Monday, March 10, 2008
De Röda Små Stugor
The Little Red Cottages.
If you haven’t noticed, Sweden does the simple things really, really well. Those little things that help one appreciate life - the special parts to the day-to-day of living – Swedes do really, really well. Add to the list that Sweden is known as “the land of the little red cottage.”
And all it takes is a quick journey to the countryside to agree with this description of Sweden.
Starting in the spring and always throughout the summer, many (if not most) Swedes will spend time at a “little red cottage.” Always out in the countryside, usually near a lake, surrounded by family and friends, appreciating the bounty of summer and all it brings. De Röda Små Stugor and a Swedish Midsummer celebration go hand-in-hand. Why then, you ask, am I writing about this when spring hasn’t even arrived?
The problem I have is that my summer is spent either in the U.S. or working really hard at my job preparing for the arrival of new students to the university. My first “röd små stuga” experience was a couple of weeks ago. Yes, in the middle of winter. Not the quintessential little red cottage experience, but a good look into another Swedish national pastime and certainly worthy of a Linköpinglivin’ entry nonetheless.
It was time for a group of friends and I to make an overnight getaway from Linköping, so the little red cottage in the countryside was the destination of choice (but since this one slept ten people comfortably, most people agreed this was more of a “big red cottage”). Usually these summer homes are closed down some time in September and not opened up again until Easter, when the coming of spring looks promising after the long winter. Most Swedes either have or know someone who has one of these countryside cottages.
So what happens at these little red cottages during the summer? Best I can tell, a whole lotta “not too much.”
Go for a walk. Have some fika. Go for a swim. Then maybe some fika. Read a book. It’s time for fika. Play some games. Lo and behold, it’s fika time. It’s 11:00pm. The sun is starting to set. Another summer day at a little red cottage has come and gone. This is Sweden at it’s finest. This is Sweden doing the little things (that are actually the most important things in life) really, really well.
From what I remember about the U.S., we could sure use some of these “röda små stugor.”
A huge thanks to Sara and Andreas Vinsander – perhaps we can squeeze in a little red cottage weekend this summer?
1. & 2. The land of the little red cottage.
3. Friends around the table – the best part of any weekend getaway or summer lazy day at the cottage.
4. A classic fika.
5. My addition to our weekend was the beloved American game, Jenga. I think it’s JUST about to catch on in Sweden…