Autumn in Sweden can be a nasty time of the year. It rains a lot and the first frost always comes earlier than you’d expect. Darkness looms, days get dramatically shorter and the day after we move back the clocks I always feel jetlagged. Autumn in Sweden can be a real pain, yet some days I get to be reminded it still is my favourite season. Those days, when the sun is out, the crisp air is so thin and everything looks incredibly sharp. When such days occur Sweden turns the colours of its flag. Most of the trees display a glorious yellow foliage in the backdrop of that saturated blue sky that I love so much in Scandinavia.
The Indian Summer is actually the one feature that makes me so crazy about autumn and makes me feel like it is the most beautiful of seasons. Coming from northern Italy I have witnessed all my life the beauty of the vineyards that turn yellow and red around mid-October. There would always be a sunny week in the middle of that glorious foliage display, and that would be my favourite time of the year. It wasn’t until I found myself in Canada during the fall that I got to learn that that beautiful fraction of warmer autumn has a name, and that name is Indian Summer.
In Sweden the Indian Summer generally occurs around the 7th of October. That is not a random day, as it is the day when Sweden celebrates its patron saint, Saint Bridget. In Swedish the Indian Summer is known as Brittsommar, after the Swedish name of the saint, Birgitta. So if you are hoping for good weather and clear skies on a fall trip to Sweden, that is when you want to be planning your visit.
The autumn blues
I missed my chance at taking some fine pictures around Saint Bridget’s day, this year. We had decent weather at the beginning of October, then the rain came and most of the leaves fell. This made me really sad, I thought I had lost my yearly slot for foliage photos. I had barely managed to take one photo with my phone, that’s it. Among this general dissatisfaction, a last minute trip to Stockholm came my way. I needed to visit a place and was given a time in four days. Trains are expensive in Sweden if bought close to the journey date, but there was nothing I could do. To make everything more frustrating, the weather forecast for that day was promising a disgusting mixture of cold and rain.
Two days before my trip to Stockholm I got sick and even had to skip school. A nasty cold, fever and runny nose kept me in bed all day. I thought I’d never make it out and about Stockholm all day in that state. I couldn’t reschedule and my train tickets were non refundable. It looked like I really had to go. The only thing that cheered me up was the fact that in Stockholm I would meet up with a friend, so at least I did not have to spend the whole day wandering alone (I really was not in the mood for that). If the weather was going to be too rainy or I was going to be too sick we would just take it easy and make many warming fika stops. That’s how you roll in Sweden.
Autumn foliage in Stockholm
The forecast unexpectedly changed the day before. No more rain, and no more clouds. This convinced me to pack up my camera, just in case. Stockholm is always beautiful, not taking the chance to snap some photos of that gorgeous city in the sun is a sin. Deep down I knew I didn’t care about photographing the buildings I’ve been photographing every time since my first visit. I wanted the leaves. Birgitta’s day was long gone, but I was hoping that the trees in Stockholm would have lasted a little longer than up here.
The train ride was already a bliss, the more south we travelled, the more leaves I was seeing on trees. When I got to Stockholm and saw how beautiful that city is even in the fall (it was my first time visiting in October, I realized) I was so happy I had brought my camera. The fact that I was on paracetamol and with a runny nose did not matter anymore. Stockholm in the autumn colours was beautiful. Autumn in Sweden is beautiful. I was reminded one more time that when a sunny day happens staying at home is really the worst thing you can do. Even with the heaviest of colds, get out and enjoy the colours. They don’t last long, they deserve being experienced.
Stockholm you are so beautiful. I will keep coming back, and you will keep being important to me.