RoadTrip #34: Celebrating Midsummer in Torsby, Sweden (+ a daytrip to Rottneros Park)

The Midsummer (Swedish: Midsommer) is one of the biggest holidays in Sweden. It is when the summer solstice or the longest day of the year is celebrated with maypoles, flower wreaths, singing and dancing! And of course, good food like crayfish, salmon, barbecue and spare ribs partnered with new potatoes or pickled herring. Last year, we went on a spontaneous trip to Sweden to get a vibe of how the Swedes celebrate this well-loved festivity.

It was a clear day. How we ended up in Torsby was a product of a quick google search for places with a Midsummer gathering and an accommodation which allows both humans and cat. 🙂 Many urban places in Sweden had planned the celebration, but we wanted to go to a less crowded place. Most of them also started at 12 noon. Due to work, we couldn’t leave earlier and thus, hoped to find one that would have the dancing and singing later that day. Thankfully, there was Torsby (literally translated as Thor’s city).

The border from Kongsvinger, Norway was not my favorite because of the winding rural roads on the Norwegian side, and the uneven roads on the Swedish side. However, it was the closest one to Torsby so, off we went and had our second crossing through that border.

We quickly settled Missy and our stuff in the accommodation, the Torsby Vandrerhjem, and then, drove to Torsby Camping to witness the fun singing and dancing. The room in the vandrerhjem was spacious enough for Missy. It also seemed good for families – with a wide playground and the possibility for barbecue and grilling.

I have been living in Scandinavia for some time now, but it was my first time to watch the celebration. I hope it’s ok to share a couple of videos. The Swedes really seemed to enjoy this party which is always set on a Friday in June.

I wish I knew the songs and the steps and could join them, but oh well. 🙂 More info about the Swedish midsummer here:

After the maypole party, we drove to a nearby shopping center. There, one could buy synthetic flower wreaths and other decorations. I bought some, for next year, maybe. Missy seemed to like it. And we also did some geocaching in the city center and visited the beautiful Fryksände Church from the 1800s.

For dinner, well, Swedish pizza. 🙂

The next day, we drove to the city center of Torsby once more to have some breakfast and well, see the city for a bit. We wanted to visit the Fordonmuseum, but it was closed on a Saturday, apparently. Here are some shots from that early morning in Torsby:

Afterwards, we drove south to visit the Rottneros Park, a big sculpture garden inspired by the fictional setting of the Swedish writer, Selma Lagerlöf’s novel, The Saga of Gosta Berling. Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) is the first female winner of the Nobel prize for literature. She wrote Gosta Berling, her first novel, at 33! Gosh, I can still be a famous writer. 🙂

Anyway, the fictional setting in her novel is the estate of “Ekeby”, which is brought closer to life by the Rottneros Park, designed by Svante Påhlson (1882-1959) in the 1950s. More about the park, its entrance fees and opening hours, here:

It was so refreshing to be in the various gardens in the park, and the fountains really helped to ease the summer heat a bit. The sculptures were also amazing, and some were built by the Norwegian Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943)! Don’t expect much though; his best works are in Vigelandsparken in Oslo. 🙂

There was also a playground and a number of sheep one could pet during the visit.

On the way back to the vandrerhjem, we stopped by a western diner to enjoy some ice cream.

I wonder if we’re celebrating midsummer in Sweden this year – my turnus is still unavailable from week 24. But there’s a good chance that it won’t fall on my fast helg (working weekend), so, we’ll see. 🙂

I, or we, really had a great time, although the whole trip was rushed and more like, a go with the flow roadtrip. The next day, we left early and headed back home. The weather was still very favorable and the trip went smoothly.

Until the next entry! #spreadloveandpositivevibes



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