February 03, 2009
Dreaming Of Summer.
Yes, that is what happens to me in the midst of winter. I like to think about the coming summer. I like to daydream about possible trips I can take or just like to imagine, that in a few months, around this time (while I am typing this), it will still be light outside. Not pitch dark and cold, with the expectation of an imminent snowstorm.
No, it will almost feel like the middle of the day, although it is evening, and there will be another 5 hours of sun at least. This will happen during the period of the Scandinavian white nights.
When I was teenager, our family used to plan vacations during this time of the year. As we are not native to the cold North, the summer vacation would always be planned to be spend in southern Europe. Summers in Scandinavia are short and very unstable. Most Scandinavians, if they truly want to be sure no to get rained on during their time off, travel abroad.
In my youth it was very popular to take charter trips around the Mediterranean. Italy, Spain and Greece, plus all the islands were very popular and I guess, still are. Even though in recent years, more exotic destinations such as Thailand, Bali, Maldives and The Caribbean are much more in fashion.
The best vacations I took with my family were however when we drove. We would travel by car down to Spain or former Yugoslavia. It was in the 80's, long before the Euro currency and before the borders between the EC countries were freely open. Long before the Super bridges connected Sweden through Denmark to the continent. It was at the time, when the mainland Europe was still only accessible by ferries to most Scandinavians. When borders with passport controls still separated every European country. When entering every new state still meant new currency, new language and a new climate. It could take days before we reached our destinations, which allowed for a more a natural adaptation to the warmer weather. This is not possible when traveling by plane. Just the actual trip was exciting, as passing all those different countries on the way was so very exotic to us.
Even though there is a lot of good to say about the new, united Europe, there is also some sort of magic that has gone lost.
Memories of these trips still warm my heart and to this day driving is my preferred way to travel. Those vacations of my youth were not fancy in any way. In fact, the accommodations were always very humble with no luxury. To us merely being together was enough. Each trip was a promise of a new adventure. Always filled with relaxation on pristine beaches and with the excitement brought on by new, often unexpected experiences.