On holiday leaves many of us with stressful cities and jobs in order to get peace and quiet. What is it that attracts when choosing a place to spend our leave of? We look at the map. How far from roads and other houses located accommodation? Ideally, we want to be close to a lake also.
Vättern is smooth and dangerously beautiful. I'm looking out the Visingsö lying there utslängt midway between East Vätterbranterna, where I am, and Hökensås on the other side. It's quiet inside the croft that has been here since 1840. Then there was no gravel road that now goes below. To get here was, instead, you had to walk along a narrow steep road from the harbor at Lake Vättern. The other option for getting here to the croft was through the forest road from the village Smedje Mountain, about one mil south of Gränna.
Lose stronghold in time and space
Just the way took the writer and Academy member Elin Wagner in the late 30's when she was here to visit relatives. She held during the time of writing his book A Thousand Years in Småland. At Smedje Mountain Elin stayed up and got stuck on the magical view and great silence. There on the old winding and hilly road, she stood then April 1 morning and peering out over a breathtaking view over the Vättern. The experience inspired her so much that she let draw it down, and it had to be the beginning of the book:
"A few mil north of the southern tip of Lake Vättern makes the eastern shore a bulge and rise at the same time high and steeply out of the water. On this focal point is some red Småland farms combined into a neighboring Halle called Smedje Mountain. One morning in early April took me a good friend through the forest that separates the village from the main road Stockholm-Jonkoping. In the woods broke a view against us whose courage and resilience could dumb one. In the gray morning light snötung spread the isvita empty infinity. Uti this infinity was tossed like a lasso a zip tight blue curved line. So dreamlike and confusing was this view that we came away us and lost our footing in time and reality. "
the thousand years in Småland (1939) of Elin Wagner
So was the year 1939. If you stand in the same place today gaze spirit out of Vida Vättern you will certainly not struck by the silence, but the roar of the European route 4. Wägner journey through Småland was thus more than 20 years before E4:An existed. When then built in the 1960s must have been the most profound has happened landscape on the east side Vättern since the boat was invented. We can hardly imagine a soundscape without E4:An Men Wägner description made me start thinking about the importance of silence when we experience a place.
Is this possibly a description of what we look for when we want to break with the everyday stress and get away from the flow of information and expectations? The feeling of losing control of time and reality, whether it be on a beach in India or on a stump in the forest? And where can we find silence, peaceful places around Vättern?
Quiet in the woods
To get away from E4:An sounded outside the cottage where I sit writing, I go to "silence" in Raby forest one mil away. Raby forest is a nature reserve located east of the community Skärstad. Here you will experience old coniferous forest in the hilly terrain with beautiful forest lakes and bauer feeling. Bauer Trail runs through here. The forest is visited during the week including the high school students who do nature studies organized by the Nature School Ekobussen. An exercise that is practiced diligently, just like the rest of the country 100 Natural schools do, the sensuous exercise "to sit quietly in nature". The strange thing about this exercise is that it creates a lot of emotion in both children, young adults. Some are a little afraid, others almost falls asleep. The most common reaction is that we want to continue. The silence and rose gives more flavor, only we are given the opportunity to stay up.
The phenomenon skogsbad means similarly to the guidance using the mind to mind in the forest. For a year you can get skogsbad on ecotourism facility Urnatur outside Ödeshög Östergötland.
Ulrika Krynitz is ecologist and founder of Urnatur. Along with Mogens Jensen, she offers skogsbad in summer. Ulrika tells us that originally the idea from Japan. There is skogsbad, Shinrin-yoku, common since the 80s. In Japan, certified through the forests that are found to be especially good for well-being. During forest bath, participants on the call to activate their minds, for example, by tasting edible plants, smell of moss and still listen to the forest sounds. Ulrika explains that nature's scents have a naturally relaxing effect. She also notes that the forest's own sound, as trädsus and birdsong, is not seen as a distraction but rather is soothing. This is different from how the brain is affected by the continuous noise of the city. Ulrika has noticed an increased interest Urnatur and to stay overnight in tree houses, especially from the younger generation. One of the most positive and powerful experiences that visitors bear witness to the darkness and silence of the woods when no electricity is available.
Anything that touches skogsbad is quiet retreat that is usually held in a scenic place with beautiful and tranquil surroundings. About one mil south of Gränna lies Wettershus retreat yard. The road here runs through a pedestrian tunnel under the E4:an. A hundred meters down it quickly becomes quieter! Soon the sounds instead Vättern ripple on the beach. The walk goes here and there along the St. Francis Trail. The place is magical. The low brown buildings blend into the landscape. Here I meet Rosie Gard, director of Wettershus retreat yard. She says that if you sign up for any of the retreats, you come and just be, wander in slopes and meditating silently. Rosie calls himself chaplaincy. When visitors come, they are told that they will be part of "the gift of being relaxed". No phones then. After the stay are common comments that "one of the best I have experienced". Rosie says that when we meet without words, we meet on a deeper level, for the silence sharpened our senses. The contrast is strong, how are we supposed to live. She says "we live on the surface", and that we then miss the opportunity to wonder and fascination that we have around us here and now.
Rävafallet - audible but not noise
In my continued search of quiet places around Vättern I visit Hökensås located on the west side. Parts of Hökensås are namely utmarkerat on the county map of undisturbed areas. At the urging of locals do I get to Rävafallet few kilometers south of Brandstorp. Once murmurs and rapids case. The place is magical and wonderful, beautiful. There is a campfire site among the large boulders and the old pines. But silence is not! Nevertheless, I will be filled with the site's atmosphere and feel that I want to stay. I'm not disturbed by the relatively high sound of the waterfall. Do you want to be all alone in a big old-growth forest, take you further north Tiveden National Park. Tiveden is an area of real wilderness feeling. Here you are welcome to put up a tent one night and fires in designated areas. Choose to take you out in the woods alone or join one of the skilled nature guides.
When I, after this discovery, search for quiet places around Vättern, take a writing break and go out of my cottage to take some air, I hear as usual E4:An rumble in the background. I still take my coffee out on the porch located with the house sound barrier. Morning sun warms nice, birds chirping in cherry trees – it is pleasurable!
TEXT AND PHOTO: JOSEFINE GUSTAFSSON
A few quiet places:
• North of Örserum and out on the lakes and Ören Bunn
• Råbyskogen – Uvaberget
• Hökensås – Rävafallet in about Holman 2 km south of Brandstorp
• National Tiveden
• Islands in Vättern archipelago outside Askersund