Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Tues 17 May 2016. Trangsviken (Sweden) to Vuku and Levanger (Norway)

Tues 17 May 2016. Trangsviken (Sweden) to Vuku and Levanger (Norway)
Ooh, woke to grey sky, light rain and cold 4⁰ temperatures!! Once fed and bundled up, our hosts took us and Sigge out for the day, turning off first to see log cabin on lake facing pine forest and snow-capped mountains, which belongs to Sigge’s other grandparents. Saw moose with its baby on road, and spied hunters in a field. Passed pretty carpets of yellow flowers, and a striking mountain, who legend says is a giant (complete with a wart on his nose). Sigge sat in his car seat in the back with the two lady teachers, snug travel with his iPad, stories, songs, math and word games (in English!). Julia’s yummy mints with wintergreen flavour evoked childhood memories. Passed log piles being watered to prevent catching fire, occasional reindeer. BoyRob asked Eskil whether they used Fish Finders – his response as dry as ever: “just because you SEE fish doesn't mean you’re going to CATCH any more…”

Giant's face with warty nose

Down to 1⁰ and snowing – Wanderoos very excited (last week, on same road it was 22⁰!) Increasing fog, low grey cloud, snow/ice patches. Came to end of bitumen road, good bare scraped road, then a dark ice lake. Very cool! Our Swedish friends pointed out places to collect Morel mushrooms (base of chopped trees), and cloudberries. Stopped in middle of road to stretch legs, spotted white anemone flowers. White tailed deer bounded across road – Eskil says they shouldn't be up this high, too dangerous in snow and forest for "dainty " legs. He said the reindeer (all domestic, we hadn’t realised) lie down in snow to kill mosquitoes and get a rest from insect pests.Stopped to throw snowballs in deep drift. Crane flew into clearing beside road. Grouse on road with tail on display desperately trying to attract a retreating mate. Beautiful iced-over lakes and rivers. 

Crossed border, shortly after rejoined main road between Ostersund and Trondheim. Passed thirsty Norwegians heading into Sweden on their weekday national holiday - to buy much cheaper alcohol! Came to turnoff down into the valley for the Norway Day Parade in rural town of Vuku.  Julia and Eskil were so pleased to find their friend Marta there dressed for the parade. Marta follows the music festivals like Julia. Stayed to watch the bright parade, admiring the enthusiastic participation, dress, and music of the locals.

Said our farewells, and left the pretty valley behind, drove further west to Levanger, along the Trondheimsfjord. We had come to join approximately 15 others for a lunchtime birthday party for Ave, a well-known musician who played double harmonica. Ave showed us his (box collection) and generously gave us one of his CD’s. We met his partner Une, their two mothers, a daughter, Elsa, Ruth, Ina… ooh, too many new friends to remember! Enjoyed a traditional meal featuring meatball soup. Ate too much cake and ginger beer (just as well it was a “dry” event, given we had to drive over 200kms back that afternoon!) Happy Birthday song over, GirlRob helped with the washing up marathon, afterwards taking Sigge to explore the old farm buildings, the barn had "water urinals" to water cows in winter.  

Eskil took a different route back to Ostersund, through pretty ice mountains, pine forests, villages, waterfalls. The temperature falling to 3⁰. Watched comical moose on railway tracks, turning back to look equally keenly at us!!  

Eskil told us story of Carolean Death March (catastrophe of Oyfjellet) where in 1719, over 4000 Swedish soldiers froze to death retreating from a failed invasion of Trondheim/Norway. They were exhausted, starving and ill-equipped, heading towards Tyda/Jamtland, and were caught in blizzards in the mountain passes.  The two teachers again entertained Sigge (the "born born” or grandchild), a good little traveller. Stopped to let Sigge run for few minutes, admiring the pretty afternoon sun on snowfields. Passes snow runs/ ski resorts, hotels – as Eskil says “you can't go 10 minutes in Norway without seeing water”... Stopped for fuel and to pick up a Norwegian "flaga" as a souvenir for Irvan. Happily back in Sweden we were late to bed but ever so satisfied with our visit to their neighbouring country. 

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