Ingmar Bergman was here

Swe­den’s wildly beau­ti­ful Baltic is­lands at­tract artists and recluses alike

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - THE SPEC­TA­TOR

here in the 1960s. He planned to make Through a Glass Darkly in the Orkneys, off Scot­land, but the producers per­suaded him to look at Faro first. It was love at first sight, he said, and he not only de­cided to film here but be­came a per­ma­nent res­i­dent.

My hus­band and I walk on the beach. The light is ut­terly mag­i­cal in the early evening — ev­ery­thing glows and a nat­u­ral arch of rock stands in its own pool of clear wa­ter. Fur­ther along is the fish­ing vil­lage of Lauter­horn, de­serted in the evening. The nougat-grey stone build­ings and red wooden huts glis­ten in the bril­liant light.

We stay next in the ap­pro­pri­ately named Slow Train B&B (don’t ex­pect early break­fast here), in a cream­coloured stone house. It’s run by a fa­ther-and-daugh­ter team, who are fas­ci­nat­ing ec­centrics; they also own a book­shop and a French bistro. In­side the shop, a man in a black bowler hat sits be­hind an old-fash­ioned till, strum­ming a gui­tar. The bistro is like an old Amer­i­can diner, with rust­ing vin­tage cars and an­tique me­tal­lic fridges, all set in a gar­den of red roses.

On the rooftop is a wreath with a cross in a cir­cle and two fir tree branches pok­ing up like a stag’s horns. ‘‘Th­ese pro­tect the roofs from witches and evil,’’ owner Thomas ex­plains. ‘‘The wreath is known as Tahlagskrans. It’s a sign that the roof has been prop­erly thatched, and blesses it.’’

The tra­di­tion con­tin­ues to­day as ev­ery­one joins to­gether to help, and af­ter­wards the owner throws a big feast to say thank you.

Th­ese is­lands are full of tra­di­tion and full of the un­ex­pected. They draw you in and cast a spell. It’s easy to see why Bergman was smit­ten.

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