Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Archipelagoes in Sweden

The first stop of my two week trip is Sweden. I land in Stockholm for my third visit. People are a bit surprised - 3 times?! Yup. I do love Scandinavia. In fact, I have been to Sweden probably about 7 times thanks to my semester abroad in Copenhagen. I'm visiting Joy again, but this time we are heading out of town to the country house for a long weekend, which is only accessible during the warmer months.

The country houses of Otto's (Joy's boyfriend) family. We stayed in the cute red one.

You have to take a boat to get to the islands.

These houses are on Goose Island, which is about a 30 min drive from Stockholm. Sweden has an extensive network of archipelagoes. They are brimming with nature in the spring and summer months.

Some of the natural beauty. We went on a hike around the island. It was a bit chilly and threatened to rain.

We pick fresh chives and violet flowers.

Nope. No water in the well. Actually, there was a lack of well water overall so not only could we not drink it, we had to be conservative with water usage.

Yummy food!
We had lots of delicious food, thanks to Otto and Joy's gourmet home cooking. Roasted chicken, shrimp crepes, seafood soup, coconut flan and I got my first grill of the summer.

Grilled burgers with homemade sesame brioche buns and aoili sauce.

Starting my travels with a weekend at the country house was a perfect way to finally unwind from a crazy semseter. I have to leave NYC to relax, and this scenario was an ideal option.

Sauna house!

I was introduced to the sauna culture here in Sweden. Here's the procedure (hey, I am a scientist after all):
1. Get really hot in this sauna house til you can't bear the heat.
2. Jump into the brisk water for ~3 seconds followed by laying on the deck til the coldness settles into your bones.
3. Return to the sauna house.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 about 3 or 4 times.
This night time activity can last several hours. It truly is relaxing.

Picture taken at 2 AM!!! Twighlight nights.

One of the best things about Swedish/northern summers is that it never gets dark, and the sun sets around 10 pm and rises around 2:30 am. Midsummer is in mid June, when the days are the longest. A nice contrast to my last visit when the sun setted at 3 pm!

Joy going in for a COLD dip.

Lazy morning reading my gossip magazines. Ahh to lounge and relax far from home! So happy!
Otto and Joy also enjoyed the mags.

Sabina, Joy's friend, and I lounging under the tree. When the sun is out, you go out. That's because that Swedish sun is so finicky! Out one minute and hiding the next.

Joy and Sabina. We are sadly leaving the island.

Over the long weekend, we had lots of yummy food, saunas, mellow hikes and plenty of chill time. Now I see why the country house makes Joy so happy! It gave me a different aspect of Sweden and an appreciation for the Swedes' love of their land. Thanks so much to Otto and Joy for being wonderful hosts.


sharock said...

that looked ahhhmazing you know i love scandie goodness. that water pump shot reminds me of one i took in aero almost 10 year ago.

caroline said...

WOW! That's so cool about the sun at 2am! How weird! Everything is gorgeous in the summer. Was it warm?

Joy Hui Lin said...

we were so happy to have you, come back soon ;).