Fire weekend at Arholma

The hasp of an old military bunker
The Military Museum at Arholma offers old objects from the time when the island belonged to Sweden’s line of defense.

Each year, the tourist season in the archipelago is ending with a so-called eldhelg (Fire weekend). For many restaurants, cafes, guest houses and hotels, it means that they are closing for the winter. The fire weekend is a concept created by ” Visit Skärgården ” to attract visitors to the archipelago during the darker period of the year.

This year I celebrated the fire weekend on Björkö-Arholma and at the hostel/pub Arholma North. At this time of year you get to Arholma by boat from Simpnäs bridge, north-east of Norrtälje. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes.

When we stepped off the boat at Arholma it was at Arholma bridge, close to Arholma dance floor and a few kilometers from Arholma North. We were met by hostel staff who took our luggage on a cart pulled by an ATV. We got to walk the few kilometers to the hostel, on a small road lit by outdoor candles.

The stay started with a common lunch buffet which included one of the best green pea soups I have ever eaten. Even though the weather sucked throughout the weekend, steady rain, we went exploring the rocks and the woods around the hostel. In the past Arholma was a secret defense item who guarded waters east towards Finland and the Baltic States. There are plenty of evidence from that period in the in surroundings consisting of cannons and other surveillance materials.

The rock on Arholma was a secret defence system which now operates as a museum. For about an hour, we were guided in the secret rooms and got a sense of how the hundred people who defended our country lived under their military service.

In the evening the long entrance to the rock was transformed into a bar. They served hot chocolate with rum and cream in handy disposable cups that we brought out to a warm bonfire outside. When the fire began to fade, a well arranged fireworks broke lose. Despite the rain the fireworks were something extra. It’s a completely different experience to see the fireworks against a black sky with no other light than the stars, compared to how it is in town.

The evening ended with a barbecue buffet where everyone roasted their own selection of food. And of course there were good sauces, potatoes and other accessories. De dinner ended with a homemade blueberry pie with custard for dessert.

On Sunday we got breakfast before it was time to pack up and go back to town. We had time for a quick visit at Arholma dance floor before the boat came and picked us up. A very nice weekend in the signs of fire together with good friends.

On Sunday we got breakfast before it was time to pack up and go back to town. We had time for a quick visit at Arholma dance floor before the boat came and picked us up. A very nice weekend in the signs of fire together with good friends.

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