Sweden | Part 1

Aug. 30
”Oh my soul is so happy.
We just arrive at the most delightful lakeside cottage near Vastervik, Sweden. Cecilia (our host), met us at the gate with an arm full of sheets and blankets. She and her her husband Gregor live in a rambling, red house covered in vines. Just outside our cottage is and old wooden barn (where the outhouse is located), an outdoor shower and two apple trees. The peacefulness is overwhelming - .”

“Sigtuna is the oldest town in Sweden - established in 980 AD by vikings. We admired quaint houses painted in pinks and yellows and greens. We found rune stones on every street corner and old church ruins standing magnificently even after many centuries. Most of the ruins date back to the 11th century. NBD. What a crazy thought - that this town has been in operation for over a thousand years and uses the same streets vikings once walked on.”

“In Vastervik it was bitter cold and pouring down rain. I wanted to go swimming, but Charlie convinced me to go hiking instead. We might as well have been swimming - we were soaked through before too long. I was too happy to notice and Charlie was too busy looking for rune stones. He never did find any. But he did find a few unimpressive piles of stone which I’m sure were ancient monuments. Charlie’s trail map wasn’t very clear. And we didn’t know what “fornlämning” meant at the time.
By the time we reached our car, we were chilled to the bone. We rushed home and showered in the ice cold, outdoor shower before curling up inside with hot chocolate and soup.”

Sep. 1
”After visiting the castle in Kalmar, we drove over to Borgholm and parked near a beach. Together, we jumped into ridiculously cold seawater, thrashed about to prevent hypothermia, and scrambled back onto the dock to dry off. I had a couple of flashbacks to swimming at Onset Island….
Next, we combed the beach for anything of interest. Crabs - none. Shells - none. Moon jellyfish - 1. Seaweed - plenty.
Charlie found a plastic cup halfway buried in the sand and used it to scoop up the jellyfish. We gently stroked the top of it’s soft, jelly body and watched it swim about. I don’t know why, but that moment is one of my favorites from the entire trip. I guess I’m grateful to have a husband who loves the small moments as much as I do.”

The boat on the far right was our home for three nights.

The boat on the far right was our home for three nights.

Sigtuna, Sweden. EST. 980 AD

Sigtuna, Sweden. EST. 980 AD

A quaint alleyway in Sigtuna

A quaint alleyway in Sigtuna

homemade Swedish crepes for brekky? mmmm yes please.

homemade Swedish crepes for brekky? mmmm yes please.

hiking in the pouring rain

hiking in the pouring rain

A giant snail I almost stepped on. They were EVERYWHERE.

A giant snail I almost stepped on. They were EVERYWHERE.

A hen house that was converted into an Airbnb. Tiny and sweet and comfortable.

A hen house that was converted into an Airbnb. Tiny and sweet and comfortable.

Me. In front of Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home in Vimmerby.

Me. In front of Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home in Vimmerby.

we didn’t get very many photos together - but this one is a favorite of mine.

we didn’t get very many photos together - but this one is a favorite of mine.

weekend adventure | badlands national park

     We made a whirlwind trip this past weekend to one of the most bizarre landscapes in the country. The cratered mud-rock of the Badlands looked like the surface of a foreign planet – red and cracked dry. Charlie and I loved it! For hours, we clambered up ridges, watched carefully for wildlife and took pictures.

            The whole trip started Saturday morning after we had packed a cooler full of water bottles and Tupperware containers of pre-cooked food. We piled into our trusty Solara and followed SD 44 W through the rolling hills of Rosebud and Pine Ridge. The highway took us to Interior, SD where we stopped at the visitor center and bought ice cream cones. (The temperature had reached 104 degrees F, so the ice cream wasn’t optional.)

            For the rest of the afternoon we explored the craggy landscape. Charlie made me nervous by climbing up one of the highest ridges and waving his arms at me. (I stayed below and took pictures.) He said it was much harder than he thought it would be. The crumbling mud made it difficult to find hand holds, and he didn’t want to climb in the ravines in case there were rattle snakes. Until sunset, we cruised along the park roads, stopping at all the overlooks, pulling over to watch prairie dogs and bighorn sheep. There were also meadowlarks, pronghorns, chipmunks, toads, mule deer and one porcupine!

            At Dillon Pass we watched the sunset – admiring the golden pink hues that slowly flooded the valley. Behind us, the full moon rose slowly into the sky – the moon when the choke berries are black. 

            I persuaded Charlie to watch the sunrise with me the next morning. How many times do you get to see daybreak at the Badlands mmm? So we woke up at 4 am, quietly took down our tent in the dark and drove to the nearest lookout point. There’s something thrilling about being the only people awake to experience something so divinely beautiful. As fingers of morning light brought everything to life, Charlie and I sat on a rocky ledge and read from the book of Hebrews. Swallows dipped and dove in the pink light and meadowlarks began singing their hearts out. No church service could have surpassed that worshipful sunrise in God’s creation! 

            Our trip concluded with one last hike through a rugged valley before the day got too hot. It will be an adventure we never forget. Who knows? Maybe we’ll drop by once more on our way to the Black Hills :) 

badlands
badlands
Charlie is up there somewhere -- you get a prize if you find him in the picture! 

Charlie is up there somewhere -- you get a prize if you find him in the picture! 

badlands
badlands
badlands
badlands
badlands
badlands
badlands
badlands
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badlands