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Trip Report FurryTiles' Trip Report: Off the Beaten Track in Sweden Aug/Sept '07

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Say “sommarstuga” to a Swede and there’ll be a thousand-yard stare of longing, or a loopy grin of remembrance – or the triumphant glint of proud ownership.

Sommarstuga means summer cottage – and after the deepfreeze of long and dark northern winters - is the essence of Swedish summers that immediately bring Midsommar’s Afton, midnight sun, and the glorious sprouting of greens and wildflowers to mind. Closely followed by tastebuds remembering the delicacies on the outdoor grill and snaps (think Absolut)((D))

So on this visit, we bypassed Stockholm altogether (apologies to those looking for Stockholm info). In the days of my wild globe-trotting youth, I spent a year in Stockholm and managed to get my linguacells around the basics of the Swedish language – but corrections of any translation/spelling errors are most welcome, as the geriatric cells are invading the linguacell and memorycell areas and all too often claiming victory.

Instead we headed northwards on the E4 past the university town of Uppsala and on to Gävle, then swinging inland towards Sandviken and Hofors and the village of Torsåker. And finally on a narrow country road through rolling hills, to our homebase destination for the next 3 weeks, the tiny farming village of Hästbo and our very own sommarstuga.

Hästbo translates roughly as “place of horses” and indeed, horses outnumbered residents – the village is so tiny that the one and only, ages-old corner store folded its operations last year – but oh my, it was gorgeous and we were in bear and wolf country to compensate! And lots of ‘forest gold’ – those mouth-wateringly delicious chantarelle mushrooms (kantarelle), and early-ripening blueberries (blåbär).

Our sommarstuga was called Mårtensgård, a beautifully restored 1835 farmhouse, with much of the original framework and style retained – including a wood-burning stove in the modern kitchen, beautiful fireplace (kakelugn) in the living room and red geraniums in the windows!

We found our perfect sommarstuga by beginning our internet Google search six months earlier (they are popular with locals as well as visitors, so demand often outstrips supply) resulting in some of the following summer cottage rental websites:

We had friends with a dog and others with kids who would be visiting, so on top of wanting something exceptional, it also had to be pet and child-friendly/safe – Martensgard filled all our requirements and then some. Lucky us! Sometimes the travel gods not only smile, they positively beam!

(f) Jackie

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