10 weeks and 7491 miles on the road
The campsite at Orsa was just what we wanted, beautiful location and great facilities.
I was a little perplexed because, on the first night I though I could hear bag pipe music. I really have a big problem with bagpipes. They are OK by a Scottish loch, preferably several miles away, they are just about OK in massed bands at a military tattoo, but I find my teeth grinding when someone plays them too close because they always sound out of tune to me. Tuesday evening we heard them again, not so faint and getting louder. Yep, there was a bloke strolling around the edge of the campsite playing Scottish tunes on his bagpipes. I went to talk to him and he was(probably) Swedish. Weird, or what! Why would someone from here want to play such stuff? (Tim does not agree with me here, he actually likes bagpipe music) (and we are still married after over 30 years).
Wednesday we moved on and visited Mora, a really cute little place where a very famous cross country ski race ends every year and they make the lovely carved and painted wooden horses that really say Sweden to me.
We then drove on to Stockholm. After a misty start, it was more of the same (trees, trees, trees) but things started to improve as we got further south. The countryside started to open up and there were more things to grab your interest.
I particularly liked some of the roundabout art
We have listened to a lot of the radio stations that are on offer as we travel and it is noticeable how small a play list many of the Scandinavian stations have. I have listened to a whole load of music I would not usually dream of listening to and I have picked up some very strange ‘mind-worms’, those annoying tunes you can’t get out of your head. I find myself singing quite inappropriate lyrics out-loud; is it suitable for someone my age to be singing ‘I want to swing from a chandelier’? They also have a nasty habit of talking over the end of any song you particularly like- they even did it to Stairway to Heaven, damn it!
We drove into Stockholm at about 4pm and ground to a halt with all the other traffic trying to get through all the roadworks. I suspect that the motorways that wind through the city work very well normally, but it was not good for about an hour. I tried to navigate to where I thought there would be a campsite, (not good, with me having no sense of direction and a map lacking detail) but we just had to give up and get back on the motorway. We then found another campsite that I thought was a possibility and it was closed. We went on for a bit and finally found somewhere to camp at Bredäng, a very nice site, just as we were starting to despair. It is notable that we have managed to camp near every city, within 30 minutes by convenient public transport to the city centre.
On Thursday we caught the metro into Stockholm, and had a lovely time, strolling around in the sunshine, just enjoying the atmosphere and then had a fantastic lunch in the British pub (Swedish food, however). We both agreed that we would love to come back to Stockholm for a proper city trip. There is loads to see and do here and it has a real buzz about the place, as well as feeling relaxed and unthreatening.
I was a little perplexed about this stuffed hawk being used to advertise the local handmade sweets..
I have noticed one thing about Stockholm, that we have not come across in any of the other Scandinavian cities; there are an awful lot of beggars on the streets. In fact, there have been people begging outside all of the supermarkets we have stopped at recently, whereas, I don’t remember seeing many or even any beggars in Norway. It may be selective memory, but I wonder why there is a difference. We have also notice people going through the bins to find cans and other containers that can be recycled. If you take them back to a super-market, the bottles and can can be worth up to 10p each- you feed them into a machine and then it prints you out a receipt that you can spend in the shop.
The Tentipi is looking just right, now it has come home to Sweden.
There are still hardly any other tents about, although there were more at the Bredäng campsite near Stockholm and the only other Tentipi we have come across was in Iceland. The tent is very comfortable, tall enough to stand up in and, being canvas, you never get drips inside the tent even with the current VERY humid and foggy early morning weather. We can get it put up and ready to use in about 20 minutes and it is possible to clear our whole set up in about 45 minutes. We have slept in the tent nearly every night on this trip (apart from 4 nights hotel and 4 nights on the ferry to and from Iceland) and it has coped with every type of weather (apart from the tail end of the hurricane in Iceland, where we could not drive the pegs in properly). I do, however, confess that I am looking forward to a couple of nights of luxury (well hotel living) in Göteborg for Tim’s birthday. Mmmmmm white fluffy towels…
During the last leg of our journey we met a British bloke who has married a Swedish woman and settled here, an Irish bloke who has lived here so long that he has a Swedish accent (very Irish phrasing still) and a friendly Swedish bloke who wanted to know what we thought about the election. We didn’t realise he meant the Scottish referendum, but he is not the only person who has asked us. We explained that an awful lot of English people were not too bothered either way, although they felt a bit miffed that we had no say in the vote…. Today we met an American woman who has married a Swedish bloke and settled here to raise a family. The foreigners all seem to love it here.
On the road out of Stockholm we were very excited to drive on………… da da dum….
Yep!!! A three lane motorway!!!!!!. The first one since we left Germany.
The route is getting a lot more interesting as we travel south.
Friday we drove on to Örebro, a lovely smallish city about 200km from Göteborg. The campsite is comfortable, with fantastic facilities and it is a short cycle ride along safe cycle paths into the city centre.
There is a fairytale castle and a lovely open-air museum, with many of the old buildings that were removed as the city was developed. I suspect it would be even better in the summer, as there is a lake here and a huge great water park.