Highlights from Latitude 66° 33′ 44″ and places beyond

Falu Red Cottages in Northern Sweden - Lola Akinmade

Neatly plowed green fields roll past us. I’ve always wondered what shade of green those fields are. The artist in me always does; wondering how much burnt sienna to mix in with yellow ochre and aquamarine blue to come up with that exact green hue. A task I know is impossible to accomplish yet a mental exercise I enjoy nonetheless.

I casually glance over my left shoulder at the back seat. Those same green fields are rolling over my mom’s black sunshades, her head gently resting backwards on the car seat. Thin white wires run from her ears down to the iPod hidden beneath her scarf. She is listening to her own African soundtrack personalized for the undulating Swedish countryside; a mix of strong drum beats with the occasional synthesized voice singing in Pidgin English as we pass Falu red cottage after barn after cottage strewn across the landscape.

Dad is sitting to her right, glancing out the right back window. His brows are furrowed with concern, his cellphone at his ear, listening as another excuse is being made over the line. An international phone call from Nigeria; it seems another contractor or employee or family member hasn’t delivered on their promise as his brows have been furrowed for the last 100 or so kilometers.

I turn back to Urban who is driving; his eyes never leaving the road.

“This is crazy,” I say. “They’re in Norrbotten.”

Highlights

The last few days have been spent crisscrossing Northern Sweden with my parents. In town visiting from Nigeria, we decided to take them on a 13-14 hour road trip up along the Gulf of Bothnia and Höga Kusten (High Coast) to visit in-laws up north. With 37 pages of roughly scribbled notes and observations in my little journal (which will go into personal essays), it’s safe to say we had some amazing experiences.

Here are just a few:

  • Finally taking my parents to the Arctic circle where mom uttered the most memorable words of the entire trip…”So where is it?” she asked, glancing around and looking for some “arctic circle.”
  • Taking a moose farm detour and proudly watching dad conquer his fear while mom refused to get closer for fear of being eaten by a moose.
  • Visiting the summer stuga (cottage) of my extended family, riding in a small dinghy boat around the lake, and fishing out baby sea bass and random seaweed.
  • Sampling all what Norrbotten had to offer food-wise including reindeer meat, trying all forms of lax (salmon) and daring to eat surströmming once again.
  • Finishing off the last evening of our trip on a floating Falu red cottage amidst a pristine lake; the only sound for miles being our collective breathing.

Photo Gallery

I took close to a 1000+ photographs in just 5 days, so I’ve selected 89 shots to share:

Shot with my Nikon D300 and two new favorite lenses – Nikkor 16-85mm and 35mm