To find a home among mangled ruins
I am an incredibly professional person. I’ve got loads of energy, paired with excellent leadership abilities. I can see the big picture and put the right person at the right spot in it. Or outside it, if that is what it takes. I can coach, I can delegate; I can amuse and I am honest. I can even claim that I have a passion for business – and people will really believe me.
But all of this doesn’t come naturally for me. I have to be on my toes at all times and suppress parts of my personality, while highlighting other characteristics.
Those are some of the things I’m thinking about while I swoosh through the countryside on my bike, which I have dubbed the Steel Steed. Every year, the same time – and without telling anyone, I take the train to Linköping where my bike is waiting for me in an old friend’s garage.
Then, I race through Östergötland at a speed that makes ordinary road rage seem like a pleasant Sunday drive. Usually, I like to swing by Mantorp Park to catch a race, in order to feel energized and inspired to take on the rest of my trip. Then, I pass Mjölby where I plunder the vintage shops. In Ödeshög, I stop at the chocolate factory and get my fill, in the most indulgent manner imaginable. Because why not? I am so incredibly tired of how women eating chocolate always try to be so mild and sweet. I mean, come on! We’re talking about a truly powerful aphrodisiac here!
I am a warrior. A heroine. A shield maiden. A guardianesse of the monastery, with full metal armor and a sharp blade. Maybe I am the Holy Birgitta’s own bodyguard and entrusted one?
Anyway, after a while I start approaching my final destination: The Alvastra monestary. And this is the one place where I can truly let go of my inhibitions and let go of the things I’ve kept inside for a whole year. Here, among the stones that French monks and local farmers pushed in place – hundreds of years ago.
For I am born in the wrong time and era, given my personality. I am great at what I do, professionally and personally, but I would be truly greater at something totally different.
I am not really an HR manager at a mid-sized medical company. I am a warrior. A heroine. A shield maiden. A guardianesse of the monastery, with full metal armor and a sharp blade. Maybe I am the Holy Birgitta’s own bodyguard and entrusted one?
I sneak around the old monastery walls and jump over the stony grounds – always ready for battle. I gaze over the area, fearlessly focused on impending danger. I am always ready to undo my enemies with my sword. I feel the wind in my hair, the same way that my ancestors once did – with my feet firmly grounded on the same grass and soil that they once stood on.
And suddenly, I can go back to my highly professional 21:th century existence – with everything from big pictures to micro management. Calm and at ease, with the warrior spirit tucked away inside my heart. Honestly, I urge everyone to find their inner warrior. And let it out, every once in a while. Perhaps at Alvastra? But not during the first week of August, because that’s when I’m there. And it won’t be pretty.
- Alvastra monastery was founded in 1143 by French monks.
- The place is located at Omberg, which is one of Östergötland's most popular nature areas.
- During the Middle Ages, the area around Alvastra was an area of importance for the development of the Swedish kingdom.
- Saint Birgitta's husband Ulf became ill during a pilgrimage journey in 1344, died and was buried at Alvastra monastery.
- The ruin after the monastery is today located at Alvastra Kungsgård, which is one of the cultural environments that the Swedish Property Agency cares for and develops.
- Follow the Pilgrimage route in the area around Vadstena.
- Visit one of Östergötland's castles, for example Löfstad Castle and Ekenäs Castle.
- Visit the old mill environments around Rejmyre and Häfla.
- Try digital hiking at Öna culture reserve.
- Exsperience the history at Vadstena Monastery Church and Linköping Cathedral.
Read more travel diaries from our fictional main characters.
599 93 Ödeshög
About the area
Along the eastern shore of Lake Vättern, you will not only find some of Sweden's most visited nature areas; Omberg, Tåkern and Varamobaden, but also historical places such as Vadstena and Skänninge.
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