Treehouses and Viking Ships

Time to move on again to the Treehouse Hotel. Was it going to be as good as it looked on the TV, magazines and web sites?
After a slow drive in search of a big moose that we never found. There are only 400,000 moose in Sweden for us to find, should be easy they said? All we managed was a couple of juveniles and a bottle or two of beer!

We finally find ourselves at the Treehouse Hotel and walk into reception which turns out to be the cutest 1950s retro house filled with objects from a bygone era.

We check in and wander through a field of wildflowers into the woods and over to our home for the 1st night… Our super duper space ship! Much to Steve’s delight, the button is pressed, the lights come on and slowly down comes the ladder just like a sci-fi movie. Click here to view.

UFO’s have changed since Deb used to watch them as a kid, they now come with nespresso machines, comfy beds, mini bar and the most modern of campervan toilets.. The Cinderella! Incinerating all that comes near it, not sure how it works but it works very well!!

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Like a kid in a candy shop, Deb blows up the alien she remembered to pack, unlike the time in Area 51 when she completely forgot to take it after having made the effort to go buy one to take, then drives 3 hrs to realise she had left it in her suitcase in Vegas! She’s one crazy lady… Poor kids and hubby..
Then it’s time for dinner, back through the woods and then into mosquito land… Very handy, we left the mosquito repellent in the car! They seem to find Deb super tasty.. So off she went into the meadow doing the windmill action with her arms until she got to the restaurant..Well at least she gets a free shot or two of Swedish botox in the face, an eyelid and a couple of less wrinkles on her face until the bites go down.

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Dinner is a lovely home cooked meal of cheese pie, arctic char, brown bear and a raspberry tart all prepared by our host Britta, whilst there we meet Amy from New York who’s escaping the bustle of the New York life, shutting down the phone and Facebook to come get away from it all as Sweden is just the place to come chill!

1.Sami Flag

Day two at the tree house hotel and off we go! Time to go get lost again or should we say explore and we do! Finally after a 1hr journey turning in to 2hrs and a few reindeer traffic jams later, we reach Storforsen, a stretch of rapids over 5 km and one of the biggest in Europe. A beautiful place with a huge amount of water tumbling down from the Arctic circle, (average flow of 250 m3 per second) As it spills over the edges and runs into separate pools it creates a lovely picnic area for the locals. People are having barbecues and swimming in the pools amongst nature at its best and the sunshine.

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Next day we are off to the airport to fly down to Stockholm for a couple of days. Amy turns out to be on the same flight, so we share a supersaver ticket for 3 on the  Arlanda express straight in to the city.

2. Viking Ship Vasa Museum

Next morning we get up and go to visit the Vasa museum before the queues, Deb has wanted to do this since before she met Steve, so a big tick on the bucket list of life! Did we beat the queues, no not quite, is it worth it, Yes!

You really cannot believe that hundreds of years ago these guys built such a beast of a boat. What we did find out was just how small the vikings were, average of 5ft 5 inches. Yes Steve could have been a viking! So how did the Swedish men end up so tall?

So what have we learnt.

  • Midnight Sun
    Something you really need to see.
  • True Silence
    Something you need to experience.
  • Stockholm is pricey!
    Everything is so expensive, wine and beer are about double what you pay in London. You need to find yourselves the Systembolaget. These shops are government run and you can buy a host of wines and loads of Swedish beers at prices more like you would expect.
  • Must see in Stockholm.
    Vasa museum.
  • People.
    No one rushes over here, they have a nice pace and politely queue.
    To Steve and Debs disappointment Sweden was not full of perfect beautifully blonde people, we had a vision that it was a land full of them but it was just a country full of lots of normal people, give or take some seriously long legs.
  • Natural and Organic.
    It was so nice to see so much good quality produce, people living as they should, caring about the world around them and using eco friendly body washes etc.. Really wondered when in the wine shop (Systembolaget) how come they have loads of organic beers and wines at similar prices to what we pay in the UK for the same brand of non organic??? About 50% of there store was organically grown.
  • Satellite Navigation.
    As many roads are gravel tracks don’t expect satellite navigation to necessarily find your local villages. Download an offline map from Google!

Live Happy

Steve and Debs

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Lost in the BIG Forest

Here we are, in Lapland for the midnight sun.
So yes we over packed! Torch, why on earth did we pack this when in the midnight sun? Answers on a post card please as WiFi is not very avaliable here.

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When did we become so reliant on technology? Imagine a world without being able to Google everything from where you are going, to what you are going to do when you get there. Where’s the local shop, the petrol station?

Sweden has the answer! Talk to the people and get the best places to go or help when you’re lost!

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After an overnight stop in Lulea, night at a festival and our 1st experience of it being so light at 23:30, we head off in our hire car. (Which, we must say was a totally different experience to Greece) We went for the cheap one and ended up with a brand new Volvo V40, so off we go… Deb singing random ABBA tunes along the way and Steve doing impressions of the Swedish chef off the muppets.  OK, we know what you are thinking and we agree, what a pair of muppets they are!!!

We drive around and get closer to our floating shed, Huuva Hideaway watching for moose and reindeer but instead seeing hundreds of dark tree stumps with roots sticking out.. Then we see them, mummy and baby reindeer but we were so unprepared as we had pretty much given up! Snapping away, we manage a white fluffy reindeer bum as they move so fast..

So off the beaten track we go, up and up a gravel track until we have no idea where we are going, then it’s time to give in and ring our host and ask for help, we were so close but they came to meet us in their car and take us the last couple of kilometres. So we arrive at a cool little shed bobbing on a lake, so cozy and full of everything we need. In true Swedish style we have a log burning sauna/shower and a compost toilet.

20160717_084029Steve gets to do man things, fishing, building fires and Debs spends too much time photographing the same thing over and over again.

Out hosts have a restaurant up on a hill over looking the river and valley and Finland called Utblick. We decide to book a table and pop up the road to dinner, slight problem.. We get lost.. VERY LOST.. 1 hour later we find a man and ask the way to be told we are about 10 km out! What a sense of humor, he says , “You are in the big forest now, only restaurant around here is the one where you are the meal for the mosquitos” Kindly the guy says “follow me I’m going part of the way” and off we go.

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The meal was amazing and setting was just perfect. Henry is an amazing self taught chef who produces food up to the standard of some of the top chefs back in the UK. Sorry vegetarians, but out here Reindeer is on all the menus and is very yummy and we also had another local speciality, Kalix roe, which we shared as we weren’t so sure on what we were getting but turned out to be rather good too.

The people out in the North Sweden wilderness really understand how to live off the land and what is around them, we hear all about moose flower lemonade and sit sipping Lapland liqueur.
We spend some time with Pia and Henry and had a look around their lovely homestead, learning about life in North Sweden and Steve has a chat about food, hunting, fishing and chainsaws.

DSC03058Then off we head to Sorbyn to stay in a wooden hut near a lake. You can’t believe just how quiet it is. There is no white noise, no planes flying over your head, total peace! You can hear your own heart beat. Think this has been the best nights sleep ever had! Then you get to go exploring for animals, moose, reindeer, bears, beavers plus you can do so much fishing, hiking and canoing there too. The midnight sun will give you so many different displays and each day gives you a different show of hues, accents and cloud formations making you see nature in a new way. It’s a great place in the summer although so many people seem to only go for the winter for the aurora borealis and snow activities.

20160717_192132Off now to hop across to Finland and then go find the Arctic circle to jump over 😉

You will hear from us again next week, space ships and all!

Live Happy

Debs and Steve