There’s often a moment in all those coming of age, teen-fuelled Hollywood dramas where someone will inevitably find themselves looking out to a lake before suddenly realising that their life is about to change, like, forever. Whether as a viewer you then spend the next 90 minutes identifying with this character and being carried on their emotional journey into maturity, or you try your very hardest to remember why on earth you bought a ticket to something obviously not intended for your age group is beside the point. The fact remains that, whatever lake they’re looking out at has such a deeply profound effect on their psyche, they are suddenly able to see everything clearly for the very first time.
It’s a wonder then, that those in the vicinity of Sweden’s inordinately beautiful Värmland region, ever actually get anything done – aside from staring out at lakes and pondering the nature of the known universe all day. But if you’re in the market for a bit of inward introspection, you need to situate yourself at the edge of the exquisite Stora Gla.
Aside from an impressive lineage dating back to around 7500BC, the pure waters of this lake – once part of an ancient sea named Ancylus – are now housed in a nature reserve that comprises a mere 28,000 hectares of picturesque land, ranging from the wooded to the wide open. But wildlife wasn’t always the focal point as, in 1859, the introduction of a glassworks in the nearby tiny township of Glava grew to become the most successful in the entire country. Though production shut down some 75 years ago, the museum that now sits on the site of the old factory gives much away as to the close-knit community that once stemmed from the source.
While the time has long since passed when people came to admire the craftsmanship of the windows, mirrors and wealth of other products that came from the workshop, perhaps the pristine and reflective waters of Stora Gla itself will suffice. Therefore the only advice we have to offer in this instance is simply this: Stop, look and listen.