Tuesday, July 04, 2017

MENU's Scandinavian Odyssey 6. Sweden, going south

Scandinavia on a Shoestring - we begin the return journey
We left Oslo on a cold morning after doing our usual clean up and tidy of the apartment. We like to leave places the way we found them. Our next stop was another stuga in Sweden, near Värnamo in the country, but this time on an estate. It used to be an outbuilding of the main house and their daughter Sofia has made it into a tiny but well fitted space for one or two people. We are starting to love varying our stays between cities and then staying deep in the country. We could have gone to Gothenburg, but we saw it when driving through it on the way up to Oslo and the interchanges were a nightmare. They confused the SatNav going up and again going down, which saw us getting hopelessly lost on our way through the city but, eventually, we made it...
We needed directions to our destination, deep in the country, as it is off the SatNav grid, but they worked very well indeed. It was a long drive from Oslo. The car's SatNav took us off the main motorway for some reason and the driving was slow and tedious until we reset it and got back onto the fast route. But be warned, all the roads are electronically tolled. We are waiting for the bills
Norway and Sweden at these latitudes are not quite how Lynne imagined them at all. She thought that there would be lots of mountains and pine forests. The countryside in the southern areas we passed through is mildly hilly, with mixed forest of deciduous, pine and fir - real Christmas trees. 
You do cross some bridges where you see the ends of lochs, deep fjords and small villages. It is mostly arable farmland, including forest farming and incredibly neat with traditional houses and farms and lovely small villages. The country roads are good
It is a very pretty building, still used for the farm at one end and the stuga at this end. It has rustic stone steps up to the door with snapdragons growing through them, a little tricky to negotiate, but there is a rail
Inside, a desk, a dining area and a small kitchen
On the other side, a sofa, and behind it a bed for one with a mattress on the floor for another. John took the floor, he is so gallant. It was comfortable enough for one night
There is a small modern bathroom with a shower
It is next door to the farmhouse, where the stuga owner’s parents live, with traditional farm buildings in the distance. We think we understand now where the red barns in America originated, most of the Swedish barns and outbuildings are painted in this lovely rich red. We were told to ask them for anything we needed. Mother Katarina also gave us some information about walking in the area, which we decided to do as soon as we had unpacked and settled in. Our legs needed stretching after the long drive. The countryside was beautifully green
We walked around the garden
The farmhouse is quite beautiful and painted so sympathetically
We had a lovely walk in the wood which looked rather ancient and mysterious - we would not have been surprised to have caught a glimmer of wolf or a red cape for some cookie crumbs. We walked until the mosquitoes began to bite, then we fled. Lynne tried to forage for fresh herbs for our supper (as the Hairy Bikers had on TV) but all were, sadly, too bitter. No rocket or mint in sight, just heaps of dandelions
Lynne then made supper, and we sat at our laptops to catch up on things and then to an early bed. The next day would also be a long drive back to Denmark. Wonderful motorways with well-behaved drivers
Crossing from Malmö in Sweden to Denmark one can take the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingør or cross the 7.8 Km Øresund bridge which takes one to the outskirts of Copenhagen
There is little difference in price, but the bridge is the quicker alternative. We'd taken the ferry going north, so decided to use the bridge on the return journey.
A truly magnificent construction
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