THEkay, she has not written or contributed to as many books as Prince Charles, but the British heir to the throne has a few decades ahead of the world with a watercolor booklet as well as works on harmony or the organic garden of his residence could enrich.
Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria is taking a different path, a hiking trail, so to speak, because her first big book is neither self-painted nor philosophical or ecological like Charles’ works, but a kind of oversized travel guide (2.1 kilos, 320 pages thick), the one of it is about how she wandered through her kingdom within two years. Whereby she was not on the move for 24 months in a row, but exactly 25 days of hiking from 2017 to 2019.
The idea came from herself. “My exciting journey through Sweden began when I wished for my 40th birthday that I would go hiking in all 25 historical provinces,” she writes in the foreword.
As befits a princess, the wish was granted, and someone conveniently came up with the idea of the book, so that Victoria was given photographers on all tours and the journalist Johan Erséus, who wrote the accompanying texts.
Crown Princess Victoria hiking, horseback riding, skiing
With that, all the ingredients for a magnificent volume were in place. The most important was, of course, the wandering princess herself – firstly as a prominent cover girl (although Victoria can not only be seen on the cover, she appears in dozens of photos in the book), secondly as a member of the royal family who divulges one or the other anecdote while hiking .
The fact that Sweden is picturesque and diverse was also helpful for the project, but without Victoria’s help, the hundred-sound-many illustrated book about a beautiful Scandinavian country would have come out. Thanks to their help, it has become a unique, original book.
First of all because of the many photos. Victoria on horseback, in a canoe, on skis, in hiking boots, on a mountain bike (ideally with a bicycle helmet), in a rain jacket, on a sledge and on board a museum train – the princess is like you and me, the pictures say, without airs.
A photo shows her in Västergötland behind two horses in the mud plowing a field. “It was a real challenge to cut straight furrows,” she says – and collects more sympathy points.
The anecdotes make you want to vacation in Sweden
The 25 texts on the individual provinces, peppered with Victoria quotes, are a clever mix of regional studies and a look behind the palace scenery. You learn things about Sweden that you can shine with in every small talk, from the oldest skis in the world (5200 years old, discovered in Västerbotten) to the largest sawmill region in the world (in the province of Medelpad, whose existence you will probably never know without this book would have learned).
In addition to platitudes (“there is a lot of new things to discover in Sweden off the beaten track”) Victoria also says surprising things.
You learn that the royal family are true ecosystems (“as a child I examined anthills and pine cones. I owe that to my parents, they taught me to respect the environment”), where the royal family spends their vacations (“I’m proud of summer Oil national, I’ve spent my holidays here since I was a child ”), that she loves cross-country skiing, but drives awkwardly (“ I have zero technique ”) and that she plucks a pair of stalks of swamp forest against mosquitoes and rubs it into her skin (“ it seems to work. I am definitely not stung ”).
And at the latest, when she raves about her conversation with a Sami animal breeder (“To survive a reindeer only needs as many lichens as can fit in a matchbox”), Victoria has packed you and you want to book your next vacation in Sweden right away. There was never so much wanderlust when looking at Charles’ England watercolors.
“Discover Sweden with Crown Princess Victoria”, by Johan Erséus, translated by Elke Adams, Gerstenberg Verlag 2021, 320 pages, 40 euros
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