And now, the Swedish countryside! As I’ve poured over these images, editing and processing, I’ve been reliving all the joy and splendor of this place, these people, the experience. It was, truly, once in a lifetime.
We journeyed west via train to the provence of Dalsland, the ridiculously picturesque, bucolic Swedish countryside. The wedding festivities for the weekend were hosted at the Baldersnäs, a historic estate with guest rooms and guest houses and lakes and farms and traditional craft markets. It was as though Swedish folklore had exploded before our very eyes.
^^The interior of the mansion was the stuff of a Brontë novel. I tried to capture the details so Momar could properly envision its majesty.^^
^^The grounds and shops and cafés and farm buildings were similarly charming and captivating. We were able to find traditional Swedish gifts from straw ornaments to rod iron candle sticks to embroidered linens for our family.^^
^^We were particularly obsessed with the wood stove heated hot tub right outside our lodgings for the weekend. I insist that one of these be constructed on Cartwheel Farm, alongside a sauna and outdoor shower. (Hey, one day! Maybe!)^^
^^We were welcomed with Swedish lollipops and a note from Maja & Lars informing us that Friday’s supper would be hosted on a boat, complete with a tour of the local lakes.^^
^^Before boarding the boat, we headed down to the main lake on the property, where we would later find ourselves sauna lounging and swimming at seven o’clock in the morning following the all night wedding festivities that took place Saturday to Sunday. It was the stuff of a fairytale.^^
^^The happy bride and groom welcomed us aboard the Dalslandia, our vessel for the evening.^^
^^We traveled through a series of locks, and moved from one lake to the next, which was quite the experience.^^
^^We snapped pictures in the gorgeous golden light of the late evening sun. And feasted on a freshly prepared meal primarily sourced from Maja’s mother’s garden. Monica prepared all the food, including smoked salmons and abundant salads and quiches. We were completely floored that the mother-of-the-bride would go to such a great effort for her guests the day before her daughter’s wedding. The food was beyond… and it was just the first taste of all the culinary extravagance that was to come.^^
^^When the boat returned to land, we headed down to the sauna where Kimmy and I sat giggling like silly Americans among 25 Swedes drinking vodka and sweating it out in the sauna. They lived up to our wildest stereotypes, and it was even more awesome than we ever could have imagined. We retreated to bed “early” (i.e. 2am) to rest for the next day’s celebrations.^^