Night train from Narvik to Gävle. Chris Maluszynski. June 2012.

During the four days of my quest for the mythical Scandinavian summer night, I have only seen constant rain and cold. Not exactly living up to the ideal so to speak. Sure, the light has been beautiful, and the kids have been partying in spite of the rain, but I still haven’t seen what I set out to find. Until now.

Looking out of the window of the night train from Narvik to Gävle last night, I finally saw the sun shining brightly through delicate white birch trees. It felt like the train ran me straight through a wall of nostalgia and memories of the summers of my youth, where surrounded by friends high on life, you live the moment to its fullest,  and the future is bright like the evening sun shining straight into your eyes.

And those birch trees – I have a total hangup on them. With their slender bright stems reflecting the summer sky and their trembling fresh green leaves, they keep that promise of eternal youth and beauty alive, and renew it every summer. To me they are an essential part of Scandinavia, and of the dreamland that comes alive in the Scandinavian summer night.