Autumn Road Trip
Autumn Break in Sweden (Hostlov)
It’s been a fun few months settling into our new home in Sweden. After making it (alive) to half term, we were rewarded with autumn break – Höstlov. After umming and ahhing on whether to explore Europe on our doorstep. We finally made the decision to stay local and explore Sweden. We had hit the ground running and started working right away, so we hadn’t seen all that much of our new “home country” yet. Also, with only one of us having a stable job, this was the wiser choice financially.
We rented a car (complete with winter tires and ice scrapers) and set off on Saturday morning for a week-long, slightly north, but
Day 1 and 2 – Stockholm
At 4:30 am Marks alarm went off. By 5 am I was semi-conscious drinking a cup of coffee. (This is how most of our mornings go, albeit a few hours later). By 5:30 am we left the house and were on our way to our friends’ house to pick them up (they needed a ride to the airport). We were surprised along the way to have some snow. A real sign that winter is indeed on its way! After the 2hour ish drive to the airport, we arrived in Stockholm.
Haga Park Parkrun
After frequently enjoying our local Parkrun in Örebro, we decided it would be fun to do one of the 3 in the Stockholm area. We headed to Haga Park (part of the Royal National City Park) to take part in the Halloween themed Parkrun. This time in a reverse course. It was cold, beautiful and fun. The course consisted of a double lap around the park.
After Parkrun, we made our way to Järfälla where our friends stay. A shower and a cup of coffee later we were ready to tourist our way around Stockholm. But first lunch! After a failed few attempts at some popular brunch and vegan buffet spots, we ended up at Deli DiLuca. We enjoyed some delicious (but maybe overpriced) plates of pasta that hit the spot and allowed us all to be friends again.
We trotted through Gamla Stan and enjoyed the crisp air that had arrived so suddenly. Seeing as we aren’t huge fans big cities, we rather enjoyed walking through the city, seeing the architecture and taking pics, not to mention the great company and catching up with old friends. We walked a solid 10kms at least, before hopping on the train back to Järfälla. A quick stop at the ICA to get some groceries for dinner and we were home drinking box wine and playing Catan. Apparently, this is my life now, almost being 30 and all. But I love it.
Snow in Autumn!
Sunday morning brought much excitement as we woke up to some (very light) snow falling. Being southern
Day 2 and 3 Uppsala
We stayed in a small town called Storvreta, just outside Uppsala. The week before at Parkrun in Orebro, we met a lovely young lady from Uppsala who we got chatting to. After a while, she mentioned that her parents lived there and since all three daughters had moved out within the year, they were more than willing to have some company. This is truly one of our favourite things about travel…randomly meeting people and feeling the genuineness of humanity. So this is how we came to stay here. And boy, are we glad we did. They are the nicest, most interesting people, both originally from Germany. We had many common expat experiences and learned a few important things about living in Sweden. Of course, we also got excellent advice on things to do and see in Storvreta and Uppsala.
First things first, after the magical sprinkling of snow (the most we have ever seen fall from the sky) we had to explore the outdoors. We went for a run at the local sports club, where they usually have cross-country skiing tracks available through the winter months. We used these tracks and some other walking trails) to explore and make our way through the forest. So much fun, so much beauty. We truly felt like kids, running and playing in the snow familiar with. The outdoors in Sweden is just beautiful, and seeing something with snow or frost on has this new beauty that we aren’t yet familiar with!
Uppsala City Walk
The town of Uppsala itself is a very nifty place. It’s a student town, thanks to the prestigious University, with beautiful gardens and trails. The cathedral (Uppsala Cathedral) is the largest and tallest in all the Nordic countries. First off, we enjoyed a delightful lunch at an Indian restaurant. Now that we were on holiday we could try the lunch options that are often available during the week! Also, (after years of wanting it) we bought the board game Carcassone. We discovered a store called Webhallen – a pretty reasonable, all gaming needs store. We don’t have one in Orebro and this was the last one that we would be passing on our road trip, so we bought on a whim (and on sale) with much excitement.
Day 4 and 5 – Dalarna Lan
As fun as snow is….apparently all that comes after it rain, slush, and ice. We took a slow drive up through Dalarna Lan, stopping in Falun for lunch at an awesome Chinese Lunch Buffet. Thereafter, we made our way up to Rattvik where we went to look at the large lake, Siljan and the 628m pier (Langbryggan) that juts into it. Apparently, in the summer, people row to church instead of just going to church.
Our Airbnb was in Nusnas, right on Lake Siljan! Had the weather been less miserable (read sunny and warm) we would have had a blast here! Nusnas is the home of the Olsson Brothers, and ultimately the DalaHast. The red, wooden, hand-carved and painted horse figurine is a true and typical Swedish handicraft (and souvenir). You will find both workshops (and museum and souvenir stores) across the road from each other! It is super interesting to see the whole process taking place. We took our sweet time trying to decide which horse to spend our money on! They definitely don’t come cheap at 215SEK for a 13 cm painted horse or 265SEK for 15cm one. Bear in mind, the two shops have different prices, so do look around if you have the time!
Nusnas is just 10km from Mora, another small town on the lake. Mora is where the great Vasaloppet finishes each year. The Vasaloppet is a 90km cross-country ski race. We popped into the Vasaloppet Museum, which was well put together but all in Swedish so we didn’t spend too much time there. Instead, just across the road is a great restaurant called Strand Kok & Bar. They have a killer deal for a weekday buffet lunch. We highly recommend popping in here, but get there early or prepare to wait for a table! It’s really popular among locals.
Day 6 and 7 – Hallefors
Onto our final (and my favourite) leg of the journey – a small, secluded cabin in the middle of the woods. It sounds like bliss (but also like a horror movie, as Mark so kindly pointed out)! We found it on Airbnb and were captivated by it immediately. To be honest, I looked forward to this part of the trip the whole time. When we arrived, we weren’t disappointed. Our host met us in front of the llama (!) enclosure at her property, and lead us to the cabin, a few km’s away. The cabin was all of 15m2 and I loved every bit of it. Without having to describe all of its wonderfulness, here is a link to the property – Little Wolf Pond Cottage. Go take a look for yourself!
Secluded Cabin in the Woods
We spent the next few days eating, reading, playing board games and card games, going for walks and trying to fish (through the icy pond). Between these activities, we napped. The wood stove was going from before 9 until we fell asleep each night. It really was a completely relaxing few days and a great end to our vacation. We took a beautiful drive home fairly early on our final morning. We were so ready for a shower!
Mark was severely disappointed to return our rental car. She was great and got us safely around on our first road trip in Sweden. We can’t wait to explore more of this beautiful country!