TROSA, ROMANCE LIVES ON…

September 18, 2010 in SWEDEN | Comments (0)

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13 September – daytrip from Stockholm

Trosa. One of the prettiest towns in Sweden. It came as a bright surprise one rainy day. Like being given a present between birthdays. The contrasts of that day were part of the wonder.

We were to visit an old friend, Paula and I. I took the circular tramway from Gullmarsplan (Tvärbanan) through undistinguished suburbs to Liljeholmen, which is distinguished (for its Ugly Urban Usch). It is one of those so-called “centrum” that revolve around Stockholm. Like an undigested lump – an accidental coagulation of grey apartment blocks, T-bana station, predictable McDonalds and COOP (the saddest part is someone planned it).

The best part is getting out of there on comfy TROSABUSSEN. Only 100 sek for an hour ride to Trosa (toilet on board).

It was raining, clammy, wet and grey. I took snapshots awkwardly from under my umbrella. Regardless of the input from the heavens, the little town of Trosa warmed us with its colours, food and charm.

It’s just a teeny town but has 10 restaurants, among which is picturesque Antons Krog, where we ate excellent lunch for only 85 sek. With a rainbow of brightly painted wooden houses, Trosa  spreads along two sides of a running river, which becomes a canal and then flows out into the Baltic. The banks are lined with boats of every size and shape. Each house has a boat tied up in front. Here is my friend Erry’s pride and joy – an undoubtedly picturesque rowing boat.

Trosa has a yacht marina. It is a popular excursion for Stockholm yachters and has also been well-rated by the international yachting fraternity.  Even by rowing, you are within easy reach of sheltered waters between the islands of the Trosa archipelago – the southern reaches of the multitude of offshore islands along the coast north and south of Stockholm.

Summer is when Trosa blooms to full life. With music and markets, dining in gardens, cappuccino under the apple trees. Boats coming and going. “And,” adds Erry, “busloads of German tourists.”

“You know that Germans like Sweden,” she said. But now many more are coming to Trosa in tours following in the footsteps of Inga Lindström. This popular German TV series is filmed in Sweden’s Sörmland county, many scenes in little Trosa.

Though the cast is German, the language German and the writer German (Inga Lindström is her pseudonym) – the impression is given that these are Swedes talking Swedish with dubbed sound. The Inga Lindström series creates eternal green summer, an idyll of beautiful scenery and beautiful (Swedish) people. In this setting there are fairy-tale like endings when love triumphs. “The Germans think that Sweden is a little nicer, a little cleaner and more honest, and the films owe their popularity due to a longing for better times,” she adds lightly.

The series continues – new episodes were being filmed this week (16 September 2010) in nearby Nyköping. http://www.sn.se/nyheter/nykoping/1.754997 showed a film clip.

But back to Trosa.

It is 13 September. We are walking under umbrellas. Garden cafes are wet and deserted.

It’s not cold but…Summer is almost over. It came to Sweden like a dream. Like an enchantment, and now you wake without the kiss of a prince…

The crowds have fled from Trosa. Many restaurants and B&Bs are closed.  The apple trees that so frothily fill the gardens are now dotted with red. The maple leaves are turning with a triumphant blaze. They do it in a way that says “we wanted our last fling while still young and sappy in mid-September”. Other leaves hang on green and hopeful till mid-October when they bleach, crumple and fall, giving in to barrenness. The conifers never cared for summer anyway…

Erry is resigned to autumn. Descended from fisher folk in the arctic areas of Norway, she breathes its first dews and wisps of melancholy with Scandinavia’s harmonious resignation and belonging.

We walk back from our delicious meal at Anton’s Krog, where Anton from Switzerland started a restaurant in an old fire station 30 years ago (the dish Paula ordered as an extra was best – chanterelle soup – unimaginably delicious). We walk in a circle (I believe) past the bookshop (“a real bookshop” Erry says. Past stadshotell – a hotel with a literary history (hence a real bookshop).

Along the river past the angled roofs of quaint bright houses, red, green, blue, terracotta, walls with wooden trimmings in contrasting colours. Boats all along the way – you maybe have a car at the back, but a boat in front.

“That white house used to belong to Benny of Abba,” she points out. “I don’t think he ever lived there but he has an island nearby. I like him – he comes to town like an ordinary guy … in gumboots.”

We cross an arched wooden bridge to her house. Very sweet house with the typically glassed in veranda (lots of smaller panes creating a traditional yet light area  – not floor to ceiling glass which might cause your neighbours a heart attack).

They have a platform in the garden extending to the water’s edge swirling by under the willows – too wet for coffee there. So we go in to enjoy her version of cafe latte (with heated cream) in her cosy renovated house. She has just had a kitchen made brand new in fifties style (when Sweden was still making Utopia in more solid fashion than the 60s and 70s).

The jade green “kakelugn” (tile heater) is the centrepiece of the room where we drink our cafe crème. “Interesting that you have so many small rooms – no temptation to follow modern fashion and pull down walls to make open spaces,” I say. “No – awful. I like it cosy,” Erry says.

Upstairs under the sloping eaves we meet her cat with new kittens. This kitty is a very typical Trosa cat. It catches fish in the river. Paw trails in the water, and suddenly up comes shining fish, swept against kitty mouth. This year kitty brought in fish after fish, into the kitchen – the way other kitties bring mice. She does not get tempted to eat them. A present for the house…

Trosa was given city privileges in the middle ages. It became a leading Swedish bathing resort in the late 1900s after the first steamboat came, and the scene of important meetings, balls and masquerades. Stadshotellet is known as a literary hotel, associated with The “Five Young People” group which met there from time to time in the 1930s.  Erik Asklund, Josef Kjellgren and Gustav Sandgren wrote books about Trosa; Artur Lundkvist and Harry Martinsson became members of the Swedish Academy (Nobel prize fame); and Martinsson won the very prize. Another Academy member had a cottage near Trosa and often visited the hotel, occasionally writing poems on table napkins.


HI-LIFE ON UTÖ & ÅLÖ

August 20, 2010 in SWEDEN | Comments (8)

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Living it up in the Stockholm archipelago – cycling and dining

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14 August – Båtshaket & Utö Värdshus

My best kept secret is out: I found a rave review on Båtshaket (Boat Shed restaurant), so might as well tell all.

We discovered Båtshaket in August on the perfect combination – Utö and Ålö. A night at the inn on Utö – and a cycling jaunt over the bridge to Ålö to a rustic fish restaurant – makes a perfect weekend to savour good Swedish food and the haunting charms of the archipelago.

Båtshaket is due to close for the year on 5 September. Still, September and October are great for cycling. The Utö inn is open at weekends. And all the spirit of the archipelago reaches out to you – coming and going in boats, gleaming sea, clean wind, rippling rocks, little white beaches, ancient trees…and other typical island scenes with wooden piers, offshore islands and little red and white cottages.

Areas of limestone bring fauna and flora that you find on the island of Gotland – and some of the chalky lightness. Strands of metamorphosed volcanic ash called leptite streak the extraordinary sculpted rocky shores.

On Saturday 14 August we took the 9am boat Silverpilen to Utö from Årstabrygga, a 20 to 30 minute car ride from Stockholm (or suburban train to Västerhaninge and then bus 846).

The waters were silk, a dove grey, lilac blue shimmer. Sun shone through the vaporous clouds. The islands seemed to float, and rocky edges ripple.

It was hot when we got to Utö. First thing on landing, was to hire cycles at Gruvbryggan – to be sure we had bike baskets to fill with picnic goodies at the small supermarket. We had a café latte at the yacht harbor, and dropped our luggage at Utö Värdshus where we would spend the night, then set off to discover Ålö. It was 22 degrees C, but felt very hot in the sun as we cycled…

ÅLÖ AND BÅTSHAKET

The road to Ålö takes you past the camping site and its little beach, through forest and along the shore with glimpses of wooden piers, yachts, little summer houses. At Spranga Brygga (another ferry stop) there was the smell of waffles cooking and I noted that a late breakfast might have been enjoyed there at 10am.  But it would have been filter coffee, not the espresso enjoyed at the yacht harbor.

Past the little church and some 7 km of undulating terrain (including surprising glimpses of beaten up battle tanks from military exercises and warning signs by the military) you come to the bridge over to Ålö.

Ålö has its own feel. It is a nature reserve but has a hay farm and little green areas. The guide book makes a lot of the varied terrain. Swedes treasure open spaces as they live with “wall-to-wall forest” (or plantation) over most of the country, so to speak.

So while other countries in Europe get excited about a patch of forest – a wood or copse – Swedes get excited about a pasture or a field of wheat. Songs are sung about open country “öppna landskap” (e.g. Ulf Lund ell).

In this context Ålö is idyllic with its mix of forest, green meadows, solitary trees and a blue channel between it and the next island. It’s the sense of island life, lazy days and pastoral Europe, with the magic of some stones placed as if for ancient rituals. The forest includes shaggy conifers, drily withdrawn from foolish extravagance, and leafy dancing trees that forget for a moment the threat of autumn and winter.

Our gravel road curved gently up and down round rocky knolls until we came to a crossroads offering us Storsand (big sands) versus the ferry stop and painted by hand a nother sign to Båtshaket.  Cannot resist a hand painted sign in a world where modern technology stares at us with determination and blank eyes, so we chose Båtshakets restaurant and relinquished the beach.

Båtshaket. It was love at first sight.

Three ways of getting to Båtshaket were evident – bikes, bikes and more bikes; small boats tied up in front; and the ferry boat that arrives a short walk away (from Nynashamn). Theoretically you can also get here by motorbike or kind taxi from Utö.

The menu was written on a lot of different black boards. Fish is the dish. In seven variations, including 4 types of herring for 125 sek, smoked salmon and homemade potato salad (125 sek), also meatballs on a stick (60 sek).

Båtshaket is an original boat house. This one perches on the rocks and opens out onto a deck with canvas tent for shade. From simple rough wooden tables you had a view that was five star. Smooth rocks, white boats, and silky water, clear enough to reveal the green underwater world with seaweed and stones. Sometimes the Baltic is not like that – it’s dark and secretive – perfect for hiding submarines…

But this was a friendly sea sharing its secrets.

And across its shimmering surface a bright white ferry boat came in from Natttarö and Nynashamn, like a visitation.

The freshly smoked salmon was just totally delicious. Our picnic lunch was quite forgotten. After some yummy local beer, we dropped our idea of cycling another 3km to the beach … and returned to Gruvbyn and Utö Värdshus to relax in our accommodation before dinner.

UTÖ VÄRDSHUS

Up on the hill above the yacht harbor, it is housed in one of those charming buildings with angled roof common in the counties around Stockholm. This features a veranda restaurant, fine dining restaurant and breakfast room. An old-fashioned timber building painted traditional Falu-red and housing a café and shops, hung with flowers, makes up one side of a sheltered courtyard. The accommodation is in annexes built like cottages layered down the hill to the sea.

Our package was booked a month ago  Utö Värdshus is very popular – no last minute bookings likely in the summer. 2900 SEK included 2 people in a cottage for 1 night, breakfast and a nice 3 course dinner. Considering the accommodation (basic and comfortable not classy) it was not cheap – but considering the nice meals and the alternative of hostel it was worth it.

In fact compared with the campsite it was total luxury.

There were two other restaurants to dine at down at the harbor – both well liked, the lively and more casual Seglarbar where the boat set hang out, and Dannekrogen (where they no doubt also hang out). The Utö Värdshus has less excitement perhaps but more style and elegance.

Two rooms were laid out with long tables for festive groups. A wedding party, a big birthday and a crayfish party were in progress, (Crayfish parties are a traditional August event in Sweden – and the partakers in a room by themselves were more informally dressed and possibly jollier). People come from faraway country towns to Utö to enjoy special events and corporate or family togetherness. Very authentically Swedish…

The couples sit on the closed in balcony with view of a traditional villa and the sea. It was a nice atmosphere. You cannot fault the marine smartness of blue and white. White chairs, blue cloths. Chandeliers, silver and glass adding glitter and glamour to the cottagey.

Our waiter was excellent. My disappointment over being given shrimps (räkor) as my starter was smoothly dealt with. He brought me a nice balsamic vinegar salad immediately. Second course – rödtunga with mash looked and tasted good. Not gourmet frontline with an exciting difference but very nice. Dessert delish.

We wandered out into the 10 pm sunset. Down at the yacht harbor the masts of the boats in the channel sliced a fluffy pink sky, and the still waters got more and more rich with reflections of reds and purples like wine in a bottle.

It was dark when we got to our separate cottagey accommodation. comfy, cosy and very petite. We had the cottage lowest down the slope at sea level, which gave us a view of the yacht harbor and the back of Seglarbaren. I laughed and reminded Pelle that I had once asked for take-away at Seglarbaren with a faulty  translation: ”ta bort maten.” (take my food away)

Confusion. I should have used the English un-translated “takeaway”.

The noise (the expected noise) from the jolly restaurant was not disturbing, though the heat made us leave our window open.

Though the public areas of the inn might be four star – the “stugby” (cottage village) accommodation is more three star. Clean, very clean and neat. Cosy, blue and white theme, but rather petite and too much plastic. This is family accommodation with a second single bedroom and a bed sofa in the small lounge, as well as a wall cupboard that opens out into a kitchenette.

The inn does also have ordinary double rooms in villa accommodation which are slightly more expensive.

The cosy comfortable mood is extended to the breakfast. There is a waffle making machine where you can (and teenagers do) make your own waffles, and a juicer where you can (and the mothers do) squeeze your own orange juice, and toaster where you make your own toast…apart from the usual buttermilks, yoghurts, mueslis, grains, and hams and cheeses to go on bread…

Nice but a bit crowded.

15 August – lonely sea and the sky

Moist air, warm and scrubby grey sky. Water with a gleam of green churning as we turn. I am on the ferry, leaving Spränga Brygga, opposite the little church and Kyrkbrygga.

This morning we walked to Rävstavik a couple of km down the hill from the inn. Past the old mine pit now filled with water – for hundreds of years Utö had an iron mining industry – hence the windmill. Past former workers cottages. Down through a tall forest to the coast facing the Baltic.

Grey glittery scene, sweeping views with gnarled pines on the worn, smooth rippling rocks. A lonely feel (lonely sea and the sky).

We studied the sky as a rainstorm threatened. A distant growl, like an animal warning from the sky,

At breakfast we’d wondered if it was a military exercise or thunder. The waitress guessed military as it came out short almost mechanical, without the soft edges of thunder (I thought). But we dared to walk nervously (me afraid of lightning) with picnic and umbrella, ready for eventualities, sun or rain.

Maybe 15 minutes there, enjoying rich solitude, the lighthouse on an islet adding an oceanic touch. The vik (inlet) was calm though trembling with temptation of winds to open its gleaming surface to broken ripples.

Then it started. We walked back up the hill with umbrellas furled which did not prevent feet, pants, sandals, legs from dripping and squelching as the warm air gave us its gifts of hard rain,

We gave up our weekend, fetched our luggage from Utö Värdshus luggage room, and trundled down in lighter rain, but equally sopping around the feet, to the harbor.

And now we are on the ferry home…misty window, pinkish or bluish haze – ah lilac haze. Surface running with wavelets. A pale white glow on the horizon over Utö.

Maybe we should have stayed.

See my previous post on Utö…


Artist’s homes around Stockholm

July 28, 2010 in SWEDEN | Comments (0)

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24 July Millesgården Lidingö

 

A PLACE OF SHEER BEAUTY.

Ate lunch at MILLESGÅRDEN in a courtyard restaurant with a heavenly border of flowers – how do you describe flowers if you are no longer able to say gay?   I sat after lunch on the sofa, just to look at them…and sat some more.

 

Millesgården is a place to meditate upon beauty. Built on a steep rocky hill that plunges down cliffs to the sea channel below, it was lovingly crafted by sculptor Carl Milles and his wife as an “artist’s home”, with gardens, endless stone stairs and balustrades, very Mediterranean in feel. All over are his sculptures and fountains, many created as forerunners or copies of his work displayed in public places all over the world.

Milles was in in love with art and all things beautiful … and felt it was his ‘duty’ to make his home and garden an attraction for other artists to enjoy. Apart from his sculptures, his former home is full of relocated Ionian columns and graceful and gracious classical things.

“We have no forks and no sheets – but columns – those Carl can always afford to buy”, his wife Olga is quoted as saying wryly.

It was not just columns. There is a room full of classical treasures…including marble antiquities from Greece and Rome, with picture windows out to the Mediterranean terraces. This snapshot almost makes the glass disappears so the antiquity could be in the garden.

There are at least four sweeps of granite steps down the steep rocky slopes, between tall pines, tucked away gardens and treasures, to the lowest terraces crowded with mythological figures that are raised to meet the sky. Most of the sculptures are in or around fountains. And so there are fountains everywhere. The place tinkles with water….

That is part of the magical charm. Water sounds. And the smell of water, resin and flowers.

A gigantic Poseiden looks over the end wall and sees that beyond this magic place is the “bread and butter” (hind side) Stockholm. On the other side of the sea channel Värtan you see oil bowsers, chimneys and gigantic cruise ships. He is proud anyway…

Carl Milles, 1875-1955, lived at Millesgården with his wife Olga in the early 1900s. After returning from America he stayed there in the summers and lived in Italy.
… and now to Waldemarsudde

 Waldemarsudde, Djurgården

Full of the magic still, we drove to the Stockholm “island” of Djurgården, coming in the back way past Frihamnen and Gärdet. Djurgården is almost an island, but has a small land bridge. Djurgården is where the most popular attractions are found – like Gröna Lund amusement park, and culturally interesting Skansen zoo and open air museum. It is also where the super rich live, and the embassies. It has large green areas, well liked restaurants and very special art galleries.

The first drops of rain had started, and we drove (it seemed to me) through an Englishy world of tall sappy deciduous trees. None of the tougher feel and mystery of a Swedish forest, a lighter golden mellower feel. The king’s sheep were wandering by the roadside and were herded away by Welsh border collies – a very pastoral scene.

Now one hour before closing we were at Waldermarsudde, an art gallery and the former home of Prince Eugene, with original furniture and effects, in a beautiful garden overlooking the water. Prince Eugene is the great grandson of the first Bernadotte king – Charles XIV (Karl Johan) and a relative of the present Charles (Carl XVI Gustaf).

Two connected exhibitions were on, called the Crown and the Ring and The Royal House of Bernadotte (both end 3 October 2010). We got to see the Bernadotte family tree, portraits of descendants of Jean Baptiste/Charles XIV, photographs, and beautiful jewellery and bridal crowns (on loan from all over the world).

It emerged that though Jean Baptiste was too busy doing military things to show his artistic side, he had brought artistic genes to his descendants. Prince Eugene was much praised as a painter, and his works are among the treasures of Waldermarsudde. He never accepted the praise he got – and said wryly that it was largely due to his social position. He had the good fortune to be able to purchase the work of other artists like Isaac Grunewald (a Swedish impressionist) and was a promoter of Swedish art. I have the feeling he was a very nice man.

Another exhibition was on – celebrating 200 years of the Karolinska Institute. Showing stunningly crafted medical art from the middle ages, it nevertheless struck me as unpleasantly sensationalist – and no doubt reflected truly the brutality of the first doctors as well as the vulnerability of homo sapiens.

At last, out into the beautiful garden. Prince Eugene’s former home stands on a rise, and the garden runs down to the sea channel where Viking Line boats pass, as well as the tubby boats that ply between the archipelago and the quays at Nybroviken and Grand Hotel.

It started to rain. From the shelter of a “lusthus” (pagoda), I snapped The Thinker.

Then as we drove home, the rain started in earnest:

A month of  midday temperatures between 25 and 30 has come to an end.  It had to happen. I hear the rush and splatter of rain from the sky.  That is a sound that pleases in the desert.

But in Sweden that thick sky is a blanket over our pleasure….our magical gift of heat is over…

At least the rain held back for us to enjoy two artist’s homes and gardens. Tomorrow is another day:

Sunday 25 July – luminous meeting of dark and light

 

Bleary mood when the sun has gone. I woke thinking how so many Swedes love grey weather. When autumn comes they relax from all the need to be so active and hectically happy – “time to sink into yourself,” a friend explained.

This set me remembering that gorgeous painting by Prince Eugene of the Stockholm Royal Palace. It was a dark vast palace in a watery world that was grey and metallic, and yet pearly and luminescent in places … delicate in touch.

Today I would go looking for a view  of the Royal Palace that resonated with Prince Eugene’s mood when he set oil to that huge canvas….a luminous meeting between dark and light.

My snapshots follow, showing the changing mood…

I wanted the grey feel, and I could almost see it…but of course there were painted tourist buses parked in front of the palace, and a concrete bridge has been built since Prince Eugene painted…

And then the sun came out vaguely through the cloud.

The bright walls of the gabled buildings along Skeppsbron, Gamla Stan were leaping out of the grey. Shouting joyfully…

Slottsbackan- palace hill

The boats from the islands were coming in and going out, adding a brightness and sense of activity and adventure. Sunday is of course a popular day for Stockholmites to travel out to the archipelago.

In this snapshot families are spreading their bags across quay 3 – probably heading out for a week or two or returning with shopping.

Most of the Waxholm boats that provide transport to the islands leave from in front of the Grand Hotel, facing the Royal Palace. One of Stockholm’s oldest and finest hotels – and by contrast, look at all those plastic bagson the quay

Those are some of the things I love about Stockholm…


Out to Utö

July 17, 2010 in SWEDEN | Comments (4)

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Saturday

Barnens bad - beach on Utö

Today we travel out to a special island among the 24 000 islands and skerries in the coastal waters off Stockholm.

Life was made for moments like this. Waiting for a boat to the archipelago, with legs swinging over the quay. Focus on water. Cool, green and dreamy depths…and fish.

A baby girl who bears a striking resemblance to her clutched doll says excitedly: “Mycket vatten” (lots of water). She too sees the fish floating around the pier, and would just leap off the edge and fly too (or sink) if mamma did not hold her.

Over the glittering water, the boat Silverpilen (silver arrow) comes in to Årstabrygga. How much nicer than flying. An unshaven guy leaps off the boat and says informally to the waiting passengers “10 minutes to tidy – then we are off”. You love him. If an airline pilot was so nonchalant you’d be really worried about the coming takeoff.

Silverpilen comes in

We’ve had heat – lush lazy heat since before midsummer. We are sweltering.

But now it is Saturday and we are heading for Utö, where not many tourists go. It’s a long four hour boat ride from Stockholm and the Grand Hotel. The normal way the locals get to Utö involves a half hour self-drive from Stockholm to the pier or 50 minute train and bus ride, and then half an hour ferry boat ride to the island.

Utö is undeniably special.

Hoary lichen, spruce and water

It is one of the most varied islands in the archipelago. The outer edge of Utö faces the Baltic and has the look of the outer islands of the archipelago  – worn smooth first by the ice age glaciers, and then by waters lapping and slapping. The rocks seem wavy, light and free in their lines, striped with white leptite  – beautiful places to lie.

Smooth rocky shore

The inner edge of Utö is more like the coast it faces – rich vegetation close to the seafront, rougher rocks. And some beaches. On this side lies Gruvbryggan – one of the main ferry stops and guest harbours. A long line of yachts and glittering masts is sheltered by an offshore island. Up on the hill is the “famous” sight of a windmill, though famous is perhaps too strong a word for an island that is more in the best-kept-secret bracket.

Utö Värdshus - the inn includes 2 restaurants

Restaurants, inn, guest house, shops and a beachside camping site make Gruvbryggan the undisputable centre of Utö. This sleepy little place can seem quite exuberant in the evenings with live music and the smell of grilling meat.

Iron was mined on Utö for 700 years up there on the hill. Related “sights” include a small museum, the 250m deep pit (containing water), a line of workers cottages – and I guess the windmill, now restored.

The best news about Gruvbryggan is that one can hire bikes – so the first thing we did after a café latte at the pier café was to queue for a bike. It is better not to have coffee first, as the best bikes get snapped up. You can cycle many pleasant kilometres to the far ends of the elongated island and to another island, Ålö, over a bridge.

Parts of Utö are national park much of Ålö island – with elk and deer and other gentle Nordic creatures. Old hoary pines and spruce, and rarer species bring a special feel that differs from the rest of Sweden as (like Gotland) it has large areas of limestone – not just granite. Between the shaggy arms of spruce there is paler earth along with flashes of blue water in any and every direction.

As we head off from Gruvbryggan we use our three gears to get up gentle hills (which in the heat feel quite steep), passing a small public bathing pier.  Utö is all about water and swimming.

Now we were in view of a quaint church over a bay.

Utö church across the bay

We stopped at a little shop and café by the water where the locals were buying strawberries and eggs. I overheard someone explain to another that at Utö church today a couple would be getting married in the presence of all their kids. Typical Swedish wedding – the kids are present.

Later, amazingly, on our return journey we saw the bridegroom or best man fiddling with his buttonhole/carnation, standing by the roadside under a tree, waiting…

No limousines or anything boring like that. The probable wedding guests came down the paved road wheeling overnight bags. There is a ferry stop close to the church.

The sad truth of our cycling is that we gave up on three routes when I got deterred by gentle hills…(too hot). So turned back (1) before reaching the beach at Alléviken, (2) before the bridge over to Ålö, and (3) before the northern tip at Kroka. But we cycled at least 18 km…

Some favourite places on Utö: barnens bad (the children’s beach) – pale sand and strokes of long grass with the water sheltered by islets – surrounded by forest. No toilet – only a recycling shed. Very ecological.

Rävstavik. Didn’t get there on the bikes but by walking in a previous year – only 3km from Gruvbryggan.

Rävstavik