...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Trevlig midsommar!

Below is the midsummer pole (midsommarstång) in our celebrations at Snedskär. The pole and rings actually symbolize the male genitals thrust into the earth (which represents the woman) -- a pagan fertility symbol:


Finally, we're back to civilization after two days of boat camping out at Arkösund. Magistri was docked at Snedskär, an island maintained by the Bråviken's Sailing Club and where the boat club members traditionally celebrate midsummer. Marcus and I tagged along for the celebrations so that I could experience a "real Swedish midsummer" (last year was spent in the Philippines), and it was also a kind of initiation to our future boat life.

Boat life actually is a bit like camping, except that your mobile home floats on water. With Magistri at least, we didn't need to go outdoors to cook or to go to the toilet. We were also plugged to electricity and had the luxury of a refrigerator. On the other hand, there were also the usual drawbacks of "cowboy" life: no shower, funny tasting water, and having nothing to do and nowhere to go to when it rains out. It was a bit like living in the province, complete with boat-owner-neighbors that all know each other and talk to each other in loud voices. There was certainly a whole lot of boat-talk that went on between them too, and those who heard about Juanita volunteered tip after tip, story after story, and wished us luck as if we had a baby instead of a boat. At any case, the people were jolly, the celebrations were fun, and the atmosphere around Snedskär and in the boat was for the most part homey.

It was a slow and cozy Thursday night when we arrived there, but on Friday morning -- the morning before midsummer night -- the tempo immediately rose after breakfast. As far as the boat club members could remember, the midsummer celebrations there have always begun with a sailboat race (kappsegling), and this year, Magistri was one of the contestants. The crew dropped in before we even had time to wash the breakfast dishes, and before we knew it, we were sailing the race... Before we knew it too it was the end of the race, with Magistri finishing second.

When the morning turned into afternoon, it was finally time for the midsummer highlight -- the real Swedish-swedish event of dancing, singing, and having afternoon tea around the midsummer pole (midsommarstång). Unfortunately, we missed most of the dances because we came to the meadow too late. Fortunately, that also meant nobody forced us to do any frog leap dances around the pole. Strawberry cakes were enjoyed, coffee was drunk, and the oldies drank copious amounts of alcohol besides. Schnapps (in Swedish, snaps) is a midsummer staple; any excuse to take a shot was welcomed.

In the evening (which of course was still light, because that's what midsummer is all about), everybody placed their food contributions on the clubhouse dinner table for a knytkalas, or a potluck dinner. My adobo kind of stood out among the traditional Swedish midsummer dishes, but it was also well-appreciated and gone to the last piece (a couple of people even approached me to say that it was good, and that it was too bad there was none left for seconds!) It was warm and cozy inside our crowded eating tent despite the rainy midsummer night, and after awards were given out to the boat race participants, Marcus and I finally retired to bed and left the oldies to their own to feel young and drink the night away.

Pictures and descriptions uploaded here.

And again, happy midsummer! From now on, it's a long way down to the dark times!


Blogger vlado&toni said...

wow, that sounds like a lot of fun! i'm sure you will have more of such trips in the future. kainggit naman :( just too bad for that bad weather -finally the official summer comes in and all we get is bad weather :(
congratulations on finishing second!
hmmm... that adobo sounds yummy too.. I have never dared to cook adobo to "foreign people" here yet, germans (or the germans and non pinoy people I know) are so sensitive to garlic, you might think they are vampires or aswangs of any sort ..

8:45 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hello again Toni!

My sister's boyfriend Rob, who is German, must be an exception then. He likes adobo to pieces and even saves the adobo sauce in the freezer for the next adobo batch. My sister was also wary that he might not like sinangag when she first made a tapsilog, but to her surprise he brown-fried more garlic in the afternoon so they could have the same breakfast the next day :-) You never really know what people like or dislike until they taste it I guess!

The adobo did need a bit of explaining during the potlock party though. As you can imagine, stewing with soy sauce is kind of "exotic" here, not to mention a bit wasteful too because soy sauce isn't as cheap and varied as in the Philippines.

Too bad about your wet weather! :-( It rained too on midsummer night until the next morning -- that wasn't so fun, which is why we decided to drive back home.

8:59 PM


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