Awakenings of the soul

September 19, 2017

– Gotland Workshop –

Part 2 of 3

The quietude gave way to the commingle of strange voices; they came from all over as representatives of their very own corner of the world. I could see that twinkle and restlessness in their eyes, some greeted friends from other ventures and others with the joy of newly found ones. It is a grand thing to be in the midst of like-minded people. It is as if we all knew the language, we all wondered about the same things and came for the very same reasons.

Minutes turned into hours, with no apologies, the dim light embraced the air and I could feel the cold Swedish wind on my face waking me up. I confess that my attention got briefly scattered as everything was happening faster than my indolent demeanor could register.

In a wink, I found myself riding away on a chariot in the forest with Gotland horses, and on the next having hors-d’oeuvre in an ancient mill. I was elated by the scenario up to a point where I wished I could step out of my body and glance at the beauty of what was being created around me. Everything was meticulously styled for an abiding memory: the pale colors, the Prosecco, the truffled cheese – it all fused together in a perfect cadence.

Inside, the table was set and the glasses glittered while the candles where being carefully lit by Sam. The florals climbed its way up to the ceiling as a prolongation of the forest outside in a feast of vines and branches like a summer supper beneath an orchard.

I have been having a hard time finding the exact words to describe what went on then. The menu contemplated an endless number of dishes genially prepared by Olivia. The talent she puts in her dishes is beyond anything I have encountered in my life, it is as if they are a mere container of a story that is set to enliven you far beyond the concept of food.

The desserts perfumed the wine and elevated the communion. We told stories of a lifetime, laughed over whimsical thoughts and accommodated new friends. I realized then, more than ever before, how much I absolutely love food and how special it becomes when entertained in a gathering of beautiful people.

The house was filled with scents and the blurred light embraced us to bed, as the next day was an early start on route to Visby.

The morning sun copiously entered the small window of the room I shared with Eleni and Aslaug. I woke up to an unceremonious smile and a whirlwind of ideas about the day before and where I want to go next.

We were greeted in the garden to a beautiful breakfast done by Krissy. She is the master behind the scenes: that kind of lady born in textures, light, and shadows, floral arrangements and an effortless graciousness. This breakfast was the sum of it all, a style of intention. Crunchy crackers, cheese, and jams while Linda poured some coffee and caveats life as something worth living. I was content.

Visby, the island capital, is a walled city encompassing a small village with narrow streets, quaint houses, and shops. We walked freely, marveling every corner, every door, and frames. The private gardens, opened to my prying eye, withheld the mundane. They are the ones I long to see whenever I stroll around a town such as this, to take a snap, unsolicited – I know, shame on me!

We took a drive around the island and beheld the majestic nature unspoiled in the backyard of Sweden. Its colors and proximity to the sea shaping the tones to its will.

I am forever drawn to the north, to the cold and the soft blues, which is quite a contrast to the bright light in the southern Portugal. But for some reason I cannot explain, I always tend to direct my photography that way, like I am eager to find it here.

Hotel Stelor was the perfect portrait of a Swedish farm hotel where a delicious meal, set in the garden with local produce and a warm chat, awaited.

Back at the house, Linda prepared a demonstration of pie in the making, for us to photograph and learn. The backstage of Linda’s work is a marvel to look at. The concept of light, storytelling, and elegance that she brings is exactly what you see in her everyday work. There is no artificiality, no misleading, just pure talent. Linda played with the ingredients like an artist with her canvas. Her grace, that at a few times looked like a dance to the sound of River – Leon Bridges, was something to be appreciated without the camera in hand. I sat back in bliss, in that room filled with the last rays of daylight. I did take my shots, of course. I did it in the remains of the day when the hustle was done and the music echoed again in the empty room.

The night arrived without me noticing. The fire was crackling in the other room, bringing comfort in the form of burned wood, something crosswise time and place, just like home.

The farm dinner was placed in the kitchen, where we sat, ate and drank until the fire ran out and the tiredness took place.


The ceramics are from Västergården  and the Glassware are designed by Brostecph 

You can check the Hotel Stelor here

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  • Reply Jen September 19, 2017 at 22:13

    Beautiful words and pictures. AGAIN. Can’t wait for part 3. xx

    • Reply Ana Zilhão September 21, 2017 at 17:24

      Well, I can see the bar is set really hight, I’ll try to keep it up 🙂

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