We finally made it to Gotland, a place we've been intrigued by since we came very close to moving there when Andreas was offered a job after graduating from the police academy. The trip was even more special because we got to share the experience of this beautiful place with my parents who came to visit Sweden a second time since I moved.
Late June, just before midsommar, was the perfect time to visit. The weather is nice and warm, but the huge summer crowds hadn't arrived yet. We stayed in a lovely house about 20 minutes outside of Visby, the largest city on the Island. Visby is much like old town in Stockholm with it's many small alleyways and old cobblestone streets adorned with rose bushes, cafes, pubs, and restaurants. Charming indeed. Gotland is overflowing with interesting history dating all the way back to the the Stone Age. Visby's old town is encircled by ruins of an old wall, making it even more picturesque. We came to Gotland by way of ferry and took our car along to be able to explore the whole island. Three days just wasn't enough, I know we'll be back!
In late August we drove about 4 hours northwest of Umeå to a popular ski resort area called Hemavan in search of cantarelles. Andreas' parents usually go once and year and this was the first time I was able to come along. I must say that picking mushrooms was way more fun than I could have imagined and now I see why it's so popular in Sweden. Being out in nature, walking through a forest in search of these beautiful, golden, flowering trumpets was awesome. We were lucky it was a good year for mushrooms and that we were able to find so many, although it wasn't all luck because Mona and Anders have been scouting out areas for years finding special spots they like to return to.
You can ask a Swede any question regardless how personal and they generally answer happily, but where a Swede finds mushrooms in the forest is one secret sure to be kept! After picking the mushrooms you clean the dirt and other debris off and cook out the water so you can freeze them and use throughout the year. We ended up with over 100 small frozen bags, definitely enough to last a while!
This picture is from 09/19/2010,
the day my Swedish life began.