Hotel Svala / by Charles Vinz

 a view of the hotel from across a meadow

a view of the hotel from across a meadow

In September, I was invited to join a small and varied group of creative individuals on a tiny island in the Finnish archipelago of Åland called Kumlinge. There we joined Jannika and Sage Reed, the mother/daughter team behind Hotel Svala, to help in whatever ways we could to move forward their beautiful and unique vision of transforming an old hotel into something more. Something part artist residency, part co-workation retreat, part holiday, and very much a gateway to learning about the unique culture and history of that corner of the world.

We painted, installed floors, built a kitchen, moved and cleaned things, and made bigger plans for the future. We also ate mounds of smoked fish, cheese, and butter, swam in the bracing baltic sea, sauna'd on the shore, hung out with sheep, foraged for wild berries, went fishing, hiking, biking, ferrying, stargazing, and connected with an amazing group of individuals.

I also got bitten by ticks.