The longest day

What we had never planned, but just worked out that way, is that the longest day and the most northern point of our trip almost coincided. In Poland we already had increasingly shorter nights, but our first night in Sweden, thanks in part to our neighbours at the campsite who had decided to cellebrate Midsomer a week early, was ultra-short.

Around 10.10pm, it starts to dim a little here. Formally dusk lasts 1h 26 min, but it doesn’t get dark. At 2.10am, dusk formally starts again, but in my experience it is just light again then. When we had to pee just before 5am earlier this week, the sun was already quite warm!

We sleep with those eye patches from the plane. It took a few days, but by now we are used to it. Even after my ‘midnight pee’ in the blazing sun, I just sleep on. Even before we arrived in Sweden we noticed that Midsomer is a ‘big thing’ for Swedes. We were looking for a warmshower address in Stockholm, but were refused because our intended host was keen to spend a last weekend with his friends before everyone flew out after the longest day. Incidentally, Swedes don’t take the exact date too serious: the Friday closest to 21 June is a bank holiday (so this year on the 23rd); all shops are closed and parties are organised in many public spaces. Parties range from the celebration in Gamla Uppsala as we described yesterday, to an outdoor disco in the open-air swimming pool. But most important everyone we ask says, is staying up with the family to watch the sun and meanwhile gobble down pickled herring (in many different sauces), bread, strawberries and vodka. In which quantaties varies a bit per person, the bike mechanic went for ‘3 days under a blanket’, but the friendly family in the supermarket who initiated me in the secrets of pickled herring, found that much more important. I (Tessel, Oscar didn’t dair taste more than 1 bite) was absolutely delighted by the lady of the house’s favourite flavour: in dyon mustard, while in Holland I don’t care for pickled herring at all. For children, staying up seems to be the most fun we noticed 2 days in a row when we rang the doorbell to ask for water. The first father was about to pick up his daughter from a non-sleepover party. The second father had a hungover 7-year-old hanging on his shorts, who was still tired two days after.

22.03h – 6 minutes before sunset
4.15h – from a slightly higher vantage point – 43 min after sunrise the sun is over the trees

We find it most extraordinary to see the sun 270 degrees a day.

Anyway: the holiday season has formally started in Sweden. Fortunately, the country is so big that it is not crowded anywhere anyway.

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