One of the most memorable places I’ve ever been to is a beach in the south of Sweden called Skanörs Havsbad. I have cousins that live in Sweden and rarely do I get to see them so I saved up my money for an entire year to go visit them during my spring break. Although I was excited to see Stockholm and take the boat over to Copenhagen, I was also thrilled to see the small town my cousin lives in. My cousin Veronica and my cousin Marta decided that we could use Veronica’s car and drive out to the countryside and then the seaside for the day instead of going into the city.

Our first stop was a small town in the country on the way to the beach where Veronica parked in front of what I thought was an old house but was really a cafe. For only 50 crowns (which is the equivalent of around $6), we poured ourselves coffees in mismatched teacups and helped ourselves to jam cookies and cinnamon buns. We sat in the garden room of the old house with the other families that decided to go to the country for the day and drank our coffee as light filtered through the panes of glass into the cozy room.

How is it possible that such a place exists? After, we got back in the car and drove to the beach where Veronica was determined to show me the Swedish beach treat of cones of cured fish (think smoked salmon crusted in salt wrapped in a paper cone). We roamed the beach in search of the fish but since it was cold and March, none of the stands were open. We ended up walking all the way down the shore to grassy hills that had old cabanas on them, each little house a different color. Marta explained to me that in the early 20th century, artists came to this beach (Skanörs Havsbad) and would rent out the cabanas to sit in and draw or paint the birds that hopped on the sand and through the grassy hills. Now, they aren’t used for anything but their steps serve as a place for tired beach goers to rest after a long day. The sun shone brightly on this day in Sweden and I will never forget the hours I spent walking along the beach with my cousins, sharing family stories, and driving along the country roads of Southern Sweden.