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A Summer in Ålem, Småland by Theresa Grieben

Berlin, Berlin, DE

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I always dreamt of going to Sweden and the summer before last I had the chance to spend one month as an artist-in-residence in a charming villa in Ålem, a small town between Stockholm and Kalmar in Småland, South Sweden. Almost everyday I took my sketchbook and an old green bicycle to ride around the fields and forests in the company of sheep, cattle, horses and elks. I was especially in love with Strömsrum, a tiny settlement of wooden houses with an idyllic setting over the Alsterå river. I discovered it by chance and was impressed by the large manor house dating from the 17th century, which was entirely made of wood. I went on to Pataholm at the Kalmar Strait coast, which looks like a picture book village taken directly from an Astrid Lindgren novel, with small wooden houses painted in fox red, a dreamy harbor and a charming café. I’ve tried all the bicycle routes, cafés and swimming spots myself and have captured my travel memories with this map – if you ever come to Småland you should have a visit!