Surströmming time

Last month I visited the Surströmming Museum in Skeppsmalen, Örnsköldsvik, and I learnt a lot of interesting stuff about this Swedish delicacy! Including that most of the flying companies decided to forbid the transport of these cans, since a German couple was forced to pay the “damages” to the rest of the passengers, due to a smelly explosion on the aircraft… Yes, this happened in Skellefteå airport!

Being so, I knew that I couldn’t fail tasting it this Summer. The traditional day is the third Thursday of August, but since I respect my colleagues, I decided not to do it in the office. Instead, I went to one of Luleå‘s islands, far enough not to pollute the mainland!

How wise I was when I decided to buy only a small can (they were selling them off – I wonder why!), because even a small can contains 6 fishes! 6 rotten fishes! And since I am such a brave girl, I decided to eat them alone, without potatoes or bread! I can tell you that the taste is not that bad, but the smell? It’s worse than any of the ecological toilets I’ve been finding in Sweden’s National Parks… I decided to bring the can as a souvenir, so my backpack might need to be burnt! Needless to say that the can is at my balcony, underneath soapy water…

According to the museum, suströmming was discovered when some sailors forgot to put enough salt in the fish, during the storage process. Then, they eventually tasted it, and liked it, and decided to start selling it!

After this, I have still a list of things I want to accomplish:

  1. Driving on an ice road
  2. Swimming in the ice
  3. Riding a moose

7 months and 15000 km

This could be a nice title for a book! Instead, this is how I addressed the problem to my car insurance company. As all Swedes know, the insurance fee is based in the mileage hired, amongst other factors. When I hired my insurer, I was thinking about 20000 km/year, but the insurer convinced me to choose 10000 km/year, saying it was already too much, and that I probably would not drive that much (living alone and being a woman!) and that some people even deregister the cars during Winter to avoid extra costs! I ended up choosing the 15000 km/year, but not really convinced, since I meant to go to Norway on an extended roadtrip…

The problem is that apparently I cannot sit still, and it’s quite rare a weekend where I drive less than 300 km. How can you do it, Swedes? When there’s a lot of interesting stuff to visit and always so distant?

For obvious reasons, I’ve been travelling mostly in Västerotten and Norrbotten. Arvidsjaur, Jokkmokk, Kiruna, Tärnaby, Älvsbyn, Boden, Luleå, Umeå, Höga Kusten… I already went to Bjuröklubb three times and to Holmön island twice. Now, I started visiting the islands in Luleå (since there are so many, it shall keep me busy for a while!). Some Swedes ask me if I am still missing any part of Sweden! Of course, I have a lot of trips I intend to do in the South, but those will require more planning and time. I may repeat places, but then again, there are 4 seasons (even 8, in Lapland!), so the landscapes are completely different!

What about the 29 National Parks in Sweden? And all the interesting museums? The high season is so short that it will take me a lifetime to visit everything I want to! I understand that the climate is harsh for most part of the year, but the museums and sites could open more than 6 weeks per year (and more than 4 hours per day!)…

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Holidays in the North

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I haven’t written for a while, due to a pretty good reason: 3 holiday weeks in Northern Scandinavia! 3 perfect weeks of camping, hiking, driving and exploring both Sweden and Norway! 5000 km, 3 ferry crossings and a lot of mosquito bites!

When I knew that I was coming to Sweden, I decided I would spend the first Summer in Norway. I had visited Norway 15 years ago, but the furthest North I had reached was Narvik, since I was travelling by train. So, I had Lofoten, Vesterålen, Nordkapp, amongst others in my wish list for a long time! Don’t get me wrong, Swedes: Sweden is beautiful, but Norway is even more outstanding!

This was not the typical Summer in Scandinavia, though it was far nicer in Norway than here in Sweden. Some Norwegians with whom I spoke to, were also complaining about the weather. However, I only got 3 rainy days out of 20! And the pictures speak for themselves!