Monday, August 3, 2009

Sweden's Secret Paradise

What would you call 30,000 islands, clear blue water, islets and skerries; spanning from the barren to the lush and leafy, seaside cottages; spanning from the quaint to the downright decadent and idyllic scenes of children tire swinging and cliff jumping into the water? Naturally you'd call such a place paradise. And rightly so.

It's Sweden's best kept secret, it's archipelago. A day at the archipelago and suddenly you get it. You understand the vacation homes at the expense of the first home, the two month holidays and why and how they stay and tolerate the long, cold and dark winters. You understand better how so many are able to maintain near oblivion that not only are the barbarians outside the gate but that they have a firm foothold inside the gate.

It's the kind of place, I'd check off the list for being too cold, too far north, too not tropical or desert enough for me to bother with. Which is probably how and why it maintains it appeal. Because even at the peak of summer time, though brisk with activity, the waters are still vast and roomy, the air still clear and the breathing room still plentiful.

It's a step back to a more innocent time. A simpler time. A slower time.

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