Sweden – Finland – Norway : IKEA,Stockholm, The Arctic Circle & lots of reindeer! Part 2, Week 2 27th August 2017 – 3rd September 2017

28th August 2017
Survived our woodland camp out spot! Got pretty chilly in the evening but was great to open the window blinds to see nothing but trees! Left early to beat the traffic and made our way to supposedly “the second largest IKEA in the world”!

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Let alone the traffic I think we beat everyone, the carpark was only being opened when we turned up at 9am(we were too keen so had to wait an hour ’til it opened….d’oh!) Bought a spice rack (got the idea from Fynn and Caro- cheers guys!) along with some teatowels(exciting we know) before having the obligatory Swedish meatballs!

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Found a campstop just outside Stockholm on our trusty ‘Camperstop App’ and booked a place the day before. Checked in just after two and was a similar set-up to the one we stayed at in Copenhagen- simple but everything you need and friendly staff too! (www.husbilstockholm.se/lh_en_index.html)

Parked up and packed a bag before heading in the direction of the city, following the river ‘Riddarfjarden’.

Didn’t take too long before we came across ‘Gamla Stan’ – the old town. Probably our favourite part of the city (the old parts always are!) with cobbled streets, narrow and steep alleyways to explore and an array of different shops and buildings -including the odd tacky touristy one but also had some cool antique shops, cafés and restaurants!

 

The Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) is also situated on this “island” of Stockholm along with a few churches so had a wander round before making our way further into Stockholm.

 

Followed the waters edge; past the Parliament House (Riksdagshuset), taking in the views across the water and admiring all the boats moored up! Weather was too good to not have a drink in the sun on the boat “Af Chapman”.

 

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Also wandered to another “island” – Djurgarden where there’s plenty of museums to choose from (even an Abba one!!) as well as a theme park and a few restaurants dotted amongst the gardens.

 

With the sun going down we had a walk through the modern centre before having a beer in the old town before we walked back to the van.

 

29th August 2017
Knowing there was a bakery section in the campsite reception meant that we were up early in order to grab 2 Swedish cinnamon buns (Kanelbullar)… So so good!

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After a shower we got talking to our neighbours -a German man and a Swedish woman who visited Stockholm often. They told us about their interesting profession- hunting meteorites from the ground and crafting beautiful watch faces, rings, pen cases etc out of them! Was fascinating to hear about and to see some of the objects in person was a treat. We said our farewells and started getting the van ready to leave and make our way north out of the city before the couple opposite us attracted our attention. A man walked over and explained that he had a 24 hour “Hop-on Hop-off” bus/boat ticket which him and his wife no longer needed and kindly gave it to us! (Thank you very much if you ever read this- sorry we didn’t catch your name!)

Instead of leaving we decided to park just outside the campsite (check out was before 2) and headed back into Stockholm to make the most of the ticket and the great weather!

 

After taking the boat tour we had another walk round the city and came across the Medieval museum which had free entrance! Was worth stumbling across as it was underground and the old medieval walls were still intact in some places! In another part of the museum replicas of different medieval buildings of the trades that would have existed back then.

 

Also “hopped on” the bus tour for a bit sitting on the open top deck for a good view of the city!

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On the bus tour with facts of Stockholm through headphones… ;p!

The bus finished at 6 however so we were dropped off in the centre before we made our way back towards the van before deciding to have a drink on the boat bar we’d eyed up the day before. Glad we did as we were able to watch the sunset over the city!

 

30th August 2017
After spending the night in a carpark just off the E4, we left to get back on the motorway fairly early in the morning to eat some miles up in order to hopefully beat the bad weather before it arrived at Nordkapp! Stopped for lunch at a service station- ones in England don’t usually come with views like this though!….

 

Despite spending all day on the motorway it really didn’t feel like it as the scenery was great! Stopped off at a small town and found a quaint little beach (unfortunately nowhere to stay though!)

 

We eventually turned off into a layby near ‘Finsvik’ where we even got a picnic table!

 

31st August 2017
Another day of driving, scenery and a few coffee breaks along the E4! Done a fair few miles! Witnessed another great sunset as we were driving before we parked up for the night next to the sea at a place called Kallholmen. Fuelled up on chili and rice before having a fairly early night!

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Still no moose or reindeer despite looking out for them all day!

1st September 2017

Up fairly early and an easy biscuit breakfast (!) before carrying on the scenic E4. Stopped for some lunch at a cool little pull off by some rapids before checking out the map and saw we weren’t too far from a waterfall on the 392. Saw our first lot of Reindeer on our way as well as making it past the Arctic Circle checkpoint!

 

After many celebratory photos we found ‘Jockfall’ – stunning little waterfall/rapids to walk around.

 

 

 

We were hoping to get an Arctic circle sticker for Charlie(no luck at the first checkpoint) and after taking a quick look at ‘Google’ we found what looked like alleged souvenir checkpoint so made our way on a crazy gravel track through woodland and wilderness (avoiding more reindeer as well!) to find it was closed!

 

However we ended up staying the night there in the layby so we may not have the sticker but can claim we slept on the Arctic circle!

2nd September 2017

The spot we’d spent the night on was just off the E10 so after breakfast we got back on the road before coming across a petrol station which also offered showers! Cost only £3(ish) each and we even got a coffee afterwards! Got chatting to a Norwegian couple who were hunting birds (and blueberries!!) before spending the rest of the day driving.

 

We took the E45 off the E10 before finding a spot in a little place called ‘Nedre Soppero’. We attempted to make a ‘no-egg pancake batter’ following a recipe which turned out nothing like pancakes and more like an oily dough…. With some sugar and Nutella on though they weren’t too bad!

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“Pancakes” weren’t worth photographing and didn’t get a lake we were next to either so a shot of the van will have to do ;)!

3rd September 2017

Today we made our way into Finland carrying on the E45. Not long after we crossed the border we saw a sign for a Reindeer farm!

 

Got chatting to a French girl who had been working for a bit there who explained these Reindeer were farmed more for tourism (basically being bred for Santa’s over Lapland!). Also took a look in the shop which sold Reindeer furs and meats from other farms along with some native Sami-made goods such as antler dream catchers!

 

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We settled for two doughnuts from the shop and made our way further into Finland on the 21 and found a great spot to sample our purchase!

 

Got on the 93 towards the Norwegian border; landscape becoming even more vast, trees more golden in colour and fewer and fewer villages! Entered Norway where there was now more scrubland than woodland- all the grasses turning a lush rust colour.

 

Found a little spot next to some water to park up for the rest of the day/for the night.Later on a Norwegian family came up from the water with their canoes and we got chatting to the daughter who explained where they’d been and also showed us their 16 husky dogs which were on the back of the truck her dad had bought round! Topped the evening off with a Baileys coffee, excited for the next week ahead and the rest of the trek up to Nordkapp!

 

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