In my last post I failed to mention the very best thing we did while we were in Stockholm, which was to leave the city and take a ferry out into the archipelago (or the archigepalo / archipegalo / archigelupo as a well-intentioned American lady on the ferry kept calling it).
The boat we took is essentially a commuter ferry for people living or staying on the islands so it takes a while (3-4 hours), but the time passes quickly given the scenery.
The ferry ride gave me ample time to scope out my dream summer house:
The ferry also got points for being dog friendly. We shared our trip with these two champions, who both seemed to be equally ashamed but for different reasons:
Our destination was Finnhamn, an island on the north eastern edge of the archipelago. There are a few summer huts and a hostel on the island, as well as a decent sized pub / restaurant. Thankfully we weren’t relying on said pub for food though, because turns out we visited on the wrong side of shoulder season and it wasn’t really open (I think this caught out some of the other visitors – maybe they foraged some wild mushrooms or reindeer moss or something, Noma style).
Choosing which of the many islands to visit is quite a challenge, but I think we did well. The first inkling we had made a good choice came when Ant found us this lunch spot – Swedish salami and potato salad never tasted so good:
Finnhamn’s biggest draw-card is apparently its good swimming spots. The weather was surprisingly perfect the whole four days we were in Sweden, so going swimming in the Baltic Sea didn’t seem as crazy as you’d imagine.
Despite having brought his swimmers to Sweden, and our plans for every other day of the trip involving mainly museums, Ant failed to actually bring his swimmers with him on the one day that swimming was on the agenda. However, emboldened by our new Scandinavian lifestyle and the fact there was hardly anyone else on the island, we set off to find somewhere secluded enough to swim in what we termed ‘the Danish way’.
As you’d expect, the water was very fucking cold. Also, what looks like an easy place to get in and out of the water quickly becomes an impossible death trap once you are naked and your body is threatening to start shutting down vital organs if you don’t get out of the icy sea. We got out basically unscathed after some undignified scrambling, and the feeling afterwards is amazing. So amazing we thought we’d have another crack at it in a place that had better ingress and egress.
We had about 6 hours all up on the island until the ferry came back, so we spent the time exploring more of the island, scoping out swimming spots. We eventually found this one, which allowed for a marginally more dignified experience.
It’s a good thing the freezing water encourages a brief bathing experience, because not long after we got out some guys did a very slow drive by in a runabout pumping some sweet party jams. It would have been quite the party had they driven by five minutes earlier.
The rest of the day was spent wandering, eating pastries and, in Ant’s case, having periodic naps in scenic locations.
The ladder on this pier was especially great for swimming, so I chalked up swim number three while Ant just sat on dry land and lamented not packing his swimmers. Ha! I lie – Ant just had another nap and had no regrets at all. It was win-win.
It was probably the most relaxing day of holiday I have ever had, and it was bittersweet seeing the ferry arrive to take us back to civilisation. We were almost out of food at this point though, so it was definitely for the best.
There ends our day in the archipelago. If this post has a moral it is definitely go to Finnhamn if you are in Stockholm on a sunny day, and definitely go swimming, but maybe make sure you bring your swimmers…