It’s Midsommar: The biggest party of the Swedish year!

Boat Malare Ekero Sweden MidsommarAnd I’m a gate crasher.

“Hej! YK, Lorenzo, I have name places for you!”

Our two friends smile. “Oh, thank you. You shouldn’t have. This is great.”

The red faced host turns to us. “And you?”

“I’m Joe.” Joe holds out his hand.

“J … Joe!?”

“—Yo,” I cut in, knowing the ‘J’ sound isn’t familiar to the Swedish tongue. Unfortunately, ‘Yo’ means ‘Yeah’ in Swedish.

“Yo!?” The woman’s flower wreath falls over her eyes as she descends into a laughing fit. “What kind of name is this!?” she manages to wheeze. “Yo!?” She claps her knees and her eyes ball.

“Like Yoseph,” I say. Her floral dress threatens to split.

After a moment, she calms down. “Uh. Okej … And you?” She turns to me.

“Esther.”

“Well that I can understand!” she cries, giving me a hug. “Not like Yo!” She screws up her round face again and walks away, muttering, “Yo … Yo?”

Midsommar Lake Malare

I zip to the homemade bar and pour myself a wineglass of schnapps. At 40%, it burns going down, but I’d be breaking tradition if I drank anything else at a Swedish Midsommar fest. It’s actually quite tasty; To the untrained drinker, it could be a fruity sting of strong white wine.

Lake House Midsommar Malare Sweden

Oar Lake Malare Midsommar Sweden EkeroWe are on a lake house’s decking, overlooking the edge of Mälaren, Sweden’s third biggest freshwater lake. YK and Lorenzo are music producers, songwriters, and artists (Sondr). Their manager happened to clinch a private island for them for a week of songwriting, and we were lucky enough to be offered a visit. Their escapades led them to make friends with the locals, who insisted they join them for their Midsommar party. I just rowed us across the water to get here. After arriving in one piece, I’m feeling pretty badass (and a bit toasted).

The woman’s husband comes up to me.

“You need some of this.” He flicks a yellow cream tube at me and nods at my legs.

I glance down. Nice. 7 mosquito bites, fat like swollen bruises.

“Thanks,” I say.

YK and Lorenzo join us.Midsommar Lake Malare Sweden

“So, you live here?” I say to the man. He looks down at me, tanned wrinkles of 60-year-old skin crinkling as he smiles.

“Yes.” He says. He squints at YK and Lorenzo. “What do you think of the Brexit then? Silly British yes?”

“Well, I don’t know much about it.” YK shuffles. “I wasn’t allowed to vote.”

“If you want freedom, you have to move forward!” The man raises his glass and sways towards the dark red planked walls.

“Actually, if you want freedom, your opinion has to count for something.” I say. “You have to have a voice.”

He looks at me again. He tilts his head. “Wow. You are very British.” He says. “But it’s good.” He scratches his chin. “Now I hear another opinion.”

We jump into discussion.

YK and Lorenzo decide they need to get something from the car and tiptoe away.

Behind me, I hear Joe entering into debate with an Irish born pharmaceutical worker. I smile. The sun will barely set, and neither will this topic of conversation. We need more schnapps to get us through this one.

Skål!

Est stick tongue

Ideas Island Ekero Malare Sweden