Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A little tour of the neighbourhood

Have you been following Jo's Neigbourhood Walk Around the World series? Well it just started a few days ago and each day we visit a different location around the world to have a little snoop around the neighbourhood.
And......today it's my turn!

So let me take you on a little photographic tour of where we are on the island of Vätö in the Swedish Archipelago of Roslagen.   You can see from Farfar's map just how many islands there are in the archipelago.  We are on the large triangular shaped island to the right of the legend.
The area is very rural and is a popular holiday destination for those living in Stockholm.  I think Swedish wooden houses are beautiful with their traditional design and special red paint.  Properties are usually made up of lots of little wooden huts as well as a main house.
The whole area is covered in lush forests with a spongy moss carpet and blueberries everywhere. 
Here is our local public beach.  Sweden has so many lakes and sea access that everyone lives close to a public beach which they use all summer long.  The children all swim in the water which the parents sit on the grass and have a little picnic (called a Fika).  It's no wonder that Swedish children learn to swim from a very young age.   Our local beach is by the sea since we are in an archipelago but the water is surprisingly warm (it can be 26 degrees) as it is so shallow.
For transport most people have a small boat to get around between the islands and a car to head back to the mainland.  In the winter the sea freezes (yes I said the SEA) and people drive their cars on the ice with special winter tyres.
Here's a Swedish post box.
And our local shop.
Here's a manhole cover (not quite as pretty as the one from Japan).
Here's a picture of the closest main town Norrtälje.  It's a lovely harbour town with cobbled streets and traditional wooden buildings.
Well that's about it for this little tour.  If you want to know more you read all of my similar posts here or just browse around. 

Also, don't forget that if you are interested in learning more about different cultures you can take part in a free Worldwide Culture Swap.

All that remains is for me to give the list of the other people participating in this neighbourhood walk so that you can learn a bit about where they are from too, including my good friend Mymy on the island if Gran Canaria.

Thanks Jo for setting up such a fun project - I've enjoyed reading about Japan for a long time from your blog. xx

Links to the worldwide neighbourhood tour:
June 25th – jojoebi-designs – Saitama, Japan
June 26th – akatsuki ra-ra-ra – California, USA
June 27th – little red farm – Sweden
June 28th – “Je veux une ‘tite soeur-fille” – Canary islands
June 29th – Knitty Lorn – East Devon, UK
June 30th – We Don’t Need No Education – Michigan, U.S.A
July 1st – Jeollanam-do Salad – South Korea
July 2nd – Merita’s Playground – Slovenia
July 3rd – kids, craft and chaos – Scotland, UK
July 4th – Zonnah’s Addictions – Washington State, USA
July 5th – Adventures of a Rainbow Mama – Australia
July 6th – Se7en – South Africa
July 7th – Talia’s Travel Web Log – New York, USA
July 8th – Monkey Magic – Japan
July 9th – The Pukeko Patch – Wellington, New Zealand
July 10th – Cami Daily – Berlin, Germany
July 11th – Crazy Cambridge mum – Cambridge, UK
July 12th – Schaeresteipapier – Switzerland


  1. wow, it is all so pretty and you are so lucky to have little beaches everywhere. Don't really fancy the idea of driving on the frozen sea though!
    Thanks for joining in the fun!

    1. Thanks Jo and well done for organising it. xx

  2. I love the freestyle nature of the playing and swimming by the lake! And your houses are just so sweet! I hope architects around the world revisit this style soon; it just looks so much prettier and more ecologically sound!

    1. Oh I hope so too! The thing I love about Sweden most is that everything is simple but perfectly designed, so life is more enjoyable. I also love that there are not play parks around every corner - you just need water for children :).

  3. Wow, I just love Sweden ... and the idea of summer houses is absolutely adorable. :) I wish I would have one up there right next to yours. :) Briliant! Thank you for taking us around Vätö. :)

    1. Hi Merita,
      Isn't it just the best?
      There's a plot of land for sale nearby so come on over! :)

    2. That could be interesting ... but I think my bank account wouldn`t agree with it. :D

  4. Hey nice!!! I'm next and almost ready for posting tomorrow. Thanks for tagging me :-) You are so lovely xx

    1. No problem! I'm really looking forward to seeing more of GC :) xx

  5. 26°C? That sounds great, I cannot stand cold water ^^
    Your surroundings do look lovely and contrary to jojoebi, I love the idea of driving on ice! It must be such an experience! Although I would guess it takes some serious learning to avoid sliding dangerously.
    Was wondering something: how do you cope with the language? Do you speak swedish or does everybody speak english? (it has also been on my mind to ask you about languages in your home, I don't seem to be able to find a post about it)

    1. Hi Fred!
      Good question!
      My husband only talks Swedish to Freddy and Henry so I have learned a lot of basic things but we talk English to each other. One of the amazing things about Swedish people is that they all speak English and love practicing.
      I think that the very best way to learn a language is to do it with a child because Freddy is constantly teaching me words and translating for me.

    2. That sounds good :) I am always interested in knowing what other multilingual families are coping with languages with their kids and at home :)
      Does Freddy reply to you and his dad in the appropriate language or is he mixing things up a bit?

    3. He always answers in English to me and Swedish to his dad, and he sometimes talks in his sleep which is always in Swedish! He very rarely mixes them up but then his personality is very much that everything must be correct and ordered. If I try to practice my Swedish with him he gets upset and say "No mummy! you are English!".
      What about in your household?

    4. Very interesting :) I loved the idea of Freddy speaking Swedish in his sleep!
      For us things aren't that far yet. We both use our mother-tongue (so French for me, German for him) to our daughter, but our level in the other's language is too poor to use them with each other (although we have times trying to just use our mother-tongues). We met in England and always spoke English together, so we carry on... We do not use it directly to address our daughter as we want her to be fluent in German and French first, but she is certainly grabbing some English or at least getting used to the sound of it.
      Being only 10 months old, she isn't starting to speak yet and honestly does not even show signs of trying. She babbles a lot in an imitation of long words and sentences but does not produce sounds like others babies of her age "Babababa, papapapa etc.", she sounds more "grown-up". One extra thing about language in our household: to try to "bridge" over our languages and to allow her to express herself as early as possible, we are using a bit (not much as we did not take a course) of baby sign language. And I was delighted when I noticed two weeks ago that she is starting to try showing things (grandma for instance seem to be her first "signed" word! to the great delight of her two grans).
      That's it really for now. Hopefully more news on that front soon!

      Oh no one more thing: I realised almost two months ago now that she was understanding French much more than German, when her Dad would say something she wouldnt react, I would say the same in French, she would do it immediatly. Luckily we have been having my mother-in-law for a while now to help and I am pleased to see that my baby's German is now coming along very nicely!

      Have Freddy and Henry been in contact with French on a daily basis yet?

    5. I'm always fascinated by couples that communicate in a language that isn't the mother tongue of their of them!
      The baby signing sounds amazing and you'll be so pleased you did it when you find yourself able to understand what she wants. Would it be too late to start trying to teach Henry signs? Do keep me posted on how it goes.
      I'm sad to say that Freddy has had next to no exposure to French. I really wanted him to go to French play groups but I struggled to find any where the parents could stay and play too (I wasn't ready to leave him anywhere). I even advertised locally to see if any French neighbors wanted to come round and play with him a few times a week (paid) but no one applied.

  6. Well, Sweden is now on my 'want to go there' list! Beautiful pictures :)

    1. Thank you!
      I hope that you manage to visit :)

  7. Your neighborhood is awesome!! Just beautiful. Thank you for the tour.

    1. Thanks! I love it too (and I love snooping around other people's neighborhoods too!)

  8. I loved reading your block and seeing all of your beautiful pictures:) I would love to participate if you'd like another American perspective.

    1. Melissa you could send Jo an email and see if she is still accepting participants. Her email is jojoebi.designs(at)gmail(dot)com.
      Where in the US do you live? Is it a predominantly Swedish community?

  9. Hej! I'd love to visit Sweden one day, I studied Swedish many years ago, but can't really say many words now :C. I enjoyed your pictures. Best regards from Barcelona, Spain,

  10. Dear Rachael. You've got a beautiful neighbourhood! I love the swedish design very much. You can see it in the houses and all that nice stuff coming from there. Also, Astrid Lindgren is one of my favorite writer and i did read "Karlsson vom Dach" to my son.
    Kind Regards


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