Davy got an excellent taste of the fickleness of Swedish weather on Saturday. We were headed for Ales Stenar by way of Ystad, and the skies were sunny and gorgeous until we got a few kilometers from the coas t… at which point we encountered fog as thick as pea soup. It was like driving through a massive cloud, and unfortunately, it didn’t let up all day.
This blanket of fog really altered the Ales Stenar experience since the magnificent setting is HUGE part of its appeal. I felt like I had to keep reminding Davy that cliff we were looking over really did tower over the sea. Any mystique the fog may have added to the ancient stone ship was negated by the bus-load of German tourists who decided to plop down for a picnic right next to the formation. Someone actually had the audacity to hang a jacket over one of the stones. Typical.
The presence of a very friendly herd of cream-coloured cows did add a bit of unexpected drama. They allowed us to pass remarkably close to them without incident, until we accidently found ourselves between a mother with calf and the cliff’s edge. The mother cow, who had taken no notice of Elsa until this point, decided the dog just might be a threat and the two animals began to trott toward us. Our first instinct was to run in three different directions … but the presence of the cliff severely limited our options.
Fortunately Dr. Darling accidently stepped on one of Elsa’s feet as she began to flee the charging cows, and the dog’s yelp startled them enough to allow our safe escape. We did the usual walk from Ales Stenar into the little fishing village of Kåseberga, where we quickly discovered that the unusual lack of wind was not only keeping the fog from dissipating … it was also preventing the stench of rotting seaweed from moving out to sea. So then it was foggy AND stinky.
From Kåseberga we headed to Smygehamn to drop Elsa off with Magnus at his in-laws’ place. I’ve met them several times and they’ve always been nice but not especially warm to either Dr. Darling or myself, so we were really surprised when we received an invitation to stay for dinner. It was a BBQ Party to celebrate Sweden’s first match of the World Cup later in the evening, so the alcohol flowed even more freely than it usually would at a Swedish summer party.
I don’t know if it was the booze or the pending match or the fog, or just fact that my brother was present, but Magnus’s in-laws were as charming as they could possibly be, dare I say even downright affectionate with us. All the guests, which included Dr. Darling‘s Dad and his sambo, went out of their way to speak English for Davy … I had no idea they were so good at it since they have only ever spoken Swedish with me.
After a delicious meal we gathered in front of a neighbor’s big flat-screen TV to watch the match. Davy was amazed by the intensity of the interest in the game … especially the level of disappointment displayed when the final score was a 0-0 tie. All of the men (and boy children) were dressed in Swedish team apparel but several of them changed after the match was over. Magnus’s brother-in-law turned his shirt inside-out in disgust!
The consensus over dessert and coffee was that a scoreless tie was essentially a big win for Trinidad Tobago and a loss for Sweden. The evening ended with a short walking tour of Smygehamn … and we headed back to Malmö about 11:30 p.m. I just couldn’t have asked for a nicer, more Swedish evening for my brother. How ironic given that I thought Ales Stenar (which turned out to be something of a bust) would be the highlight of the day.