There’s a tourist map at the dock in Dalarö. It’s one of those comic type illustrations pointing out the various things to do and see. For instance, there’s the customs house, the museum, the detached belfry, etc. There’s also a man reading to a couple of ducks.
The man is August Strindberg. He visited Dalarö from 1879-1892 and described it as ‘the gates to paradise’. I’m not certain about the heavenly entrance but Dalarö is certainly lovely. Particularly under the only real bit of sunshine we’ve had all December.
Originally, we weren’t going to Dalarö. Desirous of a day out, we loaded the puppies into the car and set off for Trosa, a rather affluent town south of Stockholm.
Like most places south of us, in order to drive there, it’s a case of heading north, skirting the capital and then heading south. This is to avoid the various forests and lakes scattered in between. What it doesn’t avoid is the traffic.
Little did we know that everyone else in Sweden was doing the same thing as we were. The main highway into Stockholm was seriously chockas. When the three lanes of traffic completely stopped, Mirinda had had enough. We took the next exit and headed back.
As we reached the feeder lane going south, Mirinda suggested I put Dalarö into the satnav and, traffic free, we headed south.
It’s not hard to find. You just keep following the road until it reaches the Baltic. The road ends in a ramp which, when the boat is in, gives passengers access to Orno, a big island. When the boat isn’t in, you have to stop or end up in the Baltic.
And it’s not just Orno. You can also catch a passenger ferry which can take you to Trintorp or even Stockholm. That’s if you can find the timetable which is not an easy thing.
From the dock, we walked up into the small town. And fell in love. We started imagining what it would be like to live there, even going so far as to look in real estate windows. Having discovered the cost of even a modest house, we decided it was really a lovely place to visit.
The population in the summer climbs to 15,000 while the permanent population is more like 1,500. It is a very popular summer destination. I reckon it’s a lot nicer in the depths of winter when the visitors are outnumbered by the residents.
Possibly the best thing about Dalarö is the soup at the bageri. It was a cream of some sort of vegetable that tasted like asparagus but had an untranslatable name. Smoked salmon had then been dropped into the middle. It was possibly the best soup we’d ever tasted.
And the staff was incredibly lovely. And, possibly best of all, dogs are welcome. Well, GOOD dogs are welcome.
Having slurped on soup, we then walked up and down the high street, peeking into the arty type shops, noticing, with satisfaction, the ubiquitous pizzeria, admiring the rather ornate telephone booth and reaching possibly the most beautiful ICA in the country.
Finally, we returned to the dock for a walk along what appears to be Millionaire’s Row. Big houses, overlooking the Baltic with private docks, each with small outbuildings over the water. They do love their outbuildings in Sweden.
While these houses would normally be empty over the winter, this year, with the plague conditions, a lot of Stockholmers have decided to leave their city apartments and remain by the sea. Sort of like Giovanni Boccaccio and his chums back in the 14th century. Possibly without the literary merit.
You can’t blame them. Given the risk of being locked inside your one room flat in the middle of Stockholm or having the freedom of a big house by the sea, I know which option I’d take.
The photo above is NOT one of the houses along Millionaire’s Row, but it is a typical Dalarö house. Apart from the lack of a captain’s balcony, we found it quite appealing.
Our trip to Dalarö was wonderful. We fell in love with the small waterside town and will definitely be returning.
As the sun set, we headed back home, stopping briefly to deliver a bit of Christmas cheer to the Perfect Swedish Family.