How To Celebrate An Amazing Midsummer In Sweden

It’s the Friday before Midsummer and nature has burst into it’s glorious green fullness.

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It’s tradition for the locals here to go ‘all in’ on Midsummer’s Eve.  Organizing a fest of food and great friends is the only requirement, inclusive of drinking lots of alcohol and singing loudly!  It’s a bigger deal than Christmas!

We gathered at 12 p.m. around the patio table, decked out in Sweden’s colors of blue, yellow and white.  We begin our lunch of fresh boiled potatoes, sour cream and fresh green onions.  The tangy, traditional entree’ of sill is pickled herring that has been marinated in a special vinegar with dill, mustard or even chili!  Pickled red onions are also welcomed along with the required nubbe. 

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The nubbe needs some attention here:  this Swedish liquor is called an ‘aquavit’ or ‘brännvin’ (brandy).  The liquor stores here sell them in a varied 10 pk.  Strong stuff!  You can see in the above photo that some people make their own versions.

Svenska Nubbar

Drinking nubbe also requires singing and reciting limerick type lyrics:  of days gone by or an old man celebrating to his Swedish heart’s content.  The larger the group, the more fun!

After lunch, large groups of families and friends usually gather in smaller neighborhood parks to raise the maypole.  It symbolizes fertility and is usually decorated with green plants and wildflowers.  After a group raises the pole, the dancing commences.

Maypole dance

Små grådorna is the most popular dance, where everyone imitates the baby frogs that burst into life every spring.  To most Swedes,  is is tradition, but it does look a bit ridiculous (and fun!).

https://lyricstranslate.com/en/sm%C3%A5-grodorna-little-frogs.html

After the dancing, we go back to the table in the sun and have the always delicious  strawberry cake.  Strawberries grow in abundance here and they are delicious when fresh.  Yes, my friend Linda gets all the credit for her homemade cake!

Midsummer cake

Jordgubba torta

 

Usually the drinking continues, followed by a chat around the grill while the meat sizzles.  The celebration is at it’s best with a group of close friends or family, so the focus is on good company and celebrating the abundance life has to offer!

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Staying up late, while drinking and dancing with friends is the best, while waiting for the sun to finally rest for the night.  We reconvene in the late morning for a breakfast in the sun – as this year gave us the best weather anyone could dream of in magical Sweden!

Sunset

Sunset over Stockholm

Here is my favorite youtube video describing the most amazing event:

 

Another Awesome Swedish Camping Experience

If you are a nature lover, Sweden is one of the best and largest landscapes for camping. Swedish summer has it’s share of rainy days, but most of the summer is full of wide blue skies and the cheery sounds of chirping birds.

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Last weekend, we traveled to Oxelösund, and Jogers Ö (island) Camping. A small, but adorable camping site set in the back corner of the island, near the beach. There are about 100 sites for campers, with a separate section for tents. You can camp community style (side by side) or choose a more natural setting, which we did, in the back by the forest.

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The trail to the beach was just next to our camper and we were surprised at the enormous length of sand and grassy field beyond. With two diving docks, a volleyball net, grill spots and kayaks for rental, there is no chance for boredom.

 

 

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We found a few roads around the campite to cycle along, while checking out the stunning vacation homes sitting along the rocky coast.

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Much of this area is developed on and around rocks.It’s great for sun bathing and diving, but tough to walk along, as the fungi is built up and makes it slippery.

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Just to keep our exploring bug entertained, we drove about a half hour out to Stendörren (Stone Door) the following day.

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This area is just a tiny part of the archipelago in the Baltic Sea and there are rocks large enough to be islands!

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The locals come here to sunbathe and the tourists are in search of wildlife, hiking, cooking in the woods and endless farmlands. We had to cut through a field of goats eating lunch to get to the outer edge of the coast.

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At the far end of the island is the Naturum museum, which tells a fascinating tale of the complex life underwater and how humans affect it. Their goal is to protect the habitat and educate visitors.

We spent the morning exploring the trails through the forest, taking photos of every beautiful view, only to be surprised by another!

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After exhausting our feet, we found a dock to drop in our kayaks and we headed off to see the secret islands that most only gape at from land.

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There were so many islands, it was tough to find the right one to call our ‘fika plats’ which is our spot to stop and have a snack. Getting in and out of the boats can be an adventure in itself, with slippery rocks, grassy overgrowth and sensitivity to nesting birds. I spent a half hour barefoot bouldering and then we headed back around, circling a few more islands while bird watching.

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The vast green field outside the campground is a popular for holiday celebrations, flea markets and car meets. We went to the Mopar meet, where some friends were showing off their vintage Dodge muscle cars. American car culture is quite a big part of the small town attractions in the summers. Some of the younger kids are into cars and rock ‘n roll and they call them ‘raggare’, which are like greasers. (see Grease, the movie if you are not familiar).

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Our last day at Jogers Ö, we took a tour of Femörefortet, which is an old Swedish military fort, with underground tunnels and a museum layout with old artillery and uniforms. The tour was really interesting and we got to climb up inside part of the fort and look out the periscopes at the sea. It is only 100kr ($10) to visit, with free parking a mile domn the road. The hiking there is part of the experience!

What a fun and incredibly active weekend! Oxelösund is a fun harbor town with plenty to keep you busy exploring.

Please let me know what you think of this post!  I love to write while we adventure around, but I am always learning!  So, I appreciate your ideas and requests.

 

Be sure to come back and read my upcoming post- Midsommer’s Eve is this Friday, so I will be covering the exciting events all weekend!

Awesome Camping in Askersund, Sweden

Last weekend, we headed out to Askersund, which is just outside Linköping.   We reserved a spot by phone at Husabergsudde Camping the previous weekend.  It’s usually good to call ahead, as many campsites are booked full in the summer.

Swedish homepage

Husaberg

Upon arrival, we were welcomed with a beautiful view of Lake Alsen in the northern end of Lake Vättern. The campground is small with about 100 spots for campers and a few rental cottages.  The layout gives you generous space for sitting in the sun and chilling with fantastic lakeside views of the small downtown area, which is just at the other side of the lake.

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Reception is the first building where you check in and they sell candy, ice cream, fresh bread and some basic necessities.  There are two buildings, one at either side of the entrance that have clean showers and large bathrooms.  One has a large kitchen with a stove and microwaves and even a dining room with a t.v.!  There’s another outside area to wash your dishes (hot water is separate). The buildings are open 24 hrs, so all clean-up is easy and there’s no need for that late night pee in the woods!

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The setting here is natural and there is not a lot of landscaping.  There is a gorgeous beach with a dock and kayaks and canoes for rental.  The lakeside sauna and outdoor jacuzzi look relaxing, too.  You can rent them by the hour or for a full day/night.

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On Saturday, we headed over to the Askersund Outdoor Festival, which was a lot of fun!  We learned about a lot of interesting new products – kayak wheels for transporting your kayak, Aclima wool clothing and Alfa hiking shoes.

 

 

24 Hour Meals was pretty impressive – they are sealed, packable meals like thai chicken coconet and vegan meatballs.  To warm up, all you need is the plastic thermal bag, which they sell online for just 15kr (@$2).  You place the sealed food puch inside the plastic bag and add a small amount of cold water.  After a couple of minutes, the pouch expands and heats the contents!  This is great for hiking or kayaking trips, completely eliminating the need for heavy camping stoves and equipment.

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We also attended a presentation by Annelie Pompe about her incredible ability to control her breathing under water and at great heights when hiking and climbing.  She wrote a book that I plan on ordering called En Äventyrares Guide Till Inre Lugn (An Adventurer’s Guide to Inner Calm).  I haven’t found it in English yet, so I will be sure to give a later review after I read it in Swedish.  She is quite an inspiring lady!  A motivational speaker, yoga instructor, freediver, explorer – you name it she has made a life out of adventure.

Check out:  https://anneliepompe.com/   for more reading about Annelie.

 

The weather was very windy and a bit cool, so we just cycled around the town and explored the old architecture.  There is an old Swedish village complete with goats!  They had a little ‘fika’ (coffee break) spot and we checked out the free museum.

We also found the oldest house in Askersund (above right).  There is a lot more to do in the area.  We still plan on paddling Lake Vättern and now that we learned there are caves to explore in Tivedon State Park, we will be booking a guide for another adventure there!

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http://www.visitaskersund.se

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Until my next camping adventure post – we are heading out for a long weekend adventure on JogersÖ (Roger’s Island).

Please let me know if you are interested in visiting Askersund. We have collected lots of maps and brochures in each area we visit, with lots of stuff to do!