In July of 2004 I bought a tent and took a trip north in Sweden, west out on the Lofoten islands, and then south through Norway (well, at least to Mo i Rana where I got bored with the 'quality' of Norwegian roads). From there I entered Sweden, went south to Strömstad, then north to Oslo, and then home. Altogether I took approximately 860 pictures during the two weeks I was travelling.
I started of by visiting Gävle and it's railway museum (i.e. a lot of the pictures are of trains and related things). Visiting the museum has been a dream for many years as I like trains (my grandfather worked for the railway and I have lived my first 20-25 years by the West Coast Railway in Sweden). But before visiting the museum I had an Indian meal on the beach outside Furuvik where I spent the night. :-) After the museum I also got to see the castle (if one likes calling these kinds of buildings for castles - Örebro castle is what I call a castle :-) and the county jail (now a museum and workshop thingamy). Being a Brynäs fan (ice hockey team of Gävle), I had to have a photo of the ice rink. :-)
From Gävle I went on to Hudiksvall - a nice small town. Most interesting is the fishing "huts" along the canal running through town. Here I got to photograph a man wearing a provincal dress (Delsbo dress). (More pictures of trains and railway related things. :-)
Next I followed the coast up to Härnösand, also a nice small town. Although a bit boring (according to me :-) but had a great outdoor museum with old houses. I also went to see the High Coast Bridge, Ådalen where 5 people where shot by military while demostrating (monument raised in their honour) and the old bridge across the Ångermanland River. I didn't find anything to take a photo of in Kramfors (the 10 minutes I was there, i.e. I didn't give the town much of a chance).
The next part of the trip lead me over the High Coast Bridge and through "The High Coast" (Höga kusten) - the highest maritime coastal line in Sweden. That is where the ground has risen since the ice age (up to 285 meters above the sea). This is one of the parts of Sweden I now find most beautiful since I drove along the "tourist road" (from the bridge to Ullånger). After that I rode a ski lift to the highest point - Skuleberget. The view from Skuleberget is breathtaking.
After The High Coast I stopped of in Örnsköldsvik. They have a museum (Gene fornby) where they have built replicas of stoneage (?) huts from a nearby excavation. The town centre has older houses but otherwise it seemed a bit boring (yet again according to me).
As my car needed service, and the only ones prepared to do it the same week where in Skellefteå, I ended up there for two nights (a place I had thought of skipping). But finally I came to a town with some "visible" history - among other things an outdoor museum (where I met a nice elderly couple who told me the story of a house) and the old "church town" (Bondstan). A church town consists of small houses where people from outside town could stay while attending church services. These church towns where common in the north where distances are far. They also have one of the longest wooden bridges stil in use. A managed a quick visit to Skellefteå hamn when my car was serviced (more train related pictures, among others a sighting of a train, TGOJ litt. Ma, from my part of Sweden).
While in Skellefteå I found out about a music festival in Burträsk, my next stop. In Burträsk I almost got eaten alive by mosquitoes, but I got to wear my kilt and listen to the music. At the festival I met a Scottish woman and her Swedish husband, a Canadian woman visiting her Swedish husbands family, and some other northern young people. I took some "after-midnight-pictures" showing camp site looking mystical. :-)
Next day I went on to Sorsele to see the museum (in the railway station) for the Inland Railway (Inlandsbanan) - nothing else caught my interest so I went on to Arvidsjaur.
In Arvidsjaur I got a great view of the surroundings and got to ride on a steam train to Slagnäs. On the way back to Arvidsjaur we stopped on the middle of the line (engine leaving us alone for a while) and those who wanted had a swim in the lake (Nastajaure) before grilling some sausages. Before leaving Arvidsjaur I got a look at the Lapp (Same) church town (Lappstan). Pushing on I looked at Kåbdalis (place of opening of the Inland Railway) and Kitajaur. In Kitajaur a danish lady runs a cafe in the old railway station. Next stop was the polar circle (in Sweden).
Next night was spent in Jokkmokk. A small but great town with a Lapp museum. North of Jokkmokk is a hydro power station with Lapp paintings on (done by a "Swede" and aggravating the Lapps, for good reason). Further north the hydro power station seems to be everywhere. One was built at the Hare's Leap (Harsprånget), where the river bends like a hare leaping (tranquil when no water is released). North of the dam was a town built for the workers that built the dam (and another one just south of town). The town was torn down but now they have put up signs showing where different houses where (like a ghost town without houses :-). In Porjus one can find one of the most luxurious control rooms for the old hydro power station - built in marble!
From Jokkmokk I went to Gällivare and Malmberget where iron ore is mined (and my meeting with my first iron ore train). Gällivare being the terminus for the Inland Railway and a station on the Iron Ore Railway (Malmbana). And Malmberget being the town with the mines. In Malmberget they have rebuilt a shanty town from old photos and they have great ideas for letter boxes. :-) I went on to spend the night in Kiruna.
Kiruna is yet another town where iron ore is being mined (and thereby more iron ore trains :-). Wherever you go in Kiruna (just about) you see one or more of the mines or something relating to the mines (like houses with balconies looking like mine elevators). The church has an interesting desing and the town hall has won prizes. In Kiruna I met a Welsh couple who where nice enough to give me some ointment for my mosquito bites. Thank you! :-) What I didn't enjoy with Kiruna is that I got a cold here, or rather I started coughing here (i.e. I must have picked it up before Kiruna - I'm not blaming Kiruna for that :-). (A good advice is to fill up with petrol here if continuing into Norway - cheaper than in Norway.)
Next I went through Abisko (it was too cloudy to ride the ski lift for a view) and Riksgränsen (border to Norway) and onto the islands of Lofoten. Interesting enough, the nature changes as one passes into Norway - things seem to get softer and greener. On the way out I drove on the main road (E10, from Kiruna to Å) - a road that follows the water and mountains, i.e. is not very straight. The nature was magnificent, especially the turquoise waters, but the roads where quite narrow at times. I stopped at a camp site (my light coloured tent to the right) in Stokmarknes for the night looking up the mountains.
The next day I went on south to take the ferry from Melbu to Fiskeboe. An interesting observeration is that nature seems to change when one leaves on island arriving on another island. And sometimes it feels stupid to drive around a bay for half an hour only to see the other side which one just drove down... The fishing villages are quite quaint with their houses built on poles - some for rent. The roads didn't get any better the further west one gets (some of the photos where taking through my windshield - no where to stop to take the photos!) Some places reminded me of Scotland, like a beach with a small church nearby and sheep running around on round green hills with rock sticking up. I stopped of at Bruslanda Camping (my tent to the left with the tide coming in) and got some good photos of mountains reflecting in the water. On the way back I took a ferry from Svolvaer to Skutvik (on the main land) - during the trip at sea we got to see killer whales!
From Skutvik I went south through northern Norway until I passed the polar circle (in Norway) before heading for Swedish roads (which are "faster" than the Norwegian ones). I got to see people living in the middle of nowhere and the Black Ice (Svartisen) - glacier ice.
Back in Sweden I spent the night in Klippen north of Tärnaby (where Ingemar Stenmark and Anja Pärson comes from) and watched snowy mountains in the sundown at half past ten. Tärnaby seems to be a nice (if slightly boring, i.e. nothing happening at times) town to live in. I stopped of in Vilhelmina, and it's church town, picked up a hitch-hiker (from Örnsköldsvik! :-) in Sveg and dropped him off in Karlstad (where I spent the night).
From Karlstad I went to Strömstad, on the Swedish west coast to meet my colleague from work and her family. There we saw Saltön (F.Y.I. where a director from Volvo lives with his new Volvo cars :-) - a place where kids can "play on the beach". At night we (Helen and I) went to a jazz and blues festival on Koster islands. Yet another reason to bring out the kilt! :-) At this festival we met some very nice Norwegian people from Halden.