A ‘smultronställe’ literally could be ‘strawberry patch’, but it shorthand for one’s happy place, one’s own special location in the world where one feels relaxed and at home. For many Swedes, this is the ‘sommarstuga’ or summer house. The Swedish Sommarstuga phenomenon is long and deeply embedded in the culture. The video below gives an American’s perspective on this phenomenon. The vlogger notes that while 50% of folks in Sweden have access to a summerhouse, that is a little harder for new arrivals. That included us, until the last week of May, when our buddy Linda bought one! Stockholm friends Linn and Lai kindly picked us up in their new VW bug for the drive out to the country.
Linda’s summer house is LOVELY. It came furnished, which meant that a week after getting the keys it was ready for visitors! Swanky on the scale of Swedish summer houses, the main house is equipped for year-round living and has indoor plumbing. There are 3 small and cute mini-guest houses, one of which even has a kitchenette and is also winterized. Short walk to a lake where Linda stores her kayaks, and where we went for a (brisk!) early June swim. There is a sauna house (bastuga) but we were warm enough on the sunny deck that we did not use it this time. However, we have been invited back for a Christmas season visit, so I am sure we will use it then (followed by a roll in the snow, no doubt). Can’t wait to visit again!
Since we leave Sweden on midsommar-eve, this visit to the countryside was a wonderful taste of a relaxed summer weekend with everything that Sweden has to offer.