Two months ago we went to Grinda, an island that's an hour away and extremely...quiet. Almost desolate, actually. I'm not sure if that's just the way it is (since it is a nature preserve, after all), but maybe it's because we went in the off season that the only company we had were a group of friends and a family of (somewhat) friendly cows?
Whatever the case, we decided to head to a livelier island and we found a nice day trip via Stromma for a canal tour to Sandhamn, one of the furthest-away archipelago islands. I believe a regular boat can get there in 90 minutes or so, but we opted for the company's "Canal Tour" which takes a southerly route through super narrow canals making it much different from the normal speedy boats that zoom across the open water of the archipelago, or skärsgård.
On Sunday we headed off to the main port in the city for a 9:45AM departure, which would have us in Sandhamn by 12:45PM, where we'd have two hours to explore before heading back for the 3-hour return trip.
Once we were away from the edges of Stockholm and Nacka, we started passing adorable summer houses (or maybe year-round ones!), plus lots of people out on their motor or sail boats. And then we started winding through the seagrass-edged canals.
Time passed pretty quickly and soon we were steering our way into Sandhamn's (packed!) port. We disembarked and found ourselves in a very charming area. But since we had picked a picnic, we quickly skedaddled through the bustling waterfront area and headed for the hills where we passed lane upon lane of typical red wooden Swedish houses with heaps of climbing roses, an incredible number of waving Swedish flags and people toting blankets and hampers on their backs or on their bikes as they wound their way to their own private summer afternoon spots.
When we found a rock face overlooking both a beach and a smaller port, we spread our blankets out to enjoy our lunch and the view. We snuck in a little nap, too—with the warm stone behind our backs and waves of salty sea air washing over us we really had no choice. As our watches ticked towards 2:45PM we sighed, gathered our things, and headed back to the port for the trip back to Stockholm.
I'd had more than enough sun by then, so for the return journey I opted to spend most of it in the cabin below deck where big windows that were opened wide made it seem just like I was up on the sun deck (where R stayed), but without the intense Swedish sun (seems ironic, but it really was strong!) beating down on me.
While Stockholm is certainly the most greenest city (and a capital one at that!) that I've ever been in, sometimes you just need to be completely removed from all things urban, even if it is for just a day, and Sandhman was the perfect destination for that.
Almost an American