Midsommar in Burträsks
Midsommar in Sweden is always more fun if you can celebrate it with family, so my brother and I were really lucky to be invited to spend the weekend in Burträsk with some old friends. Way back when, in 2001, I played on my high school soccer team in Willmar, Minnesota, alongside a Swedish exchange student, Sandra. Now 16 years later I'm riding motorcycle to her home in northern Sweden, pretty funny how life works out.
Sandra and and her husband Daniels's hobby farm is across the lake from the village of Burträsk, just North of Umeå 100 km. Their beautiful two hundred year old farmhouse is soon to be featured on a Swedish historic home television show on SVT. During the filming, they learned that their summer cottage was once the local morgue in the winter. Spooky! Hopefully I'll find a way to watch back home in Minnesota when it airs in the autumn.
The barn was converted into a cafe by the previous owner, which makes it perfect for hosting a large Midsommar feast. Nearly twenty of us joined in on the festivities in the cozy cafe, which had a fireplace to keep us warm on the cool day.
We had a relaxing two days exploring the farm with their daughters Ingrid and Märta and their energetic dog Sixten. Daniel's uncle Kalle even brought out an old 1940's Husquvarna motorcycle. And yes, we tried Surströmming, the fermented Baltic Sea herring, and no, I did not like it. It smelled like rotten fish diapers, if you can be creative and image that. The smell is so overpowering that I couldn't really get to the chewing part of the activity, so I can't really comment of how surströmming actually tastes.
Daniel is an electrical engineer with the local hydroelectric operation and led us on a tour of the historic plant in town. The day felt VIP because the museum was not open on Midsommar, and we had the whole place to ourselves to explore along with their dog Sixten.
Tack Sanda and Daniel for the wonderful stay in Swedish North!
Up Next: We head South to explore the Swedish Höga kusten, or High Coast.