Scandinavia Part 2 of 4
Ah, Dalsland. Scott and I both agree if we had to choose one place to have stayed the entire time on this trip, it would be here in Dalsland. It is nestled in the Swedish countryside southwest of Stockholm, surrounded by forests and lakes. I swear there is magic stored in its forests too. I could feel it pulsating through the ground, the air, and through me. So much so, that after sleeping one night here I awoke with all of my heath ailments having disappeared. I’ve shared most of these with you before, but they are continuing and it has been tough lately. But to feel them all gone was euphoric. I don’t think I had felt as happy and free in my life. A week after returning to California the issues returned. I’m not sure if it was the food, the air, the lack of stress, the magic forests, etc - but I wonder if any of you have had similar experiences too? I’m going to halt the health conversation here, because this place was more than healing. It was what Scott and I enjoy most. Solitude together, in nature, with kind folks around and a few rain storms. Let me take you through our time in Dalsland.
*Two photos here were by me, the rest were taken by my husband Scott.
We left Stockholm with our rental car filled with groceries. The drive was surreal, through beautiful forests with occasional peeks at lakes with picturesque little islands. We watched the sun set, and the moon rise, as we arrived in the dark to Upperud 9:9. It was an old abandoned silo on the lake that was now converted into several beautiful rooms, with a downstairs cafe area for meals and events. It didn’t seem as if anyone was there, but within minutes of arriving another car pulled in to greet us. It was the owner of Upperud 9:9, Kerstin, and she had seen our headlights pull in from down the road. She was on her way home and circled around to come meet us, and was so incredibly kind. She embodies hospitality, and made us feel so welcome. After showing us to our room she offered an upgrade because we were going to be the only ones staying in the silo that night. We gladly took her up on the offer, and were given a room with a beautiful lake view which honestly made our stay.
After getting settled in and making a cup of tea, we slept in the most comfortable bed of the entire trip, with the plushest duvet covers (I love how in this area of the world they give you each your own!). In the morning, however, was the real wow-moment when we got to look outside of our window to see the lake for the first time. The first photo below is the view, absolutely breathtaking. My heart lept.
A good coffee and breakfast later, we climbed down and visited with Kerstin on the dock for a few while she filled us in on things to walk to and see in the area. We chose a direction, and started walking towards the museum. We ran into the owner, and she said we could explore anywhere we’d like on the grounds, which you’ll see below were like pages from a fairytale.
THE silo & kayaking
After our morning walk and exploration, we came back to our room for some lunch. (An easy lunch we had most days on this trip was a sourdough sandwich with arugula, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber.) One day, when Scott and I choose to settle down and have a home of our own, I will be consulting these pictures for the design entirely. I’ve studied and admired Swedish interior design for many years, but had yet to fully experience it - and it is perfect. Earlier in the morning Kerstin had told us there was a canoe on the side of the building we could take out that day anytime we would like - so we took her up on it and went for a paddle.
THE forest & sunset
The wind picked up and we knew a storm was about to blow in, so we headed inside for some hot tea and a snack. Before the rain came we made it down to the museum, to go inside this time. It was beautiful and so peaceful. An old building filled with beautiful paintings of ships at sea that were huge. The detail in them was astounding. Then the rain came so we jogged back to the silo and tucked in for the afternoon.
The rain let up before dinner, so we decided to get out once more and go for a walk in the forest, along the Pilgrim Trail. I call this the fairy forest, where magic lives ;). The tall trees rustling in the wind gave off the feeling that they were talking about us. Everything in this forest felt so alive, as if they were watching us, and we felt like the least powerful beings there. After a while on the trail, we walked back to the silo and made dinner as the sun set directly outside our window behind the trees. With a little more rain, because, magic.
Dinner: We kept it super simple and delicious, as always. Some microwave ‘baked’ potatoes, quinoa, steamed veggies, and red lentils I cooked with shallot and garlic. Topped with avocado and lemon juice. Scott topped his with a vegan garlic sauce we had picked up at a market in Stockholm, too.
I woke up to winds whipping across the lake and a very chilly morning. Scott crept past me, bundled in a chair reading with a glass of water, to slip out the door and photograph the sunrise. I wish I was as devoted as him to brave the cold early morning, but I was cozy watching it from an arm chair, later with breakfast. Scott’s view was by far the best, and I’ll live through his photos forever. (The little ducks’ feet!)
the last morning
After Scott came back and had some breakfast, we went down to the cafe area on the first floor for some coffee. Kerstin was back in the kitchen preparing a breakfast spread for a few guests who had shown up the day before. There was the most good-feeling music playing, I wish I could remember it more clearly. We sat by the window and had a coffee chat, one of my favorite things to do with Scott. After visiting with Kerstin a bit and paying for our room, I got up the nerve to ask if she had any extras of the woolen slipper/socks I had borrowed from the hall. She said she did, and allowed me to buy a pair! They were hand knitted by a woman locally, no doubt with yarn from her own sheep too (I don’t know that for sure, there were just lots of happy sheep around). My one souvenir from the trip.
We went for a last walk in the woods before packing up and hitting the road for Tjorn on the coast, about an hour and forty minutes away. Here is where I leave you, and there is where we will pick back up :). Till next time, Dalsland, and there will be one.