Andrea from Nature Travels goes reindeer herding with the South Sami of Dalarna in north-west Sweden and enjoys some early spring days in Stockholm…
Going to Sweden is always an exciting experience, especially when you get to try out activities that you have never done before. Last week I got to enjoy the terrific wilderness of western Sweden and the busy streets of Stockholm and enjoyed every minute of it!
My trip started on Monday afternoon when I took a flight from London to Stockholm. As I arrived in Sweden’s capital pretty late and my trip would just continue the next day I decided to overnight in the Jumbo hostel at Arlanda airport. I have already spent a few nights in airplanes when flying overseas, but I must confess that I have never had such a relaxing experience doing so. Well, this time I slept in a real bed and not in a narrow airline seat, but this was only one of the many reasons that made my stay in the Jumbo very pleasant.
The next morning I was picked up by Lennart, a Sami from northern Sweden, who would accompany my fellow travellers and me to Idre, the southernmost Sami settlement in Sweden. After several hours’ bus ride we finally arrived in the small village close to the Norwegian border. There we met some of the local Sami residents that would introduce us to the Sami culture in the next few days. After a delicious meal prepared in the local Sami restaurant we went to our accommodation, a small farm from the 16th century, where we would stay during our trip.
On Wednesday, after a comprehensive breakfast with home-baked bread and self-made cakes and chocolates, we set out on snowmobiles to follow the reindeer herd of the local Sami community. Matthias, a young reindeer herder, told us about the traditional way of herding reindeer and the significance of these animals for the indigenous people of Scandinavia. Later we prepared a traditional outdoor lunch, had a cup of coffee with melted cheese (sounds weird, but tastes wonderful) and enjoyed the warm temperatures and the stunning landscape. After lunch we helped the reindeer herders to migrate the herd from its winter meadows in the forest to its summer grazing land in the mountains before we went back to the village for another delightful dinner.
The following morning we headed out to the frozen lakes and tested our ice fishing skills. I had never been fishing before, so I was really proud when I held my newly acquired pink fishing licence in my hands for the first time. However I was not blessed with beginner’s luck and basically spent my morning staring at a small ice hole and not catching anything. After another great outdoor lunch we travelled to a small farm where we could take a short trip on a reindeer sled. After the fun tour we warmed ourselves with coffee and a warm fire in a traditional “kåta” (wooden tipi). We finished the evening with a nice dinner, some wonderful pictures of the area and an interesting description of the year of a reindeer herd.
On Friday we said goodbye to the local Sami community, bought some packaged reindeer meat as a souvenir for our friends and family and drove back to Stockholm. My fellow travellers all had to head back to their homes right after the end of our tour, but I had decided to stay in Stockholm for 2 more nights. After I arrived at my hostel I headed out to enjoy the last rays of sunshine of the day and took the first of many photographs of Sweden’s wonderful capital.
The next day I had breakfast at the Östermalm Food Hall, before I went to the Museum of Technology to experience the Cino4, a 3D-cinema with moving chairs. I somehow missed that the film would be in Swedish, but to my surprise I could understand the most important things and was even able to answer the questions about volcanism that concluded the show. Afterwards I walked through the forests of Djurgården, went over with the ferry to Skeppsholmen and visited the Modern Museum. The collection of photographs was really impressive and I spent quite some time before I went to the cinema for the evening. Luckily there the film was shown in English with Swedish subtitles.
On my last day in Sweden I went on a boat tour around Djurgården and enjoyed the spring-like weather and warm temperatures. Later I walked to Gamla Stan where I watched the Changing of the Guards in front of the Royal Palace. There the marching band that I had already seen wandering through town the day before played some songs and provided the “soundtrack” to the guards’ official duties. Afterwards I spent the rest of my Swedish kronor on souvenirs before I had to go to the airport for my flight back to the UK. I really enjoyed my trip to Sweden and know that it will be just one of many trips to follow!
Andrea from The Nature Travels Team
Nature Travels offers many ways to enjoy the “spring winter” period in Sweden, from dog sledding to ski touring. We also offer a range of Sami experiences in Lapland in the far north of Sweden including reindeer sledding and hiking with Sami guide.
You can see more photos from Andrea’s trip in the Nature Travels Facebook Gallery.