Nature is never far away in Stockholm. From the rivers and lakes that surround the 14 islands of the metropolis, to the lush forests thirty minutes from city center. There are always opportunities to escape from the busy life of modern Stockholm.
In many ways, Stockholm is a city of contrasts. Its advanced technology is perfectly partnered with flowering parks and rivers running through its heart. Yet Stockholm is the perfect place for a nature lover. It’s one of the few cities in the world where you can go on a wildlife safari a mere thirty minutes from its center.
Summer in Sweden took me by surprise. It’s not the thick and hot air of New York. Instead it has a crisp feel, more similar to autumn. Yet, the sun sets so late that it seems time has stopped and that the sun will shine brightly forever. In truth it’s an ideal environment for a picnic or - as Stockholm Adventures hosts - a Traditional Swedish Midsummer Meal.
A Traditional Midsummer Meal in a Swedish Forest
And that is where I will begin my story; sitting in a Swedish forest with a group of international people I had just met, as we eagerly ate our meal before going on a Wildlife Safari.
You may be wondering,”What is a traditional Swedish Midsummer Meal?” It consists of three different herrings, freshly boiled potatoes, meatballs, sausages, boiled eggs with Kalles Kaviar and hard crispy bread with Västerbotten Cheese. To wash it down we sipped on Lingonberry and Elderflower drinks. It was fishy, salty, and light. I could easily envision Vikings eating similar dishes thousands of years before.
Sweden is Viking Territory
After all, Sweden is Viking territory. To keep history close we stopped by a rune stone, before we got in the van to begin the safari. A Viking rune stone tells stories of Scandinavians who participated in Viking expeditions. This was one of the oldest and best preserved in Sweden. The red paint looked fresh, almost as if it had been finished days before. It was eerily fascinating.
All of a sudden, a member of the group gasps and points towards the field behind us. A brown four legged animal is grazing. I quickly pull the binoculars to my face and take a look. It’s a deer, an animal I’ve seen hundreds of times, yet it is more exciting this time. Perhaps because I felt as if we were Vikings stalking our prey.
A Nordic Wildlife Safari
Over the next two hours we drove through rural landscapes characterised by traditional red cottages, classic manor houses, majestic forests, and historical rune stones from the Viking age. We saw deer hop about the fields, a curious hare, and three graceful moose.
The moose aka “Kings of the Forest” are the hardest to find because they don’t come out of the woodland as often as the others, however, they are a treat when found. We were lucky enough to spot one with massive antlers that was okay with us approaching it.
Carefully, we crept down a dirt road that led to an old farmhouse and peered through our binoculars at the majestic beast. After spending about ten minutes with it, he hurried off into the dark woods. It was raw and inviting being that close with nature.
A safari is something I had never been on. Traditionally, I always thought of Africa when hearing the term, however, it was a fascinating experience doing it in a Nordic country. If you’re heading to Sweden soon, give my friends at Stockholm Adventures a shout. They can hook you up with unique experiences all year long.
I was a guest at Stockholm Adventures, however, the opinions are my own. The wildlife safari runs May through October, is four hours, and costs about $150 per person. To book a tour visit www.StockholmAdventures.com.