Thursday 9 July - Wednesday 15 July (this should be Tallberg in the Dalarna district which is near to Rattvik, so it's marked wrong on the map)
A whole week has passed and I haven't had a moment to do some blog-writing until now. And that while I have spent more than a week around Stockholm and if I think back, I can't even think up a list about the places I went to. After I last wrote you the weather turned even more awful. It started raining really badly causing the campsite to turn into a huge swamp and the kitchen and shower areas flooding. Camping is less nice when everything is soaked, I can tell you. But Blommelstein appears to be 100% waterproof and I was out and about for most of the time anyway, hugging my umbrella. The first night with the really bad weather kept me awake for most of the night though. So when I got up the next morning I could barely stand on my feet, having slept no more than 4 hours. But eager not to waste a day in Stockholm and still wanting to visit the Modern Museum and a photography exhibition in the Art House in the centre, I decided to go into town. I think I stayed for about 20 mins, hoped I didn't look as bad as I felt (which would be scary) and then decided to return home for a couple of hours sleep as I was afraid I would fall asleep while standing. When I woke up 4 (!) hours later, I did something some people will never understand: visit the biggest IKEA in the world. Uhuh. It was quite nicely laid out but made me long to be in my home in Amsterdam again. Can't believe IKEA made me homesick but there you go. It makes me think back to the times when I wanted to leave my apartment and move house because I thought I needed to move on. I can be so terribly restless sometimes. Now I think I should appreciate having a place I can truly call home, especially as I have friends who are looking for a mere roof over their head. Well, my explanation is that I may have some gypsy gene in me somewhere, explaining my need to move about. Somehow this trip has made me even more determined to appreciate and enjoy that what I have, and not what I would find elsewhere. Don't misread my words though….it's not really about wanting more or being dissatisfied. It's an almost nomadic drive. Yes, I think I cannot explain it in any other way.
I do find though that this past year I have become less jumpy and restless and have managed to get back to that state where one can enjoy oneself but just being at home. Reading a book. Watching a movie. Or just being a couch potato.
There have been years when I was unable to spend a whole evening at home alone. I'm glad that from bad comes good.
The main reason for me lingering there so long in Stockholm however - considering I still have a long way to go - is that I would be meeting my friend Mia who arrived in Stockholm on Sunday night July 12th. We met as late as 22.15 and after a little under 2 hours Mia had to rush off again because she was leaving for Barcelona the next morning at 0400. Well - at least we met, had a good chat and a couple of glasses of grapejuice and I must admit, I was so very happy to see her again.
What did I do the days before that? Lots! I have been doing a lot of wandering about town (you know, 'breathing in the city's atmosphere') and have a preference for the South district, SoFo, which is a combination of the De Pijp and Jordaan area in Amsterdam. It is particularly great to hang out, have lunch, sit and stare and shop. This is where I have spent many hours last week and I don't regret wasting time there, time which I could possibly have spent more culturally responsible but did not. Last Friday I got my second tick vaccination jab and spent the evening with Alev and some of her friends at a hoity toity place for drinks (nice wine for 13 euros per glass, if I remember correctly) and then Japanese food which was delicioso. On Saturday I finally found my way to Millesgården. I had been waiting for a good day to do so. The garden is named after their former owners who then donated the entire location and its contents to the city through a foundation. Carl and Olga Milles acquired this property in the early 1900's and built a home incorporating their studios. It is now a high quality museum with a gorgeous sculpture garden. Here I took (this is my humble opinion) the nicest pictures yet on this holiday. The sky was constantly changing colour, then bright blue, then dark grey with the sunrays trying to find their way through it. The sculptural art there was breathtaking but part of the credit must be given to the location itself.
I finished the day off having Turkish food at Alev's home and leaving with a list of music I must buy (Kent, Laleh, The Motorhomes, Incubus, Robyn, Gnarles Barkley and Bo Kaspers). Well, that gives me something to do when I am back in Amsterdam so long as I don't have work!
To finish the week's report off: Last Sunday I spent a day sea kayaking in the Archipelago (one of the biggest archipelagos of the Baltic sea). The interesting thing is that the islands rise by about five mm. each year. In the late 1700's the islands where inhabited by no more than 3000 (mostly) fishermen but nowadays it holds about 50,000 holiday cottages owned mainly by Stockholmers). It is a wonderful place to be, especially when you're out on sea.
It was my first kayaking experience and the weather was quite lovely considering we had had such a bad couple of days before that. The kayaking conditions changed from calm to quite rough sea at times but I managed to keep myself from tipping over or doing the Eskimo twirl ;o). Saw some lovely birdlife (translation for male readers: the flying creatures with feathers) and discovered the excrement of small reindeer which tend to swim from one island the other. We didn't see the real thing though. But I have been warned, the further north I go, the more likely I will run into them (and have to avoid running over them!).
I postponed my departure from Stockholm for one more day because Anne-Beth, a friend from Amsterdam, decided to join me in Stockholm quite spur-of-the-moment. Yay! Anne-Beth arrived on time, her luggage did not arrive at all. Now though, two days later, her luggage will hopefully be brought to the campsite where we are now staying (Lake Siljan, district of Dalarna, where the little painted wooden horses (Dalecarlia Horses or Dalahästar) come from. You probably know them, they are usually orange red and painted with a special pattern.
The little campsite is situated at Tällberg overlooking the lake. Beautiful! We took a short hike today, had freshly baked waffles with our coffee and then went into a little town called Rättvik's where we visited a little church located by the water, where it is surrounded by old "church stables" where the church visitors used to leave their horses.
Many Swedish call this district little Sweden, as they figure it can't get more Swedish than here. I think the village we are staying in right now very much portrays the Swedish style, sweet red wooden houses with cute woodwork and beautifully kept gardens and flower arrangements on or around doors. No wonder is attracts mainly Swedish tourists.
If the luggage gets delivered this evening, we should be moving on tomorrow.
The choice is either more inland or more towards the East coast.
We will see, as on holidays, decisions should be made at the very last minute, only to be changed if necessary - or not made at all.