They say that at the beginning of time, Lake Vättern in the middle of Sweden was carved out by a giant, who grabbed a chunk of earth and threw it into the Baltic Sea to form what today we call Öland. To me, it makes no difference how this island came to be - I'm just happy to have finally been there after almost 4 years in Sweden. It's truly a magical place.
We arrived last Friday afternoon, driving north for almost an hour once we crossed the Öland Bridge, headed toward the village of Löttorp. I expected to see the many windmills we passed (a trademark of Öland), but not the dozen camels we drove by. Who decides to start a camel farm in Sweden?
And there was more on the exotic-animal front: our accommodation - a quaint bed and breakfast-type place - was home to a gang of alpacas. A very welcome surprise, although they weren't so receptive to my alpaca calls.
On Saturday, NS and I explored tree-lined country lanes right out of a fairy tale. Stunning views of the Baltic backdropped green fields of cows. We borrowed bicycles from our B&B and discovered the most beautiful beach I've seen in Sweden - Sandby - with fine, white sand and sparkling blue water.
At 4pm, guests from all over the country - the continent really - gathered in a gorgeous grassy garden for NS' cousin's wedding. It was ever-so-perfect, full of music and love. A pair of eagles flew over our heads before the ceremony and a rainbow appeared on the horizon after - it must mean a match made in heaven.
We ate and we sang and we drank, and late into the night, we danced and then we ate some more and by the end I was happy and tired and full and in love with this place and these people. I can only hope to return to Öland sometime in the not-so-distant future, hopefully for more than 2 nights next time.