Today, Henrik took us out to see the Swedish countryside.
We started the day by going to a little cottage that has been in his family for generations. The family has not upgraded it too much, so it has electricity, but no running water. Early on when it was still being used as a farm house, they added a second story and converted the downstairs sleeping room into a kitchen. It was really quite nifty. In some ways it was like walking into a museum, but in other ways, it had all the loving touches of a house someone actually spends time in. Unlike a museum, I got to see the whole place, and eat lunch at the table! The outhouse out back was different than I expected. I’m used to the minimalistic shack type of outhouses you find hiking. This one was part of a barn-like building and had paintings hung on the wall, a mirror, and a wash basin (no water though). There were a couple other random small outbuildings. Apparently the pig barn fell down ten or so years ago and they haven’t bothered replacing it. All the roofs have clay tiles, which surprises me because I thought that was more of a Mediterranean thing. Northern France and England usually have slate.
We went for a little walk around the neighborhood, said hi to a neighbor, startled some sheep, and picked some edible mushrooms. The plant life around here is surprisingly similar to eastern Canada (slightly more northern than NH vegetation). It is mixed deciduous and pine forests. There are oaks and birches. But the variety of oak is a little different, and the birches weep kind of like willows (I need to look them up when I get home). They also have aspens around here. And they have blueberries too, but the plant looks a bit different. I’ll post pictures once I get back so that you guys can see.
For the last bit of the tour, we went out towards the coast. At least near Stockholm, the coast is full of little islands, so you never get an impression of being out on open water, just lots and lots of little islands. They have rocky granite shorelines kind of like in Maine. But there is next to no tide. And the water, at least where we were, is brackish rather than properly salty. Tyson is making noises like we’ll have to come back sometime and go kayaking around all the islands.