October 8th – 9th 2022
After an epic ferry ride, we arrive in Stockholm and start driving straight to Mihai’s apartment. Fortunately, there was not that much traffic on Saturday morning, so we get there in less than half an hour and were welcomed to their beautiful apartment.
After settling in, catching up, and having a cup of coffee, we head to Stockholm downtown for a walk. The Stockholm old town is charming in all seasons and we got lucky with the weather. The sky was clear and the sun was shining. I was in great company with Mel, Mihai, and Giang to take in what Stockholm’s charming old town has to offer.
After a long walk, having late lunch at a good Vietnamese restaurant, and drinking bubble tea, we head back home for a wine and cheese-tasting evening.
The next day after having waffles and bacon and eggs for breakfast, we started preparing to start the journey south. Before leaving, my friend Kənan contacted me that he is also in Stockholm and we could meet up. It was a perfect plan as his house was just in the south of the town, the direction we were headed. So I stopped by to meet him and to catch up and share our life stories. It felt so great to reconnect with a great friend after a few years. We had so much to share and talk about.
The whole visit took longer than I expected and by the time we left Stockholm, it was already dark. After an adventurous ride, we finally reached the national park on the east coast of the lake Vättern so we could do a day hike the next morning in the Omberg Ekopark.
Hiking in Omberg Ekopark
October 10th 2022
We got to Stocklycke Hamn, Omberg Ecopark, Ödeshög late at night so we only had time to park, prepare the beds, and go to sleep to wake up in the morning for a day hike.
The weather was amazing with the clear sky and the bright sunlight. We packed our bags, made some sandwiches, and headed the trail. It was quite an easy hike. The path was marked and I had a preplanned route already set on my watch. The forest looked very similar to what I am used to in Finland with the same flora and fauna. But the route was quite hilly with many uphills and downhills which made the hike even more interesting. Nothing can replace the joy of watching the beautiful scenery from high above.
After a great hike, we got back to the parking lot and regrouped with Christina Camperlust to head south to the city of Jönköping. One gas cylinder was already empty and the other one was running low. I had to refill or buy a new one. After visiting a few places I came to realize that the gas cylinders used in Finland are different from those found in Sweden. At least the regulator is different and mine would not fit the Swedish gas cylinders.
The only option was to refill the cylinder in a specialized place that had already closed for the day so we ended up staying in Jönköping overnight. The next morning we rushed to the specialized gas provider only to find out that they had had an accident a few days earlier and they lost most of their equipment to a fire. The owner was very helpful and he provided an address of a similar place in the city of Ljungby, some 110km south. So after a day of adventures, we managed to refill the cylinders and could continue on the journey to the Åsnen national park.
Åsnen national park, Hulevik
We finally got to the national park and decided to stay in the small village of Hulevik. It’s sitting on the west coast of Åsnen lake. While looking for a parking spot to spend the night, a local man approached us and started talking. He knew some random words in Finnish which was funny. It turned out that he is a ranger in the park and gave us tips on where to park and spend the night. He later came around and joined us for a few beers and a chat. He was nice and friendly and shared stories about his life, his trips to Finland and Australia and introduced us to the blacksmith of the village. He had done some fabulous work and had some leftover pieces from a recent fair he participated in. The blacksmith gave us a few small pieces, a small bottle opener in the shape of a hammer and a candle that his Thai wife makes at home. He gave us good discounts, so we bought some high-quality metal hooks and a bird feeder.
Mel prepared her world famous lentils soup with taco mix, potatoes, and some amazing Italian salami. We feasted on it like we have never eaten before. Afterall, we deserved it after a day full of gas cylinder hunting adventure.
We heard that the sunrise is beautiful over the lake, so we went to bed earlier than usual to watch the beautiful sunrise at around 6am. We woke up before the sunrise to witness a thick fog instead of the sunrise. Still, we decided to spend our time wisely and had a hearty breakfast. We no longer had to worry about the gas problems, so we took it easy and headed out to the national park. The path used to be a local railroad track that has since been removed. It was very flat and easy, at times even boring. But the fall colors were drawing us further. We headed to a small island/peninsula towards the southern side of the lake. It looked nice and green on the satellite map. After about 6km, we got there and found out that the island/peninsula has a few houses and cottages, and the beach is not accessible. I was looking forward to getting to the waterfront and fly my drone there, but that was not going to happen. Therefore, we started heading back. But it was OK, the scenery was still beautiful, and the weather was pleasant.
October 13th 2022
Now it was time to head to Lund to meet Alexandra, Marcus, and their little son August for dinner. The ride was quite interesting as the navigator took us through some small country roads. Anyways, after a few hours of driving, we made it to Lund and to Marcus and Alex’s place. They had just moved into their beautiful new house, had renovation going on, and still had their stuff in boxes. They welcomed us in and the first question we asked was if we could use their shower! As Mel was taking a shower, I caught up with Alex and shared stories. They told me all about their new house and what they are planning to do with it.
We had a fabulous time together, had nice food, drank wine, talked, and ate Fika!
The final leg of the journey in Sweden was Helsinborg. We stopped there to do a bit of shopping and to buy some souvenirs. It was lunchtime so we did the most Swedish thing possible: meatballs at IKEA! Yes, we visited IKEA just to eat meatballs. After the Swedish lunch, we headed to the harbor to catch the ferry from Helsinborg to Helsingør, Denmark.
Here’s a video that sums up the whole 5 days we spent in Sweden.