Have you ever wanted to take a vacation from 2010? To step into an Ingmar Bergman landscape, especially a happy one? How do you feel about granite beaches, wide skies, wild berries? Consider the Stockholm Archipelago.
On Sunday I’m off to spend a week in Sweden. This time, unlike the visit to Belgium, I’m surprising no one. Hence this preview. My stepfather, my mother, my sisters and their families, my daughter, and my stepfather’s children and grandchildren, are all converging on my stepfather’s summer house. Or, as I think they call it in Sweden, the sommarstuga. On an island called Ingmarso. This trip, we will shop only for milk at the general store, or airport trinkets. Little black dresses are unlikely to make an appearance. We will match our flip flops to our life preservers, at best.
This is a part of the world not often seen unless you’re Nordic. Most of the lodgings on the multitude of Archipelago islands are private houses. And residents are reluctant to rent out their summer homes. Summer is short, up North, and sweet. To be celebrated.
The islands, which depending on what you call an island and not a large wet rock, number in the tens of thousands. Some are for sailing to, and sitting on, surrounded by the Baltic. Others are for houses, a few roads, no cars. In these places, all businesses are located in harbors and reached by boats. A few islands have more developed infrastructures. But they are by far the minority.
If you want to visit the Stockholm Archipelago, here’s how. Fly to Arlanda. One of the nicest airports I’ve ever seen. Stay overnight in the airport hotel. Cute. Done up in the Scandinavian school of decorating. Then take the ferry to your island.
Hotel Furillen, via Luxury Insider.
It’s unclear whether I will be in touch at all, from the island. It’s remote. Not set up for a wired life despite the ubiquitous cellphone coverage. But I will be taking the usual pictures, and thinking the usual thoughts, and making the usual effort, eventually, to convey to you what I have experienced. And I’ll be here Saturday morning, saying the usual things. Sometimes we have adventures, and sometimes we do the usual. If we’re lucky. Too much of one or the other is not to be wished upon anyone.