The midnight sun will never set

Yes, we know, this is just yet another of all these kitschy pictures of overrated sunsets, but still this is what it looked like at the neighboring lake late last night. Despite the fact that we have passed the summer solstice the midnight sun still rules around the arctic circle, and even we who live further south can still benefit from and enjoy long, bright evenings for another couple of weeks. Even though the sun sets for a few hours it never gets completely dark, it’s more like a magical twilight.

Sunset over Lake Hennan
So please, try to look beyond the “kitsch” and sit back, relax and enjoy this beautiful – and suitable – ballad “The midnight sun will never set”. It was written by Quincy Jones when he was on a brief visit to Stockholm in the late fifties to write music for a performance with the Harry Arnold Radio Band. It is said that he wrote the music in the taxi just before the show and it was performed that same evening by Arne Domnérus, Sweden’s greatest alto saxophonist.

The Midnight Sun Will Never Set by Quincy Jones, performed by Arne Domnérus

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Cheers and Happy Midsummer!

Midsummer is one of the holidays most awaited for by the Swedes. It’s now we consume loads of pickled herring, and then still some more, the first new potatoes of the year, cured salmon, one or two meatballs and then finish off with a sumptuous strawberry cake. All this is washed down with a number of schnapps, often flavoured  with cumin, elderberry or black currant and each one accompanied by a song, the racier the better. The night is bright, young and promising, and those who haven’t found their loved ones yet will probably pick seven different kinds of flowers to put under the pillow and hopefully dream about their future husband or wife.

Midsummer

Yellow lady slippers and a bear encounter

We have now escaped to the country and our little log cabin where we’ll spend the rest of the summer. After a week of scrubbing and cleaning inside the house and organizing plants and seedlings outside we were finally ready for our first “walk on the wild side”.

It was a 200 kilometers round-trip by car (and guide) to a very secret growing place for Yellow lady slippers, a plant that has become rare and close to extinction, due to an ever shrinking natural habitat and overcollection, despite the plant is protected by law. We had to solemnly promise not to reveal the location, so we can’t give a hint about where to find these flowers. Sorry!

Yellow lady slipper
Yellow lady slipper

Yesterday evening we had another rare experience on our way to “our” marshland to check the outcome of cloudberries (aka knotberries or evrons) this summer.

While driving the car Roffe suddenly spotted a bear among the trees by the roadside. It turned out that she had three little cubs of which two were playing in the bushes on the opposite side of the road and a third one had climbed up a tree from which he fell down when Mother Bear got a little excited and yelled at him.

Actually, we all were a bit excited. Mother Bear running back and forth across the road hurrying and gathering her little ones and we in the car, strapped by the seat belt and unable to find the camera quickly enough, and when we finally did too many trees blocked our view.

It was a great moment though, just sitting there and watch the four of them slowly lumbering away through the wood.

Spreading the news about the bears we now know that we’ll have the clouberries to ourselves this summer.

Mashland

Paris – part II

swedish_flagJust for your information, today it is Sweden’s National Day. Since 1916, June 6 has been celebrated as Swedish Flag Day. In 1983 this day finally became the National Day and from 2005 it’s a public holiday. So it is a fairly young tradition and the celebration is far from that in Norway on May 17th, 4th of July in the US or July 14th in France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two football giants (soccer that is) side by side, and none of them French! One just retired and one still at his peak.

 

Sweden is a very secular nation and we both belong to the 75 % of the population with no real relationship to the church. Nevertheless, we like to visit old churches when we are traveling, enjoying the beauty and serenity of the church room.

A visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral thought ended already outside the entrance where we were met by quite a stir with police, fire brigades, TV reporters and crowds of visitors. We soon found out that a right-wing historian and activist had tragically just killed himself in front of the altar in protest against the newly adopted law legalising gay marriages.

 

So we continued to another grand building, the Madeleine Church which we hadn’t visited before.

 

Alexandra is the name of one of our daughters in law and of course we had to stop for an espresso at the café that carried her name. And a soupe à l’oignon for lunch was a must too.