Where Stockholm has its Dalarö, Gothenburg its Marstrand and Helsingborg its Viken, Umeå in Åheden has its very own refuge for city dwellers who want to breathe the cleanest air and live the simplest life.
When you pass an oversized cheese slicer along the E4 in Västerbotten’s coastal land, you know that you’ve ended up right. There is only one place on earth where the Västerbotten cheese can be made. Right here, in Burträsk.
To be a little different, of a certain kind, a bit special and not like the rest, peculiar but loveable, odd but pleasant, strange but in an appealing way. All of this is to be what we in the north of Sweden call eljest.
Is there any Swedish place name that evokes more immediate feelings than Ensamheten (The Loneliness)? No matter how much melancholy the name entails, Ensamheten does foster great strength and power. (Yep, two world champions in arm wrestling come from here.)
In Standard Swedish, the word ”fara” is used solely when someone makes an extended trip. You can, for example, ”fara” to Australia. In the north, however, you use ”fara” for any kind of trip, whether it’s to the mountains, to the office or your next-door neighbor.
In Swedish, there are many different words used to cover all meaning of the English verb ”put”. In the North, there is one short word that fulfills the same inclusive function as ”put”: He.
People of the North generally do not care all the much whether the grammar is one hundred percent adequate or whether the one you’re in dialogue with is slightly offended. If you don’t feel like doing something, you let them now by bluntly saying so: ”jag ids int” (I cannot be bothered).
Nalta means little. In Vänsterbotten, there is a proverb laconically clarifying how nalta is best used: Harta borti harta jer brano, harta borti he, he jer nalta. (You may want to Google it, or better still, ask someone from Västerbotten).
Who doesn’t want to check in at a ”kurort” (health resort) at any time in their lives? This beautiful Swedish word that rings so much more holistic well-being than the more contemporary spa. The outlet of the island Nordanskär in the Kalix River was already in the 19th century Sweden’s, and perhaps the world’s most northerly kurort.
If it is true that there are as many stars in the sky as grains on sand on earth, then let’s hope all the velvety fine grains on the sandy beach of Örsten south of Umeå were counted too.