This year has definitely been a strange one for everybody. Canceled plans, paranoia over a virus, lots and lots of bad news, and perhaps the biggest change of all: a new way of living, traveling, and even eating.
Living in Sweden, perhaps the changes aren’t as drastic as those in other countries. There has never been any lockdown, for a start. Nor has it been a call to wear a mask. There are only recommendations: to keep distance, to avoid public transport when possible, to work from home.
I’m not gonna lie, the lax measures make me feel paranoid. Despite the reports that they’ve done more testing and the number of new cases has decreased, and the ICU capacity has increased, I’m still terrified. There’s a 50-people limit of gathering here, which seems… a lot. The other day I saw a group on Facebook created a meetup at a bar in town, something I usually attend without second thoughts. Not this time. I shudder at the thought of 20, perhaps 30 strangers in an enclosed space, sitting shoulders to shoulders (and yes, I shuddered even more when I saw photos from the event, fitting the above description).
When the sun is out, everyone is out – that’s the way it is in Sweden. We’ve been lucky with a sunny spell in the last few weeks, and it seems like everywhere we go, there’s always people. Lots of them. Downtown, beaches, lakes. When I finally pushed myself to go out, I got irked by how most people don’t seem to follow the social distancing guidelines. So for most of the summer, I’ve stayed home, even when the weather teases me to go out. Seeing photos on social media, of packed beaches and lakes, gives me mixed feelings. Envy and a little bit of FOMO, but also, horror.
It was only when we rented a car for a week that I felt at ease. We went to places that were not easily accessible by public transport or a bit far from the city, and it was amazing. We saw no people in the immediate vicinity for almost the entire time, and I finally, finally could enjoy the best of Swedish summer in all its glory.
Perhaps those are the only great memories of summer this year, but it’s enough. So I thought sharing the few idyllic lakes outside of Gothenburg that we went to during this time (and thoroughly enjoyed).
Stora Rämsjön is definitely a hidden gem, located about 2 km from Lake Aspen, a bigger and more popular lake. Stora Rämsjön is a ribbon lake that’s also on the Bohusleden hiking trail. It’s a pretty small lake, and we were alone for almost the entire time. Perhaps it’s because there weren’t many flat surfaces to sit comfortably, but it’s good enough for us. There’s also a camping ground nearby with barbecue pits, rain shelters, a hammock, and an outhouse, perfect for anyone who wants to set up a tent to enjoy this beauty for a longer time.
I’ve blogged about our blissful in a lakeside getaway cabin in the previous blog post. Much of the bliss was thanks to the stunning cabin and Säven lake, where we spent most of the time swimming and rowing. The lake almost felt like ours, save for the occasional joyful shrieks from kids on the other side. It was absolutely stunning and tranquil, all that we could ask for a getaway vacation when we needed to decompress while staying away from people.
We initially went here to see Ramhultafallet, the waterfall located in the northwest part of Lake Lygnern. At the peak of summer when we hadn’t had any rain for days, the waterfall itself wasn’t much of a view. But the lake below that, Lygnern, was definitely a treat. Plenty of flat rocks and grounds to sit on, and it was perfectly quiet.
The waterfall, Ramhultafallet.
When it comes to preference, I’d rather go to a lake than a beach, anytime. It always feels more idyllic, perhaps because it’s often surrounded by forests (at least in here they are). And it’s fresh instead of salty water (I hate the sticky feeling on my skin after swimming in the beach). And for lakes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place than Sweden.