Hästholmen Harbour, Vättern Lake + videoJune 5, 2017 in Sweden
There is a video of the sunset we saw from our campsite on VnWTravels YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/o_gd20MwWXI
Our plan is to cut over to Stockholm then up Sweden's East coast to spend the midsummer solstice inside the Arctic Circle, so after dropping Sue and John at the airport we travelled East. In some countries you can travel for ages without seeing any countryside, but in Sweden it's great how quickly you emerge from towns to green fields and trees. We even saw several small groups of deer on our journey!
After a while we came to a huge lake and drove alongside for what felt like forever. 65km later we pulled up at Hästholmen harbour, still beside the lake! Vättern is Sweden's 2nd largest freshwater lake with a perimeter of about 642km (400miles)!
Park4Night had listed the stopover as free but we were directed to a grassy pitch that was priced at 165SEK (£16.50) for camping. We managed to get away with paying the equivalent of £12 because the concrete harbourside stopover we'd originally gone for was full but by paying the extra £4.50 on the second night we kept our nice grassy pitch and had access to hot showers and free use of a kitchen, washing machine and tumble dryer.
To our left was a view of a little cove with a sandy beach for swimming. On the other side there were small holiday cabins, boat houses and plenty of expensive looking yachts. Although there were a lot of people around when we arrived, it soon quietened down and we were able to watch a wonderful sunset over the water.
The following day we were tempted to swim but the water was a chilly 12°C so we opted for a canoe paddle instead. From our sheltered overnight spot at the harbour we couldn't see the extent of the lake but emerging from the cove gave us a better idea of its scale and we had to keep reminding ourselves that it wasn't the sea! Vättern is very long and comparatively narrow but the opposite shore was just a grey shape and our eyes couldn't make out any details because it was so far away. The wind wasn't very strong but it had created swell as it blew over the length of the lake, making the canoe a little unstable. To the south the water stretched out literally as far as the eyes could see, disappearing over the horizon with the curvature of the earth. Our view of the northern shore was cut off by far away headlands - it was amazing to be able to paddle on such a big lake! Unfortunately the camera battery was flat so we weren't able to take photos but huge rounded grey boulders led down to the water and beyond them were a mix of trees. A few traditional painted board houses were scattered here and there near the shore but much of the time we couldn't see any buildings.
By this time we had decided to stay a second night. The day was warm but not too hot so after arriving safely back at our cove we sat outside with Poppy to enjoy the plentiful supply of daylight before Will went for a fish on the pier. We are finding the late sunsets and early sunrises strange but we are adapting to it quite quickly. (The photo of sunrise over the harbour was taken at 3:35am when Poppy needed a wee).
All in all our stay at Hästholmen Harbour was a very enjoyable, refreshing and productive couple of days.Read more