Cieplice / Poland / 12.07.2020

Sławcia and I are on our way to a flea market near Wrocław. We have 170 km to go. Sunshine, music, a magazine read aloud, the best company on the road. Light traffic, we’ll probably get there quickly. We pass Wrocław. Moving on. To Cieplice. Cieplice is located near Wrocław. 120 kilometres outside Wrocław. 🙂 Throughout the entire journey we read stories about Scandinavia. About the uniqueness of Norway, the Finnish educational system and Swedish literature. In Cieplice, we immediately stumbled upon a Norwegian park. Coincidence?

Lyngseidet / Norway / 11.08.2015

If you’ve never eaten surströmming – or in other words: the Swedish delicacy of lightly-salted fermented Baltic Sea herring, you don’t know what stench means – stench that at the same time is delightful. The first time I ate pickled herring in Sweden, on my way to Norway… “ate” is perhaps going too far. After opening the bulging tin (fortunately out in the open, as we had been advised by the Swedes in the shop), the pressure caused the contents to somewhat explode. What came out of the tin was the smell of decaying socks, worn for three months in rubber booths in 40 degrees Celsius, the smell of rotten potatoes, a decaying carcass and addled eggs – I’ll leave you to interpret the rest of the bouquet. A friend who was standing behind my back threw up first. Fortunately, he managed to turn the other way. The other two fled. One came back holding his breath. He grabbed the herring between his fingers and placed it into his mouth. Despite his sincere desire and enormous show of self-denial, he was unable to swallow it. But he didn’t throw up. I held my breath and took a bite of the herring. My stomach came up into my throat. I swallowed. A year later, I already knew how to eat surströmming. I made dinner for the team we went fishing with in Norway. The participants of the previous “feast” were present as well. I bought a big, round, and of course bulging can of herring in Sweden. I opened it into a bucket of water. Rinsed and gutted the herring. I spread the bread thickly with butter, added slices of boiled potatoes, herring, onions and a thick layer of cream on top of it. There was no smell indicating that something was inedible or spoiled. Delicious. We ate the entire can. Those who hadn’t had a false start the previous year were the only ones eating. Memory and imagination were fast at work. We offered pickled cucumbers, brought from Poland, to our Norwegian host. He refused, wondering how on earth we could enjoy cucumbers that had gone bad. I love Scandinavia.
Each photograph used during the journey stops being luggage, changes its destiny, takes on a new life. It creates a unique travel sack with a story in the background. Always just one. One shot, one sack. Luggage (no excess)