Hej allihopa! This post is long overdue, and I’ve been drowning in work for school. (And I should be writing a paper right now, but…) So, sorry about the delay. I wanted to share with you some photos from a special trip we took earlier this month.
Today’s lagom lesson is about allemansrätt, or “everyone’s right,” or the “freedom to roam,” or, boring-soundingly, the “right to public access” in Sweden.
In short, allemansrätt guarantees anyone the freedom to use what nature provides, as long as they do so responsibly. For example, you can camp anywhere, even on private land (but not right in someone’s yard), for one night as long as you don’t destroy things, leave garbage or cause a disturbance. Here’s a great beginner’s guide to allemansrätt, if you want to learn more.
In addition to access to natural spaces, the right also gives people in Sweden the chance to consume nature: to swim in lakes, and to pick wild-growing berries and mushrooms of all sorts.
Joe’s mom, Cara, made a near-spontaneous trip to visit us in Sweden for Joe’s birthday earlier this month. We were eager to make the most of her time with us here while the weather was still lovely, so we ventured north by train to Åmål, where we were greeted by my relative (We are, I believe, second cousins once removed, but I find ancestry labels to be quite confusing, so “relative” will suffice.) Kent, who came with a visiting friend to pick us up and take us to the summer home in the forest. There we said hello to Kent’s wife Lillemor, who was already preparing lunch. (I have the best family ever.)
We spent much of our day picking blueberries, lingonberries and chanterelle mushrooms that grow wild in the forest. For Americans who aren’t accustomed to foraging (or even identifying wild foods), it was idyllic. And Lillemor has eyes for chanterelles like a hawk has for mice. I did manage to find one or two myself.
Of course, for breakfast we had fresh, sweet blueberries and yogurt. Serene.
Click on the photos for a larger version and a short description.