For Chris it was Iceland and the wild wilderness. For Ben it was catching fish on a lake near Stockholm (more to come on that) and for Emma it was the hot tub at one of our (rental) vacation houses.
For me it was this island. My god, this place was magical.
Here was our tiny slice of heaven:
The house was built in the 1890’s. The red boathouse and dock are newer additions, as are the hot water and flushing toilet. Lovely historical buildings with modern day conveniences: definitely our preferred accommodation combo.
The true attraction was the sandy beach situated on a calm little cove. And the house came with a boat! The fishermen of the family were excited.
The island is perhaps a few miles long and has about 50 houses spread out along its length. A passenger ferry makes daily stops in the village but there are no shops or restaurants on the island. An aerial of the island can be found here. Look for the designation ‘Sandukta’ on the middle west side of the island after you zoom in. The red roof house was our abode.
Ben pretty much ate his weight in apples from the orchard every day.
Our little fishing helper. Wants to do everything the big brother does.
We also had a nightly fire and ate dozens of smores. It’s what you do on vacation, right?!
There aren’t any cars on the island, just a dirt road and hiking trails. We spent a few days picking wild blue berries and exploring.
Have I mentioned that there were sheep on the island? Every summer a farmer brings his flock over from the mainland and the wee beasties spend their time grazing on the island’s interior pastures.
We saw zero people on the island during our stay. Zero. But we did see a LOT of sheep. Ben thought it was a hoot to give chase. They were not amused.
Occasionally you’d be walking down the road and get the weird feeling that you were being watched. Sneaking, spying sheep.
There was a tiny little marina on the south end of the island. I would like to meet the person that named their boat “Placebo Gorilla”. Random, yes?
More apples. Now every time Ben wants an apple, he’ll say: “Mama can I please have one of the delicious pink lady ones?”
Sandukta is the name of the house on the island.
One of the original farms.
Weirdly enough, sheep have much longer tails than I’d previously thought. I always thought of them as little nubbins.
We were doing our nightly fire when suddenly Ben yelled: “Mom, this is the giant-est frog I’ve ever seen!” I didn’t have to look far as it was practically sitting next to me. Furthermore, I wasn’t expecting a six inch toad to be hanging ‘round the family campfire but perhaps he needed a bit of company.
There is one slightly venomous snake that does live in Southern Norway (and on the island) and we were thankful not to have spotted one of those particular specimens.
We did a boat trip around the island. It rained a bit but we kept spirits up with copious quantities of treats and promises of warm showers upon our arrival back at the house. We’re hardy Pacific Northwesterners, right?!
On our last day we had a little sheep adventure. The old one room brick schoolhouse in the middle of the island has been converted into a vacation home and is fenced to keep the sheep from coming into the garden and tasting all the delicious flowers that the owners have carefully cultivated. Unfortunately we noticed that an ewe and two lambs had managed to squirrel their way into the yard for dinner. Furthermore, we guessed that the the owners were off-island for the week.
Team J sheepherders to the rescue!!!
Let’s just say it took a while to work out the kinks in our sheepherding strategy. Those sheep are wily-er than previously thought. But also exceptionally dumb at the same time. If such a thing is possible.
The pictures are fuzzy but you can see Chris chasing them out the gate to rejoin their posse in the field.
Success!!! Our work here is done.
If you’re interested, here is the Airbnb listing for the house. The owners were an absolute dream to work with, and it has been my favorite home rental to date.
Here are a few additional posts from our Scandinavian adventure with kids:
Sweden: The Lake House
Sweden: Gothenburg and the West Coast
Norway: Island Living on North Sandoy
Iceland: Southern Iceland (Part I)
Iceland: Hot pools and waterfalls (Part II)
Iceland: The Golden Circle (Part III)