Hot tub success!

Tuesday, June 20th. Still.

After all of our adventures with the tipping canoe, the smoking lawn mower, and the burnt pizza, it was really nice to finish the day with an activity that went off without a hitch – the hot tub! After our canoeing debacle in the morning, we asked Stig if maybe we could use the wood fired hot tub that evening. It takes some six hours or more (!) of fire to make it hot, so he started it right away. Kelly helped checking on it at regular intervals throughout the day (at the same time as he was tending a fire in the pizza oven – it was a fiery day).

Feeding the fire

Feeding the fire


It was a beautiful, calm evening. It wasn’t that warm, but not freeze-your-butt-off cold either. The hot tub however, was smoking hot! The swallows were hunting insects high up in the sky – a sign that the weather will be nice! – and their song invoked that relaxing summer night feeling. We opened a bottle of white wine and just relaxed in the tub.


Old sauna building

The sauna house (which we didn’t use)


Attempted walking

Tuesday, June 20th.

After trying to force our way through nettles, and burning up a lawn mover, Charlotte and I finally had a nice 20 minute walk in the surroundings.

We were trying to go look at the babbling brook that’s running outside the back of our cabin and that we hear from the window at the back of the house. Our host Stig said that we could probably go around the farm by using the “landing strip” – a piece of grassy land where he apparently lands his plane when he’s flying. We tried to go that way, but was stopped by an impenetrable sea of stinging nettles. “No problem”, said our other host, Susanne, when we came back to the cabin. “I’ll just cut a path with the lawn mower”. And she worked really hard to make a path just so we could walk there. She was having some success before the lawn mower decided that enough was enough, and it started smoking… I felt a bit bad about causing all that trouble!

In the end, Kelly stayed in the cabin to feed the fire in the pizza oven, while Charlotte and I went for a walk on the road instead. We came to the landing strip from the opposite direction, and went to see the little brook after all. It was a nice walk 🙂 .






Attempted pizza baking

Tuesday, June 20th.

We started to get hungry after our “adventures” with the canoe, and decided that we would make pizza in the wood fire oven! It took a couple of hours of feeding the fire to get the oven hot, so after all that work, we were very excited when we finally put in the pizza.



We checked on the pizza no more than 5 minutes later, and it looked burnt to a crisp…



I must say though, after we cut the edges off, the rest of the pizza was fine and actually tasted really good. But there was a little while there where we thought we had to go without dinner… And this time we did follow our host’s instructions!

Attempted canoeing 

Tuesday, June 20th.

An interesting day to say the least. In short: after spending the whole morning convincing Charlotte how safe it is to go in a canoe, we tip it over without even moving a meter.

The long version: The day started out nicely with sunny weather and breakfast outside the cabin. It was pretty windy and a bit cold, but that’s how you know you’re in Sweden: you sit outside anyway. We had some nice bread with butter and fresh chives that Kelly cut from just around the corner, where they are growing in the wild.

We discussed what to do today and decided that it would be great fun to go out in the canoe, which is something our host Susanne suggested yesterday. The plan was to follow her directions: start out in the lake outside the cabin, go across, carry the canoe around a collapsed bridge, get into the next lake, paddle to a hydroelectric power plant, have fika in a wind shelter on the shore and then head back.

We prepped sandwiches, snacks and beverages. We put on layers of clothing (since the weather shifted completely about every 5 minutes), grabbed our backpacks, brought a blanket and took Charlotte’s brand new fancy camera with us. I talked at length about how difficult it is to tip over a canoe, how you “really have to work for it to happen”, to put my mother-in-law at ease for this super safe and fun activity we were about to do. We walked down to the lake and put life vests on. Stig, our other host, came down and introduced himself and his dog Biggels. He told us that we could even see beavers and showed us where on the map. He left. Kelly was excited about seeing beavers.

We got into the canoe, all three of us. It felt wobblier than normal (I have been canoeing many times before). And then we tipped over. Seriously, we didn’t even leave the dock. Actually, that was probably good, because it meant it was easier for us to get our stuff out of the water. It was very muddy water right there, not the kind you wanted to take a dip in. The new camera went in the water, but Kelly grabbed it quickly. Maybe it’s okay, maybe not; we still don’t know. Poor Charlotte was destroyed, I think partly because of the camera and partly because she felt responsible for tipping us over. She thought she had ruined our whole day, but Kelly and I assured her that, well, shit happens and it wasn’t her fault and we have to just deal with it and the day wasn’t ruined because of this. It’s not exactly what we planned though. I have been canoeing so many times in my life, and I have never ended up in the water before. Seriously! But this canoe was different than the ones I’m used to, apparently…

Later in the day, after changing into dry clothes and feeling less traumatized about it, Kelly convinced me to try again, just the two of us. We had been doing it wrong earlier, according to Stig; all of us should have been sitting in the bottom of the canoe with our legs folded underneath us. Kelly and I tried again, and it was still very unstable, but this time we sat on the bottom on our knees. We went to the other side of the little lake – where the broken bridge was – and then back again. My feet and legs were killing me from the sitting position, so I said no to any longer trips in the canoe (like to where the beavers were). I don’t even understand how we would get out of the canoe and onto land, in order to carry it to the other side of the bridge. It felt like if someone sneezed we would have tipped over again. Kelly was greatly disappointed, as he had looked forward to possibly seeing beavers.

Even though nothing worked out as planned, I think we all ended up having a very nice day after all. It felt good to at least try the canoe again. Our hosts were nice and helpful and bought rice for us to put the camera in. We did other stuff. I suggested that we should go out in the row boat instead. Charlotte replied that she never wants to set foot in a boat again.

The lake closest to the house, Båtstjärnen

Beautiful flowers, lupines, by the lake

Kelly and I are giving the canoe a second chance

The elves are dancing

In Swedish/Nordic mythology there are trolls, elves, Näcken (a water spirit “Neck”), gnomes and other creatures. Last night I got to see the elves…

Swedes say that the elves are dancing on the lake or the meadow, when a particular fog is formed in the light summer nights. It really does look like elves dancing and it’s incredibly beautiful. Last night at about 3:20 am I was awake and got to see it. I tried to take a picture and video, but it doesn’t quite do it justice – the feeling is magical 🙂


Leaving the city, going to Dalarna

Monday, June 19th

Charlotte has been in Sweden several times before, at different times of the year. This time we wanted to show her a different part of Sweden, and explore the Swedish nature as it is the most beautiful in June, so I arranged a cabin (booked on Airbnb) for us to stay in for a few nights. The cabin is part of an old Dala farm in the middle of the woods outside of Rättvik, in our favorite region, Dalarna.

We took our time in the morning getting packed and ready to go, and left Uppsala at about noon. We went to my parents’ house on the way, to drop off Carlos with them. We enjoyed fika in the garden, and the weather was absolutely perfect.


Carlos is enjoying being outside

The next stop was in Avesta, where we – of course – had to get some pictures with “the biggest Dala horse in the world”. It’s funny that it’s the biggest in the world, because I have a feeling the rest of the world isn’t even trying… 😉

Kelly & Charlotte & Dala horse

After about 3 hours more driving, and some grocery shopping in Falun, we drove on dirt roads the last bit to Enskvarn.

Enskvarn is a small traditional farm with an old mill and a baker’s house, where the locals would come and make their flour and bake their bread. We are staying in the old baker’s building. The owners live on the property as well, and our host Susanne showed us around upon our arrival. We didn’t get to Enskvarn until around 7 o’clock, and it was even later before we were settled into the house. We hadn’t had any real food all day, and we were very hungry! I got right on cooking dinner. With assistance from the others (cutting vegetables with really dull knives…), I produced a nice spaghetti bologna, and we enjoyed it with wine and lots of interesting stories and nice conversations :).

It was raining in the evening, but that didn’t bother us as we were just watching the view of the lake and having it warm and cozy in the cabin. I do hope we getting some sun tomorrow though.

Högfjället

Friday April 7th

The day started out with amazing weather, blue skies and sunny. In other words, time to put on the sunblock again 🙂 . We left the house some time after 11 and got to Högfjället around 11:30.

Högfjället is celebrating its 80 year anniversary this year! Back in the 1930s, when entrepreneur J W Klüver came up with his risky business idea of a luxurious hotel in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing in these mountains, not even roads. He invited investors to his chosen spot for a grand tour, but in order to get them all the way there on horse-drawn sleighs, 12 men had to shovel snow for two weeks prior to the event. His guests must have been impressed, because Mr Klüver got the money he needed and was able to build one of Sweden’s earliest mountain resorts.

IMG_3216

So, back to today. We didn’t know if there was going to be much wind on the top, so we thought about having a fika in the sun and wait for more wind, but then decided to give it a go and skip the fika. We took the ski lift to the top with three kites squeezed into two bags, and ended up staying there for almost six hours!

Panorama on top of the mountain

Panorama on top of the fjäll

Kelly with the 12m kite

Kelly with the 12m kite

View of the marked trail on top of the fjäll

View of the marked trail on top of the fjäll

We both did a lot of practicing today. Back and forth, back and forth. Kelly was skiing on one leg. I practiced turning, controlling the kite, and edging on my skis. Kelly put up two bags far apart for me to go between, so that I could better practice going exactly where I want to. It was hard work, but I think it paid off. It was past 5 o’clock in the afternoon when we finally stopped and went back to the cabin. I (and probably Kelly too) was very tired and sore at that point, so the evening was uneventful and used for relaxing and recharging.