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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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…