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Ferry to Åstol, Sweden

Dear Diary,
Is it possible that a platter of smoked shrimp enjoyed on a small Swedish island in the North Sea can be a transformative experience?
I'm here to tell you, it's true.

But first, you have to get there.
And that requires a drive to the shoreline where a waiting ferry is docked.

The ride itself is quick, probably less than 10 minutes if that - but I cannot be certain because I was distracted by the beauty that surrounded me.

("Welcome to Åstol")

The island is stripped of all complication, stress and even automobiles. To navigate the island, the only options available were either bike or our own two feet.

I enjoyed every second of our walk, the narrow sidewalks cutting through the small neighborhoods.

(The sea sustains the island, as you can imagine.)

I cannot think of a place to compare it to - the island stands alone.

In fact, it's a place that will forever serve as a benchmark for comparison.

I loved everything about it.

And then, there are the views. As you can see, it was a struggle to narrow the field of images. Skipping one felt like a disservice.

I can almost smell the cleansing air as I write this post and review my photographs.

(Note to track down these chandeliers.)

This is the charming restaurant we dined at, bathed in light.

Seated on the dock, at a table and chairs made entirely of cement and draped with sheepskin, we were treated to our first tastes of smoked shrimp. The delightful combination of the salty sea breezes, my savory Sauvignon Blanc and the warmth of the sun set the tone for one of my favorite moments of our trip. We indulged in conversation and comraderie with our close friends.

It was a chance to take a moment, simple as it may be, and it became something big. It's funny how the little things turn out to be the most meaningful.

Now to track down a cement outdoor dining set and sheepskin to incoporate the charm of Åstol at our homestead here in Minnesota.

Smoked shrimp, anyone?

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