M/s Tärnan slowly backed out of Stavsnäs harbour. The weather forecast had promised 20 degrees and sun and so far only a few thin little feather clouds that disturbed the archipelago idyll. I had chickened out at the last second and put on long pants, but I really didn't need to. When we disembarked in Sandhamn after 35 minutes, the archipelago offered us its best side. Sparkling calm sea and a scent of bursting buds and salt.
There weren't very many people on the boat this Sunday, perhaps most of the cabin owners already went out to the island on Friday. There were few people out on the streets, but it's certainly not the chaotic Sandhamn that you can sometimes encounter during the holiday weeks in July. A mother hung out in the playground with her three children, a grandfather stood at the kiosk in the harbor and bought soft-serve ice cream for his grandson. Just plain Sunday lunch.
We had started to feel the urge for our packed lunch already halfway to Sandhamn, so we started to walk to the first stop of the day at small Trouville beach. We passed by the guest harbour, the fine sailing hotel and turned towards the center of the island to get to the beach on the other side of the island. A deserted tennis court with a small stand testifies to the interests of the summer guests. It didn't feel like that stand was ever packed. Nor did the bicycle parking at a nearby pine tree look particularly well-used.
The walk to Trouville took us 2 kilometers through a finely thinned coniferous forest. All along the trees by the road hung small solar-powered lamps that probably serve as street lighting during the summer nights. Small blue and green butterflies fluttered past in front of us on the road. It felt like the whole island just today started to wake up from this year's permafrost.
The road was fairly well signposted right up to the first cottages that met us at Trouville. We just had to follow the signs towards "Stranden", "the Beach", "Trouville". Dear child has many names. But once we arrived at the houses in Trouville, it was not so easy to know whether we should go right or left, the signs were conspicuous by their absence. We looked a bit on google maps and decided on the right and then the left. The sea sometimes glimmered between the trees, we began to approach.
The beach was as nice as we imagined, with fine-grained soft sand that warmed our feet. It was almost windless, so we climbed up on the rocks next to the beach, let out our picnic blanket and started tearing open our lunch. A meatball sandwich with beetroot salad probably never tastes as good as on a sun-warmed rock. Amazed, we looked at the children splashing in the water on the beach below us. Can the water really be that hot? The sea in front of us is open all the way to Finland and it's the first warm day of the year? This needs to be investigated.
The rocks were full of water-filled crevasses, full of colonies of small shrimps and fish. We agreed that it cannot be high tides that created these pools of water, but rather storms and large waves.
We collected our pick and pack and bounced back on the rocks like nimble little mountain goats, until one of us suddenly exclaimed: SNAKE. In an old cannon house in the sun in front of us coiled a thick, jet-black snake. Without yellow ears and just as tall. Of course, it wasn't just us who enjoyed the first rays of the summer sun, even a little snake needed to warm up after the long winter. We manage to establish that it was probably a viper, before it quickly crawled into the remains of an old military building.
The girls ran to the water's edge and dipped their feet. It really wasn't any swimming temperatures today. "Swine cold" was the review. I felt a little with my hand. Could it be like 12 degrees or am I just an incurable swimming optimist? Regardless, I did NOT regret leaving the bathing suit at home.
The beach was full of little blue mussels and cute shells, so we stayed for a while and enjoyed the summer feeling. With feet buried in the sand, far from the water's edge.
We had deliberately saved the lunchtime coffee for the next stop on our tour of the island. Maybe it would be nice to settle down at large Trouville beach right next to? We walked there, only to find that it was not nearly as calm on this side of the headland. The wind was right on and rippled the waves. We simply had to find another beach to have coffee on.
It is not easy to walk around the island, we searched for maps and hiking trails, but there is a lot of private land on the island. It had also become time to find a toilet and the only toilet at Trouville was an outdoor shed where the buzz of flies drowned out the wind. Not at all popular with the youngest family member. So we trudged back towards Sandhamn again, to take aim The pork beach and a toilet in the port.
The path went over aged wooden planks in the sand, so it was very easy to hike back to the Trouville crossing without sand in your shoes. It's not so strange that the island is called Sandön when you think about it, even if you usually talk about the town of Sandhamn when you go here. Regardless, there is a lot of sand on the whole island.
A visit to the toilet later in Sandhamn, we now trudged through the community in the other direction, towards Fläskstranden. There are really a lot of nice houses here, one house cuter than the other. Carved white gates, slatted windows and white cast iron benches with winding patterns. So idyllic and nice. One can only think about how the well-known detective series "The murders at Sandhamn” could take place here. You probably have to look for a calmer society.
Got yelled at for notes by an angry little french bulldog who didn't appreciate us walking past his well painted fence. Luckily, the dog's owner was all the nicer and they showed us the way to both Fläskstranden and Kvarnberget.
The pork beach is reached via a small footpath between the house plots and turned out to be a nice little sandy beach with picnic tables. Perfect for an afternoon coffee with buns, roll cake, muffins and vanilla biscuits. Even better was that we were completely alone here, we could just sit and relax and enjoy our coffee and watch the sailboats cruise by.
It was getting close to 15pm and we needed to go back to the boat Tärnan and start our journey home. The cheeks were warmed by wind and sun and the coffee thermos was empty. A really good day came to an end. We sped up The quarry mountain for a little quick view of the community and all the docks. Calling it a mountain is perhaps an exaggeration, but rockkullen had its charm.
We made it back to the boat with plenty of time to spare. The distances here on the island are not that long. Hello Sandhamn, it's been 15 years since I was last here - but it won't be that long until I come back again!
How do I get to Sandhamn?
There are boats, for example, from central Stockholm and from Stavsnäs. We took the direct boat The maiden in Stave nose, which takes less than 40 minutes to Sandhamn. It is possible to go by bus to Stavsnäs, but we took the car and parked in one of the many parking lots by the harbor. NOTE: The easiest way to pay for parking is with the "Easy Park" app on your mobile, so download it and set up credit cards and other things before you get here to save time.
How cold it was actually in the water?
According to SMHI, it was only 6 degrees in the water - I am sickly impressed by the bathing children who splashed around without causing blue lips and goosebumps.
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