Stretching for 382 miles, from Gothenburg in West Sweden to Söderköping on the Baltic Sea, the Göta Canal is one of Sweden’s great pieces of engineering – not to mention a fantastic tourist destination for those ‘in the know’.
It all started on a dreary cold November day in Stockholm, when Ulrika Larsson sat down in a kayak in the Stockholm archipelago for a day of sea kayaking . Although the odds were against her, the weather being cold and uninspiring, Ulrika absolutely fell for kayaking and wanted to do it again and again!
Every year several flocks of cranes (in Swedish “tranor”) gather at Hornborgarsjön, an inland lake in the west of Sweden that is considered to be one of Sweden’s best bird lakes. The first flocks usually arrive in the middle of March, but their exact arrival depends on how far a long spring has come. It is then typical to see thousands of cranes gathering by the lake until the end of April, when it is time for them to fly further north to their nesting areas. Continue reading…
It’s official: I am now an Outdoor Ambassador of Sweden. I spent five days in Bohuslän learning all there is to know about the outdoor pursuits and cuisine of the region, with the Outdoor Academy of Sweden. Here’s how it went:
“Beautiful and wonderful – every minute of it.” That sums up Susan and John Petty’s three days traveling through West Sweden, as winner of the Facebook contest for Volvo Overseas Delivery customers. They began their Swedish adventure in Gothenburg, travelling onto Stockholm and finishing on the west coast.
“We had read the first three Camilla Läckberg novels to try and get a feel for the geography of the area. While very good reads, they didn’t fully prepare us for the stunning natural beauty or the delightful experiences we encountered.” Their first day was spent exploring Fjällbacka. “The streets of the village provided a great afternoon of exploring on our own, and Bryggan Fjällbacka was a convenient and very comfortable hotel, with a very good restaurant.”
My friend Andy and I had a choice. We were at the reception of Silverlake Camp in Dalsland, Western Sweden, about to indulge in a spot of mountain-biking, and could opt for either a 10km, 20km or 30km route. The routes were inked out with marker pen on three laminated maps, over which we brooded intently, our eyebrows furrowed in the grave manner customary to men trying to pretend they have the foggiest idea about what they’re looking at. Christer, our contact at the camp, smiled patiently behind the desk.
I took a chance and pointed at the middle map, the one I perceived to have the shortest route, 10km. “This one looks pretty straightforward… Andy?”
At this time of the year – late summer and early fall, sea kayaking can turn into an extrordinary, magical experience! A self-glowing plankton called mareld, “sea-fire” emerges in the water along the west coast. If the water is in motion, or if you touch it, the phenomenon is even more visible. And the darker it is, the more the water glows…
Sarah Clyne Sundberg, a Swedish writer who has spent many of her childhood summers at the west coast, has depicted her view of sea kayaking in the west coast archipelago. Continue reading…
Perhaps it was my male intuition. Perhaps it was the sudden arrival of my long-awaited sixth sense. Perhaps I was just exceptionally perceptive that morning. I guess I’ll never know. But whatever it was, something told me that getting heavily inebriated the night before a canoe marathon was not a wise move. I looked at my friend, Andy. He wore a puzzled, thoughtful expression, and I wondered if he was experiencing a similar epiphany.
“But you hate canoeing. And you have that weird fear, right? Raftophobia or something?”
“It’s bathophobia – and I don’t hate canoeing. I’m just not very good at it.”
For the record, bathophobia is not a fear of baths. It is a fear of deep water. Especially contained deep water, such as a lake. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, despite being a perfectly capable swimmer. And as for canoeing, ‘not very good’ was putting it lightly. I’d only ever done it once before and it had ended with me literally going round in circles before unceremoniously capsizing, and then panicking because my feet didn’t touch the bottom.
Perhaps my other half was right to be concerned. I had just told her I’d accepted an offer to take part in a canoe marathon in the lakes of Dalsland, West Sweden, in a few days’ time.
“What about training? It’s a marathon – they’re like 26 miles, aren’t they? Surely you need to train?”
“Actually,” I swallowed hard, “it’s 35 miles. But they said anyone can give it a go. I’ll be fine!”