Scandinavian weather is usually sunny and warm in the summer, especially in the southern part. Both in the capital’s areas – Oslo in Norway and Stockholm in Sweden (at the latitude of 60º) – the mid temperature in June/July is around 20 -25C (68 – 77F). It varies a lot though; some weeks ago we had a long period with 30C or more, but recently we’ve had more like 15C, occasionally 20C or more when the sun is out.

We are now in our vacation home in Mariestad, Sweden and regardless of the rain we are in a summer mood. It’s a charming little town (about 30 000 inhabitants) and very lively with a lot of tourists this time of year – the guest harbour is full and so are the inns and hotels. However, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, when we went for a walk the streets were relatively quiet. I had my Nokia mobile phone at hand of course, and tried to capture the atmosphere. It’s up to you to decide if I succeeded:

In the city centre; The Town Square:

Rainy day in Mariestad #1
Nice and quiet with just some umbrellas.


Rainy day in Mariestad #2
Only one stands where you could buy strawberries.


Rainy day in Mariestad #3
The raised flowerbed beside the square. Notice the person shooting pics under the umbrella – do you recognize her?


Rainy day in Mariestad #4
A sculpture with the town square in the background. Even they had an umbrella :-) There is actually quite a lot of interesting sculptures in this town – I’ll take you on a guided tour showing you later.


So where was everybody? Well some were in their boats, some in their tents or cabins at the camp ground and of course some inside their homes. However, we heard some music in the direction of the town park and guess what we found there:

Mariestad Square Dance Festival:
Some might be familiar with this, but let me give you a resume: An folk dance with four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side:
Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden #1

The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures used in traditional folk dances and social dances of the various people who migrated to the USA. Some of these traditional dances include Morris dance, English Country Dance, Caledonians and the quadrille. Square dancing is enjoyed by people around the world, and people around the world are involved in the continuing development of this dance.

Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden #2

The dancers are prompted or cued through a sequence of steps (square dance choreography) by a caller to the beat of music, who leads, but usually does not participate in the dance. In the picture above you see the caller on the stage at the left to the Swedish flag.

I’ve actually never seen this dance in practice live before. I think it’s more popular in Sweden compared with Norway where we are much more into our traditional folk dance (which of course is very similar). What really caught my eye however was that they started quite young in Sweden. Take a closer look at this photo:

Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden #3
To the right; A baby with yellow ear protectors dancing on it’s moms stomach :-)


Mariestad badminton Open:
Well, I might be exaggerating a bit with that title, but when we came home, the rain had just stopped and outside our house we found these guys deadly serious in their competition:
Badminton in Mariestad


So even if it was rainy and we’ve had quite a lot of them lately, we had an adventurous day, thanks to this charming city and our summer mood. I hope you enjoyed our guided tour. My regular readers know there will be more since we are on vacation – so stay tuned!

26 Comments

  1. When you’re on vacation you make the most of every day whether it’s raining or not…and you’ve certainly done that, Renny. Great photos of a rather lovely little town. I see you’ve had a great variation in temperatures as we have here. Yesterday was so cold and today is quite hot, and this is winter! Crazy…

  2. Looks like a good time and I know with evidence that the rain never stops you both! How much fun! My knee is really bad now, so I’m thinking that I am not going to be able to run in my next triathlon in just over 2 wks.

  3. I like the statues with ombrella – you guys are so kind! :lol:

    The dance pictures are beautiful. Love the motion…

  4. It is interesting to see the popularity of Square Dancing. I would not have guessed that it was so wide spread. I think of it the USA’s traditional folk dance. Tulsa has a number of Square Dance clubs and so does every town of any size. It is a lot of fun and good exercise too.

  5. I enjoyed the walk in the rain, Renny. As long as it’s not lightning, I like to be out in the rain. :-)

    We learned to square dance in middle school in our gym classes, and I really enjoy it, but it’s been years since I square danced. I didn’t realize that square dancing has ties to your part of the world.

    Enjoy your Summer vacation! We’re having much milder temps than usual here in Arkansas. Our high today was only 80F, about 20F cooler than the norm for this time of year.

    Love and hugs,

    Diane

  6. Nice to see you’re back in Marienstad. We’ve sun and the mistral here and cicadas of course but in Alpen there was snow above 2000 m ! I like the folk dances. i don’t practice but always enjoy seeing people dancing in their beautiful costums. Don’t miss to take with you a cream protecting you against the sun. Because I don’t think we will see the rain here before the end of august. (But who knows since it snows at mountain!!! Pffff)

  7. Great to have cheerful moods in rainy days. The sculpture with the red umbrella is really funny. :D

  8. You know I was disappointed to hear that square dance wasn’t entirely American, because I had previously believed it was. I feel sometimes nothing is really American because our tradition is so mixed. So I ask your readers to share with me, what do you think is American?

  9. Diane: Ketchup!
    Great post, Renny. My Dad insisted on teaching a bunch of clumsy 7th and 8th graders to square dance in his music classes. We all groaned, but in the end, we all look back fondly at those times.

  10. Pingback:Summer Rain and Square Dance in Mariestad Sweden | Dancing Blog

  11. We Oregonians never let a little rain stop us, either, though we’ve had sunny and hot weather here lately. Its always good to stop in and see what’s going on with you, Renny!

  12. Our summer has been cooler than usual too.

    The dancing looks like fun!

  13. fun fun fun!

    i’ve never been anywhere in europe… and this blog when i visit it always reminds me i’m missing a lot!!

  14. such a clean city, ne! and what a fun occasion!

  15. I would have to work my behind if I want to try that dancing. Have to look nice when the skirt flys up. lol

    I hope to cook our various types of rice dishes for Diane and you if I have the chance to visit both of you in Norway. You will be amazed by the dishes, tastes and variety. :)

  16. this was really fun. great post and very inviting

  17. hi, it is nice summer Rain and Square Dance Scandinavian weather is usually sunny and warm in the good picture.

  18. Hi Renny! Hope all is well! Loved the pics!

    have a great week
    Jess

  19. Wooow, you gives us some many good memories from our visits with you all in wonderful Mariestad and your very special hospitality. Several times. And we, of course, hope to be invited in the future as well.

    At least, this Summer, we will stay together for more than a week. From Southern France back up to Norway via the Alpes, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Hurray.
    Lot’s of post to chair…..

  20. Very festive. It is a good way to spend a rainy day,

  21. Hi Renny, what I like about you is that you always have a plenty of interesting to share to us… even the most simplest thing, you can turned it into a marvelous item. :)

  22. Pingback:Summer family fun in Sweden « DianeCA’s Metamorphoses

  23. I didn’t realize quare dancing was quite so universal. My mother signed my brother and me up for square dance lessons when I was a kid. I complained a bit, but actually found it fun once I got there.

  24. Looks like fun! I havent tried square dance to be honest. I wanna try that for experience’s sake.

  25. Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. Loved the pics!
    Have Fun :) .

  26. the sculpture with the umbrella made me giggle. i like it. square dancing is an awful lot of fun too. friends of ours used to host a square dance in their barn every year and the caller they’d hire was always very good at teaching those of us who had little experience.

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