Heading to the summerhouse in Juleboda (we usually translate the name with “Christmas shed” in English, it sounds as strange in Swedish!) tonight, on the Baltic coast just north of Österlen (south-east coast in Skåne). Geography is relative – if we were to sell the summerhouse to a non-Skåne person it would probably be described as situated on Österlen = higher price, but for us locals it’s not really truly Österlen. The area of Österlen is known for its special light, and a lot of artists & famous people (Swedish actors who have fled the city life in Stockholm) live here, in picturesque fishing villages and beautiful old traditional Skåne-farms. Ulf Lundell, a Swedish singer, wrote the song Öppna landskap (Open landscapes) and I’m not sure if he meant Österlen, but it makes me think of that part of Sweden every time I hear it.
Our summerhouse was built in the mid-50’s by our maternal grandfather on a piece of land bought from a farmer situated just on the coast with a view over Hanöbukten, the bay between Stenshuvud and Åhus. In Sweden we have a law called “strandskyddet” which means that the coast/beach is protected and you can only build so close to the coast. There are no private beaches in Sweden and everybody has access to the coast, which I think is great.
Juleboda is a summer house community, with most of the houses built in the 1950-60’s, but recently they have started to build also in the areas where there used to be just forest – and the new summer houses are huge mansions with ready-grown lawns, garages, swimming pools etc. Our house is a real Swedish wooden cottage, very simple, it has been extended a few times but we have left the grounds grow wild, with pine trees (making sure that they don’t block the sea view) and some wild flowers (dog roses – nypon in Swedish). O was nervous about sleeping there last summer, it was his first time sleeping in a wooden house – can you believe it!? But in the end he loved it, the beach is great with white sand and almost deserted (everybody seems to gather around the camping, 1 km up the coast). We share it with my grandmother and aunt, which is not the most practical or smooth thing – there are always a few tensions and conflicts every summer but at least this week we will have access to the house!
My brother, my sister and I are driving there tonight after dinner with our second cousins (we don’t have any first cousins) in Lund. We are going to stock up with food before we go (hallelujah, I’m back in a country where the supermarkets are open on Sunday until late!). It takes about an hour to drive there and it’s interesting how the landscape changes from the west coast of Skåne which is densely populated, quite flat and agricultural to the east where there are just a few small villages, full of rolling hills and apple orchards (the majority of the Swedish apples come from Österlen, especially around the town of Kivik).
We are not too sure about the weather next week but we have lots of activities planned in case it rains – going shopping in Kristianstad, eating ice cream on the Ice cream boat in Åhus (O’s favourite last summer), fika at Café Annorlunda (the all-you-can-eat buffet with homemade cookies and cakes that I wrote about in my post about my 30th birthday weekend), walks in the forest and reading. Our Latvian sister Z has promised to come one day with her children, 6-year old E and baby G, my friend U is also supposed to come with her 18-month old twin girls – lots of children, it will be fun! And L, my friend with her French boyfriend F are doing a tour of the east coast on Tuesday – I already saw them in Copenhagen on Friday and yesterday.
This afternoon my sister and I are going shopping at Nova Lund, a shopping centre with all my favourite Swedish shops (except Åhléns): Sisters (clothes), Indiska (home interior and clothes), Akademibokhandeln (books), Duka & Hemtex (interior design)… I’m sure that I will find something small to buy, even though O told me not to buy more stuff as our air shipment is already on its way to PR (however I have the right to a small air shipment of 250 kg when I move…)!