You couldn’t have asked for a nicer way to be welcomed to Sweden than what I was treated to today. After arriving in Stockholm at 7 am, friends Jan and Dawne picked me and my brother up from our Gamla Stan hotel and drove us out to their lovely place in the archipelago.
Jan and Dawne have been here in Sweden all summer, enjoying what some say has been the warmest summer in years. They have a truly spectacular place in the archipelago, secluded and quiet, with thier own boat dock. The casually elegant spot belies the amount of labor it takes to keep the grass mown and nature at bay. It is lovely beyond words.
Jan and Dawne treated us to very tasty lunch, including shrimp, smoked salmon, brie, a wonderful salad and fresh veggies. Simple and elegant.
After lunch Jan and Dawne played tour guide as we cruised the local waterways. You could easily get lost among these islands, but Jan grew up boating in this area and knows it well. We marveled at the beautiful summer homes and boats along the shoreline. The season is starting wind down at the end of August. Many Swedes have the entire month of July off from work and spend it in the archipelago. The end of August finds many people shutting the houses up for the winter. NIghts begin to get very cool with daytime highs in the 70s.
We stopped in for a quick visit with Jan’s boyhood friend Stephan, and his wife Anne. They also have a lovely summer house on the water.
It was wonderful to have such a lovely start to a vacation. I’ve been to Stockholm before, but never to the archipelago. Being invited into people’s homes, meeting new friends and experiencing a warm and friendly welcome was the best part. Everything seems so clean and orderly.
With jetlag beginning to take its toll on me, we headed back to Gamla Stan and the RIca Hotel before sunset. A very quick stroll around the old town proved I had not forgotten the streets and squares and sites of this part of Stockholm, the “city between the bridges.” Gamla Stan is quite a popular place, with about a dozen restautrants per block, if not more. There are shops, museums, churches and the Royal Palace on this small island in the city. The most recognizeable and most photographed buildings are in Stortorget square, where I stopped for this photo just before sunset.