Summer 2013: A Swedish Summer

There is something about the last days of summer. In Sweden the weather can be rather capricious so a sunny summer isn’t a guarantee. However there are a few things that are a must to conclude the summer, come rain or shine.

Spending the afternoon at a Café is pretty much a norm in the Swedish way of life. The famous term fika [fee-ckah] is just another word for “coffee break” – the word actually originates from kaffi, an old Swedish word for coffee – however having an actual cup of coffee during a fikapaus is optional. The important thing is to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Be it alone or in a group, with something to eat or just a drink in your hand, it’s about being in the moment. In my hometown Lund I always come back to St Jakobs Stenugnsbageri and Patisseriet. At these two cafés chic but rustic environments are combined with delicious homemade pastries and a variety of coffee drinks.

In Sweden it is almost mandatory to go to at least one crayfish party during the month of August. At a crayfish party people meet up in a private garden decorated with colorful lanterns and have a merry time. You eat crayfish cold with your fingers as well as bread, mature Västerbotten cheese, and sometimes a few pies have also found their way to the table. Naturally the crayfish are accompanied by one or two schnapps.

An important element of really the whole Swedish summer is music. This is made apparent through all the diverse music festivals that are arranged all over Sweden. Some festivals are free but for some, tickets need to be purchased in advance. What they all have in common though is nice music and happy people. Way Out West is an upcoming festival in Gothenburg that has gained momentum during past years and this year artists like Alicia Keys and Johnossi are playing.

The best things in life are free and even though I am a bona fide city girl, in the summer I love spending time outdoors. It can be out hiking in a nearby forest, having a picnic at the park or at a friend’s remote summer cabin picking wild berries. The days of summer are about enjoying the beautiful lush green nature Sweden has to offer, which according to me has its peak in the summertime. Just catching a sunset – like this one at Södergarn Lidingö in Stockholm – makes you realize it is nature’s art show.

Victoria Edman