Well we'd stayed every other kind of place on our trip, why not a Swedish hippy commune to end it off?
Not understanding Swedish, it was difficult to figure much out from the few B&B options for the area over their webpages. We ended up choosing something with promising pictures - a country house some 20 kilometres outside of the town. Perhaps we should have paid some attention that there were various links attached to the website, including something about a Sex Festival, but it seemed a hodgepodge with no correlation and house pictures that didn't match. When I phoned for the booking the slow speaking man on the other end sounded reassuringly mild-mannered and geriatric. Also, somewhat annoyingly, he didn't seem to have any concept of the fact that we had driven some 600 kilometres that day and were quite exhausted, suggesting that we hang around somewhere for about three hours and show up at 9:00 pm as he wanted to go out for dinner. These old country types, I thought, sighing.
Driving out, it was a miracle we found the place without too much trouble as it was buried amongst a confusion of one lane roads forking ever deeper into the Swedish countryside. The "geriatric" gentleman, turned out to be quite a bit younger than I had thought (perhaps Mico's age), and showed up to meet us at the gate to lead us in. It turns out there were several accommodations on the large property, and at our lodgings a large group of people on the terrace outside met our arrival - he mumbled something that they were just part of one of the frequent festivals held on the property, and not to worry we'd have our own privacy. Suddenly I remembered the link on the webpage. Were these the sex festival people? I eyed them suspiciously.
As we were lead around on a tour of the place we couldn't help noticing it was decorated with an unusual amount of Buddha statuettes, and something that I thought was Pippi Longstocking with hair pointing out to the sides in that style. It turned out to be a pregnant earth mother statuette, which he seemed surprised to hear had been my favourite thing as a small girl in Finland. Pippi, of course, not the earth mother, but never mind.
We were told the upstairs was just for us, but heard the several doors around opening and closing throughout the evening, and in the morning a woman in bathrobe with toothbrush in hand confirmed we weren't the only ones up there. Here and there we spotted our roommates, in Indian cotton and hemp outfits various shades of the rainbow, as well as one woman with a shaved head who appeared to be a Buddhist monk. At breakfast, our host's girlfriend (who we initially assumed was his daughter) wandered in in what was presumably her nightie (an oversized man's shirt) and plunked down half eaten jars of tahini and nut butters in front of us, along with some leftover parmesan cheese in plastic wrap still bearing the price tag, and a few cartons of various beverages. Seeming confused on what to do next she asked permission to leave.
The grounds were very pretty and peaceful by the ocean, although swarming with mosquitoes which made going outside not so enticing. Our host had shown us various unique features of the house such as a swing to be boarded from atop a perch, that looked rather like a hangman's step-platform, from which you could then soar as far as you dared across a large abyss over the tree tops. Some sign in Swedish said it was "for children and very brave adults". Our host explained that many people came here to get rid of their fears and the things that hold them back in their adult lives. Would I like, Mico asked, to go on the swing? No thank you - I'd rather hold onto my adult fears and my valued adult life.
The shower was located downstairs and featured two shower heads, where you could wash before floor to ceiling windows facing the garden for a full on nature experience. Signs in the washroom encouraged not to flush after a number one, or to feel free to go outside in nature, if so inclined. Again, no.
We used our own towels, and were supplied, for a fee, with hemp bedding in a pattern of Chinese characters. Though the room was nothing to write home about, and mattresses poor, we woke feeling well rested and relaxed anyway - somehow the experience was pleasant enough in its own unusual way, and a fitting end to our journey.
A couple of hours drive had us in Stockholm ready to board the ferry home. We enjoyed on the way back an outside cabin with views of the passing islands and watched a beautiful sunset to the tune of Au Fond du Temple Saint playing through our laptop.
Last instalment: trip summary still to follow, and more photo albums.