Sweden

Sweden

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  • Day4

    Stockholm war eine tolle Stadt. Heute habe ich ein bisschen mir die Sehenswürdigkeiten angeschaut, lokale Spezialitäten gegessen und bin nun auf der Nachtfähre nach Turku.

    Morgen früh um 8 Uhr bin ich dann in Finnland und fahre noch ein kurzes Stück mit dem Zug nach Helsinki. Bin gespannt was die Finnen so zu bieten haben 😀

  • Day442

    We tried not to travel too far today because we didn't want to find ourselves at the ferry crossing to Denmark. We had a small breakfast because we knew we'd soon pass through the town of Jönköping and planned to have a Max burger for lunch. Every country we have visited so far has had MacDonalds and Burger King outlets. When we entered Sweden, we saw that they had competition - Max! We've avoided these international burger retailers for years but Max seemed to be a uniquely Swedish experience and so we decided to dip our toes in and try it. Handily there was a menu board outside so we knew what we wanted by the time we got in. Many of the options had a strange mix of English and Swedish; 'Lyxshake' for example. Vicky ordered in Swedish and was pleasantly surprised when the person taking the order replied in Swedish (normally people decide that our grasp of their language is so poor that it will be easier for everyone if they use English). In fact, the whole conversation was carried out in Swedish, Vicky using her intuition over linguistic expertise to work out what was being asked. What's more, we got what we wanted without pointing - result! We took our tray of two burgers, fries and milkshakes to a high, wipe-clean table that hadn't been wiped clean and sat with them under the glow of a light shaded by a large dome of orange perspex that Will hit his head on. The food was ok, the fries cut from potato with the skin intact at either end but our tongues tingled from the sugar and presevatives. We are glad we tried it once, even at i er £10 each, but this Max experience wouldn't be changing our habit of avoiding these type of food retailers.

    Moving on, we ended up at the end of a gravel track in a wonderful pine forest grove on the sandy shore of Långasjön lake. There was another van and caravan there when we arrived and a few cars came and went, but we were by ourselves in the peace and quiet most of the time. There was a compost toilet, bin, one of the flat bottomed rescue boats and a ladder as we've often seen in places up here where the water is likely to freeze over. A wooden jetty had been hauled on shore now that the summer had passed. Unlike the expansive Lake Vättern, we could see accross to the opposite shore of 'Long Lake' and on the first morning we took a walk along the soft narrow woodland path that skirted the bank. The wind that swayed the tops of the tall pines was strong but not cold. Will took our mushroom book with him and began to identify some of the many funghi that had sprung up. There were lots of a big brown sort that was deadly poisonous but we couldn't find any chanterelles to forage. We suppose the more experienced locals had already collected the most obvious ones. There were however still many billberries and lingonberries in some parts of the forest and after Will had picked a bowl full, he boiled them up and made a jar of jam!
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  • Day438

    Leaving Nora where we'd stayed for the last 3 nights, we put diesel in the tank and started south in search of van facilities. After 6 weeks in Sweden we'd given up hope of seeing wild Elk, but as is often the case, now that we'd stopped looking, we passed two of the huge beasts munching away happily in a field of wheat, beside the dual carriageway! We only saw them for a moment but it was exciting all the same!

    As we travelled and when we pulled in to our overnight restplace, signs that summer was over and autumn had arrived, availed us. Grass verges sported all sorts of brown, red, orange and cream coloured mushrooms, the forest floor was in full fungal bloom. Bracken whose green fronds had previously blended in to other foliage now stood out in gold and brown. The Silver Birches were the first to turn, their yellow leaves now glowing against the fading green of other deciduous trees. Orange red Rowan berries added warm splashes of colour to the canopy layer. We had the heating on most mornings now and outside white steam puffed from the vent, highlighted by the low rays of the sun that rose just before Vicky did.

    Stora Koviken restplace wasn't large but it had paths leading down over the carpet of pine needles to the rocky shore of Vättern Lake, the second largest in Sweden. We'd visited Vättern on our journey northwards back in June but had chosen to travel down along the less populated western side this time. Our vantage point was at the head of a U-shaped cove in which an island stood. The water was clear but cold enough for Will to don his wetsuit when he snorkeled out to and around the island. The cove lent the charm of a smaller lake to the vast expanse of water we knew lay beyond it, stetching out right to the horizon. Most of the time we were the only ones there and down on the bank it was very peaceful. We spent 2 nights here and Vicky edited a video and knitted while Will fished. He didn't catch anything but one of the nights we did enjoy the grilled Mackerel he'd caught and frozen in Norway.
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  • Day444

    After a gentle stroll through the woods, we packed up and set off from the quiet lakeside haven that had been our home for the last two nights. Knowing we'd be leaving Sweden in a few days, we spent the last of our Swedish krona on fuel before stocking up on supermarket items we knew would be difficult or more expensive to buy once we left; oats, knäckebrød (crisp bread), kanelbullar (cinnamon buns for Vicky) and caviar paste in a tube (for Will).

    It was from one peaceful overnight spot to another, this one wasfound by chance on our way back from investigating a signed picnic spot that was too close to a museum and football pitch for our liking. Will spotted the grassy track and reversed back up the little used road in order to turn in to it. The track led to a cute turning area where the birches, pines and heather had been kept at bay. We are savouring these secluded stopovers, knowing they will be a lot more difficult to find further south.
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  • Day444

    Will had scoured Park4Night and found us a lovely spot to spend our last couple of nights in Sweden. At the end of a 1km grit track we parked up in a small woodland clearing in between two lakes; Lillsjön (the little lake) and Larkesholmssjön (the larger one). On Lillsjön's shore was a firepit with grill and a store of split logs keeping dry under a specially made shelter. We were tempted with a fire but the wet weather both nights put paid to that idea! We had parked under a large Beech tree and on the day we arrived, it rained so heavily that it sounded as if pebbles were being thrown on to the van roof!

    Luckily, despite thunderstorms being forecast for the second day, it turned out dry and we were even treated to some spells of sunshine! A few walkers and joggers were lured out by this fine Swedish weather but the area remained incredibly quiet. We decided to take the 6km marked trail around Lärkesholmssjön and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, savouring the peaceful lake and forest as we went. The path was well maintained but it seemed that even Sweden wasn't used to the amount of rain we'd had. The streams, river and bogs we crossed had burst their banks and as we waded through 30cm of water we were very glad we'd had the foresight to wear wellies!

    The forest was a mixture of mature Beech and pines, its floor carpeted with a bright green moss that almost seemed to glow in the shade of the trees. These areas were dotted with a myriad of fungi, from miniscule mushrooms only a few mm tall to thick bracket growths climbing up rotting trunks, looking sturdy enough to use as steps. As we approached the hamlet of Lärkesholm, we passed several boats and a canoe, hauled up on the grass. We love that people are able to leave their belongings in places such as these, with no locks or chains, trusting they will be safe.

    We returned to the van and enjoyed Will's home made pizza and some red wine for tea as is becoming our custom on the final night we spend in a country.
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  • Day440

    We are in that strange limbo where we are coming to the end of our stay in a country before travelling on to the next. There aren't many kilometers to go to the short ferry hop that will take us from Sweden to Denmark and so we are whiling away our time, soaking in the essence of Sweden; lakes countryside and forest.

    Today we pulled in at a layby opposite riding stables, bringing back happy memories of our time at Jan-Ols Gården. The layby was adjacent to a woodland where space had been cleared for a couple of wooden picnic benches. There were trails leading off in the direction of Lake Vättern which, although we couldn't see it, we knew to be on the other side of the trees. On today's drive we'd seen snippets of the lake when the forest had been kept at bay and when buildings weren't in the way. It is becoming gradually more densely populated as we head further south. When the heavy rain stopped we each went out to explore the paths which, to our disappointment we found to be 'poo paths' people had used to get to a place they could go to the toilet, leaving off-white tissues strewn at the sides. What a shame. We tried to forget about them when we were back in the van looking out on the beautiful autumn woodland and succeded most of the time.Read more

  • Day47

    Today we head to Gotland, Sweden's largest island. Gotland is about twice the size of Flinders Island and has a population of 53,003 approx. Its in the middle of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Latvia.

    We decided to walk [with about 54kg total in baggage] to the bus station. We had checked it out last night and knew where to go. Grace was waiting for us at the top of the stairs and off we went. It's about a one hour bus trip to the port of Nynäshamn. That was very pleasant - although I think I had a little sleep on the bus - getting good at sleeping on trains & planes.

    No problem getting onto the ferry, although the baggage check-in lady did raise her eye brows when we put through our cases.

    We decided to sit at a table in the dining area rather than the aircraft seats for the three hour ferry trip - better for conversation and having a meal - I had Swedish meatballs again - yummy.

    Visby it the capital of Gotland. It has an old walled city centre with many medieval buildings and ruins. The old part of the city is where we are staying, and because it is mainly cobble stones, we decided to take a taxi - it only cost 100kr [about $16].

    Where we are staying is a private hotel owned by one of Grace's business partners. It is built on medieval foundations from around 1200AD with the main building dating back to around the 16th century.

    We have the hotel to ourselves - Grace, Mary and Me. The owners are away !!

    Walking around the old city we went past many restaurants and eateries - but its not cheap, at one bar I have a local stout and Mary & Grace had Aperoal Spritz which all up cost $54. Grace then took us to a gourmet burger bar - Brooklyn Burgers - and we had what Mary called the best burger ever!!

    I think our little holiday in Gotland is going to be fantastic. Tomorrow we hire a car and explore the island.

    Cheers
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  • Day47

    Today we set off on a tour of Gotland - its about 50km from west to east - so we need a hire car for the day. This is my first time driving from the front passengers seat! I was quite proud of myself getting through the day without incident - although I must admit that roundabouts had me bluffed - I just made my way through without hitting anyone!

    The main road to the other side of Gotland goes through Roma - that was our first stop. We drove into a farm where Grace had taken her photos in a field of wheat a couple of weeks ago - today they are harvesting the wheat. We had a traditional Swedish lunch which included Kroppkakao a potato dumpling with pork inside - very tasty!

    We drove to the east coast of Gotland, a long beach walk was in order. The east coast of Gotland is much different to the west coast - its drier and flatter. It looks like holiday homes are very popular in this part of the island - I can imagine summer here would be magical. Further along the beach we visited an area of vertical rock formations known as sea stacks. Got some great photos here - reminded me of Picnic at Hanging rock.

    The roads on Gotland are first class - wide, clean and no pot holes to worry about.

    There are treasures to be found on Gotland - a huge number of coins from the Middle East and Britain have been found here - strange because there is no silver in Gotland so the coins had to be "acquired" from elsewhere. In fact, there have been more silver coins found here than the total found in muslim countries around the world. Many researchers believe these hoards functioned like safe deposit boxes: Viking cash deposits were hidden in the ground for safety until needed.

    Other experts suggest that the caches had a religious significance and were saved up and buried by their owners for use in the afterlife. Anyway - we didn't find any coins during our walks.

    For dinner we went to the supermarket and bought salad and Atlantic Salmond - very enjoyable indeed.

    Tomorrow some sightseeing in Visby - visits to museums and old churches - lots of very old stuff to see her - should be good.

    Cheers,
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  • Day49

    Friday - Geelong lost - the end!

    I suppose I should say more about today ... the girls are talking about going shopping, great, I'll stay here and listen to the Geelong v Richmond final - should have gone shopping!

    Gotland is very much a holiday island - lots of tourists and locals who have summer homes here. It is raining today and expect the winter would be very cold - but it has a great holiday vibe.

    The hotel we have is very old and has a mix of medieval, old and modern fittings - its really interesting and welcoming. I think I have mentioned before how comfortable beds are in Sweden - no problems sleeping here.

    The bottle shops are government controlled - no advertising and they close early. I went for a walk and bought a bottle of Gotland Whisky called "Isle of Lime" it's made here in Roma and is a good single malt. I also bought a box of New Zealand white wine and local beer - mainly for our party tomorrow night.

    For dinner we wanted to try a Thai restaurant - but it was fully booked, so we went to a French Restaurant - funny thing to have foods from other countries located here in Gotland. Anyway, the French Restaurant was brilliant - I had Pork Belly with sauerkraut and the girls had lamb shanks. It is nice to have meat and three veggies after travelling and eating so much local food - don't think I need another fish and chips for a long time.

    I hope the rain stops soon - tomorrow we plan to go to the museum and the church - that should give us a good history lesson of Gotland.

    Cheers,
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  • Day49

    Tonight we will be having a traditional Swedish crayfish party - with decorations and drinking songs - should be fun.

    First we have to go to the museum. Gotland has a history of violence, poverty, prosperity and political fighting.

    Gotland is a 3,140 km2 island in the Baltic sea, about 90 km from the Swedish coast and 130 km from the Estonian coast. It currently has about 58,003 inhabitants (20,000 in the main city, Visby). Gotland is a beautiful island and it receives about 500,000 visitors each year. Farming is also prevalent on the island. There are many small businesses; in fact, 99% of the businesses on Gotland employ fewer than 20 people.

    It has been inhabited by people for somewhere between 8000 and 6000 years (depending on the source). Farming was the first business to develop and, by the Viking Age, Gotland was a major trade center in Northern Europe. About half of the 20,000 Viking Age silver coins found in Sweden were discovered on Gotland.

    Gotland, initially an independent sovereign entity, fell under German rule in 1398, Danish rule in 1408, Swedish rule in 1645, Danish rule again in 1676, and ended up as part of Sweden in 1679, with a brief 23-day occupation by the Russians in 1808.

    Interestingly, when Gotland fell under Swedish rule, it did so as the result of peace treaties, whereas other countries' means of obtaining it were generally not peaceful.

    For dinner, Grace prepared a traditional Crayfish meal - with Crayfish [of course], pickled herring,salads, breads, cheeses, potato, cheese tart, the list goes on. We were joined by Grace's Australian friend and her family - Victorian's, but they were okay still, [they were great fun really!].

    Tomorrow we go to church in the morning then pack in the afternoon - ready to fly home on Monday.

    Cheers,
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Sweden, Schweden, Sweden, Swede, ስዊድን, Suecia, Swēoland, السويد, ܣܘܝܕ, İsveç, Schwedn, Швецыя, Швеция, Suwɛdi, সুইডেন, ཧྲུའི་ཏན།, Sveden, Švedska, Suècia, Svezia, Švédsko, Szwedzkô, Швеци, Sverige, སུའི་ཌན, Sweden nutome, Σουηδία, Svedio, Rootsi, Suedia, سوئد, Suweed, Ruotsi, Svøríki, Suède, An tSualainn, સ્વીડન, Suwedan, שוודיה, स्वीडन, Šwedska, Syèd, Svédország, Շվեդիա, Svedia, Swedia, Suesia, Svíþjóð, スウェーデン王国, შვეცია, Uswidi, ស៊ុយអែដ, ಸ್ವೀಡನ್, 스웨덴, سوید, Swedherwyk, Swideni, Zwede, Swédɛ, ສະວິເດັນ, Švedija, Suwedi, Zviedrija, Soedy, Шведска, സ്വീഡന്‍, Żvezja, ဆွီဒင်, Widen, स्विडेन, Zweden, Ruoččii, ସ୍ୱେଡେନ୍, Szwecja, Svessia, سویډن, Suécia, Suwidsuyu, Isvetzia, Svezzia, Swaden, Ruoŧŧa, Suêde, ස්වීඩනය, Iswidhan, Suedi, ஸ்வீடன், స్వీడన్, Шветсия, สวีเดน, Suwesya, Suēteni, Suwidan, Швеція, سویڈن, Svèsia, Thụy Điển, Svedän, שוועדן, Orílẹ́ède Swidini, 瑞典, i-Sweden

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