Sweden. Day 2. The Sea.

The Scandinavian sea coast, especially in winter, is quite different from the ones I’m used to. I was born in Argentina. I grew up in Brazil. I lived in California and Sicily. To me, a coast means a beach with sand, sun, high waves, and lots of people including annoying sellers of all kinds of merchandise. But here, there is no sand, nor pebbles, just big rocks. The water is almost still, without waves, like that of a lake. There are pines and birches all around. And, being winter, there is also snow covering the rocks near the sea, which makes a nice contrast.

This area is supposedly crowded with people during the summer: they come to swim, have barbecues, and enjoy the local Midsommar, a pagan festival which includes the worship of trees and human sacrifice. Nah, just kidding, that was only a movie, sorry. It’s just a traditional summer festival, but it appears to be fun.

There are quite a few holiday homes and cabins in the area. But right now, they seem to be all empty. You hardly ever see anyone walking around.

The open sea is 3 km away from where I am staying — there is a lake nearby, but that’s freshwater, and a sea bay of actual saltwater not far away, but to get to the actual coast it takes a longer walk.

We — that is, two fellow artists and myself — walked to it yesterday. But, except for a middle-aged couple passing by at one point, we didn’t see a single person around. Neither when going nor coming back. The whole region feels really empty. We also didn’t see any elk or lynx, but we saw their footprints (it appears that they are active mostly at dusk or at night).

The day was cold and icy, although sunny. We tried to make a fire, but it refused to catch on to larger wood. The wood we found was too wet, even frozen. It started to feel colder. The sun remained always at the horizon level. At 15:46, as we walked back, it was already getting quite dark. By 4:30 it was deep night, and, being so far away from big cities, you could see a lot of stars in the sky.

It is a bit paradoxical to be relatively free, in a place where there are no “health passes” nor restrictions to meet people as there are now in many European countries, and yet, not being able to see anyone, nor having anywhere to go. There are no bars or restaurants or shops here. There is a cafe about 4 km away, but it appears to be closed now. The closest grocery store is 7 km away. Not having a car, you have to walk or take a bus that is not very frequent. Still, it’s an interesting experience. And, in any case, Stockholm is not that far — I should go there one of these days, and tell you about it.

For now, I am enjoying my stay in this faraway location, in the bleak midwinter, near the sea.