t include the 300 tandem bicycles they had as well. We laughed that half the world’s tandem bicycles were parked on Ven. We collected our bikes are were off! The sun came out almost immediately after we began riding! It was perfect!


We cycled through field after field, past cliffs and sailboats. It was stunning. We found ourselves the perfect lunch spot outside the little church on a hill.


I went in the church and found a little pile of beads. Each colour represented something different. A little note invited me to choose a bead that represented what I needed the most, and at their next service, the congregation would include my prayer bead in their prayers. I chose blue. It represented tranquility, serenity, and trust. These are things I desire right now. I need tranquility and serenity, and to stop worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. I especially need to trust myself. We sat on the cliff’s edge and ate our sandwiches. Our lunch was cut short when a gaggle of geriatrics showed up on their walking tour.


We cycled down to the beach so we could have a swim in the freezing water. I did not swim, instead I took picture after picture after picture. This is one photogenic island! The flowers, the sun, the fields, the cliffs, the beaches. My goodness!


We biked back to the harbour and enjoyed a scoop of ice cream while we waited for the ferry. We originally grabbed seats inside, but very soon after we started our ride, I decided to go upstairs to the sundeck. I was prepared for it to be cold and windy, but it was not! The boat shielded me from the wind and the sun beat down hard. I closed my eyes and could have fallen asleep. But then I remembered I didn’t have sunscreen on! I quickly lathered my face with some SPF 30, closed my eyes, and did fall asleep.


Celebrating Midsommer in Sweden

June, 2015

I arrived at Bastad station and met up with Rebecka and her friends. This weekend I would be celebrating Midsommer, a wondrous and whimsical Swedish holiday. First order of business— Midsommer crowns. Andrea, the resident florist, arrived with bushels of flowers and we all began fabricating our head attire. Fredrik’s crown was probably the most impressive, but Rebecka’s ended up being the perfect size and maybe my favourite. I was impressed with mine.


Considering it was my first time ever fastening together a bunch of flowers and creating a flowery head piece, I thought I did quite well! next was the Maypole. This quickly became my favourite part of the holiday. We erected a big, cross-shaped Maypole, and decorated it with lots of flowers and leaves. We hung big wreaths under each arm. It ended up looking a bit like an upside down penis. But it was beautiful and was fun to decorate! We covered the thing in greenery and used up all the leftover flowers.


Then, as if this holiday couldn’t get any more whimsical and wholesome, we all joined hands and danced around the Maypole. Everyone laughed and sang Swedish songs, while we all skipped around the pole. I was laughing my butt off. THEN we danced like frogs and sang a song about frogs. I love this holiday. I love this holiday so much.

And then we started drinking. I knew my friends back home would look at me sideways if I told them we danced like frogs around a penis shaped Maypole covered in flowers, and weren’t drunk.


We all gathered around the table and began dinner. Another Midsommer tradition during dinner is to drink Schnapps. The idea behind this, is that if you drink a little bit of schnapps in between servings, you will have more room for food! The schnapps are about 30-40% alcohol and only poured to about 1/3 of the shot glass. Phew! I had one and that was that. It seemed though, the more schnapps the boys drank, the louder and more frequent the singing became. Each song leads to a cheers and another little shot. Phew! These boys can drink.

Rebecka, bless her, felt bad that I didn’t know any of the songs, so she tried to teach me. She sang a line and then I repeated it. We got through the whole song and she said, “wow! You are picking it up so fast!” She clearly can’t hear what I am actually saying…

The party was in full swing. People were dancing, drinking, laughing, chatting. Then Hampus turned off the music. “It’s time for a night swim” he said. Yay!!! I grabbed a towel from the closet in the washroom, and joined the others outside. We began the walk down the steep hill. I may have been drunker than I thought, because I started singing the Indiana Jones theme song and didn’t really stop. Fredrik put his towel around his neck like a cape and I held the end out so it looked like it was blowing in the wind. We passed by the neighbour’s house and they watched us walk by. I was softly singing Indian Jones, and Fredrik walked with a towel cape around his neck.


We found the beach! It was actually harder to find than it sounds like it would be. As soon as we walked into the sand, my clothes were off. I ran alongside my friends through the sand and into the VERY cold and VERY shallow water. We ran for ages and the water never actually passed our knees. There I was, 2 am, standing knee deep in the North sea, tits out, in my undies, watching the sun rise! How beautiful is this place?! Because it was so shallow, we all ran in, and then almost immediately ran back out. I dried myself off and put my clothes back on. I joined the rest of the group for a shot of gin, and we began our ascent back to the house. The hill was steep, but it felt good to arrive at the top. I sat on the stoop at the back door for a bit and watched the sky begin changing colours. Man oh man, how beautiful. It is 4am, and the sun is on its way up. Happy Midsommer, Sweden!


Helan går sjung hopp fallerallanallanlej, helan går sjung hopp fallerallanlej

Och den som inte helan tar, den heller inte halvan får

HELAN GÅÅÅÅÅR (this is when you drink your tiny shot of pure alcohol)


My version was about falafels