I had the most absolutely lovely summer vacation, so very lovely that I didn't even feel inclined to run to the internet whenever I had a spare moment. I can hardly think of a time when I've intentionally cut myself off from the internet for such a long period, certainly not since the end of the 90s. Of course, that means that I never got round to writing up what I was doing (and I have such a backlog of book reviews). So I'm going to write at least some notes to remind myself for the future; unfortunately they are only verbal snapshots, as the other thing I completely failed to do was take photos.
The first glimpse of my beau when I met him from the train and the first hug after weeks apart. Friday night table properly laid and a nice meal ready for company (SA and EBH) to arrive. Ferry through the archipelago with the sea sparkling in the beginning of the heat wave. Arriving at Grinda and getting an impression of the most idyllic, tranquil island imaginable, with meadows and forest and goats with evil eyes. An isolated little arbour somewhere in the forest, where we ate uninspiring salad and talked about the Future of the Relationship (we think it might have one). A new meaning for the term "tree-hugging". A little pebbly beach off Långholmen, cool water on overheating bodies, and playing mermaids in the shallows of lake Mälaren. Tea in EBH's allotment. The moment when we settled into a compartment of the sleeper train, knowing that all we needed to was wait until the night had passed and we'd be in the far north of Sweden. Swedish politeness allowing a mutual agreement about when we should turn the seats into bunk beds (and yes, two rows of benches really do transform into six beds). Waking up to snow glittering on the mountain-tops along the Norwegian border, and the knowledge that we were north of the Arctic circle. Kiruna is a fairly grim little mining town, but with a tourist trade. Giant and surprisingly tasty pizzas in a fast food joint with Italian branding but Turkish music. The view from the top of a reclaimed slag-heap, mountains and scrubby forest and landscape extending forever. Collapsing at a table in an unremarkable Thai restaurant, tired and footsore and too hot and swollen with mosquito bites and sunburn, and my beau picked just that moment to tell me I'm beautiful. The colour of the light when it's still clear daylight past 11 pm. The Torne river where it opens into lake Tornetrask at Jukkasjärvi, so blue and so intensely peaceful. Ice as a building material, in a (chilled) warehouse stacked with flawless bricks about 2 m x 1 m. Tourist-friendly examples of Sami and Norrland culture. Getting off the train after a 16 hour journey and heading directly back to the beach and more swimming in the lake. Wandering home through the outskirts of the Pride festival. Flying is so much less unpleasant in company.