You remember those days when your friends or relatives would bore you to death with the pictures of their holiday (vacation)? When I was a wee lad, we had a wonderfully cheerful neighbor who did just that. He would return from his annual road trip to somewhere in America I hadn’t been. We’d go over on a Sunday afternoon and watch his slides (what’s a slide?) on his Kodak Carousel projector for hours. Some fell asleep, but not me. Perhaps that’s what inspired me to travel the world. Who knows.
Well, I’ll try not to bore you but instead give you a brief look at our week at Brokamåla Gård located in Blekinge Län, Sweden. Lars and Maria are wonderful hosts at Brokamåla Gård and they have created the charming but modern outdoor experience. From the deck of our modernly equipped cabin (even has wi-fi) we looked out over a beautiful private lake that is shared with only one other cabin. As it was, we had the whole lake to ourselves for the first five days. We give Brokamåla Gård five stars. If you like the outdoor, peace and tranquility, you’ll love it at Brokamåla Gård.
The cabin is in Blekinge Län, which is in the Southeastern portion of Sweden. With the Baltic on its eastern edge and the heavily forested hills coming up from the coast, it’s a sportsman’s holiday paradise. Indeed, Blekinge is famous for fishing and the Mörrumsån River is a world class fishery sought out by sports fishing enthusiasts from around the world. What a wonderful place for a classic Swedish fishing holiday. But Blekinge is more than just fishing. It’s famous for hunting and its numerous outdoor adventures. Let’s not forget all that incredible cultural history as well. So, if you’re ever visiting Southern Sweden or live there, you should make a journey to Blekinge. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s an English link to the Blekinge Tourist Information site. But enough about Blekinge and on with boring you with our holiday adventure.
Our Holiday Journey (without Chloe dog)
Chloe was unfortunately unable to join us for this holiday, so Saturday morning she was deposited at Camp Granny’s (Eva’s Mom) where she was treated like a princess for seven fun filled days. She was looked after by the soon to be famous dog whisperer, Alex and his assistant Felicia.
We loaded the car Saturday morning and were on our way. Björk’s Fiskbutik och Rökeri is located just down the road from our place, so we decided to start our holiday there. We stopped for lunch and to pick-up some smoked goodies for dinner. Eva had a lovely shrimp sandwich and I had my proverbial favorite, fried herring and mashed potatoes. We then purchased some cold and warm smoked salmon for dinner and were on our way. As we drove to our holiday cabin, we traveled the back roads. The scenery was wonderful. There was plenty of lovely Swedish farms painted bright red with white trim. Forests, meadows and lakes were everywhere to be found. Ok, that description just saved you having to viewing about fifty images. Are you bored yet?
Tranquility, Exploring and a Church
The peacefulness was intoxicating. Not a sound to be heard, but that of nature (or each other). Our lovely cabin had a flat screen TV with numerous channels, but it was never even turned on. No need, don’t you know.
Our holiday was filled with hours of reading and exploring. You could walk in the forest for hours and never see another soul.
We also made a few day trips, visiting the scenic coastal town of Hällevik, on the south Baltic coast in Blekinge. Hällevik’s exact beginning is unknown, but there are historical artifacts that date back to the 1100’s (nope that’s not a typo). As a matter of fact, it’s considered one of the oldest fishing villages in Sweden. But enough with history (although I love history), we really came here to have a tradition Swedish Baltic coastal lunch at Dagmar’s restaurant. Eva had the smoked salmon with shrimp salad smörgås (sandwich) and I had fresh fried herring (Sill) with mashed potatoes and lingonberries. Didn’t I order this at Björk’s? Hum, maybe I’m in a rut. But, this was the real deal, best of the best! Oh, as we had friends coming Thursday for Midsommar, we visited Hennings Rökeri to purchase a variety of smoked seafood as well.
Well as my readers know, I have an affection for Swedish churches (at least the old ones). So, we journeyed to Jämshög, which is a lovely small village a short distance from our holiday cabin. The village is quite quaint with a lovely church.
The current church was constructed in 1832, but the site has been religious grounds dating back to the time when this portion of Sweden was indeed part of Denmark. On the site, is a burial mound which dates to the bronze age.
Friends, Food, Drink & Fishing!
We had many wonderful meals and an abundance of fine (OK, average to some) wine. Our first evening, we dined “Al Fresco” on the deck, enjoying the lovely smoked fish we’d purchased at Bjork’s that very day. It was wonderful, served with fresh new dilled potatoes, a crisp salad and a lovely chilled De Bortoli (Australian) Semillon Chardonnay. Just the perfect first meal. Then, the leftover cold smoked salmon morphed into a lovely pasta afternoon lunch. This went very well with a chilled glass (or two) of Casa Patronales (Chile) Rose. We had other meals the first few days but these were the best in my mind.
Well we also found time for fishing. I must say the fishing was fantastic. However, the catching wasn’t so good. But as an old fishing guide friend once told me, if you caught a fish every time, it would be called “catching” not “fishing”. But my lovely bride (of 18 years) caught the first Rainbow trout and a dandy it was. It could have fed at least eight hungry souls and did feed four quite nicely. This was our pre-fishing lunch with my fishing and hunting buddy Benny who arrive that morning with his smiling wife Åsa.
Benny and I had been plotting our fishing tactics for days and were certain that the afternoon would yield us our allocated limit of fighting Rainbows. We fished with the passion one would expect from a gentleman of Viking heritage and one from the piney woods of Texas. As the sun began to lower and our beer ran out, we called it a day. The great fisherman had to return home to the wife’s empty handed.
Not to worry though, we (Eva) had calculated on this happening so we were set for dinner. Remember all that smoke seafood we purchased in Hällevik, well it made for a fantastic meal. We had a yummy Färskpotatispaj med Spenat or Fresh Potato Pie with Spinach. This is a great recipe which we’ll be posting next. It’s a little like quiche, but “manly” so anyone will like this one.
Now this fine meal called for a chilled bottle of Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay for the ladies. Now us guys indulged in a couple of Swedish classics, Alborg Aquavit (snaps) and Mariestads Export Ol (beer). The snaps are 47% alcohol and the beer is 5.3%, so it went a long way to reduce the shame Benny and I felt that evening for a dry fishing day on the lake.
For those of you unfamiliar with Aquavit, it’s simply a vodka type spirit that is flavored with various herbs and spices. Here in Sweden it’s always served straight from the freezer. It is said that the drinking of Aquavit while eating rich smoked fish and pickled herring helps your digestion. Now I can’t say that it’s a fact, as I’ve never eaten rich smoked fish and pickled herring without drinking a shot or two of Aquavit. However, I can say that I never had a problem digesting the fish or herring, so it must work.
It was off to bed after that, (well maybe we had a few scotches as well) as we had a big day of fishing and the Swedish Midsommar celebration the next day.And fishing we went, Benny and I used all our tactics from all of our combined years (a lot) of fishing. Finally, “Fish On”. It was a fighter, but with Benny helping with the net it was all over for that Rainbow. Now, let me say that we mainly catch and release, but an occasional wild fish in the pan is hard to beat. With the fish in the boat, we could return to camp and redeem ourselves with the women folk. Also, we promised we’d be in for Midsommar lunch.
Well, as this post has already turned into a small book, I won’t go into great details regarding Swedish Midsommar. However, I will say that its origins go back to the pre-Christian pagan times in Scandinavia. You can learn more about Swedish Midsommar here.
We planned our holiday to coincide with Midsommar as it’s such a festive time. Once we arrive back at the cabin and redeemed ourselves we all set down for an incredible traditional Swedish Midsommar lunch.There has to be Matjessill (herring), which is a special herring caught in the North Sea from early May through June. We also had some traditional Abba brand jarred herring, boiled eggs, fil (like sour cream), green onions, a sharp cheese, crisp bread and the “absolute must be included” freshly harvested new potatoes. Of course, we had an abundance of wine, beer and Aquavit. And this is just lunch!Oh, and we mustn’t forget the fresh picked strawberries (Jordgubbar) and ice cream for desert! Thanks, Åsa and Benny for picking and bringing.
Later that afternoon, Benny and I went back on the lake so Benny could catch the big Rainbow. Once again, we combined our honed skills and fished as hard as it’s manly possible, but it wasn’t to be. Benny will get his fish next time. We both agreed that the experience of floating and fishing in the sanctuary of this lake was a blessing, fish on the line or not. We also once again ran out of beer so it was time to come in and enjoy the evening. Which we did indeed.
We enjoyed it so much that I forgot to take any pictures. Lucky you! So, we all awoke the next morning full of happiness, fond memories and perhaps a bit of a heavy head. With the rain falling, we loaded up and headed home from a most memorable holiday.
Don’t forget, coming up next will be the making of Swedish “Färskpotatispaj med Spenat” or Fresh Potato and Spinach pie.
Chloe says, “I’ll eat the herring, but you’re not putting one of the flower things on my head!”.