Jayne from Nature Travels joined one of our Northern Lights Dog Sledding in Lapland tours in March 2015.

The other members of my group were  a mother and daughter and a family (father, mother and daughter), our guide Torben (all or whom where from Germany) and myself.

The morning of our first days sledding dawned a beautiful sunny day and began with meeting our sled dogs at the kennels.

My team were Reiker (my lead dog), Grizzly (Reiker’s niece), Norska and Fiona (my wheel dogs) 3 of whom were mid-distance (around 500km) race finishers!

All of the dogs were very friendly (although some were understandably a little shy around strangers at first) and were eager to meet us and give us hugs and receive strokes. I would have gladly stayed in the kennels making friends with every dog all morning but it was soon time to load our sleds, harness our dogs (which could be a little tricky with some of the more excitable or the shyer dogs) and set off!

Elky ready to go sledding!

As soon as we set out, the dogs, who had become very excitable whilst waiting to go, fell silent and soon there was only the sound of the dogs’ paws on snow and the noise of the sleds’ runners on the snow. The first part of our journey was through the forest which was a great opportunity to practise our sled steering techniques. However the forest soon thinned and we were suddenly out on a frozen lake surrounded by mountains, the quietness combined with the scenery was magical.

The rest of the day was spent gliding across the frozen landscape getting to know our dogs, their different behaviours and perfecting our sledding technique.

After a days sledding, once we had made sure the dogs were settled (unharnessed and attached to the fixed line, with straw to sleep on for the night), we set about preparing the cabin lighting the fire in the main room and in the sauna, collecting water (filling the containers in the sauna with water), chopping wood etc.

Then it was time to feed the dogs and put coats on the smaller dogs for the night. The dogs’ food was a mix of meat and a dry mix (for added nutrients) in water which they all seem to love!

Reiker and Grizzly

Reiker and Grizzly in their coats.

At the end of the day it was time for a relax and a sauna and, as the sauna heated water in a metal container, a chance to wash.

The next few days were a wonderful mix of sledding through the stunning Swedish scenery on frozen rivers and lakes and through forests (this included some rather steep up hill parts where we had to get off our sled and walk/jog behind to help the dogs or when going down hill trying to slow the dogs down and keep them from getting to close to the sled in front), feeding and generally taking care of the dogs and relaxing in the saunas in the evenings.

For me the highlights of the trip where:

Spending time with the dogs, both sledding with and looking after them (and hugging them of course); by the end of the tour I knew pretty much everyone’s dogs names and which other dogs they were related to (I have to confess I am a bit of a dog lover!).

Meeting the puppies at the kennels; when we returned our dogs to the kennels we were lucky enough to meet some puppies who had been born only 5 days earlier and were allowed to hold two of them as part of their acclimatisation to being around different people all the time, we were even allowed to name the female puppy Cookie!

Cookie!

Cookie!

Seeing the Northern Lights; as we were travelling during a period of particularly high solar activity we were lucky enough to see the Aurora on two evenings during our tour. They danced across the entire sky is swirling arcs and were totally mesmerising.

The amazing scenery, Northern Sweden is very beautiful and what better way to experience it than by dog sled. We were also very lucky with the weather we had sunshine on almost everyday which meant that the views continued for miles.

All in all is was a great trip and one that I will never forget.

Best regards

Jayne, The Nature Travels team

You can find out more about our Northern Lights Dog Sledding in Lapland and see our full range of Nordic dogsled experiences on our website.

At Nature Travels we are expanding our range of experiences for our lovely customers to enjoy and have recently added Finland to the countries our adventures are based.

lake-district

Finland is Europe’s 8th largest country but one of the most sparsely-populated, which gives a real sense of wilderness when away from the main cities. The landscape is mostly flat whilst ridges run along northwest to southeast that were formed by glaciers. The glaciers lasted longer and were thicker in Finland and after being compressed under the enormous weight, the country is now rising because of post-glacial rebound and Finland is expanding by around 7 square km every year.

brown-bear

Finland is a country with thousands of lakes and islands – about 188,000 lakes and 179,000 islands. With vast areas of outstanding natural beauty, Finland is covered in taiga forest, the countryside is rich in wildlife and the brown bear is the national animal. Grey wolf, wolverine, lynx, beaver, reindeer and elk can also be found to name a few, including the world’s rarest seal, the Saimaa ringed seal, which can only be found in the lakes of south east Finland.

seal

Given all those lakes and the winter season, it’s not a surprise that skating is popular in Finland, girls learn to figure skate whilst the boys play ice hockey but that’s starting to change in recent years with help from the International Ice Hockey Federation holding their World Girls’ ice hockey weekend in Finland. All children are given an equal start in life and for the past 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a baby box with essentials such as clothing, toys and even a snow suit so they can get accustomed to the cold as quick as possible.

Snowshoeing-Finland

The sport often considered Finland’s national sport is Pesäpallo or “nest ball” which resembles baseball or rounders but differs with the batter and the pitcher facing each other on the home base and the pitcher throws the ball directly upwards above them to at least one metre above their head.

pesapello-2

There are some similarities to Sweden, as it was part of Sweden for more than 500 years until 1809. Swedish is still one of its official languages and all official texts including road signs are written in both Finnish and Swedish. However, there is no need to speak Finnish or Swedish as most Finns speak fluent English. When visiting Finland you might like to know that you have to have your headlights on at all times including during the daytime and speeding fines are directly related to income. A speeding millionaire managed to rack up a huge €54,000 fine!

road-signs

Saunas are one of the main things you will associate with Finland. With a population of around 5.5 million and nearly 2 million saunas, that’s pretty much one sauna per household! All of our new packages offer sauna facilities and the sauna is a vital part of Finnish culture and we encourage all our guests to give it a go and if feeling brave, have a roll in the snow afterwards (or jump in the lake if during summer!).

sauna

The Finns are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers and they enjoy their coffee with pulla, a Finnish sweet pastry. There are other famous things from Finland as well as the sauna, including Angry Birds, Moomins and Nokia but more importantly it’s also home to many world championships, including wife-carrying, sauna, air guitar and mobile phone throwing (but not all at the same time!). There is also a beer floating event, which doesn’t involve floating bottles of beer but rather thousands of people float down a river in various inflatable devices including dinghies, paddling pools and life rafts with no more than a paddle and a lot of beer!

air-guitar

At Nature Travels, we specialise solely in environmentally responsible outdoor adventure holidays and Finland makes a perfect addition as a year-round destination for exciting travel. Explore Finland in Summer with our new Cycling and Canoeing in Eastern Finland and Hiking in the Finnish-Russian Borderland. Experience a Finnish winter with our Cross Country Skiing in Eastern Finland, Private Dogsled Tours for Two in the Taiga Forest and Snowshoeing in the Hossa Nature Park.

Enjoy!

In a globalised world, wherever you travel, and within Europe particularly, most elements of daily life seem at first glance very familiar.

But scratch beneath the surface and the subtle differences begin to reveal themselves, adding a new dimension to the adventure of travelling and reminding us that cultural differences are still alive and well after all.

One of these which strikes many first-time visitors to Sweden is The Great Double Duvet Mystery (and its counterpart, The Great Double Bed Mystery). Rent a cabin in Sweden, look closely at that beautiful bed in your lovely hotel room, or knock on the door of a friendly Swede’s house and ask politely if you can look in their bedroom, and you’ll soon discover something odd:

Where are all the double duvets? Where are all the double beds?

bed0
Photo: archiproducts.com

Is this some hangover from Sweden’s socialist roots resulting in a bizarre national bedding shortage? Is there some stratospheric luxury tax on double-sized anything that makes these commodities the preserve of the super-rich?

Or (unfathomable horror of horrors!), could it be that the Swedes actually like it this way?

If so, well…um…surely it’s not very romantic, is it? I mean, I thought the Swedes were supposed to be saucy and quite fond of a bit of…um…nighttime exercise.

bed5

Coming from the UK, where we have a proud and well-ingrained tradition of spending your nights scrapping furiously with your bed partner in a silent tug of duvet war and waking up at 3am with your unmentionables bared to the sub-zero atmosphere of your bedroom, this does seem strange indeed.

Look on any Brits-in-Sweden expat internet forum and you’ll find a post on this issue from someone who’s married a Swede without reading the small print (I’m one myself!) and got a bit of a shock when they came home to find a pair of single duvets lurking innocently side by side on the bed as if this were the most natural thing in the world. They panic and immediately seek reassurance from the cyberspace community that their new life partner hasn’t lost their mind.

bed2

Fear not – it is normal, and it works just fine. The Swedes would argue that it’s by far the most natural arrangement – for cabin and hotel owners, any room can be adapted for use as a twin or a double; for couples, not only do you avoid the midnight duvet fight but also the saggy-meet-in-the-middle-mattress problem (though in homes and hotels you will often find a double mattress placed on two single frames).

And when it’s time to inject a little romance, well, if you’re going to let a couple of inches of feather-filled fabric stand in your way, then shame on you…

So please don’t despair when you arrive at your idyllic log cabin in the Swedish countryside and see the beds. Shrug your shoulders, think “When in Rome…” (or Stockholm), and give it a go. Who knows, you may even be converted!

Sweet dreams!

Best regards

Bob from The Nature Travels Team

Sofia from Nature Travels shares her top tips for enjoying Sweden’s capital, the “Venice of the North”.

I grew up in a small town Waxholm (also spelt Vaxholm), 45 minute bus ride from Stockholm, and have spent many days shopping, meeting friends and hanging out around the capital. These are my tips for what not to miss when spending a few days there.

Boat trip

The fact that Stockholm is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges makes a tour by boat something of a given. There are many sightseeing boats that will take you on a guided tour around the waterways of the city.

If you have some more time on your hands, it’s worth taking one of the archipelago boats and exploring some of the 30 000 islands that make up the Stockholm Archipelago. Strömma Kanal Bolag has different cruises in the archipelago.

VaxholmAnother option is to take a day tour to Waxholm (the town where I grew up). It’s an idyllic archipelago town with many well-preserved wooden houses from the turn of the last century, painted in the archipelago’s typical delicate pastel tones. Waxholm has numerous charming restaurants, cafés and shops.

Waxholm is easily accessible year-round, by Waxholmsbolagets boat traffic or by bus, If you take the bus, the trip is covered by Stockholm’s public transport service and so is also included in the Stockholm Card. Why not take the boat one way and then the bus back?

Djurgården

Another thing to do in Stockholm is to visit the green island of Djurgården. It is beloved by both Stockholmers and tourists. Djurgården is a calm oasis. There are fine areas to stroll in and to have a picnic. Djurgården is also home to several of the city’s top museums and attractions (including Skansen and the Wasa museum described below), as well as enjoyable cafés and restaurants.

Skansen

skansenSkansen is an open-air zoo and museum. Here you can stroll through five centuries of Swedish history, from north to south. As a zoo, Skansen is primarily devoted to showing Scandinavian animals. Some 75 different species and breeds of Scandinavian animals are represented.

As an open-air zoo and museum, it’s probably most enjoyable in summertime, but is open for visitors all year around and in early December the site’s central square is host to a popular Christmas market.

Vasa museum

The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården. The museum displays an almost fully intact 17th century ship, the 64-gun warship Vasa, that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The showpiece is the ship itself, which is simply magnificent. To look up, or down, at a ship that is almost 400 years old and is essentially in its original state is a fantastic experience.

Södermalm

SodermalmSödermalm is the old working class area of the city, which has turned bohemian chic. Södermalm has a lot of cafés, restaurants, bars and rows of boutiques with a mix of vintage, independent labels, and Swedish mainstream designers.

The vibe in the streets of Södermalm is relaxed, creative and trendy, especially in the Sofo area (South of Folkungatan). SoFo is a play on the acronym SoHo (South of Houston Street, in Manhattan).

In the warm months, Nytorget Square is a bustling social scene. The last Thursday of every month is called SoFo night, where retailers are open until 9pm and offer free entertainment and refreshments to shoppers.

Gamla Stan

Gamla stanGamla Stan, the Old Town, is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval city centres in Europe, and one of the foremost attractions in Stockholm.

All of Gamla Stan is like a living pedestrian-friendly museum, full of sights, attractions, restaurants, cafés, bars and places to shop. The narrow, winding cobblestone streets, with their buildings in so many different shades of gold, give Gamla Stan its unique character. Even now, cellar vaults and frescoes from the Middle Ages can be found behind the visible facades, and on snowy winter days the district feels like something from a storybook.

Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan are the district’s main streets. In the middle of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm.

Drottninggatan – Sergels Torg

KulturhusetThe City area of Stockholm is where the big department stores are and a lazy shopper’s paradise. Sergels Torg is a sunken pedestrian plaza with a triangular pattern (colloquially referred to as Plattan, “The Slab”) and a wide flight of stairs leading up to the pedestrian street, Drottninggatan. Drottninggatan (“Queen Street”) is a major pedestrian street. The majority of the street is car-free and lined-up with numerous stores and shops.

Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården (Swedish for “King’s Garden”) is a square/park in central Stockholm. It is colloquially known as Kungsan. The park’s central location and its outdoor cafés makes it one of the most popular hangouts and meeting places in Stockholm. It also hosts open-air concerts and events in summer, while offering an ice rink during winters.

I think that covers it! Those are my my tips – writing this makes me want to go strolling around the streets of Stockholm – hmm, I think a trip to Stockholm might be on the cards for me this spring!

Sofia

Nature Travels

Bob from Nature Travels muses on his recent experience of booking a hotel room…

In April this year, Sofia and I are going to the Azores to spend 10 days as volunteers on a whale and dolphin research project – we’re very much looking forward to it. The flight connections mean that we need to spend an overnight in Lisbon en route, so we decided to make the most of it and spend two nights there.

Next step was to find a place to stay, and in my Google search I quickly arrived at a well-known hotel booking website. Hard as it may be to believe, it was my first time there.

And so my search began. I was presented with a wide range of options which were easily searchable/comparable and accompanied by attractive images and useful descriptions, the reservation process was smooth and painless, and in no time at all I had secured my room in Lisbon and had my confirmation in my inbox. I’d been on the site about 10 minutes, and the job was done. Hooray!

So why on earth was I left feeling so rattled, on edge and plagued with a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction?

stress1

I sat back to ponder on how I’d spent this 10 minutes of my life.

What’s clear is that the booking experience was an almost perfect exercise in persuading me to make a decision to purchase. The very best that marketing theory, consumer psychology and shopping cart design can offer had been unleashed on me to make sure that I didn’t leave without handing over my card details, and in the face of such an onslaught, I’d found I was frankly powerless to resist.

Throughout my time on the site, my screen had been filled with little pop-ups and messages giving stats relating to my search, “There are just 2 rooms left for your chosen dates”, “Don’t delay! 66% of our accommodation in Lisbon is now booked for the dates you are viewing”, “20 other people are currently viewing this hotel for your chosen dates”, “The last booking made for this hotel was 15 minutes ago from Germany”….and on they went.

The messages quietly but very effectively ramped up the pressure as I browsed, until by the end they had whipped me into a frenzy of uncertainty, desperation and self-doubt and I was a quivering wreck, silently screaming, “Just let me pay! Take my card details now and get me a room before it’s too late!” Delaying a minute longer would surely mean I’d be forced to choose the only overpriced flea pit still left with a space.

stress3

Am I exaggerating? Well, maybe a little. But I realised that what had been missing from the process of choosing and booking this important piece of my holiday had been any sense of fun or enjoyment. I have no doubt that, when we arrive in Lisbon, the hotel will be just fine, and I certainly can’t fault the efficiency of the booking process or the price I paid. But had I enjoyed choosing it? No. Was I now looking forward to enjoying the product I had purchased? Not at all. When the last card number was entered and “Book now” button pressed, all I felt was a palpable sense of relief that it was all over.

Is there something special about purchasing a holiday compared to other products? What is the purpose of a travel website – simply to facilitate the process of choosing and booking a component of your trip as quickly as possible? If so, then the website I used did its job almost flawlessly. Or is the planning and the dreaming part of the fun, extending that precious holiday feeling to make arranging the trip an integral part of the enjoyment? Should we really be using the same approach to buying our holiday as we do to renewing our car insurance?

Nature Travels is of course also a travel company, offering products which we hope our guests will find attractive and wish to purchase. So is booking with Nature Travels any different? We would like to think so. We may never be able to match the technological sophistication of the website I used. But we would hope that the experience of researching, discussing, planning and (hopefully!) booking your holiday with us can be an integral part of the overall enjoyment of your trip, and perhaps heighten the sense of excitement and anticipation as you prepare for your adventure.

Oops, no more time to chat…my car insurance expires in a week…but just one final thought:

stress2

Here are 10 reasons why winter is great and you should all embrace the cold season!

1) Beautiful views – nothing beats the magical wonder that is a blanket of snow or a crispy frost, pair that with a bright blue sky or a majestic sunrise/sunset and you don’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn or stay up past your bedtime to enjoy it!

scenery

2) Snow days – waking up to find a fresh layer of snow outside your window is always exciting, even more so if you go to school and discover that it’s shut and you have a surprise day off to play! Even if you’re not at school, the snow will bring out your inner child.

Wilkins-Wonderland

3) Get creative – whether it’s making a snow angel, building a snowman, or ambitiously attempting to build your own igloo, let your imagination run wild! Or just make snowballs and throw them at your friends.

emily-suamarez-igloo

4) Winter adventures – sledding, ice skating, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, ski touring, ski bobbing, snowmobiling and end the day in a cosy log cabin in front of a fire. If it doesn’t snow much where you are then great news, it’s holiday season and a good excuse to go somewhere different and play in the snow!

snowshoeing

5) Ever seen snow under a microscope? – nature is amazing, that is all!

GodsSnowflakes

6) Log fires –whether it’s open, burner or a bonfire for Guy Fawkes, we all enjoy warming up in front of a crackling fire, especially if you have some marshmallows to toast.

log-fire2

7) Frosty walks – we don’t get much snow down here in Dorset but we enjoy a frosty morning walk. You can jump in freshly frozen puddles and the ground is so solid that you don’t get your wellies covered in mud.

frosty-bridge

8) Our winter wardrobe – an abundance of accessories, hats, scarves and gloves with every outfit and it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a little extra Christmas weight as all can be hidden under a massive jumper!

child-playing

9) Which leads nicely to winter food and drink – soups and stews take a front seat this season and it’s always great to come in from the cold and drink a hot chocolate to warm you up.

hot-chocolates

10) Hibernation – its not only hedgehogs and bears that want to sleep until winter! You might be feeling a little lazy this time of year but so is everyone else so you snuggle up in a blanket with your favourite book, guilt free.

book

10.5) And finally – the excitement of seeing snowdrops and daffodils for the first time and realising that spring is on the way!

So wrap up warm and get outside and play! Enjoy!

Check out our winter adventures here.

Tree decorationsJulgransplundring – “Christmas tree looting” is a tradition in Sweden that happens 20 days after Christmas, that is 13th January. Julgransplundring is traditionally when you “undress” and “throw out” Advent and Christmas decorations.

In connection to this, especially if you have younger children, you often arrange a small celebration. You dance around the Christmas tree and play various games: demolition/eating of gingerbread houses, raffle and opening filled Christmaimagess crackers (in Sweden you make your Christmas crackers yourself, fill them with candy and hang on the Christmas tree).

This happens both in people’s homes and daycare centres, schools and sports clubs.

The tradition has its origin from when originally you hung goodies, apples and snacks in the tree. The decorations were simpler then and you did many of the decorations yourself. So you raided the Christmas tree of goodies, and ate them up!

Once you’ve plundered the Christmas tree of goodies, you throw the Christmas tree out! It’s seen as an julpl3end of the long month of celebration which starts with First Advent and includes the Advent period, Lucia, Christmas and New Year.

So you loot the Christmas tree and throw Christmas out of the house! Until next year……

In Sweden, Christmas is celebrated in the afternoon and evening of the 24th of December. In the morning, many do the last Christmas preparations, then at 3pm the whole of Sweden sits down to watch Donald Duck on TV.

Disney on TVDonald Duck and his friends wishing you a Merry Christmas is an American TV-show that was first broadcasted on American TV in 1958 as an episode of the TV series “The Wonderful World of Disney”.

In Sweden, it has been shown on TV at 3pm on Christams Eve since 1960. The program ends with Benjamin Syrsa singing “When You Wish Upon A Star” (in Swedish of course).

Then often there is a knock on the door and Santa arrives to deliver presents to the children (and adults) who have been good over the year past. Read more about the Swedish Santa on our previous blog on the subject:

https://naturetravels.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/jultomten-swedens-santa-claus/

After presents have been opened, it’s time to eat the Julbord, special type of Swedish smörgåsbord, which is the standard Christmas dinner in Sweden! Julbord is a word consisting of the elements jul, meaning Christmas and bord, table.

Julbord

The classic Swedish julbord is filled with small dishes and you pick and choose your favourites – a traditional smörgåsbord starting with the cold food such as smoked salmon, pickeld herring, eel etc.and of course the Christmas ham! It’s a ham that has been cured and sometimes smoked and then cooked in the oven. It’s traditional in the Nordic countries to coat it with a layer of mustard mixed with eggs and breaded with breadcrumbs.

After the cold food, you move on to the warm food – small meatballs, pork ribs, sausages, potato, Janssons frestelse, boiled potatoes.

Both the cold and warm food are served together with soft and crisp bread, butter and different cheeses and beverages.

One beverage that needs to be mentioned is Julmust. Julmust is a soft drink that is mainly consumed in Sweden around Christmas. The rest of the year it is difficult to find. It was created to give a non- lcoholic alternative to beer. Must is made of carbonated water, sugar, hop extract, malt extract and spices. The hops and malt extract give the must a quality a little like root beer, but much sweeter. The Julmust outsells Coca Cola every year in Sweden as the main non-alcoholic drink.

There is also often dessert and candy as part of the Julbord. One dessert that is often chosen as a small late evening snack is Julgröt, Christmas Porridge! It’s nicer than it sounds!

One nice tradition is to put some gröt out for the house tomte (gnome, please see link about the Swedish Santa above). When I was small we always put some Christmas porridge out in the evening and in the morning we used to find an empty bowl and a small thank you note!

Merry Christmas everyone!

christmas rice pudding

 

The room is quiet and dark, from afar you hear singing. Slowly you hear the singing getting closer and closer…

Suddenly the room fills with light. A girl in a long, white gown with a wreath of candles burning on her head enters the room.  Behind her come a procession of people in white carrying, candles in their hands and singing together the Santa Lucia song….

On the 13th December, this Swedish tradition happens everywhere across the country.

In schools, in the town square, in day-care centres, in offices, in old people’s homes, in churches and even at home, parents often get woken up by short Lucia “trains” done by their children.

Lucia-1

I remember when I was fifteen, I was part of six Lucia “parades” that year. First in the morning, my sisters and I woke my parents up with singing and coffee in bed. Then I was part of the school procession  and as I sang in a choir, the choir were the “followers” for the town Lucia, so we went to two old people’s homes, the town square and the last one in the evening in the town church.

Lucia-2

Lucia is a very cosy tradition and one I really miss now when I’m living abroad, but we’ll definitely see the Lucia celebrations in Stockholm on the live broadcast in the office on Lucia morning and drink hot chocolate and eat Lussekatter.

Happy Lucia everyone!

Sofia from The Nature Travels Team

For more information on the Swedish Lucia tradition, please see our previous blog on this subject.

gavle-goat-day

The Yule Goat, or Julbock, is a traditional ornament made out of straw and bound with red ribbons that you will see it in many Swedish homes during the Christmas season. The Julbock is said to have originated from Thor and his two trusty goats and then traditions have subsequently evolved throughout the ages. One tradition involves him playing a supervisory role, overseeing the Christmas preparations are being held properly and neighbours would trick each other by sneaking the goat into each other’s houses to remind them that they are being watched, because the pressure of your mother-in-law visiting wasn’t stressful enough! More recently the Julbock is now thought to attract presents by placing it under the Christmas tree.

The most famous Yule Goat can be found in the town of Gävle. In 1966, the tradition started of building a giant version of the straw goat in the centre of the town in Castle Square. However, in the first year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the goat was burnt to a crisp and since then almost every year the Gävle Goat succumbs to some sort of misfortune. The poor thing only has only a 45% survival rate of it still standing by Christmas!

gavle-goat-snow

Over the years, the town has put many things in place to help the Gävlebocken survive until the New Year but even covering the straw goat with a flame resistant coating didn’t slow down Father Christmas and a gingerbread man setting him alight by shooting flaming arrows at him. However, going up in smoke isn’t the only thing he has to worry about. In the past the goat has collapsed after being sabotaged on a couple of occasions including after being crashed into by a Volvo. One year a helicopter even swooped down into Castle Square in an attempt to kidnap him!

Only escaping destruction a small number of times has without a doubt made the goat famous and people now place bets as to how long the goat will survive. I should probably mention that burning the goat is actually an illegal act and not welcomed by most citizens of Gävle, as one American found out when he attempted to burn the goat down after assuming he was following a Swedish tradition but ended up with jail time instead. A couple of years ago the police were on the case when someone posted a photo online of 4 tattooed ankles displaying the burning Gävlebocken but that wasn’t proof enough.

gavle-goat-burnt

Will this be a year the Gävle Goat survives? In the hope to deter potential vandals, this year the town is relocating their taxi rank into the square in order to bring more people into it. He will be set in position from 30th November and you can follow his twitter, blog, instagram and even his webcam to check on his progress or whether a calamity has occurred!

 

Nature Travels on Twitter

Bookmark and Share

ABOUT

Nature Travels is the UK specialist for outdoor experiences in Sweden. Please follow links below for details of our range of holidays in Sweden for independents, families and groups.

Travel Quest

TravelQuest’s Ethical Travel section lists a variety of ecotourism holidays world-wide, including UK holidays, charity treks and gap-year ideas.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers