Thursday, June 5, 2014

Evening bike rides

When I was younger and summer vacation stretched out endlessly, I remember wheeling my bike out of the garage to go for a spin around the neighborhood in the evening. Fireflies flitted about, the air carried the aroma of backyard barbecues, and the heady scent of magnolia, honeysuckle and wisteria hung heavy in the twilight.

I had forgotten what that felt like until we recently became a two-bike family (see Cleo and Caesar posing prettily above). We've taken to heading out for a short jaunt before dinner, exploring the nearby trails that line either side of the Årstaviken bay on our island and across the way on Södermalm. There's something amazing about being able to leave our house and be in a legitimate forest in 5 minutes—and we're still within city limits! That's one of the things I love most about living here so far: everyday life and nature/fresh air/movement are so intertwined and accessible.

One of the best things about these woodsy meanders off the main thoroughfares is coming across the urban garden lots scattered about Stockholm. Since most Scandinavians live in quite small footprints, cities offer up tiny plots of land you can purchase to build an adorable wooden cottage upon, complete with your own proper garden. It's so fun to peek over red wooden fences and see the beautiful landscaping and quaint architecture.

And thanks to allemansrätten ("every man's right"), a Swedish freedom granted to all people that gives them (us) the right to walk, cycle, ski, run, etc. on any land and pick moderate amounts of the flowers, apples, mushrooms, or other goodies that we find there as long as we don't damage anything, I can pluck an armful of fragrant wisteria from alongside the bike path to take home with me for the dinner table.

One year ago: All the small things

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