Pronounced: Harsh-tay-nah/ This is an absolute must-see if you want to truly experience a kanelbulle in a kayak
In terms of an archipelago island welcoming you with open arms (arms made of red boathouses and countless flagged boats) it doesn’t get any better than Harstena. This place is perfect for an energy top up and a small dose of civilisation. Whether you’ve been kayak-bound for too long and came up short in your banter with the birds, or are accustomed to utilising your Right To Roam in the buff, Harstena is ideal for reintegrating you back into society. It’s charming without being perfect, and is an absolute safe-haven for tired limbs.
Naturally, when we rocked up to Hartsena, I bee-lined for the bageri (Swedish for bakery), which always sounds to me like they only sell bagels (alright by me) and had ourselves a feast. Following the meandering trail, you’ll make your way through a paradise of little red homes, big open-plan yards, long picnic tables, and friendly border collies (possibly just the one) that’ll make you wish you were there visiting family. If only . . .
Once arriving at the bakery we learned many fun facts. The first being that the spot with the red water lilies (which we happen to pass-by as we got lost on our way) is actually it’s own contained body of fresh water. Although it may look idyllic to swim in, it actually has loads of leeches :S The second that the two bakers we met that day normally work at bakeries in Norrköping (where we picked you up from) at Finbageriet Kamraterna or Landerholms. If you received a celebration Princess Cake (yup, the green one!) from us on your trip, it came from Landerholms which is a bakery we regularly use. It’s heavenly. The last fact was that Harstena has it’s own signature “bulle”. Much like the texture of a Cadbury Crunchie which has sponge toffee, the Harstenabulle has a dry honeycomb-like inside with rock sugar on top. It is tied in a traditional knot but is entirely unlike any other Swedish pastry. I recommend you try it and if the texture isn’t your thing, dunk it in your coffee or tea whilst enjoying the view.