The first weekend of summer

It may be late June, but after an unseasonably cold spring this weekend is the first time it’s really felt like summer. Here’s a snapshot of how we spent it…

Saturday

Yesterday, Andreas and I cycled an hour down to a friend’s house by lake Mälaren. It was cloudy but warm enough to brave a dip before going back to the house for board games and barbequeing.

It was midnight when we left to cycle home, but the skies were still light; a slightly murky, watery blue, with a band of amber that could equally have been sunset or the start of the dawn. It doesn’t really get dark this time of year, and the difference between Uppsala and London is remarkable considering we’re just a little further north than the northenmost tip of Scotland. An hour of cycling in the middle of the night isn’t something I would generally look forward to, but last night I couldn’t help looking around and feeling privileged to be surrounded by such beautiful scenery in the cold, clear early light.

Sunday

Today the weather was even better, sunny with temperatures in the 20°s, so we cycled out to a beach on the river at Old Uppsala and spent the afternoon swimming, picnicking, reading  and sunbathing. At one point I turned to Andreas and said, “this is the sort of thing I moved to Sweden for”.

I wasn’t really joking. Since 2007 I’ve spent a little of every summer in Sweden, much of it whiled away similarly to this afternoon. Sweden has literally like 100,000 lakes (I am not exaggerating) and more than half of the country is forest – these people know how to enjoy nature. It’s all part and parcel of the famed Swedish quality of life. I loved my summers in London, but let’s be real – even in the glorious Hampstead Heath swimming ponds, you’re still just tucked into a green nook of a city choking on its polluted air. In Sweden it’s impossible to be very far away from a place of incredible natural beauty.

After enduring the darkest November on record and months of snow that made it a hassle just to leave the house, the long light nights and days by the water feel like my reward. I can’t travel much this summer due to the course I’m currently enrolled on, but who needs to when you’ve got wild swimming a 15 minute cycle ride away?

This is what I moved to Sweden for, and it’s here at last. Next weekend it looks like it’s going to be 25°. Anyone for a swim?

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