Let’s be honest: Ljungby is not the most vibrant of cultural centres. If you come here expecting the Bolshoi theatre to do an once-in-a-lifetime tour and play in Ljungby, then you will be disappointed. As always, every place is best experienced on its own terms, and where Ljungby may lack in metropolitan delights, it makes up with vast expanses of unspoiled nature.
Ljungby lies in Småland, an area of Sweden which, like many other parts of Sweden, is covered with large woods. These are all owned by someone or other, but that does not mean that you can’t enjoy them. There is a law in Sweden called allemansrätten (roughly translated as “everyman’s-right”). It says:
Allemansrätten gives a person the right to access, walk, cycle, ride, ski, and camp on any land—with the exception of private gardens, the immediate vicinity of a dwelling house and land under cultivation. It also gives the right to pick wild flowers, mushrooms and berries (provided one knows they are not legally protected), but not to hunt in any way. Swimming in any lake and putting an unpowered boat on any water is permitted unless explicitly forbidden.
Say it with me: awesome! Allemansrätten is your ticket to enjoy all the wild and wonderful nature of Sweden whenever you wish. You can hike through whichever forest, pick a pot full of yummy mushrooms, wave at a moose, put down a tent at some meadow, cook yourself some dinner and go to sleep in the bosom of Mother Nature with no need to ask anyone for permission.
There are many lakes around Ljungby, all of them blessed with healthy safe water. (Although not clear; only dead lakes have clear water.) The biggest of them is Bolmen, where I exercised allemansrätten and went canoeing with my brother and a bunch of friends, from Bolmen through a stream to the neighbouring lake of Kösen, a distance of 18 km.
If you come to the Swedish countryside, then I urge you to check if there is a good stream to go canoeing. Nothing beats canoeing when it comes to explore a beautiful scenery coupled with some light exercise. Sitting just above the waterline, you could not be any closer to the water unless you went swimming. Free from a loud engine, you can hear the gentle clucking of water against your canoe and the splash of your paddle cleaving the surface. A bird sings in the trees as you slowly go past one turn of the stream after another, every turn rewarding you with another splendid scene of green luscious trees above blue water. The gentle Swedish summer sun shines on your skin and you take of your t-shirt to enjoy the rays. This is when you suddenly have one of those man-it-is-good-to-be-alive moments!