I realised the other day that my two most memorable days this year (so far!) have both been spent on the water. Our first was on the River Thames on my birthday in August and our second only two weeks later off the coast of Sweden.
I haven’t blogged yet about our Swedish trip because I attempted to travel light by leaving my 24-70mm camera lens at home and in the process managed to really restrict my photographic opportunities. I spent half the time trying to contort myself into a position to get everything in view with my SLR and 50mm lens and the other half taking slightly unsatisfactory photos on my iPhone.
I’m not entirely sure what the solution should have been, but after reading this post I do think I am going to have to spend some time exploring the possibilities (and limitations) of my own Lumix compact for travel next time.
But anyway, back to the Sweden…. We spent a week there, half of which was spent on the coast with our very lovely Swedish friends Sven and Kicki and the other half of which we spent in Gothenburg.
While we were staying with Sven & Kicki they called in a favour from their friends Maria and Fredrik who took us out on their soon-to-be-restored classic motor boat. Sweden was pretty stunning anyway, but being able to get on the water and admire it at a distance gives you a totally different perspective and I can’t begin to tell you how lucky we felt to be able to do it.
Though it was summer (and the weekend when it was roasting in the UK) it was pretty chilly on the water, but we snuggled up under quilts and drank beer and ate chocolate digestives (you can guess who brought those) Alice was so snug she fell asleep on Sven’s lap and missed most of the views.
Sven and Kicki live on the island of Tjorn which is accessed from the mainland by a bridge and is perfectly situated for visiting to the many islands big and small around that part of Sweden. Most of these islands are inhabited and everyone seems to have a boat to potter about.
The tiny island of Astol (below) even has a popular cafe which people from Tjorn seem to visit fairly frequently for a meal
Of course everywhere we went there were the distinct colourful wooden clad houses too. I was surprised to discover that they still making the cladding from wood even now, despite the fact this must make the upkeep of the exteriors quite hard work.
I remember walking around Halifax in Nova Scotia and completely shattering Jim’s illusions by pointing out that the “wood” on the houses there was actually cement fibreboard!
Some of the houses we saw were owned by Brits like this one, the dark fencing you can see around the property is apparently their infinity pool – nice!
I had thought that our trip to Sweden might satisfy the long held desire I have had to visit a part of Scandinavia and although it lived up to my expectations in every way, I fear it has just made me want to see more of Sweden…and Denmark.. and Finland.
Seeing a country through the eyes of people who live there is definitely the best way to travel and I’m starting to wonder how we can achieve anything close to this when we visit other countries… Does Air BnB come anywhere close?!