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"float on, boat's gone, you'll have to swim all the way"
Clann Zú

This is my hand. I can turn it. The blood is still running in it.
The sun is still in the sky and the wind is blowing.

Antonius Block

181019   |   photo Sverige Stockholm death wall painting

From an exhibition of Niki Lindroth von Bahr's short films at Färgfabriken

181019   |   photo Sverige Stockholm surreal puppet animal fish door

where's my head at?

71019   |   sculpture Stockholm Sverige photo stone animal deer antlers flag

It do be like that sometimes

51019   |   street Stockholm Sverige photo window plant tree life

Had a good breakfast and left the hotel early to scratch some bits of of ice from my windows. Off I went again, straight up to the popular skiing area of Tärnaby. The hills became steeper and the forest less thick, finally giving way to beautiful vistas. Driving over the Norwegian town of Mo i Rana like I'd planned would've cost me over two hours detour and crossing the Arctic Circle above it over two more, but I slowly grew a bit weary of driving all day so instead I took a shortcut on the bend to the south.

The weather was incredible again, guess I can count myself really lucky. Besides that terrible episode in Finland I didn't have any moment to complain about. And I can only recommend to get underway on a holiday like Easter, the streets and roads were considerably empty. That's turned out an even greater advantage as there aren't much opportunities (0.1 compared to mainland Europe) to overtake here and I found that Swedes and Norwegians have a hard time predicting a good time to do so safely - or let the one behind overtake for that matter :| (Props to the Finns, they left a better impression). So cruising along the paths in those conditions was great fun, Colin McRae type shit, I soared onto the high plateau, over the border down into the valley again.

Unfortunately none of the national parks I passed is accessed easily this time of year, did not expect that. Even when Nordland is located basically directly at the Gulf Stream all the liquids were still frozen and only some 200km further down, around Trondheim, did the snow begin to disappear. On my way I could watch the rivers crack up more and more, t'was so nice simply driving out of the winter right into spring :)

An hour after Trondheim then I decided to set up camp in a beautiful valley via the tent my awesome boss lent me. Of course I didn't bring a shovel to burrow into the knee deep snow so after scouting around a bit the parking lot turned out to be the only viable space. Still awesome, though. :D

27316   |   text travel Sverige Norge

strode through thigh deep half-frozen snow to get to the riverbank

27316   |   photo nature water river ice snow mountain plant tree forest Sverige

27316   |   photo nature water river ice snow mountain forest sky cloud building house Sverige

27316   |   photo nature ice snow mountain forest sky cloud Sverige

Spent virtually the whole day on the road. Left Umeå early on and went further north. The weather was awesome, clear blue sky specked with fluffy clouds, but the scenery became a bit dull. I basically spent four hours passing conifers and birches on hill-less plains - let's call it taiga. It wasn't quite possible to just hop out and go for a walk or take a break on some resting place because sadly there are no such amenities in the provinces of Västerbotten and Norrbotten. There's some towns that but don't spark much of interest to me and the rivers are getting a lot wider. So wide in fact that the citizen of Kalix organized some kind of race on a large course on the ice.

After I passed that the Matrix seemed low on RAM and I hit the white wall of fog again. Even thicker than yesterday, blocking out the sun completely. I arrived at the border town of Haparanda just at the northernmost tip of the Baltic Sea. Let me tell you, that place is a fucking crackhole! It totally felt like Silent Hill or some the-end-is-nigh scenario. I asked myself this oftentimes, but here it really, really applied: Why would anybody want to live here? Everything there seemed so desolate and sad. Maybe people can't leave this place so I made sure that I could still nope out and went right over the border to its twin city Torneå/Tornio. The atmosphere wasn't much better, but it was interesting to see how much it's like a bastard child of Sweden and Russia. I get why people resort to get shitfaced drunk all the time around these parts ...

So initially my plan was to go further around the Gulf of Bothnia to the city of Oulu but as I continued my journey the weather went really bad. That wasn't any fun anymore and since I found that the Lapland region didn't have that much to offer (at least at this time of year) and I only had to track back every kilometer I drove further on the way back tomorrow with nothing gained I decided to just ditch that, head back to Västerbotten and cut the way back home a bit short. Starting from Oulu would also have meant driving ten hours for the next two days - and that's in good weather. So eventually I drew back to Storuman in Västerbotten, checked into a hotel (first time for me myself) and saved myself a good couple of hours. Quite nice being flexible like this. A huuumongous shout out to my trusty companion Monti at this point! He's still in shape albeit dirtier than Redman and X-Tina now.

Saw some reindeer mom with its calf chilling on the road to the hotel, by the way. But that's the only sign of non-airborne wild life I came across so far. And not a single photo today. Tomorrow will deliver, I promise.

25316   |   text travel Sverige Finland

What the flip? To me coming straight from Ålesund the goings on in this country raise some serious questions:

Where do all these countless humanoids come from and what purpose might they see in being outside?
What strange contraption propels them forward, running not on four but only two wheels?
This tingling sensation on my skin, have I not felt this before somewhere ages ago? Could it be linked to that strange bright sphere in the sky that hurts my eyes so much?
These glyphic signs next to the roads, how can it be possible for them to hold up to three numerals at once?

I shall investigate further ...

Ahem yeah, today I strolled around Östersund a bit before heading over to the city of Sundsvall. On the way I incidentally came about a large dam in midst a forest when I wanted to find access to a river I'd seen from the road. That was really something. Plus the weather unexpectedly cleared up and it got so nice and warm that for the first time in like five months I had to turn the A/C off. Upon arrival in Sundsvall I immediately went to the waterside of my beloved Baltic Sea which I haven't seen in five years or more. The part forming the harbor of the city was still frozen solid, so unfortunately no sounding waves. Went around the city a bit, found it was fairly similar to Östersund, quite nice, very rectangular, but still inviting. Next stop was the Skuleskogen National Park which is a patch of forest located at the coast. I had to drive over several small roads leaving me to guess if I'm still on the right track but I managed to find it without problems eventually. It's a beautiful forest and I'm all about forests, but it wasn't really easily accessible, because most of the walkways were still covered in ice which made it kinda difficult to maneuver. So I only went in for an hour or so before driving further to Umeå.

And this is where I'm at right now, the place where infamous bands like Meshuggah, Refused and Cult of Luna originate from. Right before I entered the city a huge wall of fog appeared on the highway, but the White Walkers had not the slightest chance getting to me. Still I couldn't really see shit. Even walking in the city wasn't really fun because it also got dark, will retry tomorrow morning. And my super nice Pakistani host offered me delightful homemade curry and fruits, which totally made up for that :D

24316   |   text Sverige travel

24316   |   photo architecture window Umeå Sverige

Skuleskogen National Park

24316   |   photo snow plant tree forest rock Sverige

Skuleskogen National Park

24316   |   photo ice plant tree forest rock Sverige

24316   |   photo bridge lake ice plant tree mountain Sverige

24316   |   photo sculpture rock bridge angel Sundsvall Sverige

behind a dam

24316   |   photo forest water river Sverige

24316   |   photo snow forest Östersund Sverige