Almost heaven…

Finally I have reached the island of Orrön, the home of Axel and Clare. As I have written before, Axel was sailing his catamaran with Mark, from Lubeck to his family’s island in the Stockholm Archipelago, when I met them in Kristianopel a few weeks ago.

Axel and Clare welcoming me to their island paradise.

Axel and Clare welcoming me to their island paradise.

I had a delightful sail from Huvudskär to Orrön with a stiff breeze giving ‘Free’ the motivation she needed. On approaching the island, I heard Axel shout with excitement, and soon Clare joined him on the foreshore to welcome me. Then there was the delicate process of tethering ‘Free’ to the shore as it was rather too deep to anchor safely.

'Free' is finally secured.

‘Free’ is finally secured.

What a welcome, to what can only be described as the nearest place to paradise I have ever visited. Yes, perhaps Tahiti and some of the South Sea islands are more exotic, and are undoubtedly stunning in their impact, but Orrön has a unique beauty with its smooth, foliated granite and teeming wildlife that includes deer, butterflies, and dragonflies, plus abundant fruits growing wild, such as raspberries and blueberries, as well as mushrooms!

I was cordially welcomed by Axel's family and close friends.

I was cordially welcomed by Axel’s family and close friends.

I was most fortunate with my timing, for the arrival coincided with a famous Swedish tradition of the ‘Crayfish Party’, and I was invited to attend the following evening… And what an evening it was; a real banquet with the vegetarian alternative to the crayfish for me! My hosts were charming, friendly and very warm, encouraging me to join in.

A wonderful evening as a guest for the famous Swedish 'Crayfish Party'.

A wonderful evening as a guest for the famous Swedish ‘Crayfish Party’.

The party was full of good conversation and humour. Every now and then there would be a song after a quick toast of Schnapps. Somehow I managed to survive the humiliation of trying to sing until Axel’s father’s persistence induced me into digging out my old tin whistle. So I took a turn with a few Irish pieces, which went down very well. What a wonderful evening it was.

Axel and Clare invited me to their own little house the following day and we all chilled out. I learned of their desire to live through the winter on the island, which will be quite a feat in sub zero temperatures and metres of snow; however, their little house is well built for it with high quality insulation. All of the family have their own smaller dwellings near each other on the island and apparently this is not uncommon in Sweden, especially in the Stockholm district.

Chilling out on the porch of Clare and Axel's little house.

Chilling out on the porch of Clare and Axel’s little house.

All too soon it was time to go from this heavenly island. I could have stayed there all my life, for what else does one need? Nature, the sea, friends, clean and healthy living… why does life have to be so complicated?

Having a last coffee with Mimmi on her porch.

Having a last coffee with Mimmi on her porch.

I am quite overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality of Axel’s family. They welcomed this old sailor as if she was one of their own and made her feel at peace and rested. I will never forget my visit to Orrön, which indeed is…

Almost heaven


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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11 Responses to Almost heaven…

  1. Lynda Hulme says:

    Oh you lucky, lucky lady! What a wonderful experience Poppy. You SO deserve it. Looking forward to your next posting. Much love. Tony and Lynda xx

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thank you. It was amazing. The Swedish people know how to live, that’s for sure. They love their country and really appreciate it.

  2. The weather looks perfect and the photos make me think Pippi Longstocking is going to pop up somewhere. Thanks for taking me, and your readers on this journey. I can almost imagine it, as if I was right there, except I would be right into the crayfish. Next year, I am hoping to experience it for real. Did you have to leave so soon?

    • Viking Queen says:

      ‘Fraid so, Amanda. I never overstay my welcome. I have a fear of ruining wonderful moments by ‘saturating’ them.
      I felt it was the perfect time to leave and will now carry wonderful positive memories for the rest of my life.
      I’m sure you will love your experience next year, and look forward to reading about it on your website.
      Thank you for your kind comments. It’s lovely to know that others are feeling a little of what I have been so fortunate to encounter.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Incidentally… One of the lovely guys, decided to call me Pippi instead of Poppy… I take that as a massive compliment as I share her philosophy!

  3. Pippi’s philosophy is timeless, and ageless!

  4. Pippi sounds great as do all your recent experiences AND so much deserved! I’m really happy for you, Poppy. Long may the Swedish sail be so impressive. Keep the “post” flowing too! I so look forward to more good news.
    I’ve just got back from a brief spell away so a short email this time.

  5. Viking Queen says:

    Thank you Ruth and welcome back! Just waiting at anchor on the island of Arholma for the wind to change so that I can sail for Oregrund. I need some water now as supplies are tending towards the scanty!
    I’m writing you an email very shortly…

  6. Hello Poppy
    Glad to see you are safe and well and enjoying that wonderful country and the same hospitality we experience every year when we sail with Ian Draper on ‘Zouza’.
    Had supper with Malcolm and Sue on the barge the other evening who brought us up to date with all you news.
    Ian by the way is based in Stockholm, so if you wanted to contact him I have his mobile number.
    As usual your pictures are loveley.
    Best wishes.
    M.V. ‘Lotte’

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