02 July, 2013

Our Swedish Midsummer

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Swedes certainly celebrate the longest day of the year in a big way. Well, really, who can blame them for rejoicing the sunshine when they only see it for about 3 months a year! The festivities  are apparently almost on the same scale as Christmas-time in Sweden; there were signs up in shops wishing customers a "glad midsommar", whilst flower wreaths were spotted around the city. In the days leading up to the event, and especially on the morning itself, we were struck by how many people were packing up their cars or lugging bags through the subway, travelling away to their country chalets. Although we sadly do not own a Swedish country house, we did have the next best thing: Swedish friends. Paisley's lovely friend Lyndal invited us along to join their day of traditional festivities and it ended up being a beautifully raucous day, possibly the best of our entire trip! 

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The afternoon began with brief concern, as the sky clouded over and threatened to pour, but the sun resiliently broke through and shined brightly for the rest of the afternoon and far into the evening. There were bottles of wine, champagne punch, lots of chatter and laughter to start. This was followed by a feast of incredible Swedish food - potatoes, meatballs, herring, eggs - and shots of schnapps (vodka) at intervals throughout the meal. The ritual was: raise your glass, sing a traditional Swedish song (Paisley and I just hummed along tunelessly), shout "skål!" (Swedish for cheers), then quickly down your shot and grimace! After this, we were split into two teams and a multitude of Swedish garden games and drinking games ensued, making for hours of hilarity. We ended the night at Berns nightclub - an awesome place - and partied, flower crowns still intact, until the early morning (I wanted to say sunrise but there's no such thing in Sweden at this time of year!). Our flowers were distinctly withered when we woke up the next morning, as were we ourselves, but I won't hold it against you, Midsommar, you were fabulous.

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