the perfect summer day in sweden

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there are no words to really describe today. so, i’m gonna let my photos do most of the talking. i will tell you that we drove way out into the swedish countryside, to see a very dear friend – my ex-collegue/minister (from the church where i worked when i lived here). her husband passed away earlier this year, and she is adjusting to living life on her own – on their farm. we arrived at her amazing place at noon, where we immediately were welcomed with hugs and a little tour of the farm – i had never made it out there to see her when i lived here, so it was my first time. we met her cows, admired her late husband’s amazing wood workshop – where he passionately loved to work, walked through the grass, and ate a delicious vegetarian lunch outside made with veggies from the neighbors farms.

we sat and talked around the table outside in the shade for hours, listening to the amazing adventures of our friend’s mother back in the mid-1900s, as a swedish woman who refused to settle into the expected, traditional roles of wife and mother until she was good and ready. she was born in the states to parents who moved there looking for a better start, but moved back to sweden when she was 2. however, that american adventurous spirit seeped into her blood anyway.

after lots of stories, some watermelon and chocolate, and just as we were almost ready to take a little trip over to a little lake through the woods, another friend – who is close to my colleague and was such a great support for lina and me when we lived here – surprised us by showing up to join us for the rest of the afternoon.

we donned our swimsuits, prepared a fika, grabbed chairs and towels, and headed to the lake – 5 women – to enjoy this perfectly perfect swedish summer day. we sat, talked, swam, laughed, and just soaked up every little second, completely unaware of time. it was hot out, the sun was glorious, the water was crystal clear, and the trees were deep green. there were even lotus flowers blooming on lily pads. i felt as if i was enveloped in mother nature’s arms the whole time we were there – at peace, connected, grounded, and completely content. and i felt the power of the connection of women, both with these 4 women that i was with, and other women all throughout my life, including my mother and grandmothers. it was a day of celebrating feminine power, i think.

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because this day was so special, and because i will cherish all of the stories, laughter, beauty, and the women that i shared this day with for the rest of my life, i decided to mark a sacred spot with some rocks from the bottom of the lake that paige dug up with her feet. i placed my little sacred monument on the rock that led down to the water – and i left it there – as a sign of the memories and moments that were shared on this perfect swedish summer day – with four totally different, yet completely amazing in the own ways, women who have each made a significant difference in my life.

love and peace.

“it’s a long way to tipperary”. 2.0

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hello! it’s road trip day! last friday (day 2 of our extended irish weekend), we woke up in dublin, and then headed down south to the county of tipperary to meet up with the soon-to-be newlyweds and other guests. we had the great luck of riding in a car with a friend of the cute couple, so it was more of a personal road trip than just hopping on a bus. fun. we left around lunchtime & were in the middle of the irish countryside on an amazing estate by mid-afternoon. check out our friday adventures!

starbucks was just around the corner from our hotel, so it was imperative that we stop by there before our road trip.

 we sipped on some yummy peppermint mocha & surfed the ‘net. we’re apple nerds.

dragging our luggage through rainy dublin. the cobblestones were super duper slippery. hehe.

hanging out on the street corner, waiting for our ride… wondering who it will be.

typical downtown street/apartments.

on our way! a glimpse of the irish countryside from the left side of the road. feels crazy to ride on the “wrong” side of the road. hehe.

backseat girls.

we’ve arrived! a gorgeous gated estate will be our home for the next 2 days. can’t wait!

welcome to lovely, amazing kilshane house. an estate, a mansion. tons of land, rolling hills, horses, gardens, a conservatory, walking trails, and an incredible, old manor with cozy, beautiful suites. (more pics tomorrow too!)

we immediately compared kilshane house with downton abbey. we felt like we were living there, complete with “servants” and everything. felt like royalty. i was overwhelmed, amazed, and so so so thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

come on in to the classy, formal entrance hall. kilshane house awaits…

after arriving, we were whisked away with the bridal couple to the rehearsal at the church. my love was asked to sing during the wedding, so she had a chance to tickle the ivories before the ceremony the next day. plus, we got to stroll around the cute village of cashel.

with the rehearsal all done, we went back to our cozy room to get dressed for dinner. yes. get dressed for dinner. perhaps we’d meet carson or some of the other downton abbey characters. hehe.

the view from our window. my eyes could hardly take in everything i was seeing. so beautiful.

our old-fashioned, updated bathroom. compete with a rainfall showerhead. luxury, baby.

when we went downstairs, we discovered that the restaurant/bar was a billiard room with tons of great big leather chairs & sofas. asheville people, i couldn’t stop thinking of biltmore estate.

gnocci (deeeelish) and cosmopolitans (double delish) for dinner. good food, good people, good times.

we ended the day with games & mingling… hanging out with the couples’ friends & family. it was a great night!

after such a fabulous day, i couldn’t even begin to imagine how the wedding day would be… and it did not disappoint. but, you’ll have to check back tomorrow to see all the pictures from the big day. think perfect weather, gorgeous people, and party, party, party!

happy wednesday, readers. peace & love.

a tiny corner of heaven on earth.

happy sunday, all you out there! here in sweden, summer continues as it has been… rainy & gray.  of course, every now & then there’s a day of brilliant sunshine and unbelievable weather. but, most days… rain. gloom. chilliness. meh. oh well. i’m gonna find a way to not complain & enjoy it. perhaps write A LOT! sounds great to me (and to lina too. gotta get that book written so we can live our dream life of traveling around the world, writing, photographing, singing, and experiencing).

well, i thought i’d take this rainy day to begin my series of posts on my camp experience in the archipelago with an introduction to camp life there. a little tour, you could say.

so, welcome to…

on my way!

i’m obsessed with the yellow fields of flowers all over sweden. so beautiful.

typical swedish highway. geez i miss driving soooo much.

this is the house you first see when you drive up. so swedish. love it. all of the meals (unless its pouring down rain) are eaten at the picnic tables in the yard. you know, the calendar shows that it’s summer, so you have to eat and be outside every waking moment you can… even if it’s chilly, windy, or sprinkling. :) darkness and cold will come again in a few months. so, we live in the moment right now.

 

the kitchen & dining room area. with two rooms on the 2nd floor… where i slept.

my first room: directly over the kitchen, so every morning i woke to the conversations of the group preparing breakfast. hehe.

my second room: soooo cozy. we moved around because people came & went, and it’s all about sharing, right?

idyllic.

 little cabins that some of the families stayed in. cute cute cute!

 loving the clothes & towels hanging on the front porches of the cabins.

 boathouse. a place of solitude.

preparing for the first campfire. we met here nightly for songs, games, grilling, & fun.

 the swimming area. a super popular place. and the only place you can get mediocre phone reception. hehe.

so, there you go. a little corner of heaven in the swedish archipelago. a place to get back to simplicity, a place to live in community filled with tons of opportunities for laughter & conversation, and also a place to find a few moments of quiet contemplation. for my love, it is a piece of her history. a symbolic place of peace, family, friends, & love throughout her life. for me, it has become a place of rest and a place which i am longing to visit again in the summer of 2013.

yes, skeppsgårds camp has found it’s way into my heart.

peace & beauty.