After a weekend in Stockholm, Stina and I jumped in the car to drive out to the countryside. We were headed for Örebro, Stina’s university town, and the countryside surrounding it. We were to spend the week by Lake Hjälmaren, Sweden’s fourth largest lake, with her friends at their countryhouses and – yep – potato farms.
Our first stop: Sigtuna. Sweden’s oldest town, it was founded in 980. We stopped in for chokladtårta and coffee (oh boy, do they love coffee over there. Upwards of 5 cups a day seems fairly normal) at the self-proclaimed oldest house in town, from the 1600’s – Tant Brun.
Onwards we drove until we reached Örebro. We filled the week leading up to midsommar with walks in the countryside, dinners of potatoes and herring and cheese, visiting friends, and alternating between the lakeside Finnish sauna and swimming in the freezing cold lake (disclaimer: I’ve totally used some of Stina’s photos below because, well, she’s an actual photographer. As such, I heavily neglected my own photo-taking because she’d do it better anyway. Check out some more of her pictures here)
Stina had a styled wedding to shoot in a barn, so we spent a lot of time picking wildflowers in the woods and making flower crowns. Oh, and picnicking in barns. And meeting cute hedgehogs who came out to say hi.
And then, before we’d had a chance to get sick of drinking, talking, walking, swimming, the beautiful countryside, or get used to the fact the sun never went down, it was Midsummer.
We were to spend it with a group of Stina’s friends at their potato farm. We woke up at Stina’s parents lake house, and baked raspberry pie to bring along. We head off through the countryside, and found ourselves on a beautiful balcony, overlooking the potato farm bathed in that lovely soft Swedish midsummer light.
The table was decorated with flowers, and filled with pickled herring, bread, cheese, and of course, freshly dug potatoes. Someone had made Gubbröra, which roughly translates as ‘old mans mix’ – a swedish classic egg-mayo-potato-fish-herb mix to spread on dark bread.
After lunch, we kicked off the Midsummer Olympics, filled with games such as ‘identify this piece of wood by smell and touch only’, potato races, and croquet (with sherry of course).
We drank schnapps late into the night. The sky still a dark shade of blue, everyone in the kitchen got out their instruments, and we played and sang in the new day. We sat there on the kitchen floor for hours, listening and tapping along to to folk, blues and Swedish songs. Deep voices singing Cash were punctuated by the occasional female voice singing songs known by all in the room but me.
In between each song the room returned to the deep silence of nighttime in the countryside. We drank coffee and ate raspberry pie, listening to our own private concert, miles from anyone else. When we finally left to head home, the music continued inside. As we left the farmhouse, the wail of the accordion bade us goodbye. The 3am sky still light, we head off home as the sun decided not to set at all, and just skip straight to rising.