Our own little piece of Sweden

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Pic. An evening buggy stroll after dinner.
For our second stint in Sweden we stayed a little closer to Kate’s vet practice, further north-west of Kalmar. The rental was a small house on a farm with our landlords living in the main farmhouse about 50m away.
Why would this little piece of Sweden get its own blog post you may ask? From the warm, friendly welcome we received from Johnny and Lena, to the natural beauty of its surroundings this little township felt like our own slice of Sweden for the four weeks we were there. Saoirse was the star of the show of course and you could see that Johnny and Lena got a lot of enjoyment out of having this little bundle of energy around.

Pic. Our welcome crew at the house.
The farm had been in Lena’s family for 8 generations and both houses had been built just under a century ago. Some of the wallpaper in the main house was original! They really know how to maintain their belongings these Swedes.

Pic. the old front entrance and the main house.
Around the house were forests and fields. Johnny had retired from farming about a decade ago so their land is rented out to a neighbour to farm. When we were there it was towards the end of the long dry weather and the land was very yellow and dry. They had never seen it like this and you could really tell how much they loved the land by how sad they were to see it during the drought. Thankfully rain had started to come by the time we were finishing our stay there. Not enough but a start at least.
Pic. Some highlights from Kate’s bike rides.
Kate had ordered a bike that arrived in Knarrebo in time for her to have some nice bike commutes to and from her work approx 15km away. She had some enjoyable cycles through the countryside during her days off as well and took some excellent photos of the area.

Pic. The local forests.
Saoirse and I went on a few trips to Kalmar but as we were usually just before or after a long trip we hung about at the farm a lot. It was a great opportunity for Saoirse to practice her crawling, standing, stairs and to take her first few teetering steps. There was a 5km loop through the woods and we’d head for a buggy run through it regularly. I enjoyed the challenge of keeping things interesting for her by making some toys, spending time outdoors and reading. Magic times that I feel very lucky to have had.

Pic. Fun times hanging out with Saoirse.
On Kate’s days off I’d try to get out into the woods for some longer runs. With my topomap app on my phone to guide me I discovered hunting cabins, wildlife, fishing lakes and a number of historic sights. One of the most interesting sites was a headstone dedicated to a local man who had emigrated and made a fortune in the US. When he passed away, he left a huge sum of money to the local community to ensure the roads in the area were maintained. This money is still used today and, despite the efforts of the local councils, remains in the community’s control. This scenario wasn’t uncommon in Sweden and further along on our travels there was another local who’d left a vast sum of money to his old community after dying. What was remarkable about the second man is that he had a job with an average salary and spent his spare time collecting bottles as you received money for returning them. Only when he passed away did people realise that this man who had lived a simple, solitary life was a multimillionaire from investing his bottle money on the stock market!
Another highlight were the trips to small swimming lakes or the sea on Kate’s days off or meeting her after work for a swim and dinner at the beach. The weather was still very hot so a soak was always welcome.

Pic. Beach, lake and playground time.
So when our time came to leave Knarrebo, it was with some sadness for all of us. Saoirse had been stalking the two white cats and she got her own little white cat toy when leaving. We’ve named it after Baronen (The Baron) who was one of their cats. It will always serve as a reminder of our stay. So while not a viking fort, a sunken battleship or other site that would be in the lonely planet, Knarrebo will definitely be one of our trips highlights.
Hey group one, just a highlights reel from our second longer stay near Kalmar. We were made feel very welcome by our hosts and it really was a trip highlight for us.
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