The most stressful, hair-raising journeys tend to lead to the calmest of places. You have to work to reach utter peace. The island of Grinda in the Stockholm archipelago is one of those places. To reach Grinda, you can take the slower, less exciting boat or you can adorn a puffy blue suit and hold on for dear life. Not much of a thrill seeker, I am thrown on a boat more fitting for a bathtub than the Baltic Sea. I climb into my marshmallow suit and let the thrill take me to the calm of Grinda, letting out screams with every bounce and splash.
Without going overboard on the hour ride from Stockholm, I arrive to the island of Grinda, one of the most popular islands in the archipelago. My hair didn’t fare well but all worries are left on the boat, bad hair days and all. The air instantly goes silent as a few islanders roam near the harbor. Grinda is in another world.
On the back of dusty ATV, I make my way to the Grinda Wäardshus. Henrik Santesson first discovered the appeals of Grinda, the first director of the Nobel Committee. He would build a summerhouse for his family on the island, which is today the inn. As Santesson did in his time, most of those in and around Stockholm take their summers out to the archipelago, holing up in cottages and feasting on barbecue after barbecue. It is still the summer tradition, one that is just getting underway. My invasion of Grinda for a night has the same feeling of arriving to a cult meeting staged on an island. You are not completely sure if it’s real, if Grinda has an ulterior motive of converting you to some ideology.
Jan from the Grinda Wäardshus tells the group how he bought Santesson’s former art nouveau summerhouse when it was a camp for children. Suddenly I’m not worried about being converted but more so of being involved in a Parent Trap situation.
After checking into my room in one of the cottages on site, Jan takes us on an ATV-wagon tour of Grinda. With no real roads, cars or distractions, it is difficult not to feel calmed by Grinda. Even if you have worries and tasks lingering over, Grinda has a strange way of eliminating them the minute you reach her.
We dine at the inn’s restaurant, served by a staff that could have come from an Abercrombie and Fitch ad. The evening ends inside the lobby area by a peaceful fire. Mosquitoes continue to bite as a game of cards occupies the evening. Few are left on the island now besides those staying at the inn, cottages or hostel. Into the night Grinda goes, but never in darkness. The sun concludes the day splashing the sky with pink and purple but I don’t get too close to the water. I know once I do, the spell of Grinda, the cult I joined for a night of forgetting any sense of urgency or need, will be broken.
This post is part of a series sponsored by airberlin.
Have you been to Grinda?