GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
The Kingdom of Sweden is an unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, covering 450.295 square kilometres and measuring 1570 kilometres as the raven flies. It is home to 10.014.873 citizens, of which 53% are Christians, 30% Agnostics, 13% Atheists, 5% Muslims and 1% Buddhists.
The currency is Swedish Krone, worth 0,80 Danish Krone and €0,10. The GDP is US$517.440 billion.
Most of Sweden has a temperate climate, despite its northern latitude, although the heights and northern part are quite cold.
The fauna is rich, and among the interesting larger mammals are Eurasian elk (Alces alces), Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), Wild boar (Sus scrofa), Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Wolverine (Gulo gulo), European otter (Lutra lutra), Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), Grey wolf (Canis lupus) and the Brown bear (Ursus arctos).
The flora is even richer, but I have not found any particular I will be looking for, except from the ancient (cloned) Old Tjikko: A Norwegian Spruce (Picea abies) in the Fulufjället Mountain. One clone has been measured as 9.550 years old!
I reach Abisko National Park, but the real dark weather with massive rain, and the dark let-grey sky, all the way around, make it so little attractive. I more scenes, than see the many rivers and rocks, but I recon this is a great looking landscape on a sunny day. I head on, but might return one day.
I have a bit over 300 kilometres to next sight. Now, I reach and area with mainly swampland and lakes and only a very few bushes. A few real low forests are found on some low hills, and I do a walk in one, in-between the showers. Her are a lot of real great looking Horsetails, but else, it is so familiar plants.
At two, the sun finally breaks through and that does so much improve the motives. I had not expected to meet a gravel road, but I do. It leads through an area with scatted small birch, many small ponds and a massive green cover on the ground. Strangely enough, I see no animals feeding on this rich vegetation.
I pass a little town; Tuolluvaara, which have a lot of wooden houses, then it is back into the little interrupted nature. Here start to be more and more big trees, and soon, it is a proper Swedish forest. And it last all the way to Jokkmokk. I meet a few reindeer, two are walking in the right side of the road, and stay there. Very much unlike the others!
I see the smoke from some nearly extinct forest fires on the other side of the valley, and I guess others appreciate the rain more than I do. I have only seen a few farms so fare, and only with hay as crop. I guess the bedrock is too close to the surface for ploughing.
Here are signs to a world's heritage: Laponia - also known as Lapland. I reach Jokkmokk, the "capital" of the Sames. I had expected a bit more: Here are a Coop and a Ica market, a gasoline station and a few other shops and of cause a System Bolaget. I drive a bit around, just to make sure I'm in the actually town, and not a suburb.
The wind is cold, but sheltered, it is a great day here. I do bit of walking, and check the prices at Ica, which are truly astonished: An Iceberg letish is even more expensive than in Norway: €4,50. In Denmark, you can get two for €1 at this time of year. I had hoped to find some handy-craft and other art in the town, but fails.
I have a camp outside town, and I hope their prices are significantly lower than the Norwegian of €35. They are; half price. The camp look like an old farmhouse and its garden - which is most likely is. Here is forest all around, and not too many people. Last month, here were packed, they tell me! Northern Sweden with Jokkmokk.
10/8. I got a tip about where the Same sell their craft, however, I am way too early, and sit and work for some time in the kitchen at the camp. At nine, I head back to town and find the museum open. It is a real nice museum with a good mix of folklore, ethnology, natural history and some for the children.
Outside are different types of huts, inside are many big rooms with objects, sceneries and explanations. I spend quite some time exploring it, but a few things still puzzles me. I give up finding explanations, and head out in the now slightly sunny town.
Some stalls have handicraft on a lawn, the old pharmacy is a collective shop with work from several artists and another shop should have even more. However, I have to wait till eleven for it to open - ten minutes. I head back for the car, and it opens. All places have a mix of traditional objects and rather modern, made with patterns and alike from the old ones.
The lady here answers my questions: I wondered how the Same made flits without sheep and where they got their tin from. It turns out they have ancient trading routes with the English. That explain their favourite colours as well; What the English supplied. She have a lot to tell, and I have a hard time getting away, without appearing rude.
have a long drive ahead of me, as I intend to get to the start of the
Vildmarksvägen (The Wilderness Road). It is 500 kilometres south of here,
and I only have a waypoint on the way.
I follow E45, which locally is known as Inlandsvägen (The Inland Road). It is actually several roads patched together. None have more than two lanes, and some stretches are gravel roads. Here are hardly any huts along it in the beginning, and the vegetation is almost only made up by tiny pines and birch. Some areas are lakes or swamps with lush green grass, and here are only real low hills. Actually, I have a hard time finding anything I can't see in the south of Sweden.
This time, I pay attention, and do a stop at the Artic Circle. I guess it is more exiting on the way up. Here are a few explanations on signs and a restaurant. The rain pick up, and I have no desire to get any closer looks at the huge lakes, small ponds, vide rivers, huge mossy areas, the lichen overgrown rocks, the crippled trees or the few reindeer, crossing the road. Well, I do a few stops, and get soaked instantly. A few cranes; Grus grus passes the road in the air, and I see a few on the open areas.
Just before Wilhelmina, there start to be a few more wooden houses along the road, but the town is not big at all. I try a minor gravel road, but the sights along it is just the same. Next loosely gathering of houses is Dorthea. Then I'm out in the countryside - or rather wilderness again.
At five, it start to clear up, and I try a camp: 260 kroner; €26 - if I have a camping-card. No thanks. Half a hour later, I see another one; Flåsjöstrand at a lakeside (hard to avoid around here). It is real cosy, and only ask for €14 with shower but here are no internet. I don't mind.
I have not really seen that much today, but I was prepared for Sweden and Norway to be mainly transport stretches. Despite the rain, and that the scenery is so much alike all the way, I have enjoyed the tour - except when I gassed the car. I prepare my dinner and sit and work, in the little common kitchen. Same Museo and Inlandsvägen.
11/8. It is a short drive to the start of Vildmarksvägen, but the weather is not really for it. Never the less, I head on. I had expected some real remote and undisturbed area, but is is pretty much like the rest of Sweden. Here are small huts and tiny farms along the road, and a lot of timber have been harvested.
I see some Rock Ptarmigan; Lagopus muta and a deer on the road. Here are several birds, crows being the most numerous. Here are a lot of big rivers and when the road follow the lakeside, there are so many waterfalls. It turn a bit more rocky, and the lakes get bigger.
After a bit more than a hundred kilometres, I head into a gravel road through some low conifer forest. It leads all the way out to Hällsingsåfallet; a 43 meter waterfall. It is rather impressive, and the entire area is great. A narrow boardwalk leads into the forest and along the river. I just wished here were some sun.
I make a lunch break for once, munching some chocolate biscuits while I program the GPS for the next days. As I head on, I see what I first think is yet another Rock Ptarmigan, but it turns out to be the female of The Western Capercaillie; Tetrao urogallus. I get a blurry picture, but it was great to see one.
I find back to the sealed road; E6, which still is just a narrow two lane road. I stop at some of the larger waterfalls, and especially Brakkåfallet is great. Then I reach Store Blåsjön. It is fare from blue today, rather black. On the other side of the road, a real wide cascade thunders. Besides from that, I fail to se the amassing about this area, and head right on.
is now 300 kilometres to next sight, and despite the drizzle and darkness, it is a
great drive. It turn into proper mountains, and the mist covers the peaks.
Then I meet a single sign, telling me I now enters
From Sweden, I head into Norway, but I will be back in Diary 2 for the southern part.