Having travelled to Gotland the day before, we set off on a coastal walk with a bag of snacks and our Trangia stove. The temperature was -7°C without windchill so we layered up well. You may be wondering why we didn’t just hunker down indoors away from the cold… because we’re adventurers!
This was the first time either of us had ever set foot on a frozen beach. The seaweed was frozen, and the sand and pebbles didn’t move when we stepped on them. It was bizarre. And slippery.
Rough seas the night before left me feeling optimistic about beach finds. There were a few pieces of nice sea glass frozen to the top pebbles but this bottle stopper was the best find of the day!
It was short lived but… we saw the sun!! We stood on a jetty with our faces pointing towards the light and while it didn’t feel warm, it was a good psychological boost. Perhaps being ~200km further South was just enough for advantageous sun height; Stockholm hasn’t been that bright or sunny in weeks.
We followed the coastline to a tiny beach cabin — it’s always locked but the veranda is a good wind shelter. The beach is just the other side of the path on the left.
I poured some mugs of blood orange tea and Scott fired up the stove to boil water for our instant ramen. I’m glad we took a pre-made flask of tea because it stopped us getting too cold while unpacking and waiting for water to boil. It’s surprising how quickly body heat disappears once you’ve stopped moving, even after just a few minutes!
This bowl of instant noodles may not look overly appetising but it was delicious, spicy and warm. I added more water than usual so I had extra broth.
The slice of Christmas cake I packed froze in my bag! It was so frozen that it sounded more like I was holding a chunk of wood, when I knocked it against the cabin. No way I could get through it with my teeth intact.
Daylight started fading just after lunch so we headed back. Everything had a blue tinge.
This trip was a bit last minute so most restaurants were full or closed by the time we booked (Christmas Eve is the main celebration day in Sweden). However, we did manage to reserve a table online at a burger restaurant for Christmas Eve. When we arrived on Gotland the night before, we walked past it and spotted a sign saying it was closed… until May 2023… [scream]. They hadn’t told us. At that point, we called in at the supermarket to pick up some tortellini, västerbotten cheese, olive oil and tomatoes for the next day.
Fast forward back to Christmas Eve and we’re cooking a meal with our camping stove, on the balcony, in sub zero temperatures. We ate pasta, drank prosecco and watched Die Hard in bed. Bliss.
The whole day was my favourite ever Christmas Eve.