Last month, I spent a week in Sweden with my friend Lou. I flew out from Manchester on the same day that I finished the Extremely Stressful Project that I’d been working on for six months. Being in the middle of nowhere brought a huge sense of relief.
I stayed in a tiny village called Uddebo, about 100km from Gothenburg. Uddebo had been in decline until a number of people moved there to explore alternative ways of living. The village now has several communes, all of which put on regular events. There are also several free shops, and a community sauna. The photo below shows the freegan Sunday lunch we were invited to.
There is also a raft across the river which was added after the bridge was damaged.
It was the perfect place to spend time recuperating. I went swimming in the river Asman every day. It turns out rivers are great for banishing (although English ones are too ridden with filth and plague to be much use).
The classic film about Sweden is Ari Aster’s folk horror Midsomar. Arriving in this small village on a beautifully sunny weekend, I kept seeing echoes of the movie – outdoor meals, small buildings and so on – even down to being given a flower crown.
We also found lots of strange art in the woods. I took photos but I did not touch any of it. I’ve seen enough horror films to know how to survive in the countryside.
I decided to spend a night sleeping outdoors. We’d found a small wooden shelter that looked perfect for this. Lou couldn’t join me, as she needed to sleep properly before an upcoming performance. I am of course terrified of the dark, from having watched too many horror films.
Walking into the woods as sun set felt creepy, like something from the start of a film.
One thing that amazed me was how the woods were noisy until dusk fell, when they went silent. The Dark Forest theory feels very different when you’re actually in a dark forest. But I soon relaxed and managed to sleep.
I also met a giant dog called Buins who was super-friendly, and didn’t really how massive he was and went to sit on my lap.
Lou performed her one-woman show at the Central Library while I was there. I didn’t understand the words, it was good to see her onstage again.
The next day we wandered around Gothenburg, where we encountered a lunchtime disco, which are apparently run to allow people to make the most of their lunchbreaks.
Lou had to return to Uddebo, but my luggage was stored at her friend’s flat so I took a visit to Liseburg, where I met one of the rabbits that owns it.
I’m too frit for roller-coasters, but I love watching people riding on them.
I did, of course, sample the notorious Swedish pizza. I am now working on a horror novella inspired by this cuisine.
I love Sweden and can’t wait to go back!