It was time to say goodbye again, this morning we enjoyed breakfast with our lovely host before saying our goodbyes. While I love staying with locals and learning about their lives it gets harder to say goodbye, my theory is always to make it a see you later but it is not always easy. Today was harder as it was one of our surfers from home, she had stayed with us with her husband a couple of years ago so we already had a friendship before our arrival.
As a young girl Pippi Longstocking was a favourite series of books, her adventures gave me the chance to escape into another place and her courage to stand up to adults amazed me. However I did not realise the stories were base in Sweden until one of our couch surfing hosts mentioned it, I knew then I would be making a pilgrimage to the hometown of the author Astrid Lingrem, Vimmerby.
The trip was going to be 450kms and the scenery like most of Sweden continued to be breathtaking, lakes with the trees reflecting off them, fields of wheat shimmering in the sun and beautiful farmhouses dotted along the way. While it was a long ride the scenery made it easy to handle.
We Arrive At Vimmerby
After a few breaks we arrived at Vimmerby a lovely town with beautiful baskets of flowers lining it’s streets. The town embraces Pippi (though Astrid wrote many other books as well) with a child’s adventure park Astrid Lingrem’s World with the characters performing shows all day, ride and activities to entertain children of all ages. We however were heading the Astrid Lingrem’s Hus the house where Astrid grew up, this had more about the author herself and more aimed at adults.
We are quite surprised when we arrived, it is a new building surrounded by stunning gardens and of course a café with tables sprinkled throughout so you can enjoy coffee in the gardens if you like (sadly for us we did not have the time)
On arrival we were welcomed by the lady behind the desk and she took the time to explain the best way to see everything and also gave us an audio guide each.
First stop was a movie about Astrid’s life, she truly was an interesting woman. A single mum who left Sweden and went to Denmark to have the baby as they were more tolerant. She then fostered her son to a couple near Copenhagen and return to Sweden to work so she could support him. Sadly this arrangement didn’t last due to illness and her parent’s took him in at the farm where she grew up. She then went on to marry a man and she had a daughter who the story of Pippi Longstocking was written for.
She was also a very political women standing up against Hitler and animal rights as well as other issues.
The museum itself was set up like a storybook, telling the story of her life with lots of props and photos. I learnt a lot about her and her books here and now want to read more of her stories.
After spending over an hour in the museum we then wandered around the grounds. They were beautiful and set up especially for children. Lots of swings and little places to play and use their imagination. My favourite was in an art gallery where they had all of Ingrid’s books in a colourful tent where the children could hide away and read.
We visited her childhood home and explored its gardens, finding the Lemonade Tree (which if you loved Pippi like I did you would remember) It was wonderful and well worth the entry fee.
All in all Vimmerley is a lovely little town however the accommodation is expensive so if you can find somewhere nearby to stay and just go in for daytrips it would be better.