Sweden
Norrbotten

Here you’ll find travel reports about Norrbotten. Discover travel destinations in Sweden of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

85 travelers at this place:

  • Day362

    Poppy reached 100 human equivalent years old today! We let her have a lie in before taking her for a sniff in the forest and giving her a special pouch of jellied dog food for breakfast. We are so happy she's been able to spend nearly a year with us on our travels!

    We'd booked a pitch at Gällivare Camping online a week ago with the hope of being close to a town for Midsummer festivities (Swedes celebrate on the Friday and Saturday after the solstice).

    Upon entering the Reception, Vicky asked the attendant 'Talar du Engelska?' (do you speak English) as she never likes to presume. 'What!?' Came the unamused and brusque reply. It was as if the question was an insult. Despite this poor start we booked in successfully and were directed to the allocated area on a detailed but easy to read map. We'd opted not to have electric hookup and were pleased to see we got a grassy area amongst mature pines overlooking the river, all to ourselves as a result. The dozen or so vans who were plugged in where further back and had gravel pitches.

    As with most places in Sweden, the site was quiet. There were several fire pits with benches and chopped wood provided. A play park kept children from the town of Gälivare amused and there were facilities for badminton, boules and mini golf. A few of the red painted wooden board cabins were being used, but considering it was a celebratory weekend, the site couldn't be described as busy.

    Unfortunately Vicky's lethargy had resurfaced so there was a limited amount we could do as far as exploring and celebrations were concerned.
    Will picked her some flowers and bendy branches with glossy green leaves. He then went to look around the local area while Vicky made the flora into a midsummer garland.

    Adjacent to the campsite was a 'Sami Camp', a collection of houses used by the indigenous Scandinavian people. Most of the window shutters were closed but there had been a recent large bonfire and a Maypole stood close by, covered in Birch cuttings, yellow Globeflowers, Red Campion and a few other wild blooms.

    We'd hoped to make use of the little Sauna rooms (men's and women's) that were inclusive in the price of the stay, but neither of us could figure out how to get them working. It was only as we were leaving and therefore too late, that Will discovered the secret of pouring water over the stones. We had seen less of the midsummer celebrations than we'd hoped but things don't always work out. We had a lovely peaceful stay at the site and by the time we left Vicky was beginning to get a lot better.
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  • Day359

    The Arctic Circle!

    June 20, 2017 in Sweden

    It was the day before midsummer and we were looking forward to crossing the Artic Circle! Sweden is so vast and sparsely populated that the road network is very spread out, meaning there weren't many opportunities for Vicky to take a wrong turning! We therefore set the sat nav to display the coordinates of our position and continued North West on the 97 towards Jokkmokk, watching the longitude count up the degrees and minutes.

    The Arctic Circle, the southernmost latitude from where the midnight sun can be seen on the summer solstice, moves north and south in an oscillation that is 180km wide and lasts 40,000 years. There is a shorter oscillation too and both are controlled by the gravitational pulls of the sun, moon and planets. The line is currently on a northwards track at 66°33.778'.

    At the midpoint of the large oscillation we pulled into a rest area that had a sign and information. Flagpoles stood along the line and darker flagstones ran through a modern looking, wooden pyramidal shelter to mark it out. We'd been planning and looking forward to visiting the Arctic for years so were very excited! Our mental health is something we both need to actively manage and at exciting times like these we both need to keep an awareness of Will's bipolar, assessing whether his high is a direct result of what is happening and within reasonable limits or whether it has escalated. We thought there was no better way to show this in photos than Will standing across the polar line. We feel very glad that since we've been travelling, it has been easier to spot early warning signs and therefore manage our mental health effectively.

    Several other vans used the rest area while we were parked (they make up a significant proportion of vehicles on the road up here). We talked to a Norwegian couple who lived near Nordkapp, one of the most northerly points in Europe. They said Spring had been late this year and the snow had only just melted from the lowlands, although it was still on the mountains. Talking of snow, the temperature had turned perceptibly colder, so we lunched inside the van before driving on and crossing the current line of longitude into the Arctic!
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  • Day357

    Jävre rest area

    June 18, 2017 in Sweden

    There are a number of good rest areas off the main road we've been travelling on. We've noticed several have small campsites attached, but Jävre had a 'stallplats' specifically for motorhomes to stay. It was busy with more than a dozen vans but we managed to find a decent spot when we arrived in the late afternoon.

    The site looked out on to a small bay and had badminton and petanque (boules) courts. A small decked area with picnic tables led onto a boardwalk that extended out over the grassy wetlands to the sea. At 50 SEK (£5) you had access to toilet emptying, fresh water, a toilet and bins. For an extra 100 SEK you could opt for one of the premium pitches with electricity. They bordered the canal and looked as if they had a cabin included.

    In the late evening Will fished from the pier. Come 1:35am Poppy needed out and unusually Vicky was very glad she did, because the light was amazing. The sun had set only recently and was now above the horizon again, although it was hidden from us by the rise of the land and trees. You could see a pinky amber hue in one direction and a more intense peachy glow where it was rising; incredible!

    Morning came and Vicky enjoyed some Pilates on the decking while Poppy basked in the warmth on the grass. There had been a few, not very prominent signs asking us to pay at the 'ICA'. We didn't know what or where this was and only after 10 minutes or so of investigation did we learn that it was the small supermarket across the road, accessed by a walkway that passed underneath the carriageway. We were happy to pay because the facilities, location and upkeep were great. Just before leaving we saw someone at the top of the small lighthouse. We found the door closed but unlocked, so climbed the metal stairs spiralling up its core. There was access to the enclosed light as well as the outside balcony around it, via a metal hatch in the ceiling. It was great fun to explore!
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  • Day358

    The road we travelled on today cut through yet more forest, although there were no longer the large fences to keep animals like reindeer and moose from getting onto the road that had run for hundreds of kms further south (the fence that is, not the reindeer or moose). For many days the road had switched constantly back and forth between dual and single carriageway, a system that worked very well to stop excessive speed and encourage overtaking when it was safest. There had been very regular rest places and laybys, but today the sections of dual carriageway were left behind and there were few pullovers suitable for an overnight stay.

    We found an area where the undergrowth had been cut back, by a hard mud track that led off the main road. Apart from the occasional car passing, it was very quiet and we didn't see anyone the whole time we were there. Will went exploring and found a large river to swim in not far away.

    We are less than a degree away from the Artic Circle now and when we checked our phones we found with glee that there would be 24hrs of daylight here! To compare this with the UK, the most northerly point on the Scottish Mainland is currently receiving 18hrs 23 min of daylight, with sunrise at 4:03am. Here, there is no sunset or sunrise. We found that 'solar midnight' was at 12:36am, so we set an alarm and went out to look at the sky. It really is strange to get up in the middle of the night and emerge in to daylight! The sun was in the north and although we couldn't see it behind the trees and low hills, looking along the road to the gap in the forest there was a lovely bright peachy glow and glints of light reflecting off the clouds. Turning around and looking south, there was again a more diffuse pinky hue. It is incredible to be able to experience these changes and the light phenomena up here and we feel very privileged to be able to do so.
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  • Day359

    An Arctic Midsummer at Vajkijaure

    June 20, 2017 in Sweden

    Approaching the town of Jokkmokk we could hardly believe our eyes when we passed a small herd of reindeer grazing the verge just meters away from the road! We'd been keeping our eyes peeled for them and for elk, but hadn't expected to see them in this context.

    Our overnight spot was about 5km beyond the town, a stone's throw from Vajkijaure reservoir. Being midsummer's eve we'd planned to have a traditional Swedish köttbullar (meatballs) dish, but in our excitement we'd forgotten to buy potatoes, so Will put his excess energy to good use and cycled back to fetch them, narrowly dodging the rain showers.

    We had very much hoped to see the midnight sun but although it was definitely daylight, the sky was full of rain clouds that blotted out the sun. We'd also thought we might have a midnight canoe or swim but the intermittent rain, the cold and wind dissuaded us. As is sometimes the case with highly anticipated events such as summer solstice in the Artic, the idea can overtake the reality.

    Rain mixed with hail woke us on Midsummer's Day and warned us of the cold Artic wind that had set in. It was definitely a day to turn the heating on and snuggle up in a throw, unlike the scorching summer's day back in the UK! The weather meant it wasn't suitable for canoeing, so after a morning of relaxing and watching the Goldeneyes diving for food in the reservoir, we wrapped up and took a walk along the shore.

    As we were reaching the dam, sirens began to wail and a thunderous rush of water was heard as one of the floodgates began to open. We were able to look down on the raging torrent and walk downriver in time to see the second gate open and the white water surge forward. The dam and outbuildings had been decorated by a few high profile artists to symbolise the way of life of Sweden's indigenous people; the Sami. The paintings showed a drum covered in symbols, representations of the Sami gods and a reindeer caravan. The Sami are reindeer herders and we found out the animals we'd seen earlier were probably in the area to be branded.

    Walking a little further we explored some deserted forest trails (possibly made by the reindeer) before returning to the van, picking up some driftwood on the way. After warming up and getting some food in us, Will lit a fire in one of the concrete fire pits and we sat watching the flames, feeling our cheeks become rosy with the heat. Two fishers approached us to check we knew the Swedes celebrate midsummer on Friday, we did, but explained that in England it is celebrated today and that we were planning to celebrate both! Will played a couple of songs on his guitar before we retreated to the comfort of Martha Motorhome.
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  • Day361

    Rastplats North of Porjus

    June 22, 2017 in Sweden

    The E45 road has been undergoing resurfacing. The lack of alternative roads means it would be impractical to close it, so we've been driving over many kilometers of compacted gravel, where the surface has been removed. Where work such as tarmac laying is going on, traffic travels in convoy behind a lead vehicle that drives from one end of the works to the other, where it turns and leads traffic back in the opposite direction.

    As we crossed a huge hydroelectric dam we saw the large and mostly dry riverbed; a deeply eroded course of angled rock. We swung round and climbed, stopping at a rastplats that looked over the reservoir and power plant, to empty the toilet. We could have stayed here but chose to carry on for a few kms where we found a more rural rastplats to stay. On the way we saw that many places had two names, one in Swedish and one in the indigenous Sami. The land is becoming slightly more hilly and increasingly rocky as we move northwards andp away from the coast. The temperature has dropped to 5°C and we can see yet more snow on the distant mountains. The self seeded pines in the forests here are more spaced out than we are used to. We assume the extreme cold and lack of winter light restrict the speed at which biomass is broken down, because the terrain is very rugged with not much soil to provide nutrients or a foothold for roots. Trunks are spindly and where trees have fallen, their shallow roots have taken all the soil with them, exposing bare rock underneath.

    Leading to and from our overnight spot there was once again narrow trodden forest tracks that we are becoming increasingly convinced must be used by reindeer. Information boards here told us that the lichens hanging from tree branches were winter fodder for the herds. Mares Tails and other Spring greens that were shooting up from the floor provide them with much needed nutrition once the snows melt.

    Taking an evening walk along the long road that led eventually to the reservoir (we didn't get that far), we saw more snow on the mountain tops. The land around us was bog land and vigrin forest with a bloom of tiny flowers, more of which showed themselves the longer you stopped and looked. On our way back we found a large Northern Eggar moth warming itself on the tarmac and were even lucky enough to spot the huge form of an Osprey, flying high over the road and towards the water, no doubt in search of its tea!
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  • Day364

    As is often the case, we had itchy feet (not literally, both of us were fresh from the shower this morning!). We were just a few hundred kilometers away from driving through Finland, then on to Norway and we were keen to get some miles under our belts, knowing we'd be returning to lovely Sweden in August.

    Before we left the area, we took a tip from a Swede who did seasonal work at the site. He'd suggested we drive up the nearby Dunderet hill, a nature reserve over 600m above sea level, with views that reached far and wide. Oh yes, and there were large patches of unmelted snow lying in shady ditches at this height. In late June! The ascent was scenic and we enjoyed a walk from the car park through the heathland to the now closed ski lift. You could see a lot from up here, the town, lakes, lots of forest and a flooded mining operation. However the overcast sky blocked out the light making so much of what we saw seem dark and fuzzy.

    After lunch we got cracking on the long, straight E45. About 75km from Finland we began looking for an overnight spot and thought we'd found the perfect place. We backed the van up a narrow hard mud and sand track, with trees scraping against the sides, to a beautiful secluded spot out of sight of the road and with greenery all around. Unfortunately, the mosquitos liked it too and were swarming around the van. With the prospect of having to take Poppy out at least 8 times before leaving, we made the decision to continue our search for a wild camp.

    We found an amazing spot along a track that was more frequently used and took us to the edge of Tulusjärvi Lake, where there were significantly fewer mozzies when we parked on the scrubby grass overlooking the peaty water. The steely sky was reflected in the lake's surface and its shores were bordered with the mid green of early summer Silver Birches and the darker green conifers, all of which were enclosed by the distant silhouette of round topped hills. Only two other cars came and only for 10 minutes. It was wonderful to have such beautiful views all to ourselves (and only a few mosquitos).

    Despite having had 24 hours of daylight each day for nearly a week, we haven't yet been able to see the midnight sun because the rainclouds that filled the sky shortly after we crossed the Arctic Circle have persisted. Tonight would be our last night in Sweden and our parking spot would have been perfect to see the sun over the lake, but this being real life and not a Hollywood movie, the clouds once again dashed our hopes, giving Will only a teasing glimpse at around 11:30pm (see photo with the front of the van). Even without sunshine, it was the perfect spot for a midnight swim in the daylight and after Will had waded out over the sandy shallows, he immersed himself in the chilly water, before returning to the van and waking Vicky up with an ecstatic grin on his face!
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  • Day11

    Swim Start, FI

    July 14 in Sweden

    The culmination of our whole gap year. A swim. We start in Finland and finish in Sweden. We swim across the Arctic Circle. And we start on Sunday and finish on Saturday thanks to the squirmy wormy nature of time.

  • Day5

    Unser 4. Tag auf Tour

    June 19 in Sweden

    Nachdem der Reifen gewechselt war, haben wir uns auf den Weg Richtung Lofoten gemacht. Vor uns lagen noch ca. 800 km und eine Fährfahrt.

    Auf dem Weg dorthin haben wir den Toni an einer Abzweigung stehen sehen und sind sofort umgekehrt.
    Der Toni ist jetzt schon eine Legende beim BSC 2018, da er alleine mit einer Vespa PX 200 die Tour fährt.
    Er war leicht durchnässt und etwas unterkühlt, da es zuvor geregnet hatte. Mit Couscous und Kaffee haben wir ihn dann wieder etwas aufgepeppelt.

    Unsere Challange des Tages war nicht für jeder Manns Geschmack und wir haben deshalb auch diskutiert, ob wir es überhaupt machen sollen.
    Die Aufgabe bestand darin, 200 km lang eine geöffnete Dose schwedischen Fisch im Auto zu transportieren. An sich nichts besonderes, wenn es sich dabei nicht um Surströmming handeln würde, eine schwedische Spezialität.
    Bei Wiki kann man dazu nachlesen:
    Surströmming (saurer Hering) ist eine schwedische Fischspeise, die durch Säuerung konserviert wird. Sie riecht „intensiv; faulig und stinkend“. Auch der Rest bei Wiki ist lesenswert.
    Silja und Jana haben nicht nur den Geruch genossen, sondern auch einen Happen von der Spezialität probiert.
    Die 200 km haben wir mit voller Lüftung alle überlebt.
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  • Day6

    Unsere 4. Nacht

    June 20 in Sweden

    Gestern sind wir bis ca. 01:00 gefahren. Je näher wir dem Polarkreis kommen, desto kleiner wird der Helligkeits-Unterschied zwischen Tag und Nacht und die Temperaturen sinken Nachts spürbar.
    Die heiße Dusche heute morgen auf einem nahegelegenen Campingplatz hat uns allen die Wärme zurückgebracht.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Norrbotten, Norbotnia, نوربوتن, Norbotten, Նորբոթեն, ノールボッテン地方, 노르보텐, Botnia septentrionalis, Норботен, نوربوٹن, Норрботтен, Norrbottens län, Nolüda-Botniän, 北博滕

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