Vaxholm: A Quaint Swedish Archipelago Experience
21 May 2015 Vaxholm, Sweden
Small Towns, Fishing Villages, these words evoke a certain image in your mind. My idea of a small town is one that is quiet, peaceful, and where everyone knows each other.
Even though i've travelled to several places, I've never been to a small town. The places I've visited in Europe were mostly cities; big ones, medium ones, whatever the size, they never quite embodied the feeling of a small town.
Before leaving for scandinavia, I texted my friend, who did a semester abroad in sweden, and said "I'm going to Sweden! Stockholm actually. What should I do?" To which she replied "YOU HAVE TO VISIT THE SWEDISH ARCHIPELAGO!" And so I did!
Vaxholm, on of the more popular destinations in the Swedish Archipelago was EXACTLY like a small town, so much so that visiting it made me feel someone like an intruder. Ok, more of a reporter, taking pictures and people watching. It was a beautiful town, but it felt as if I was Zoey from Hart of Dixie (minus the drama), stepping into Bluebell for the first time, and everyone knew I was different, new, and not from there.
Most people would visit the archipelago during the summer and boat hop around several archipelago islands, unfortunately, I was there a tad bit earlier than the regular tourist influx season, so there weren't any boats. Additionally, I did not have that many days to spare. So, in order to see and experience what the swedish archipelagos are like, a day trip to Vaxholm was my best bet.
Vaxholm was a short 1 hour bus ride from Stockholm, and when I arrived, I got off and was immediately mesmerised by the place. There was something about the quiet streets, old wooden houses and the little bit of spring snow that made the place seem very... movie-like.
From one side of the harbour, you could see little houses in the middle of the waters where people probably got to by boats (I saw several small boats sailing across). Just like how you'd imagine a small town to be like, Vaxholm didn't have massive shopping centres, or even modern shops. There was probably 1 hotel by the harbour, and several convenience stores. But other than that, the few shops and cafés that I passed by appeared to be sort of family run businesses.
Also, as I was walking along the streets, I noticed these sticks with colourful feathers being attached to random lampposts. I think it could have been for their Easter Celebrations, but I'm not too sure. These would make good decorative items though!
Even though Vaxholm appeared to be COMPLETELY different from Stockholm, I stumbled upon a nice home deco shop that had the same scandinavian flair the big stores in Stockholm would have, but scaled down.
It was like a mini Ikea with different parts of the stall being organised with its own theme.
The same shop sold a really pretty rain jacket that instantly caught my eye when I walked in, but when I saw the price, oh I had a shock of my life.
My favourite thing about Vaxholm were the nice garden porches each house had, and their hand painted wooden fence and signs. How cute is that café sign, it rustic, casual, original and just adds to the whole small town vibe.
Also, lets just pause and admire the hand painted mailbox.
CAN I PLEASE HAVE MY OWN WOODEN HAND PAINTED MAILBOX?
I didn't see too many children around in Vaxholm, but judging from the number of bicycles around, I'm pretty sure there are children. I did however see quite a number of older people taking a nice leisure walk, some walking their dogs, and greeting neighbours as they walked by, occasionally stopping for a short chat.
I wished I grew up in a small town, or a place where there is a tightly knit community and neighbours are all friends who have afternoon tea at each other's houses.
I love living in the city (I mean born and raised in a cosmopolitan one, so naturally, I'd be comfortable in huge cities) but there is something charming about a place like Vaxholm, that I can only imagine what it would be like growing up here.
I'd have a huge backyard to run around in, i'd play with my dogs, and jump into the shallow waters right outside my house and for a swim during the summer.
Seems very fairytale movie-esque to me, but obviously, its someone's reality.
Maybe I should make plans to retire in a small country side or a fishing village... Just maybe :)