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 :)

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