Öland is Swedish for “island country” and that is exactly what this piece of land is: a skinny, 140 kilometer-long island of Swedish paradise located just off the southeast coast of the mainland.
They say that at the beginning of time, Lake Vättern in the middle of Sweden was carved out by a giant, who grabbed a chunk of earth and threw it into the Baltic Sea to form what today we call Öland. To me, it makes no difference how this island came to be – I’m just happy to have finally been there after almost 4 years in Sweden. It’s truly a magical place.
We arrived last Friday afternoon, driving north for almost an hour once we crossed the Öland Bridge, headed toward the village of Löttorp. I expected to see the many windmills we passed (a trademark of Öland), but not the dozen camels we drove by. Who decides to start a camel farm in Sweden?
And there was more on the exotic-animal front: our accommodation – a quaint bed and breakfast-type place – was home to a gang of alpacas. A very welcome surprise, although they weren’t so receptive to my alpaca calls.
On Saturday, NS and I explored tree-lined country lanes right out of a fairy tale. Stunning views of the Baltic backdropped green fields of cows. We borrowed bicycles from our B&B and discovered the most beautiful beach I’ve seen in Sweden – Sandby – with fine, white sand and sparkling blue water.
At 4pm, guests from all over the country – the continent really – gathered in a gorgeous grassy garden for NS’ cousin’s wedding. It was ever-so-perfect, full of music and love. A pair of eagles flew over our heads before the ceremony and a rainbow appeared on the horizon after – it must mean a match made in heaven.
We ate and we sang and we drank, and late into the night, we danced and then we ate some more and by the end I was happy and tired and full and in love with this place and these people. I can only hope to return to Öland sometime in the not-so-distant future, hopefully for more than 2 nights next time.