It’s already the 4th week of summer vacation + it’s time to share what I did during week 3! I’ve already had a week of rest + a week of restoration, so with this week I had every intention to reset my spirit + find inspiration to help me prepare for the long autumn + winter ahead. And, I must say, last week was a total success. Lina + I traveled down to the southeastern part of Sweden, known as Österlen, and had an amazing time. It is a beautiful + very special part of the country, and you will see why very soon.
The week was filled with exploring, driving, nature, rest, ancient magic, sunshine, art, adventure, and beauty as far as the eye could see. There were moments that I felt like what I was seeing wasn’t even real. But, every single moment of quiet contemplation or boisterous laugher was just what my soul needed to get me out of my everyday routine + inspire me to do more, be more, create more, and live more.
What follows below is super huge photo journal of our vacation. I’ve got so many photos to share, that I don’t think I will be writing that much. But, perhaps you will find yourself inspired by the natural beauty, art, history, and moments that I tried to capture “on film”.
Here we go!
First. So, where is Österlen? And why is it so special?
Österlen is the area that is the southeastern part of Sweden. It is often visited by vacationers because of its beautiful nature, art, and history. It’s filled with wide open farmland, a few forests + mountain areas, and both rugged + sandy coastlines. So, yeah. A little bit of everything. The largest “city” is Ystad, but Österlen is mostly just farms, fields, and tiny fishing villages. It’s so special, in my opinion, because the thing to do is to simply drive around the small backroads, stopping at roadside cafés, farms, and art galleries. The people who live there are creative homebodies, I believe. They make pottery, grow food, paint, and open up their old farms to share with whomever wants to stop by. It’s pretty much an entire area of nature + local businesses + history. Simple + authentic. The perfect destination for a slow, inspiring summer vacation.
Already inspired – and we’re just on the way down
We divided up the trip into 2 days. It’s a total of 7 hours from Uppsala to our airbnb in the middle of Österlen. So, we drove about 4.5 hours the first day, stopping at a super amazing fast food place known for its focus on environmentally friendly prep + belief in fast food, but not junk food. It was freaking delicious.
Bellies full, we traveled onward. I picked a random hotel right off the highway outside of Värnamo – a city I’d never heard of – and made a reservation. In these Covid times, we were a bit weary about staying at a hotel, but there were no worries here! Of the what must have been 100 or so rooms, only 4 were filled. Literally. At the height of the busy-ness, there were only 4 cars in the huge parking lot. Sooooo weird.
But, after an evening of exploring Värnamo (There as not much to see. Sorry, Värnamo) + a good night’s sleep, we were off again! Only about 2.5 hours to our Airbnb – with time added for random stops along the way!
Welcome to Österlen + our Airbnb!
I could feel the change as we entered Österlen. The land opened up. The sky was everywhere. And Lina had her first suggestion for a stop: Brösarps Backar. This is a well-known place in Sweden, used as a backdrop in movies/tv a few times. The rolling hills are just mind-blowingly beautiful + unique for Österlen, which is, as I’ve said, mostly flat farmland + plains. You can even catch a glimpse of the Baltic Ocean in the distance once you’ve climbed to the top. We did climb to the top + it was just gorgeous. Totally worth a 30 min stop!
Since we were hungry, Lina googled + found a spot that sounded interesting. Or promising. Or, rather, she just liked the way it sounded. Folkets Bakgård. The peoples’ backyard. So we headed that way. But, we passed a white church in Vitaby on the way… an archway caught my eye + I asked Lina to turn around. I just had to get a better look. This is how one travels in Österlen. Hehe. It was a gorgeous church, perched on a hill. We walked all around, just soaking it up. After visiting, I read that it has been there since the 1100s. No wonder I was drawn to it.
We traveled onward to our food stop. The place we ended up at was PERFECT. It was a funky community space with art galleries, and eco shop, and a little restaurant/snack bar in the cellar selling hummus, jerky, and local beer. Cool, right? But, the most amazing part was the funky backyard. We ordered snacks + beer + sat outside, feeling so satisfied with Lina’s intuition leading us here.
After lunch, it was a short ride to our airbnb. And it could not have been more perfect: an old farm right smack dab in the middle of wheat fields. There was so much sky. It took my breath away. Our host had lovingly taken his time to renovate the old piggery (pig house) into an incredibly gorgeous guest house. So, we got settled in and stayed put the rest of the night. Just soaking in the atmosphere. Already feeling the reset of my soul + spirit.
Ok. I now realize that I have got to break up my posts from Österlen. I mean, this is only from Saturday + Sunday – and we were there until Thursday! An epic amount of photos = an epic amount of inspiration. So, I’ll be posting 2 more times on Österlen: Monday/Tuesday and Wednesday/Thursday’s adventures + moments. Check back in a day or so!
And, just in case you want to visit Österlen at some point to reset your own spirit + soul, I’ll share links to the places I visited at the end of each Österlen post.