AFTER OUR PIZZA LUNCH IN SMÖGEN, Yanyan and I continue our drive north to Fjällbacka, another coastal town in the Bohuslän region. This place carries a certain cachet to it, being the favorite summer place of Ingrid Bergman. That association certainly belies the fact that Fjällbacka is really a sleepy fishing town with fewer than 1000 residents and that outside of summer, just as with any town in the Bohuslän coast, it’s largely abandoned.
But again, the absence of the crowd just enhances the appeal for me. We arrive at 2 in the afternoon, and the warm rays of the autumn sun casts the town with a romantic golden glow, and the lack of crowds make it a really peaceful place. The red cottages and the towering church at the hill further inland backdrop the ocean, making for a really nice image from the boardwalk a few meters from the shore.
Fjällbacka pays respect to Bergman by naming its main square after her. There’s even a small square near the harbor with a bust of the Swedish actress and photos of the times she spent here. Walking around the town, it’s not hard to see what might have endeared Bergman to the place – a quaint welcoming neighborhood just balanced by the rugged nature.
At the back of the square is a staircase leading to the top of the Vetteberget rock, which provides a view of both the town and the islands off the coast. Boat tours to these islands run every summer, but today, the tourist center handling those tours are closed. Without much to do, Yanyan and I stroll along the waterfront, looking at the boats bobbing in the water in a relaxing cadence.
An hour later, we head to the church near the parking area and explore the surrounding neighborhood. The church itself is an imposing structure, though it’s closed so we can’t see the interiors. We walk for a few meters before finally coming to terms with the fact that there are no open stores where we can buy even just hotdogs and soft drinks.
“Let’s go,” I finally tell Yanyan. “If we leave now, we can catch the sunset in Tjörn.”