Outings: A day in Västervik.

Having spent most of our first week of vacation here in Kalmar we were starting to get a bit restless so today we decided to venture further away. We got up a bit earlier than usual and got on the highway heading north. Our destination was Västervik - the second largest city of the county we live in (after Kalmar), and yet a place that neither one of us had ever been to. It's about 140 kilometres away in a direction we rarely travel in, unless we're passing by on the way to someplace further away like Stockholm, and I've wanted to go there for years.

On the way we stopped in the little town of Verkebäck. You see the valley it's located in from the highway and last summer when we passed by on the way to Norrland I was struck by how beautiful it was, so we took the opportunity to get a closer look this time. Verkebäck is a stop on the narrow-gauge railway and has the sweetest little train station. We already decided that we have to travel on that railway one day.

Not much later we reached Västervik where we went for a walk around the city centre in the sticky heat and cooled off with the biggest icecream cups that we've had in a long time. Västervik really is the perfect summer city...

Once we had explored Västervik we drove further north along the coast to see more of the archipelago. We had lunch in the harbour of the little coastal town Loftahammar, with this view:

Our final stop became Tättö just opposite of Loftahammar where we took the opportunity to go swimming because it looked like it was about to start raining. It was my most pleasant time going swimming so far this year; the water was cold when I first got in but I quickly got used to it.

It did rain a little bit on our way home, and we heard some thunder, but it wasn't a real storm. Soon enough it was sunny and 27 degrees warm again. The weather's been too good to be true these past weeks, even better than last summer and I couldn't believe our luck then. We've almost started to wish for rain at this point, but of course one hardly dares to say that out loud for fear that we will have to suffer through an especially harsh winter if we complain now haha. At this rate going to Greece next week won't be much of a change weather-wise, it's only a few degrees warmer there right now.

Outings: Iglasjön.

One of the best things about being on vacation when the weather's as amazing as it has been lately: Being able to spend the entire day out by the lake*, going home for dinner and deciding on a whim to go down to the beach for an evening swim at nine in the evening. And then waking up the next day and heading back to the beach again :)

* One that we found after getting lost in the woods south of Kalmar more than once - the lakes around here are well-preserved secrets it seems. This one, Iglasjön, wasn't even on any maps we could find? Also, it might seem crazy that we willingly go swimming in a lake when we live by the sea, but I grew up by lakes and they will always hold a special place in my heart. And now that I live by the sea I can have both :)

Trips in 2014: A summer day in Poland.

On Saturday evening I went down to Poland with mum. I've travelled on the ferry between Karlskrona and Gdynia more times than I can count but never before have I thought to go outside and see the sunset. This time I didn't let the opportunity go to waste! Granted, it's been six years since I travelled to Poland in the summer and I imagine that it would have been far less pleasant to hang out outside for half an hour in the autumn or spring, and it probably would have been dark already by the time the ferry was due to depart. In any case, Saturday's weather was just perfect for watching the sunset on deck. Every time I go to Karlskrona I fall more in love with the city, it's just so beautiful:

After some drinks at the bar we went to sleep and for once got to sleep undisturbed the whole night. (We were just as lucky on the way home!) In the early morning we found ourselves in Gdynia. The reason for the trip was to visit grandma who hadn't been feeling well and was staying at a hospital in central Gdynia. We didn't know the visiting hours so we headed there first and found out that we could see her straight away. She didn't know we were coming so it was a nice surprise for her. She was in good spirits and faring well under the circumstances, but of course a Polish hospital (or any hospital for that matter) is not fun place to be. Fortunately grandma got to return to the retirement home where she lives just a few days after our visit. She has since had to go to another hospital, but I hope she will be released soon. She really deserves a break at this point.

Having spent some time with grandma mum and I headed out to walk around the city centre a bit. Of course I had to take some photos of/by the fountain at Skwer Kosciuszki, even though everyone teases me that I have so many photos in that place at this point. What can I say, it's so pretty there! We also went for a walk on the beach. It was such a warm day! After lunch we headed back to see grandma and dropped off some things we'd picked up for her like her favourite magazine and some snacks.

Finally, we took a cab to the Riviera Mall where we spent the remainder of our day in Gdynia. I went a bit crazy with the shopping and got some new clothes and a bag filled with kitchen supplies (mostly pink of course!). My vacation budget went down the drain that very day, haha. Oh well, living in a small city with limited shopping will do that to you.

In the evening it was time to head home again, and as the ferry made its way out of the Gdynia harbour onto open sea I got to photograph another sunset :)

This morning I was back in Karlskrona again and around noon my train reached Kalmar. Once I finished unpacking we went down to the beach for a while, the first time of many this vacation I am sure :)

Around here: A long-awaited visit.

On Saturday my friend E and her adorable oldest daughter came over for a visit. We've been planning a get-together for a long time but it hasn't worked out until now. I am so happy I finally got a chance to catch up with her, talk about photography with someone who actually gets it for once, and see how big little F has grown. Since the day was warm and sunny I was able to show them the best of what Kalmar has to offer - a walk through the park by the castle and swimming in the sea.

It was fun to actually have someone to photograph for once, as opposed to just flowers and nature ;)

L & D's wedding.

Last weekend we went down to Åhus in the province of Skåne to attend our friends' wedding. This was my first time ever attending a wedding, and it certainly did not disappoint. It was so beautiful and romantic, and even though I've never been one to dream about a wedding of my own I couldn't help but feel inspired :)

So happy for them :)

(I've decided to start posting my vertical photos this way because I feel like they always look so tiny when I make them only 300 pixels wide, and I am tired of always having to find two matching ones that can be posted next to each other.)

Outings: Grimskär.

Yesterday we joined our friends S & O on a guided tour of the little islet of Grimskär just outside of Kalmar. It's been used for various purposes over the years; originally it was an execution sites where the victims' heads were put on display to scare off invaders, later it was the site of a lighthouse and most recently, until the late 1980s, it was a secret naval mine station. Eight remotely controlled mines were placed in the surrounding waters, ready to be used to defend the harbour of Kalmar against enemy attack. The guide was the man who'd worked there in the decades before the mine station was shut down so we got a first-hand account of what it was like to live and work there, which was really fascinating as you can imagine. Below are some photos I took. (There are none from the insides of the station because there was very little light down there.)

Around here: A summer weekend.

Strawberry picking, a stroll through the forest, three pounds of yellow mushrooms, hanging out in the sun on the balcony, mini-golfing, a dip in the sea and a walk through a city full of roses... All in all we sure managed to squeeze in a whole lot of summer into one weekend :)

Trips in 2014: 30 days to go.

A month or so ago this image popped up in my Facebook feed. I don't even remember where it came from but I found it so beautiful that I had to find out more about where it was taken - Parga in Greece. As I read about it I decided that that's where I wanted to go this summer. I've actually wanted to go to Greece for a long time but never knew where to go. This image made the decision that much easier. Yesterday I finally booked the tickets so on the 4th of August we're heading down there for a week. You can probably imagine how excited I am :)

Around here: Fanny's high school graduation.

Finally getting around to posting this... Fanny's high school graduation was on the 12th of June. Don't know what took me so long. My, what a happy fun-filled day it was! The weather couldn't have been better, almost all of our relatives and friends of the family were there and it was just such a memorable day from beginning to end. To be honest I enjoyed Fanny's graduation day way more than my own a decade ago :)

The day began with everyone gathering outside Fanny's school to see her and the other seniors run outside and begin their new lives as high school graduates. It was incredibly warm and crowded, but oh so exciting. When Fanny finally made her way to us she was showered with teddy bears and flowers.

Next up we walked downtown to where the graduates' rides that would take them around town were waiting. Another Swedish tradition, the high school graduates go on a ride around town with music blasting and drinks in hand haha.

Later in the afternoon everyone gathered back home to continue celebrating. There was a delicious buffet and more dessert than anyone should have in the span of a day. Fanny got some awesome presents and we even had some unexpected, but very welcome, visitors towards the end of the day :)

This was hands down my absolute favourite day of June. Actually probably of the whole year so far.