Trains, sailing boats and “I do”
We take a taxi to the train station and with M’s dad in tow, boarding the train to Uddevala (Swedish west coast) is a breeze, despite our ever growing luggage. We have another gadget-filled train trip. 4 hours of lap tops and Nintendo Ds’s, but the time goes quickly and before we know it we are barging our way through a throng of teenagers, who seem to think they are the only people on the train platform, and are heading towards M’s brothers car.
We get to Henån in glorious sunshine. Despite the upcoming wedding in 2 days, the mood is calm and my sister-in-law to be has prepared homemade pizzas – with gluten free versions for C. We feel thoroughly spoilt. With one full day to go before we board our sailing boat, I find myself re-packing our bags once again. I realize that the shoes that M has brought with him for the boys to wear to his brothers wedding on Saturday no longer fit and we plan a shopping day for the next day. We have another feast in the sun that evening. Hamburgers – again gluten free hamburger bun and ketchup for C. I am so grateful that everything has been planned for us and that we aren’t rushing out searching for g-free food. I am quite humbled that so much thought has gone into catering for us.
Shopping the next day turns out to be successful with new kids shoes for the wedding, new life vests for our sailing trip and new back packs for school (just because they were cool). Not sure by now how we are going to get everything back home, but where there’s a will, there’s a way… We have lunch at Torp – the local shopping mall. We were warned that it would be mega busy because of the rain, and it is indeed mobbed. We queue up for lunch for what seems like an age and C plummets for steak and chips. Not bad this g-free malarcky, at times.
We check out the weather forecast for the upcoming week that evening. There is more rain forecast, but also lots of sun and we hope for good weather on the wedding day.
On Friday, M goes to collect our friends Kieron and Lucie from the airport. Once we’ve all showered, I pack the last few things up and as soon as the car returns from the airport, we load up, do our grocery shopping, take everything to the boat and set sail.
After our first night weathering a 35mph storm in Gullhomen, we head to Mollesund. There we begin to greet the family that has already gathered for the wedding. We set up the place settings for the wedding dinner (our allocated task) and with 35 mins to go before we need to set off for the church, I quickly undergo the necessary transformation in the harbor shower room from boat wear to wedding attire, drying my hair under the hand dryer and hoping for the best. Lucie has helped dress the boys and M has jumped into the harbor water for a wash, with no time left to shower, much to the delight of the boys and all of those moored around us.
The wedding is delight. It is a double wedding. M’s brother is marrying a twin and both twin ‘girls’ are wearing the same dress but each with a very unique look. The sun shines as we leave the church and so the weather is declared a success. We are greeted with champagne at the dinner venue and the boys are handed sparkling juice in champagne glasses. They can’t quite believe that they are allowed to drink out of champagne flutes and stand sipping with eyes wide open for what seems like an age. My limited Swedish carries me through the barrage of speeches (as is the Swedish tradition) somehow. At 9pm, we take the boys back to the boat to sleep. C declares it a very good wedding and tells us how much he has enjoyed it. The first dance takes place just before midnight and just after 1am, M declares that he is ready to go. Knowing that we will have the boys jumping on us anywhere from 7am onwards, it seems to be the right thing to head back to the boat. We leave, the party still in full flow, and stroll around the jetty in the rain to our moored boat.
We set sail again the next day with slightly thick heads, having said goodbye to all of the relatives. We have a great sailing day with amazing weather to Lysekil, where we moor and have an amazing walk to the old bath houses and dinner by the harbor, before heading up the rocks above the harbor to watch the sun set.
The following day is another perfect sail. It takes us to Smögen, the party town of the west coast. It is a far cry from other harbors, with row upon row of boats, trendy young things strutting their stuff along the jetty and music booming everywhere. We join the mob on the jetty in search of dinner and a beer. We giggle that evening at the sounds of the bad karaoke and the thirty something’s next to us reliving their youth.
My favorite thing about Smögen are the mornings. They are so peaceful. Everyone is partied out and sleeping and we walk to what we agree is our favorite coffee shop in the world. We have a mammoth breakfast with g-free bacon and eggs for C while we sit in the courtyard behind the café. We play top trumps with the kids (our new found favorite holiday game) and wish we could make this moment last for ever.
Alas, our booked mooring spot needs to be vacated by noon and so after a quick stroll to the beach and a declaration that there are too many stinging jelly fish in the water to swim, we grab some raspberry sorbets for the boys and set sail again. This time to Fjällbacka, home of Ingrid Bergman. We have some great ocean sailing and get there in less time than expected. Nevertheless, the harbor is rammed full and we moor alongside 5 other boats – a fair climb back over to the jetty. We realize that the power cable won’t stretch to the power point and how dependent we have been on gadgets – as always. Lucie needs to send some files to work and M wants to catch up on emails too. We ask our neighbors if they can charge our lap tops up for us and that acts as a good quick fix.
The boys find some friends on the next boat and head off on a fishing expedition with M. K, L and I head into town for a stroll and some groceries. We eat dinner on the boat that evening and enjoy a glass or two of wine and a good old chat while the boys sleep soundly in their cabin.