First week of the vacation and it’s time for our annual roadtrip north. This year Marita and Mattias are renting a cabin in Ammarnäs north of Tärnaby. It’s at the end of the road northwest from Sorsele. Unlike Tärnaby you cannot continue across the mountains through to Norway. This means that it is a little more quiet and not so full of camper vans and caravans as Tärnaby.
We do the 1500 km trek with two overnight stays on the way. First we head east through Jönköping to Reijmyre Glasworks. A relative owned it for a few years in the 1800s so it’s part of our family history and worth a visit. It’s over 30 degrees when we arrive late in the afternoon. I take a look in the small museum and see Hampus’ portrait on the wall confirming what my father told me is true. We go into the shop and I buy a couple of handblown and engraved whiskey glasses as a memento of our visit.
We drive through Hälleforsnäs, south of Eskilstuna, to see where my mother was born. The town is dominated by a former ironwork factory where I believe my grandmother used to work, apparently with bookkeeping. The abandoned buildings hint of the glory days that used to be.
We’ve booked a room in the STF hostel in the skiing resort of Orsa in Dalarna. We enjoy a great meal outside the railway station in downtown Orsa even though we have arrived after the kitchen closed.
The next day is a long drive and we don’t stop other than to let Cooper pee and to have a cup of coffee. We spend the night in Kyrktåsjö at the STF hostel. It’s cold and windy and the skies are heavy with rain clouds.
The next day we stop in Sorsele for supplies before taking the final leg to Ammarnäs. We get there early in the afternoon and despite the threatening rain we take a walk down to the Potato Hill, Sweden most northern cultivation of potatoes. It is possible this far north of the cultivation limit because it is located on the southern face of a hill created during the ice age the catches the sun’s rays for most of the day in the summer. It’s wet and quite cold but pleasant enough for a walk.
After a great meal and a good nights sleep we decide to take a trek to Örnbo, a very small settlement about 5 kms walk through the forest from Ammarnäs. Relatives of Marita used to live here and, coincidentally, we meet up with a younger relative of hers who is there to cut the grass and look after the place. They share some stories that they have heard about the life there and we feel privileged to take part of them.
The next day we walk up the ski slopes of Ammarnäs ski resort to some historic gardens and a cave that forms a natural shelter on the mountain slope. It’s raining all around us but just where we are the sun keeps shining and we never get wet. It’s actually perfect weather for a wander in the mountains, not least for Cooper and Sarakka. We end the day by driving to the very end of the road at the Tjulträsk lake where it is possible to get a boat taxi to Norway. By now it is raining heavily and we are getting wet, it’s high time to head back to the cabin and a great dinner.
A good nights sleep and it’s back on the road again to head south. We’ve booked a cabin in another ski resort, this time in Höglekaredalen. They have a restaurant that is open and we sit on their terrace and enjoy some trout and an ice cold beer.
The next day we drive across Flatruet, above the tree line on Sweden’s highest road at 975 meters above sea level. There are reindeer everywhere and they don’t seem to worried about the traffic, which is quite intense. Our goal is the STF hostel in Fågelsjö in Dalarna. We’ve stayed here before and it’s a haven of peace and quiet and would be paradise if it wasn’t for the mosquitoes. There are many lovely old buildings here including a “Helsingegård”, a building that is classified as part of the UNECO World Heritage trust. We get there late in the afternoon after having stopped in Sveg for some Thai food by the big bear statue.
On our final day we drive down between the lakes o Vättern and Värnen and make a stop at Sjötorp where Göta Kanal, the canal that goes from the east coast to the west coast of Sweden, enters lake Vänern. It’s packed with summer tourists who come to see the boats pass through the historic locks, and it’s full of eating places and bars. We have some dinner before hitting the road again to get back home.
8 pm and 3100 kms later we pull into Miragatan after a great roadtrip. Happiest to get home was probably Cooper. He was amazingly tolerant of long stretches in the car, even though I’m sure he would have preferred to be elsewhere.
Hope you enjoy the pictures (they are a little out of order)