Seamus K - Irish tech industry expat living in Sweden.

Tag: sweden (Page 2 of 2)

Anyone for a 20km walk in the Swedish woods?

Map and Compass

Map and Compass

Here comes the weekend, and I am in Stockholm on my own – so I guess I will go walking. I have so impressed the organisers with my background, skill and enthusiasm I have now been bumped up to walk leader. That or they had so many turning up, they decided to run a second walk, and yours truly was one of the two volunteers to lead it.

This is going to be fun anyway. I don’t think I have to haul wood and hot dog for a mid walk hot meal. But in the interests of cultivating an air of Irish eccentricity, and because I fancy a cuppa, I will bring my stove, tea and milk.

It won’t be the only Irish flavour to the walk. The temperature has gone a little above freezing, and it has turned misty and damp. While the demand might be there for Irish coffees and hot whiskey, I am not sure Swedish hikers are quite ready for that just yet. Maybe next walk.

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Hiking in Sweden – Lunsen National Preservation area

This week’s hike with the Stockholm Outdoor group from Meetup.com was in the Lunsen National Preservation Area 50km North of Stockholm. It’s an area of about 35 square kilometres, mostly forested, often swampy, and about as wild as you can get this close to the city.Walk route

It had snowed on Thursday so we had great conditions with temperatures of -4C and clear skies. There was enough snow to make everything pretty, but not so much that it made the going difficult.

Like the last walk the area was very well equipped. The trails were wide and easy to find with good markings and signs. Much of the route was on the Uplandsledden which we had walked on two weeks before. A lot of Lunsen is swampy, but any of the wet stretches had a board walk. I can guess that the place would be far less fun in the summer when the mosquitoes are rampaging.

LunsentorpetLunch was had at the Lunsentorpet. This log cabin sits in a clearing, and is open to all who want to use it. Inside there was some simple furniture, 6 bunks, and a huge traditional range and oven. It has no running water or electricity though. At the back was an outhouse for those that needed it, and in the clearing there were a few well equipped fire pits and a bivvy shelter. I will freely admit that I would love to own such a retreat in the woods. That would be my dream bolt hole. I would just prefer mine not to be in the middle of a swamp.

Hot dogs for lunch.Our group had brought fire wood, and a load of sausages. I am told this is the Swedish way of doing hiking. I wasn’t too keen on the long stop though and found myself getting cold. But I was able to retreat to the cottage where the stove had been lit.

The walk leaders set a good pace again this week. It was a shorter walk though. And I was surprised to see two people in jeans. Probably worse was the one who did the walk listening to music on full ear covering headphones all the time. Philistine. They were “Beats” though, which is a clear indicator of someone who doesn’t know anything about decent music hardware.

This week I learned:

  • The furthest you can get from any road in Sweden is 67km. Compare that with the 2km distance I have been given for Ireland. We don’t do wilderness!
  • The Mossies come out from about mid May until end of August/September.
  • More than a few of the Swedes have done some or all of the Kunglseden – the 440km hike in Northern Sweden. They all recommended it, which increases my desire to spend a least a week on it at some stage. The best advice they gave me though was not to go there during the Fjallraven Classic when about 3000 people are on the trail!

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Pancakes in Sweden. Better than in Ireland

While everyone in Ireland was enjoying their pancakes last Tuesday I had some roast vegetables. Not that I minded because in Sweden, every Thursday is pancake Thursday. And as today was Thursday it was time for split-pea soup with bacon, and pancakes.

Pancakes and Pea Soup in Sweden

Pancakes and Pea Soup in Sweden

It is served every week in the work canteen. The pea soup is a bit of an acquired taste, but there is no difficulty eating a plateful of pancakes with jam and some cream.

Wikipedia says the origin is religious and similar to the pre-lent tradition in Ireland – you ate pancakes to prepare for the coming fast. Not that I will be doing much fasting tomorrow.

I do miss lemon juice and sugar for my pancakes. But the kudos to the Swedes for deciding that this is a treat you should have once a week and not once a year. That is

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Hiking in Sweden with Meetup.com

Being in a new country makes it hard to know where to go to for hikes and walks. Good for me then that I found the Stockholm Outdoor group on Meetup and they had a walk this weekend north of Stockholm.

As my first meetup I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be  a pretty mixed group. The leaders, and core were Swedes who have a love of walking hiking* and seem to be the regular organisers of events. Most of the rest are expats. Everyone I talked to had some degree of walking experience. It was pretty friendly group and it was easy to strike up conversations as you went along. Much like any hiking group really.

Swedish trail walking

The walk itself was along a route through the Runby nature reserve, and alongside Lake Mälaren. For the most part we were on a way marked trail. In Sweden this means that you could be on a road, or path, and sometimes you go cross country on slightly rougher ground. But there was nothing technical or unsuitable for children lets say. The trail was marked by orange paint spots and bird houses in trees. A map would be a good idea, but it would be very hard to get lost.

This being outside Stockholm it was pretty level. We went up one or two hills, but I doubt any of them was more than 60m high. Oh, and the weather was good. Cold (about freezing), but little wind, and other than one small snow/sleet shower it was dry and clear all day.

View over lake Mälaren.The scenery was pretty good. The start was in a suburb and then we headed into the woods. Much of the route skirted Lake Mälaren, so the views were nice. We had lunch on a small hill top which was the site of some iron age ruins, and we even passed a Swedish castle on the way home**.

A highlight though was seeing all the people skating on the lake. Most were doing the same thing we were – going on a long distance excursion, just on the ice. What I learned about this type of skating was:

  • You need a big rucksack to hold a full change of clothes and foot wear in a waterproof bag. It will help with buoyancy if you do fall in.
  • Ice can hold about 100kg per cm of thickness. But generally wait until it is 5cm thick before going out on it.
  • Today it was 20cm thick, so you could have driven on it!

Skaters on the ice at lage Mälaren.It was a good day out. I will definitely try and get hiking/walking with the group again. I did miss getting to go up something, but the walk and the company were worth the trip, and I will be back.

 

* I kept referring to it as a “walk” and I kept getting corrected. Probably residual snobbery from my mountaineering days, where if there isn’t at least 500m of ascent, it can’t actually be a hike.

** My tracker say 19.25km, with 390m ascent. Which apparently was 1400kcal burned with another 300 kcal cycling to and from the station. So I don’t feel guilty about the tea and biscuits I had back home.

All the photos:

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