At home in the land of the moose
There are more moose in Sweden per square kilometer than in any other country in the world. And it’s no big secret that Germans are crazy about moose. They’re even known to nick moose crossing signs from our country roads! Now, surely, there are more reasons prompting the Germans to visit our shores. For Gundel and her husband, those reasons are plentiful, but you can bet there are moose involved! Read their Stena Story below.
My husband got to know and love Sweden as a young boy scout. Later on, he found it easy to get me enthusiastic about the place too. We’ve travelled to the country that’s become a second home for us at least once a year since the end of the 1970s.
Once we arrive at the Schwedenkai dock in Kiel and see “our” STENA ferry, we feel all the stress leave our bodies. And from then on, all we do is breathe deeply and relax – with pure anticipation of the voyage on the comfortable, reliable ship. We have to have an outside cabin so that we can enjoy arriving in Gothenburg’s archipelago landscape.
Our hearts burst as we arrive: once we set foot on Swedish soil, we get that “just arrived home” feeling. The “transparent” light, the landscape that exudes calmness and the comfortable red little cottages welcome us in a friendly way, as do the hostels in historic style.
We’ve got to know Sweden from Scania to Lapland, and from Dalsland to Öland.
After several years, we now have our own old red house deep in the woods of Värmland. As retirees, we normally come here to our second home three or four times a year, and Christmas here has become a tradition.
Once, we were on board on Saint Lucia’s Day and enjoyed the exquisite julbord (the Christmas version of a smorgasbord) as Lucy singers performed. For me, there’s no better way of getting ready for Christmas. I’ve been moved to tears.
Family and friends visit us in our house and STENA brings them across the sea. Every Swede knows: “The Germans always want to see some moose”. And we’ve solved the problem: the moose come to us, to our clearing, lap the licking stone by the apple tree with their tongues, come up to the veranda – but every time one has wanted to come a bit further than that, I prefer to shut the door from the inside!
We’ve had the most beautiful experience with “our” moose family: mother Åsa with her twins “little brother” and “little sister” who have visited us for more than 2 years now.
Following a bright and balmy night at the end of June, we discover an moose cow with two very tiny fawn-coloured calves calmly wandering her way along to the forest from the house. Later in the day and for several days after that, they lie in the high grass of the clearing just 10 m away from the house. Only mother Åsa’s head and the young ones’ ears can be seen poking out.
They now come daily and we watch them happily. While mother Åsa laps her tongue on the licking stone with eyes closed in bliss, the little ones kneel to lick the drips of brine or feed on some milk from mum. They lick the dew off the garden table, plod around in the grandchildren’s plant beds or try out the steps on the veranda.
When we come back in early spring, they’ve grown well, their coat is now grey and they’re strolling boisterously across the clearing and all over my flowerbeds.
One day, a young bull approaches them, and a second one on the subsequent days, then finally there are three that come from three different corners of the clearing. Each time, Åsa speeds at them like a hellcat, albeit with elegant jumps, and frightens them off. Her calves stand and stare. Then one day she doesn’t return from the last “hunt”. The little ones look in the clearing, in the forest, and return – no Åsa. Side by side, the little brother and sister finally trot off into the forest. The day after next, the three return together. But unfortunately we have to leave.
We’ll see them again next spring. We’ve heard a lot about how brutal moose cows can be in terms of scaring away their calves from last year when they have new calves. But that’s not the case with Åsa; we saw a loving, gentle mother who pushes them away almost playfully, but then lovingly strokes their necks with her chin. Later, the siblings returned alone and then again throughout the following year.
We want to thank Gundel for sharing her Stena Story with us as a part of our celebration of the Kiel -Gothenburg route. 🙂 <3 What’s your Stena Story? Feel free to write it in a comment below! /Ylva.