Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Time to reflect...
I've been in Strömstad in Sweden for several days. This pleasant seaside spa town is famous for enjoying more sunshine than anywhere else in Sweden. It's some 135 km from Oslo, and makes a popular day trip destination for the Weegies. They can catch the Color Line ferry from Sandefjord which docks here to buy all of the expensive things at home much more cheaply abroad.
It reminds me a little of Cowes on the Isle of Wight at home, with its many yachts, small boats, and white wooden buildings. In high summer, it is crowded with tourists, but we are now in the second week of August - the schools are re-opening, the crowds have gone, and the town is noticeably quieter.
By some miracle, I managed to get a room at the very lovely Crusellska STF hostel in the oldest part of the town. The large, cream-coloured building dates from 1827 and was run as a health spa for many years by its owner, Doctor Bernhard Crusell. Today the white fluffy dressing gowns and complementary white house slippers are still very much in evidence, along with wicker furniture and well-tended pot-plants, because the new owners run it similar lines, offering short stays for guests wanting a bit of pampering. I'm not booked on any treatment courses, but it does make for a wonderfully relaxed setting to bring the diary up to date in, and to turn over the experiences of the last two and a half months. Ultimately I'll be here until Margaretha and John fly back to Oslo from their trip to Finnmark and can welcome me to Margaretha's summer house in Stavern. At that point I'll join the returning day trippers on the ferry back to Norway.