Days 345 to 348 — 17 hours and 47 minutes of paradise

The sun rose at 4:16 a.m. this morning and I was there to see it. Today was the summer solstice (sun stand or stop) which is the longest day of the year. We couldn’t have had a better one.

I biked to a spot that I thought would give me the best shot of the sun peeking over the horizon.

Closer . . .

Closer . . .


Not much happening at the harbor at 4:30 in the morning.

So far, it was shaping up to be a pretty nice. But, you can never really tell around here.

In the U.S., this course would already be packed at 5:00 a.m. Here, they usually don’t begin until 8:30 or 9:00. After handling emails, I went back to bed around 6:00, got up a little later and mowed the lawn (which takes a while) and then joined our two house guests at a nearby beach.

Temperatures were in the mid to high 70s, no wind and the crowds have not yet arrived to Halmstad from Stockholm. The population doubles or triples in summer.

These pictures help to explain the national dream of Swedes to have a summer house here on the west coast.

This is Mariette’s oldest friend, Ackie. She lives in the middle of Sweden in a ski resort area. Her grand uncle was the great pianist Wilhelm Kempff. Ackie and her two sisters got some of the genes and are also musicians. They finished fourth one year in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen in the 1980s. She and Mariette used to hitchhike around Europe in summer during high school and make money singing on street corners.

That’s her son, Olof, who at age 8 is an avid skier, boater, and now horseback rider. And voracious reader.

Today virtually screamed, “Grill! Grill! Grill!” So, we obeyed.

Olof, caught doing damage to corn on the cob, Swedish style.

By 9:30, it was time to head out to catch the sunset. People were still out on the golf course.

And still in the water, which was a pleasant 17 degrees C. It usually reaches 20 or 21 degrees C. in July, which is warmer than California, unbelievably. These bathers are maybe 50 meters out from the shoreline and are only up to their thighs. The long hours of sun and very gradual slope makes for some really nice water temperatures.

Quite a few people out enjoying the evening.

Lifeguard tower. Halmstad is one of two places in Sweden that runs a lifeguard school. The participants get room and board but no salary for their training and work on the beach during the summer. But they get to hang out at the longest and most popular beach in Sweden during summer, go to the clubs and basically have a blast all summer long.

The bistro that overlooks the sea just opened for the season a day or two ago.

This is the island of Tylö, about a quarter mile off shore. It is a nature preserve.

If you measure the degrees where the sun set from where it rose, it was about 270 degrees, which stands to reason since the day was nearly 18 hours long.

Going . . .

Going . . .

Interesting graffiti on the restaurant wall. This has been here for some time, so evidently someone likes it.

I guess we will call this a done day.

And that will do it. As wonderful as today was, and it truly was a spectacular day, it remains only a prelude to what happens tomorrow, and if you think there were a lot of pictures today, just wait until tomorrow: Midsommar, the reason why so many Swedes were born in March.


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