What a week. It was a week full of literal and figurative highs and of course, as it should be, also some small lows. Even though it sometimes doesn’t seem like, it is still real life isn’t it? But we always make something out of it and always find a solution. Let me show you:
On Sunday we had a quiet morning. We had to spend a lot of time on the blog to finish it. And Jap wanted to bake a sourdough bread for the first time in the Dutch oven. He has never done this before so we were very curious how this would turn out. And of course I was very curious about how it would go with the briquettes this time. To bake the bread in the dutch oven you need the briquettes and I wondered if Jap now would succeed with less cursing. Jap, however, did not begin to make the bread before a refreshing dip in the water. Especially in such remote places it’s great to be able to just take off your clothes and walk into the water without worrying about anything. Awesome!!! Then, starting the sourdough and let’s gooooo!
We went to the coast, we still had 3 hours to go to the place where we wanted to sleep tonight. This should be the start of a scenic drive along the coast, at least according to the Lonely planet. Along the way we had to stop every now and then so that something could be done for the bread again. Once we arrived at our destination, a shower was on our mind. Today we slept on a camperpark so that we could take a shower because it was about time hahah. At the campsite, Jap immediately started with the bread, making the briquettes went almost smoothly. Let’s keep it at that. The bread baked a little to much on the bottom, but the bread and crust was really fantastic. And from now on every week baking a sourdough bread and it will go smoothly as putting butter on your toast and the briquettes probably too haha.
In the evening we had a call with people for a workaway, John, Ash and Rachel (their daughter). They live in Lappland and have a farm that has not been used since 1930 and they are now rebuilding it according to the permaculture principle. They had an advertisement on workaway and we are happy to help them for a few weeks for food and a place to sleep. There is plenty to do on the farm and we really hit off with them. They sound like very nice and hospitable people. So we have found our first Workaway place, from July 1st we will help them on the farm for two weeks, which is really nice. We’re already looking forward to it. The rest of the evening was devoted to showering, facetime and putting the blog online.
Ow and really funny, we give all showers we use on the way a rating. They are really extensively assessed, how powerful is the shower head, is the water warm, is it clean and of course the most important, has the shower a filthy sticky moldy shower curtain (especially with Jap this scores big negatives points). Now for those who follow on paper, the shower here scores a 6.5, the shower in Smögen a whooping 9.5, the shower ….. hahah no I won’t bore you with it. But for us it is really a thing, a good shower. hahaha
Yesterday the lady of the camper place had told us somethings about the area, because we had the idea that a beautiful coastal route had to run here (the aforementioned scenic drive of the Lonely Planet), but it turned out that this was not a road along the coast but more of a road along some coastal towns. She had mentioned a few places from where you could see the sea, so we only went to visit one of them. But first I had to resubmit my publication again, and hopefully for the last time. While I was working on this, Jap went to do all the tasks that belong to van life. These are: refilling the water, emptying the gray water tank and of course the best job emptying the toilet. Btw really a big tip if you own a porta potti, you just put white vinegar in it (1/5 of the bottle) and a good squeeze of dishwashing liquid and badabing badaboom your own non-chemical stuff for in your toilet. Functions perfectly. Oh and only peeing in that thing, your toilet paper in the trash and emptying it is really a piece of cake and actually without a smell at all. And how does that go with the poo you might wonder, well you just put it in a garbage bag and throw it in the garbage bin like dog turd. Totally fine. But well enough about that, after we were both done, we were off. We first drove to a nice coastal town, there was not really anything to do, but there were really beautiful holiday homes and there was a beautiful beach. Here we wanted to take a look so Jap drove the car to the side of the road towards the beach where another car was also parked. Here we had a look at the beach and made a plan for the next stop. Owh and you probably wonder why we extensively described where we parked, well that was because we were already half on the beach and you guessed it, as soon as Jap wanted to drive out, the car immediately dug into the sand. Umm shit! We were stuck, for the first time. But we were prepared, immediately we took out the tire mates and shovel. We had all this for these kind of situations, but despite the seemingly perfect preparation, we were still a bit tense. Especially when the mats didn’t seem to help, they just slipped under the wheels. Hmm chips. Anyway, on the second attempt we had dug the wheels out a little more and Jap started pushing the car while I tried to drive Bob out. And that worked… Yes… In the meantime a gentleman had come over (whose car was next to us) and we started chatting. He immediately gave the tip, you should have deflated your tires. Oooh! Of course! We could hit ourselves in the head, we knew that, but we had forgotten this in the heat of the battle. But we succeeded. We chatted for a while and then drove on to Sundsvall, a somewhat larger town. Here we wanted to buy some stuff to be able to do a multi-day hike. We would like to do this somewhere in one of the NPs in Lappland, but we don’t really know how long and where exactly. But for this we really needed a stove, gas bottle and dried food, for the rest we actually have everything with us, so tent, sleeping bags, mats etc. And because we had the idea that it might be more difficult to get this up north or it might be more expensive, we went here. We managed to buy everything we needed and decided to go for something to eat as well. A burger, which was really super tasty. In general, eating out in Sweden is nothing to write home about. Of course you can have something good to eat in the big cities, but otherwise the Swedes are especially fond of fast food. A lot of fast food. The most small villages have at least 3 places where you can eat pizza and also order a kebab. They have an incredible variety of drive thru’s and are generally quite American oriented. But they always have plenty of vegetarian options and this burger was delicious.
The day was already well into the afternoon and we hadn’t done anything active yet. We therefore wanted to continue driving to the high coast and see if we could take a walk there. But first we had to go to the tourist center for some information. Unfortunately, it soon started to rain and continued to do so for the rest of the evening. We had given up on the plan to do something active. However, we would compensate for that the next day with not one, but two hikes.
Luckily we woke up to the sun and lots of blue sky. Yesterday’s rain seemed to have cleared up and yesterday we also heard that Gerald, Nina and Hedda, do you remember them?, where going to do the same hike as we did. We were going to conquer the top of Skuleberget. When we arrived at the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain, we saw their camper already, only they were on their way up already. They would take a different route because the route we wanted to take was not possible with Hedda’s short legs. We went up the steep route where you could also see a cave. It was only 600 m in altitude, but that was still quite a climb. We were soon warm from the clambering. The views were really nice and it was a really nice path up. After half an hour we were at the top and we soon saw Gerald and Nina. It was nice talking to them again and hearing about their adventures. And funny to see how different the routes are you can take. They had driven fairly straight north whereas we zigzagged across the country. We chatted for a long time at the top and cuddled with Hedda. Then we went down with them via a different route.
The next walk on the program was in Skuleskogen NP. Here was a ravin that you could walk through, which looked very nice. We first had lunch in the parking lot and then went to go on our way, but then the soles of Jasper’s hiking boots appeared to be loose on both sides. Something we had seen before with my father’s hiking boots and they didn’t look very comfortable at the time. So just put on the ‘normal’ shoes and look for new hiking shoes tomorrow. On the way there we had chosen a route that went over the top of a mountain. The first part of the walk went through the forest on all newly laid walking boards. But it soon turned into more climbing and boulder walking. Once at the top we had beautiful views over the beautiful coast with its beautiful green islands. We enjoyed the view for a long time, only the wind was blowing really hard every now and then. And once we almost got lost, fortunately it was almost and after a while we found the path again. After that it was clambering down to the ravin, it was a beautiful ravin with really very steep walls and a nice view behind it. Then we walked back through the valley to the car. We slept in the parking lot so we didn’t have to go anywhere.
The next day we started the day with the search for new hiking boots. As we wrote before, we wanted to go for a hike of several days and that is of course not possible without good shoes. On the way to our next destination we had found a large outlet of a Naturkompaniet (big outdoor store) and Fjällraven, and when I mean big I mean really big. Once we finished, we had therefore not only bought shoes but also a mosquito net for our hammock, which will be very relaxed here, and we both bought outdoor pants. This is something I was especially against before we were in Sweden. Especially because these pants are not really the prime example of high fashion and are mainly practical. But these pants are nice for hiking, they are waterproof and mosquito proof. And especially the mosquito part totally convinced me. Now I often wear my tight jeans because they are the only thing that is thick enough and they do not easily get through. But that hikes and especially climbs anything but comfortable .. So in the end I gave in. But I didn’t just buy a regular.. It’s one with a zebra print! That makes it a little better. Jap has found very nice shoes from an Italian brand that walk really great, when you put them on they feel a bit like putting your feet in a sleeping bag so soft… Who wouldn’t want that! Now we are really ready for the hikes that we will make on our journey. It was then 1.30 hours later hahah, but we were on our way to our next stop. This one was 3:30 hours of driving. Yep, the distances just keep getting bigger and bigger. This place was the first beautiful stop on the vildmarksvagen, or the wilderness route. We had decided to stay here and take our time, eventually we were at the waterfall around 6.30 pm and tired of driving. But on the way we had already seen really beautiful landscapes, that promises a lot for the rest of the route. We also had flown the drone for the first time while driving, a bit stressful but the images have become very cool. After diner, we went to see the waterfall. I really had no expectations at all of the waterfall so when we got there and saw the power of the waterfall and how big it was, I was really blown away. What a power, what a water, what a sound…..wow. I think I walked around seeing ‘wow’ every 5 seconds. There was hardly anyone else there and the light was really beautiful. We also flew with the drone here and took our time to enjoy the waterfall. Jap went back at the sunset, 11.30 pm here, and what a fantastic waterfall. And by sleeping here in the parking lot you avoid most people and you can have a look whenever you want within 5 minutes.
Jap couldn’t get enough of it and last night had the thought of going to the waterfall at sunrise, around 2:30 am. But unfortunately it was really cloudy and it rained ,so he turned around and went back to sleep. In the morning, of course, we walked to the waterfall again and then it all looked very different again, there were even two rainbows!
We had now completely turned the waterfall inside out and had seen every detail, so we set off for the rest of the wilderness route. And the first thing we saw was …. yes indeed …. long awaited …. finally … just on the road …. you guessed it … a … yes really…aaaaaaaaaa …. MOOSE!!!!! I was so excited that I couldn’t think straight anymore. I wanted to take a picture but still couldn’t see anything through the camera despite the fact that I had already adjusted 10 different settings and yelled to Jap in frustration, why am I not seeing anything, why am I not seeing anything… Jap: Lon the cover is still on hahahahah. But once I saw something, the moose turned out to be too far away for a photo with this lens. So I wanted to grab the zoom lens, but unfortunately when I came back it had already run into the woods. It was really cool to finally spot a moose. Hopefully we’ll see more of them now and also a bit closer, but our day couldn’t go wrong already. It was a wonderful start to a day that would only surprise us even more. It was on to the next waterfall. We drove along the most beautiful lakes and rivers with mountains with snow in the background, really beautiful. The falls were all really beautiful and all came down with an enormous force. Part of the wilderness route runs quite high and runs close to the Norwegian border. This part of the highway will not open until June 6 because there is still too much snow before that time and driving here is impossible hahaha. There were no more trees on this high part and it was such a beautiful mountain plain and then with a piece of snow here and there, really beautiful. Totally different from what we’ve seen in Sweden so far. We stopped at several places to have lunch or take pictures. We also drove into Lappland via this road, after 6.5 weeks we are in the northernmost part of Sweden. Owh and on that highest point, Stekenjokk, used to be a mine. Very difficult conditions to have a mine it seems to me, there are only two months snow free!!!
Then we went looking for a campsite because we needed to do some laundry. We found this one in Vilhelmina which was another 1.30 hour drive, so again a whole day in the car.. It’s starting to stand out, how relaxed and easy we were in the beginning, which completely changed now that we have a deadline for July 1st. We really feel that we now have to drive a lot to see all the things we want to see and the distances between them are getting really huge. 4 to 5 hours driving is no stranger and that is and will get enjoying. So in the evening we sat down together and made a plan for the next two weeks. We mainly wanted to make choices about what we still want to see and what we skip, we really have to make choices if we don’t just want to sit in the car the whole day. We prefer to stay a little longer in one place to really get a good look at it, instead of we only see a little bit of everything. There are so many NPs here in Lappland that you could spend months here to see them all. The campsite was really beautiful, on a lake and had nice facilities and internet which worked relatively well. So we backed up our footage as much as possible and facetimed, we also did the laundry and scrubbed ourselves clean again. It was a little late, but around 1 o’clock it is still anything but dark here ?.
From our planning last night, it became clear we wanted to make a long trip to Jokkmokk to get more information about multi-day hikes in the Laponia NPs. These are a group of several very large national parks and we didn’t get much wiser on the internet about what we wanted and could do. But we had decided that we would like to go hiking for 5-7 days. It was another long 5 hour drive to Jokkmokk but luckily we were kept busy. This day turned out to be a day of alternating ups and downs. Let me explain to you. As up, we saw a lot of reindeer along the way. And up close. It started with a mother with a number of calfs on the side of the road and ended with about 6 with big antlers walking right next to the car. Really amazing!! When we finally arrived in Jokkmokk we went straight to the information center, where we had our first down. All the cool walks and NPs that we had thought of visiting were actually not passable at the moment. Before July 1st, it is simply too wet because of all the melting snow, and it was raining outside too, so that didn’t help either. She really advised us not to go there and recommended another park that we wanted to skip because it seemed the least interesting to us. We really wanted to go into the mountains and this was the only national park that is not in the mountains but is known for its beautiful forest. It seemed that the multi-day trekking we had in mind could not go through. As you can understand of course, we were really very disappointed, again something we were too early for. With all the information she had given us, we had to come up with a new plan. But first buy some food and do some shopping and find a place to sleep. An up that we discovered in the meantime was that the gas station where we had filled up 8 days ago had decided to give us a price. We suddenly had the money of refueling back on our account. We both really don’t understand why, but hey we were not complaining! It was really a big help because we had to refuel again today because we drove a lot more the past few days. Once at the campspot we had a nice meal and played a game. Then we felt a lot better and the disappointment of not being able to hike for several days in the mountains faded into the background, the forest is beautiful too, isn’t it? We had decided to go to the Naturum Laponia tomorrow because it might be possible to do a few short day walks there. And then we go hiking for 3 days in Muddos national park, the park with the forest. In the meantime it cleared up completely and we were sitting on a beautiful river with a beautiful view of the sunset or well what must pass for a sunset as the sun never completely goes down here. Jap also decided to fly a bit with the drone because it was really beautiful. He was making a really nice shot and flew sideways around the car just clearing the trees….he thought…bammmm…drone in the tree. Ouch, this was really a big down. Luckily the drone could still beep and the light still worked. Because of this I finally found where he was, right at the top of the tree. It was a nice tree to climb but it was really way too high. The only option was to try to throw him out. So, first we tried it with branches because we were afraid that if we hit it it would definitely be broken. But this didn’t work, so we ended up throwing rocks and after throwing I think 10 to 20, Jap hit him and he fell down. Unfortunately for us not quite down to the ground. He was still stuck in the tree but a lot lower. Now Jap could climb up to it and pop it out with another branch and then he fell…to the ground. I was just too late to catch him. But it seemed that it was still completely intact, even the propellers were still intact. So quickly down and try it out. Woehoe, this down was followed by another up, the drone still worked! Phew, what a relief. In the meantime it was 00.30 and we decided to go to sleep. It was still very light and we both didn’t feel tired at all after that adrenaline rush. Phew what a day, reindeer, free money, not hiking in the mountains and a drone in the tree.
The next day we drove to the Naturum Laponia. This is a museum and information center about the area. In this area are Sarek NP and Stora sjöfallet NP. The lady at the information center in Jokkmokk yesterday indicated to us that the best opportunities for short walks in the area were here. Once at the Naturum we couldn’t resist asking again, but the message was clear. The parks are really not ready yet, bridges still have to be replaced, the boats you need to get to the start are not operating. The only places where you can walk a little further you have to walk in and out the same way and the condition of the trails will be bad. How bad they could not indicate because no one goes there now, not even them. Well that makes it easier, we will not go either. She recommended a short walk but with nice views, 3.9 km there and back. And in this walk we would really get the feeling of being in the mountains, it is all about that for us. It was a lovely walk, as we got higher we had to cross small patches of snow and the mountains towered above us until we came to an open plain where we had a beautiful view over the mountains that were still inaccessible to us. It was a beautiful view. There was a lot of wind but we enjoyed the view for a long time behind shelter of some rocks and we took some pictures. Once back down we drove a little further for our place to sleep in the town of Ritsem. The furthest point we could get, after this there is no road. It was a beautiful place with beautiful views over the water and the mountains. At the water where we stood there was still a very thick layer of ice with beautiful circles of snow on it, and that in mid-June. Woow! Very dramatic and what a rugged landscape. We are both so curious and can hardly imagine what it must be like here in winter.
Oh and last time we wrote about the hope of shipping and making plans and stuff. Well we now have a more concrete plan B in mind, which we really like. If we can’t ship to Canada in August, we’ll try to make sure we can ship to Iceland with a stopover in the Faroe Islands! The plans may still change but we are happy to share our plan B with you.
Today is also Father’s Day. Dad and Dad we are sorry we can’t be there to celebrate Father’s Day with you. But you are the best and we love you very much.
Jap and Lon
Menu of the week
|Sunday||Left-over Curry and bread from the Dutch oven|
|Wednesday||Noodles with zucchini and egg plant a la Ottolenghi|
|Thursday||Arabic Bulgur Salad|
|Friday||Gnocchi with blue cheese sauce|
|Saturday||Potatoes, asparagus and sausage|
Spendings of the Week
Budget per day €54 and per week €378 and per month €1700
** We didn’t include our shopping in the outlet store here
Driven kilometers: 2196 (That’s why we got tired of driving)