Walking Tour Starts Here
I realize it’s been a little quiet over here at Spare Change…not because I don’t have a lot to say, but because I’m just saying it in another place–working on a project (that with a little luck and a bit more work), will be finished by next year. The gist of it is “unpacking the expat life,” a bit of light-hearted practical advice for the global “hauler,” (it’s hauling, not traveling, when you’re bringing along everything plus your suitcase).
Meanwhile, I’ve been busy with the end of year school stuff, the usual suspects: dance recital, rugby and basketball tournaments, choir concerts, a 6th grade camp to Åland (an island off the Finnish coast)—okay, so not the usual 6th grade experience, but yes, Jonah is enjoying the perks of growing up where insurance companies don’t limit the fun you can have in school. I’ve yet to see a “waiver,” I mean for anything, not at my gym not at the doctor…I don’t think they have waivers in Sweden because everything is covered by state health care…you don’t need to be concerned about personal injury or whose going to pay. That’s pretty darn nice.
But I’m not going to debate the merits of healthcare, not yet anyway, because today is a holiday, Ascension Day. Swedes may not be all that religious, but they do observe religious holidays that give time off work. And today I’m going on my (almost) daily walk with Cooper and Maggie and bringing you along for the show–Sweden puts on a spectacular performance each spring, nature strutting all her best stuff. Grab a jacket, it’s still a bit windy…let’s go.
It begins here, by the water just down from our house. Sometimes I forget how marvelous it really is, but not today, today I feel it…it’s glorious.
A little further down you’ll see this sign pointing the way to a bridge to Bockholmen island…it’s a small mound, really, without roads, just a trail that wraps around to wonderful Swedish restaurant. It’s a nice little stop off if you want to linger by the water.
This road leads you through a neighborhood and as you can see, the bushes are heavy with lilacs all along the way…the scent is euphoric.
Here’s one of my favorite traditional Swedish homes. Whoever lives there keeps a lovely garden. What you don’t see from this angle, are the potted plants in front.
Once you enter the forest, there’s any number of trails you can take. I’m always mesmerized by the shapes of shadows cast by the leaves.
Once through the forest, you emerge by the university housing for students. For some reason these buildings are quite famous. There’s a lot of these tenement “blocks.”
Around the bend you’ll discover this little village of summer cottages in quintessential Swedish red.
Through a tunnel and here’s where you come out–right by the lake.
I never get tired of walking by this incredible view.
Maggie stops to admire the wild flowers and make mischief (of one kind or another).
It’s sunny and we’ve walked for about an hour, so we deserve to stop at our favorite Kafe Sjostugan for a slice of rhubarb pie–it’s open everyday now until fall. Don’t you love how they decorate? Hang a stick and some paper cut-outs and voila!, you’ve got style…there’s always something creative draped from the ceiling.
We sit outside. Because we can.
Maggie said it was her lucky day when this little feller landed on her jacket. We now have a caterpillar in residence.
This orchard used to be filled with sheep. Come late summer the apples are going to be amazing.
The Swedes have a great tradition, dating back to WWII, (when people moved out of the city to grow their own vegetables because produce was scarce), of living in these summer cottages. I keep thinking I’m going to spot the Seven dwarfs.