A nature walk at the airport

airport geese

Sweden’s Arlanda airport is an $40 train ride from the Stockholm city center ($80 round-trip), and thanks to congestion at JFK, my eight-hour layover had dwindled to just five-and-a-half hours, not all of it in daylight. I weighed my options as I ate lunch in a randomly selected airport restaurant. Then I noticed the flowers on my table were real, and moreover were seasonal wildflowers — some kind of native aster, it appeared, along with a sprig of spearmint. If these people are as nuts about nature as I’d always heard, surely it must be possible to go walking right outside the airport, I thought.

stump 2

I headed for what looked like the nearest patch of trees, crossed the highway, and sure enough: there was a signed exercise trail. It took me straight to a four-mile nature trail, laid out in a loop around a lake. From roadside weeds I went to photographing trees, mushrooms, sphagnum moss and more. The thing about being a nature nerd is that I am always very easily — and cheaply — entertained, as long as there are some unmanaged corners of wild nature here and there.

lakeshore weeds

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lingonberries

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swirly weed skeleton

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fly agaric

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old oil tank

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roots

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stump

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pine resin

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marsh

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dead mushrooms

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dried pine wood

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birch polypores

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Swedish barns

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hole

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runners

When I finally made my way back to the airport, I was able to follow a walking path all the way into the terminal. Then I sat down at another of the elegantly designed restaurants (I didn’t see anything tacky in the entire, enormous terminal) and treated myself to some delicious smoked herrings: fish that taste the way fish are supposed to taste.

I think the next time I go to Sweden, it will be for quite a bit more than a brief lay-over.

3 Replies to “A nature walk at the airport”

  1. Love this. I want to visit all of Scandinavia, actually. Iceland may just be the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, and the tackiness index there, too, is pretty close to zero.

  2. Pingback: Tree Ring Cantos

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