Trips in 2013: Midsummer on the Isle of Ven.

Usually I don't do anything special for Midsummer but this year I got to spend it in one of my favourite places on earth - the Isle of Ven. If you've been around for more than a year you know how much I love that island. It's my happy place. This was my fifth time going there but it was the first time I stayed for more than a day. It was Per's first visit.

We left Kalmar just after 6 am on Friday morning. I'd been pretty ambitious when I booked us tickets for the 11:30 ferry given that the harbour in Landskrona is a 3.5 hour drive away from here and I almost regretted it when I had to get up at five, but of course I knew it'd be worth it. Once we got to Landskrona we stopped by a supermarket to get some food for the picnic lunch we had in mind and then we headed straight to the harbour. If you've read my previous accounts of visits to Ven you know how crowded the ferry terminal can be and how long I've had to wait in line to get on that ferry. Well, this time was an entirely different story. It was so calm and we were able to pick up our tickets within minutes. We even got to go on the 10:55 ferry because there were tickets left. It wasn't surprising when I think about it, it's not like people just wake up on a public holiday and decide to go to Ven on a whim.

We waved goodbye to Landskrona and thirty minutes later we found ourselves in the Bäckviken harbour. We dragged our luggage up the steep hill that takes you to the rest of the island and located the bed and breakfast where we were going to stay. They let us check in straight away even though we were several hours early.

Free from the luggage we headed straight to the nearby bike rental centre and rented a yellow bike each and then we went looking for a good picnic spot. What we came up with was better than we could have ever imagined. It was located on the top of a hill by the sea and the view was simply breathtaking. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day (which is highly unusual for Midsummer Eve) and I couldn't believe our luck :)

We took our time enjoying the traditional Midsummer food we'd brought along (smoked fish, herring, potato salad and, of course, strawberries) and then we realized that we'd still make it to the Midsummer festivities taking place in the little town in the middle of the island, so that's where we headed. Now it's been many years since I danced around a Midsummer pole in accordance with the tradtion, but it's always fun to watch the silliness and listen to the music :)

Once that was over we had some drinks at a nearby restaurant and then we headed back to the bed and breakfast to rest a bit and get ready for dinner which was to be a Midsummer buffet at one of the island's restaurants.

After dinner we went over to Kyrkbacken and the little church on the hill to watch the sunset. I'd never watched the sun set on Midsummer Eve before, let alone on Ven, and I figured it'd be extra special. It had turned a bit chilly and cloudy at this point and for a while the sun was covered by the clouds, but when it finally re-emerged it was as though the whole sky was on fire. The white church turned orange in the bright light.

Unfortunately we didn't stay until the very end because we were cold, but I kept looking back over my shoulder to see what we were missing and it really blew my mind. The whole sky turned pink. I wish I'd gotten a photo of it. However it was lucky we left when we did because it started to rain quite heavily before we were back at the B&B and we would have gotten so much wetter if we'd stayed out longer.

The next morning I was sad to find that it was still cloudy and grey. Friday had been so perfect and I wish I could have had another day like that and maybe the chance to go swimming, but it didn't turn out that way. Nevertheless, we made the most of the day and bicycled around the island for many hours. Per got to see all of the island for the first time and I got to go on many roads I'd never been on before. We also visited the Tycho Brahe museum. Unlike many places, the island is beautiful even on a grey and rainy day:

In the evening we had a barbecue back at the bed and breakfast. The B&B provided grills you could borrow so we'd bought some food from the island's small grocery store during the day. The other guests were out so it was just the two of us there, and the three sheep who were our closest neighbours. We spent a good few hours just sitting back there, listening to the birds and watching the sheep and the rabbits that passed by so close to us. It was so calm and serene. We had a leftover sausage that we divided into tiny pieces and spread out on the ground in front of us, and soon enough little birds were stopping by to grab the pieces. This evening made me long for the day when we'll have a garden of our own.

On Sunday morning it became time to say goodbye to the island for this time. We caught the 10:30 ferry back to the mainland and began the long drive home. Needless to say I already miss Ven and can't wait until I get to go back again :)

Around here: Hump day macarons.

We didn't have any plans for last night and Per jokingly suggested we bake something nice. To his surprise I agreed, because I suddenly remembered that I had a box of chocolate macaron mix I've been meaning to try in my baking cabinet :)

They turned out really delicious and while I was a bit sceptical about the need for a macaron mix (measuring and mixing the dry ingredients is the easiest step of macaron making if you ask me) it did shorten the process quite a bit. I especially appreciated just having to mix the filling with butter and a bit of milk rather than making it from scratch myself.

Around here: Sunday the 9th.

When I posted this entry I chose to save a bunch of photos from that day for a later entry and now later has become much later but here they are at last. More photos from a sunny Sunday with my best girl, Fanny ♥

Outings: Emmaboda ⇒ Karlskrona.

This afternoon we went on a trip from Emmaboda to Karlskrona and back again on a vintage train. It travelled this section of the railway this weekend to celebrate the that the railway has been restored and we got to come along for a mere $8 (for a return ticket!).

We stayed in Karlskrona for an hour before the train turned back again and on the journey south I came up with the perfect way to fill that hour - by visiting the Glassiären ice cream parlour of course! Per's parents had never been before so we just had to introduce them. If you love ice cream (who doesn't), Glassiären is the place to be. Not only do they offer freshly made cones and a myriad of flavours - rather than give you one scoop of each flavour you get more like six. So two flavours = twelve scoops. And it doesn't cost more than a regular ice cream. I got a strawberry-chocolate one and I sure had to dig far to get to that strawberry (no photos because I had a hard enough time just holding the cone lol). Per got soft ice cream with more chocolate sauce than anyone can eat, but unfortunately his ice cream imploded before he had time to get very far. He's been lamenting the loss ever since, poor guy ;)

Outings: The first dip of the year.

I spent the weekend at my parents' place and on Sunday afternoon mum, Fanny and I headed over to the lake Hyllsjön just outside my hometown. I wanted to go swimming but thought it would be much too cold so I was just going to dip my feet in. However, in a very clumsy move I fell off the jetty into the water and learned that it wasn't actually all that cold after all. I've gone into water much cooler in the past for my first dip of the year. Granted, it usually takes me half an hour to work up the courage to get in. This worked out much quicker :)

Outings: A summer evening in Aboda Klint.

Remember Aboda Klint? During the winter we talked about how nice it would be to go back in the summer. On Wednesday after work we put together a picnic and headed north. We got there a few hours before the sun was due to set at 9:45 so we ate our dinner in the sun and went for a walk down by the beach and through the forest, making sure we made it to the top of the tower in good time for the main event...

It's the same every year, winter turns to summer and the days grow long, but I will never stop marvelling at it all... When we went to Aboda Klint in February the sun set at four in the afternoon. Now the sun sets at ten and rises at four. I know the summer solstice will be here before long, but I'm trying my best to ignore it. Oh how I wish I could freeze the time and let this magical time of year last a bit longer ♥

Around here: Mini-golfing!

On Saturday it looked like Sunday's weather was going to be much better, so you can imagine our disappointment when we woke up to yet another grey day. Fortunately we had plans for the day - Per's parents had invited us to go with them on a little road trip to Öland. It was still overcast when they picked us up and when we drove across the bridge to Öland it was so foggy that we couldn't even catch the smallest glimpse of the otherwise lovely view. It did clear up during our drive north though and when we reached the restaurant where we were going to have lunch it was both warm and somewhat sunny. I had smoked fish for lunch which I just love and then we headed south again and stopped by a cute cafe on the way home.

When we came back to Kalmar it was still quite early and the weather was nice so Per suggested we go mini golfing like we've been wanting to for a while. The last time I went mini golfing must have been in like, the year 2000? I doubt I was very good at it back then either. Guess who won? :P

Actually, we were both pretty terrible at it, but I was embarassingly bad. We had a lot of fun though and I can't wait to do it again! And after all, I did come in second ;)

Outings: Kyrkö mosse.

Our original plans for Saturday included a photo outing to Öland with my photo class. We picked the date during Tuesday's class when the weather forecast predicted a Saturday and a rainy Sunday complete with thunder. Unfortunately it was already raining when we woke up in the morning and the teacher called and said that the outing was cancelled. It was hard to resist the urge to just go back to bed and hide under the covers. Another grey and rainy weekend, preceded by several lovely days that were wasted on work! I could hardly bare it.

I am the worst at coming up with activities for rainy days. It's either going to the mall, or being stuck at home with cabin fever. Since neither one of those options seemed like an appealing start to the weekend we brainstormed a bit and decided to drive to the Kyrkö Mosse car cemetery about an hour away from here. I know it must sound like a pretty weird destination, but I've heard a lot about it and wanted to see it for myself. Per had already been several times.

The property that is home to the car cemetery used to be the home of a man named Åke Danielsson who was born in 1914 and died in 2000. He started a car scrap yard in the 1940s to get an extra income and when he moved to a retirement home in 1991 he left it all behind. The area was going to be cleaned up but due to protests it ended up being protected as a site of historic value. Tests have been done and despite what you'd assume, the ground is actually not that contaminated. It was quite fascinating to walk through the forest and see the tiny red cottage where Åke lived for so many years along with all those abandoned cars. Just imagine the history behind each one of them. Who did they belong to, and which roads have they travelled?

Oh, and as luck would have it, it had stopped raining by the time we got to Kyrkö mosse, but it started up again soon after we left. On the way home we stopped by a country shop for some lunch and when we got home we made dinner and watched a film. In the end the day turned into a Saturday quite well spent.