Yes, Stefan got lost for over 6 hours…
But let’s start at the beginning…
I felt we were sneaking into Sweden when we rode in across the border…
After all the legal work, visas and immigration visits—(which we got so used to in Thailand)– the concept of open borders still seems bizarre to me.
Both Norway and Denmark have random passport checks, even though we were never checked, at least we saw some border officials and we were asked to show ID’s when boarding the ferries.
Crossing into Sweden stood out because basically one second we were in Norway and the next second we realized we had passed a sign saying “Welcome to Sweden.”
About 50km into Sweden we entered a National Park area and we still hadn’t seen a single person or proper town. It is a bit surreal driving well paved roads and seeing no civilization whatsoever…
We realized that we were pretty close to the Fulufjallet waterfall that we wanted to see so we decided to try to find it. After finding it, we were told it would take a 2-3km hike up to see it, it was around 7pm so we decided to take another shot at it the next day as and we still didn’t have a place to stay.
As mentioned there was hardly a soul in sight, so it took a while for us to find a campsite. We actually found one “proper” campsite but it had a terrible spot to put up tents so we decided to strike off on our own and “wild camp.”
This was easier said than done as the area we were in wasn’t it full spring or summer bloom. The ground was still very rocky and the trees were a bit grey and uninviting.
But after wandering around the little back trails we found something not too far off civilization– right beside a stream going under a bridge.
Check out our video HERE:
The trees were greener and the grass was long so we figured it was about the most comfortable spot we’d find. And the little clear water stream was perfect!
We set up camp and immediately started to scour the area for dry twigs for a fire as there were massive mosquitos about.
LOL, we felt very inadequate for true wild survival because no matter what we did…we could NOT get the fire up and burning…
I gave up after an hour or so, but Stefan kept at it and it the end we got the fire going—but we had to vigorously fan it to keep it alive…we ended up setting up a little USB fan to try to keep it going but to very minimal success.
Since I had given up on my fire-making skills I decided to make a cooler system for our cold meats and cheese. The weather was quite a bit warmer (about 20 degrees) than in Norway (which was about 13-15 degrees) so I thought I needed to put them somewhere cooler.
The water in the stream was easily below 10 degrees, and perfect for keeping our food cooler. I tied my collapsible bucket to a tree, filled it up with rocks so that it would be below water level and so it wouldn’t float away with the current, and then placed my little cooler bag of cold meats and cheese in. I tied it all up to make sure some feral cat wouldn’t get in to it and was all in all quite pleased with my contraption.
It was mid-night by the time we decided to get some sleep. Time seems to just tick on by because the sun is still out so our brains just kept on telling us it was still early. We found out later on, that that night was the longest day of the year in Sweden—no wonder why it was so bright!
Ironically, around 2pm the temperature dropped to probably around 12 degrees, while shivering in our tent as I hadn’t put enough clothes on due to it being quite warm when we turned in for the night, I was thinking that my “cooler contraption” was probably unnecessary.
The next morning the sun was out again and when washing my face in the stream I realized that someone had visited our camp and managed to untie the cooler bag from my bucket in the water. It was a bit freaky knowing someone had visited our wild camp, but I was just thankful that nothing else more valuable was taken and I hope that our food went to someone more in need than us.
Funny thing though was that they left my Sea to Summit collapsible light weight bucket which easily cost 5x more than the food they took. I guess they needed the food but had no need for my expensive bucket…LOL!
So after realizing our “wild camping” skills were not as good as we thought we decided we were ready for some proper civilization.
Meeting a Moose some boars and Lost for 6 Hours
We booked an adorable Airbnb cabin around 40km from Stockholm. Interesting thing was that it was a cabin with a bit of woods right behind it but it was actually part of a residential neighborhood.
There was the main house with all the modern amenities of a proper home (full kitchen, dish washer, washing machine, dryer, bathroom with bathtub, sauna etc) and then two cute cabins adjacent the main house as guest rooms. Everything was also built from pine wood so it really gave an outdoor-sy feel but actually we were in the middle of a residential town.
While staying at this cute cabin, we had another incident happen that stamped our “wild outdoors” careers as “EXTREMELY NOT LIKELY”…
Stefan got lost for 6 hours!
He went off for a run to the beach (about 20mins from the house) around 10.00am and didn’t rock up back to the house till around 4pm…
He didn’t bring a phone with him, so I had no way of contacting him. I was curious as to why he was taking such a long jog, but I assumed that he found a good place to sun tan by the beach, or something, so I wasn’t unduly worried about him. He also always claims that he never gets lost so I kept myself busy with the blog and the all the laundry.
Around 4pm, just when I was getting worried that he was lost, cold and hungry, he walked in and declared that he had been lost and wandering around in the woods for the last few hours. I had just started worrying when I realized he had left his wallet and jacket and that the temperature had dropped quite a bit, when we came back…
Apparently, he took a wrong turn when returning from the beach and ended up around 10km away. He realized he was really lost when he saw a full-grown moose and then a family of wild pigs (boars???) and had to go around them as they can get vicious when protecting their young.
After avoiding the wild pigs and getting nowhere closer to civilization after wandering around for 3 hours, he finally saw a house in the distance but he had no choice but to cross a few cold shallow rivers and mud bogs to get to it.
He started ringing all the doorbells he could find. The first few houses had no one at home, another house had a Thai maid that spoke hardly any English and when he started using the little bit of Thai he knew he realized she didn’t know where she was and couldn’t help him…
It was the 5th house that had someone home and fortunately he was a kind soul and he offered to give Stefan a ride back.
Meanwhile, at home, I was completely oblivious to all this drama and when I did start worrying he was back. This was a good thing, I guess, as the story could have gotten completely out of control if he was lost for longer and I had started calling the police etc….
Poor Stefan, he was all shook up when he got back and has a new respect for the wild outdoors.
I will not let him go running around without a phone on…no matter what he says about his “inner compass” or “directional intuition” ….
Arrrrrgh! It’s a shame how hopeless we are without our electronic gadgets…
And also, too bad he didn’t bring the GoPro as it would have been cool to see the moose and wild pigs 😛
Day out with friends in Stockholm
Besides our wild wanderings in Sweden, we had a lovely day with friends in Stockholm.
The highlight for me was meeting up with Mia, a friend of mine from my Taiwan days…
We had a lovely lunch in a restaurant right outside of Old Town Stockholm.
It’s always great to re-connect with old friends—it had been 7 years since we last met—but it felt like it was just yesterday that we were hanging out on the beaches of Danshui.
True friends stay friends regardless of time or distance. We could still connect despite our lives having completely changed.
We were single, young and carefree 7 years ago, but now she has a beautiful daughter named Juliet and I am married and have “retired”…LOL!
Mia, if you are reading this…Thanks again for spending the day with us and for showing us around. We had a great time and look forward to seeing you again!
After 3 days of staying in one place it was time to move on.
Instead of taking the direct ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki we decided to take the “long way round” and headed up north to the Aland islands.
Three ferry connections later and one night stay at Mariehamn (Gro Udden Camping) we drove into Finland.
Farewell Sweden, you have been an experience never to be forgotten! 😀