Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Nothing Beats a Local Host on Midsummer in Sweden - Things that are Priceless when Travelling

Train ride to Stockholm, I did saw the conductor but no police nor dogs. Smuggling mission complete. 5 hours for the cheapest train ride in Sweden. Even the locals did not believe the price I got at 189 SEK.

Dan greet me at the train station as soon as I got off the train and it was warm and sunshine. I feel weird like I do not know how to behave anymore with people around me. I use to be able to say whatever I want but now I am more conscious of how people might be offended accidentally. Back to the apartment and a big smile from tired May.
I had to pop the question sooner than later I guess, so I just asked Dan…… Nope they don’t smoke they say ….. at least they were not offended …. Bring it to Midsummer they said … maybe some of our friends might like a smoke J

Sweden Midsummer was a thing that if you don’t have a local to guide you, then you will never experience it fully. I was fortunate to meet May and Dan and they brought me on the journey to Valangar somewhere north of Sweden where the sun never sets. Midsummer means the longest day of the year and it was wonderful.
Cabin Retreat in Sweden
I met their friends which was a bunch. Dan2 & Nue, Pod & Ann, Jor & Lin & Dav & Kiro. We went to a Cabin out in the countryside where they bought solely for the use of summer. It was a lovely cabin like a hideaway retreat house fully equipped with even a boat.

First day and it was simple and easy, some drink and lots of chilling for everyone reach there late, but then again what is late when the sun never sets. The next day morning I had a
Town House in Valangar
taste of Midsummer tradition at the town house where they had the big penis put up and I join in with all the little 5 year old kids dancing around the pole to their song. Dan was kind enough to be my partner and translated everything for me. It was really for the children but what great fun. It reminded me of Bon Odori festival of the Japanese which we sometime join in the fun back in Malaysia.
A Midsummer in Sweden  
I was the focus I guess during lunch. They were having really really traditional Swedish dishes for lunch since it was a traditional festival of sorts.

Delicious Swedish Food:)
Try this one … its Hearing marinated in xxx sauce, if you don’t like it you can pass it to me. Nom Nom Nom ….
Delicious …. !!! and I got big eyes stared by everyone.
Try this one its more of a traditional Hearing not much marinated ….. Nom Nom Nom … Delicious !!! and I got bigger eyes stared ….

Try this Snapps which is the most awful one there is of all the bunch ….. gulp gulp …. Not too bad …. I had worst Chinese medicine …. Jaw was dropped all over the table.
Apparently not many people likes Swedish food … but it was like those kind of dishes where its taste only suited the season warrior ….. an acquired taste I told them and they agreed that some of them when young did not like it either but grew up to like it. Stuffed like pig we all lay there chatting away and eventually someone suggested a sauna.

Wood Flame Boiler
The sauna was one thing I did not expected to be an awe moment experience. We took the boat out to a small little peninsular where no roads were around, dock at the jetty and proceeded to the sauna which was a public one built out of traditional wooden hut with wood flaming boiler to heat the stone, in the middle of nowhere.
You need a boat to get here .... or a local friend.
The sauna had a large window to view outside which was beautiful beyond words. Only locals here they said … no tourist … you need a local with a boat to get here …. The Swedish sure know how to enjoy life when summer comes
We even had to chop our own firewood to heat up the sauna …. Between overheating and jumping in to freezing water … it was a memorable experience.

Getting back it was time for dinner …. Time for a little extra something Dan2 said …. And I brought out the joint with a big smile on my face …. I was laughing my ass off by late evening and so was Dav but Pod went dark silent quiet and Dan2 went OD crazy. Dinner was a haphazard of people drumming and mimicking some sort of instrument to the background music we had blasting all the way.
I am pretty sure most of us did not remember what the food taste like that night thou we all knew it was BBQ. Pass me the bowl of salad please …. NO !! … this bowl is crucial for my drum beat said Dav … and everyone hogged whatever was in front of them using knife and fork as a drum stick and singing and shouting every other second.

Swedish singing song ….. and skol !!! a shot of snapps … and more snapps ….. a night no one remember fully
Morning after was a hilarious thing. I survived nicely and got up early with a bath. The rest trickle out with confused look in their eyes trying to piece together what happened that night. Nothing too crazy as far as I remember but the fact that everyone had difficulty remembering was a victory in itself.

The Countryside of Sweden during Midsummer.. ... This was the darkest it got the whole day

Late afternoon and Dan decided he was good enough to visit his family relative nearby. I tag along and was welcome into the fold like long lost friend. This experience is priceless I told Dan and his family …. A tourist see only the superficial things when going to a place but a traveller like me could not appreciate more the hospitality of a local host and the experience of a local lifestyle.
Next day it was time to leave and one by one all of us parted way.

We reached back to Stockholm in the evening and I reminded Dan & May that I am really happy for the experience and would be so so happy to chip in for all the expenses. I think they went easy on my but I gave them what they said the cost was … 540 Kr. I was pretty sure it was more
I parted with Dan and May the very next day after Midsummer holiday ended … On a boat to Helsinki …. Time was running short and I had to get to Istanbul ….

I hope one day all of them will visit me in Malaysia where I could shower them with the warm hospitality that they have showed me.

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