06.05.02 - 09.05.02:
12.05.02 - 14.05.02:
16.05.02 - 23.05.02:
On this page, we (will) describe our experiences in Sweden. Apart from the travelogue for this country
you will also find a number of links to useful sites, ranging from general information to embassy homepages.
Written by: Coen
Well, I will write this part of the diary (Coen). We have made out that we will take turns in writing the website diary.
It took some time but finally it is there. In Norway, finding an internet cafe is not that easy and for free as it is in Sweden.
Today is the first of May! I woke up with a smile from ear to ear. Labour day, don't make me laugh! Dorrit decided to stay in bed a bit longer for this occasion so I went to the bakery for bread.
After breakfast we drove in direction Ystad and because we didn't buy a decent map of Sweden, we got lost on an unpaved road and we didn't know where we were. Dorrit helped out.
We drive along the coast for a while and found a fish-smoking factory. Here we bought smoked mackerel, ate it and went for a walk on the beach.
Ystad wasn't worth visiting but we read about a formation of stones shaped like a Viking-ship in Kaseberga and that sounded better.
We parked the camper in a cute little harbour to see the stones. Here we also stayed for the night.
I am tired, don't know of what! We slept till 10:00 a.m. and then we went for a bakery and a petrol station.
We had brunch on the beach, in the sun and afterwards we walked on the beach quite some time. There were bizarre straight cut rocks that looked like lego-stones and they lay like plateaus in the sea. We also peeped in some German bunkers but the inhabitants had all left.
After that we went to Kristianstad to see the greatest/most impressive renaissance cathedral but it wasn't that interesting. In the library we read some emails and then we drove direction Landon.
And now we sit here, listening to an AC-DC CD, reading travel brochures and drink lemonade. Good night!
Today we would drive to Kalmar quickly but is turned out to be more than 200 km. In Sölvesburg we had a café au lait, the first one in a long time. It tasted like Heidelberg!
It was a beautiful route. We drove through a rocky area with trees and little houses now and than. It seems like every Swede drives a Volvo, good for their own non-EU economy.
Kalmar is a fantastic little town. A magnificent castle that endured 24 sieges from mostly Danish attacks.
When we walked through the town at night, we were extra surprised. A cosy street in fortress-style. In the old centre there were little streets with twisting roads and wooden houses. The houses had different colours; yellow, mint-green and light-blue. The yellow street lights gave the area a fairy-tale effect. Also the castle in the evening light was very romantic.
On our way to the library for the last website updates. Dorrit stayed in the library to finish translating the first part of our travelogue and I cleaned the water-pump and hang up a new lamp. I paid 80 crones for a plug and a socket! It is time to stay a bit longer somewhere because there is a lot to do on the camper.
Although there was a storm we took the long bridge to Öland which was quite shaking. On the map Öland seemed to be a small island but the length of the road is more than 100 km. We saw the most beautiful part of the island.
A place to sleep is being found near a church (without toilet, a shame) and we are sitting at the table. A camper is a luxury, you can cook in it, take a cold beer out of the fridge, go to the toilet and you can even sleep in it. And in our van it is cosy as well. To think it is only a car..
Parking places near a church were our favourites in Denmark because there are toilets and it is quiet. This time we stood directly near the graveyard and we slept badly because a branch was scraping over the roof…
We drove a while on Öland but when we had to pay another 50 crones (EUR 5 p.p.) for an old ruin it was time to leave the island. Yesterday we saw lots of these for Öland typical little wooden mills and not to forget the steppe-like heath landscape.
We wanted to drive to Linköping today. Lots of kilometres lay in front of us and it turned out to be a beautiful tour through forest and meadow and along lakes. Significant were the grasslands full of huge rocks from the last glacial period. Because of these most of the grassland is unusable.
We drove on to Vadstena at the Vättern lake. Nice town with a lovely renaissance castle with a harbour in the castle moat. The wetter is still good so in the evening we enjoyed a wonderful sunset that lasted more than an our. After the many sunsets we missed out on during the last 4 working years, we finally get our share…
This morning we got out of bed at 6:30 a.m.! Wow!
We drove to Omberg, a national park at the Vättern lake. We wanted to do a trekking to rehearse walking in full pack. We got out the backpacks, filled them with road maps till we both had the weight we are allowed to carry.
After 10 kilometres we were totally *+'#_. It was a beautiful trail through the forest along the lake. Wonderful views and a large part of the trail was through a rock-river from the last glacier period. Back at the parking place we met the two Germans from Ludwigshafen, that we met a few times before. We had a nice chat about the Heimat.
Vadstena, Vadstena, we are still in Vadstena. At the moment we are sitting on a bench in a park in the sun with a, o yes, Pinha Colada! We bought a can of coconut milk and a melon, scrounged a few ice cubes at a pub, put in some rum and it was party time! So we are still in Vadstena. Not because there is so much to do here but because we were 2 days on a camping site.
The first evening, we sat in the sun at the lake because we reserved ourselves the best place on the camping site and we looked at another magnificent sunset.
Dorrit has done the washing the whole next day. I built out the gearlever to clean and put some fat on it. We had some problems with shifting gears. It was a nasty job, especially putting it back together again with the correct transmission. I also adjusted the generator belt because it had too much play and I built in the new antenna for the car radio.
The next day I took out he water pump to clean it. It is leaking. It doesn't help. I did some small jobs and Dorrit spent her day behind the laptop, finishing some things on the website.
With a full watertank and an empty toilet we can live on parkingplaces for another week. We do not like the campings here. The people tend to crowl on to you, if possible with dogs or kids. Almost every Swedish camper van or caravan has a Swedish flag. I wish we had a Dutch flag and a few garden gnomes!
Today we drove a beautiful tour to Berg. Meadows full of spring flowers in bloom in the sun. On the both sides of the road there were deeply-yellow strokes of dandelions. Light-green hills filled with the Swedish red wooden houses with white frames. We really picked the best time to visit Sweden.
In Berg we visited an abbey and the 11 locks from the Goeta-canal where the ships locked in and out. We walked down from the highest lock. The Goeta-canal was build around 1860 and is partly dug by hand. It runs from Goeteborg in the west to Stockholm in the east and is ca. 385 km long.
We woke up early in order to visit the rock-paintings from Norrköping. The paintings with ships and animals were re-painted and people were allowed to walk on it! What a shame.
We passed a Swedish camping, they had a huge midget-golf court, which Swedish people like very much. Everywhere are golf- and midget-golf courts.
After seeing the paintings we took a back road through Kolmarden and here we did some hiking. It was a beautiful track with forest lakes, huge rock parties and there was a place, about 15 m2, full of little rocks. The GPS brought us back to our car.
We spend the night in Trosa, a port in direction Stockholm. This city was a real surprise. A canal was floating through the village with pastel coloured wooden houses on both sides. We did a beautiful evening walk to a church that was build on rocks.
We drove to Stockholm. We found a parking place in the centre of Stockholm which was a not yet opened camping place for camper vans. It seemed to be for free.
Stockholm is a beautiful city. We really lost our hearts here (which we actually already did in Heidelberg).
The first day we walked through the city. We walked in the sun along the quays and we visited the gamla stan (old town). Tiny little streets with a lot of tourists. It had a Mediterranian flair. We sat on banks on the boulevards.
The evening program was with 2 Germans, 2 Dutchmen and a junky in a BMW.
The second day in Stockholm we visited the Wasa museum. A very impressive museum with a war ship form 1660 which was salvaged 330 years later in the harbour of Stockholm. 95 % of the ship was original and lots of appliances were being exhibited.
Later on the day we took a very beautiful walk through Stockholm. This city is absolutely great! Everywhere are quays with boats. Every part you look from another perspective seems different.
The parking place is still for free. What a luck in the capital of Sweden.
We started the evening with Swedish beer (called Öl, but we call it Ölenpis, since it sounds like the Dutch word for owl piss, which it tastes like!) and Smorgas (shrimp salad). Afterwards we were invited in the camper of Ulli and Sabine from the German Ruhr-area and we spend a wonderful night with them and we drank German beer!!!! The fridge never emptied! Thanks a lot, you two.
Another day in Stockholm. We walked into town to look for a restaurant. On a cosy terrace in the sun at an Italian restaurant we had a superb lunch. It was good for our holiday feeling.
Than we walked through the centre to the open-air museum. The park was build in 1891 by one Hazelius. Because he was afraid for the industrialization, he bought old and authentic Scandinavian houses including interior and put them in a park. Here we also saw our first bears (they love cookies..) and reindeers.
On the way back to the camper we met a couple from New-Zealand who were travelling with a camper van through Europe. We will probably meet them again some day.
With tired feet because of the many kilometres we walked back to the camper.
We drove to Uppsala. There was not so much to see there. Along the way I changed the water pump because it was leaking severely now and we drove in direction Dalarna, a huge national park. We found an amazing spot to spend the night. We were standing at the lake side. We ate gambas with garlic in olive oil. We did some reading and played the guitar in the evening sun.
Still satisfied from Stockholm we drove to Avesta and we visited the old centre. Afterwards we did some shopping and it was raining like hell (it was about time after so much sun) Than we drove to Leksand in the centre of the national park and searched for a camping place. Another week passed so the watertank is empty again.
Nice camping place, run by a very enthusiastic Dutch couple. During the day we sought out the materials for the tracking and we tested the little tents. At the end of the day we packed and drove to Boda from where we wanted to start a trekking. We looked at a beautiful waterfall in the evening.
Got up too late. Dorrit wasn't feeling that well and we had Indian curry for breakfast so we both had a decent heartburn. We put on our gear and left at 2.00 p.m. We had to walk back because the backpacks were too heavy. 2.30 p.m. the second try.
It was a nice walk but very hilly. After 4 kilometres we did the first break, it was 17.00 p.m. and the next place to sleep was 12 kilometres away so we choose to walk back and sleep in the camper.
Today is trekking day!
We would walk to a hytte in Böle and sleep there or in our tent.
It was a magnificent tour.
The first part lead through the forest to a swamp. We had to get through it. At both sides of the foot plank were pools of water and a sort of darkish green heath. When we arrived at a huge forest lake, we took the first break. The trail went on through a piece of ancient forest with grey trees and a light green with moss covered ground. Here we climbed higher along a river bed, scrambling over the tree roots. We both walked with heavy backpacks and we felt it.
The path lead through an authentic Swedish scenery. Sloping green hills decorated with the blood-red houses and bright yellow fields with rape flowers. On top of the hill we had a terrific view over the Siljan lake.
Back in the forest again. Trees standing at some distance from each other and a ground that looked like a carpet. It was full of white little flowers. After we had plod through the mud, we came into an area with heath and polished flat rocks. It was a colour combination of orange, green dark-red and grey. It was a decent walk uphill but the view over the area was worth it.
After another few kilometres, we saw a hut. We thought we had walked 15 kilometres (turned out to be 23!) and we needed some rest.
It was a comfortable wooden hut with a well next door, curtains for the windows and a toilet outside. As Dorrit remarked: "Sweden costs, but then you have something decent at least". We had prepared ourselves on a standard hut where you sleep on a wooden plank.
We had "dinner" and fortunately I brought my can with sausages so in the evening we made a fire outside and roasted the sausages.
Next morning we ate our Wasa crackers on the veranda and started the trail back.
On the way we almost stumbled over a fat grey-blue snake that got itself up so we could examine it. The trail was as beautiful as the way there. We found out that we had walked 46 kilometres and that we walked too much. I held Dorrits hand because a plaster had torn of the skin from a blister and she had a 4 cm round wound on her foot. "Die hard" she has put disinfectant on it.
With blisters and painful shoulders we came back to the camper van. We were back home again!
Well, the day before yesterday we woke up with muscular pain. We wanted to drive to Norway and find a place at one of the lakes on the way. We did not find a suitable spot until we saw a little path into the forest. When we drove in, there was a sort of niche between the trees directly at the water. This was our spot, we take it!
Here we stayed for 3 days. Beautiful weather, alone, nobody came to disturb us. We read, played the guitar, did some nice cooking and mess about the car. In the evening we sat outside till late, enjoying the evening light: it doesn't get dark early here.
We drove to Thorby and on the way we did some shopping for Norway. We bought lots of cans and conserves because Norway is more expensive and we drove to Norway the next day.
Unfortunately we saw only a small part os Sweden so we'll have to come back some day.
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