Scandinavia with a child and a van - bad weather, Örebro, Leksand

Posted on August 6, 2023 • 15 min read • 3,159 words
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Scandinavia with a child and a van - bad weather, Örebro, Leksand


The time has finally come, summer vacation is just around the corner. At least one should think so. For about a week before our planned departure, rain and storms have been announced for almost all of Scandinavia. Of course that’s bad if you live in Denmark and want to go to Sweden and Norway. Even staying at home only helps to a limited extent. So we chose a middle course and postponed our departure to the north by one day. Instead of starting on Saturday as planned, we started on Sunday. That gave us a lot more time to pack up and think about the route. In addition, we are all much more relaxed due to the reduced time pressure.

So, the actual day of departure was much more relaxed than usual. Packing our Dumbo went without any hassle and in just one hour we were actually ready to leave. We should probably do so more often. Our little one is happy, too. After only 2 minutes there is the first stop on our journey — at a bakery around the corner from us. Here we get a few little things for our lunch and after half a Pølsehorn (without Pølse of course) she can snuggle up in the corner and fall asleep comfortably.

So we can cover a longer distance right away. After a long back and forth, we chose Ulricehamn as the first stop. This small town is on the way between the two large lakes Vänern and Vättern and has a several camper sites and water supply and disposal.

After just under an hour’s drive, the announced rain begins. It will rain almost continuously until the next morning. So, the only plan for today is to fill up at the Circle-K petrol station (every petrol station of this chain offers fresh water in Sweden) in Ulricehamn. Immediately opposite of the station, we discover a large supermarket, in whose parking lot we decide to spend the night. When driving through Ulricehamn, we had already seen that our originally planned parking space was closed due to an event.


We drive into the town the next morning after a late breakfast. Then the little one can finally let off steam on the wonderful playground. The pitch right by the lake would have had a really great view — but we wouldn’t have had any benefit of it anyway with the rain yesterday. The playground really has play equipment for all ages, including gymnastics equipment for adults, in an area that could almost host a soccer field.

For lunch we choose a small café nearby in the pedestrian zone. There is a children’s portion “sausage with bread” for the little one for 20 Swedish crowns (SEK), currently the equivalent of €1.72. When the waitress brought our food, we were amazed. For the money you really get a bread roll, two sausages, a bowl of cucumber pieces and a bowl of strawberries! Our little one is very enthusiastic, sorts out the sausage and puts cucumber on the bun. So that’s how a cucumber roll is enjoyed while mom and dad look at each other in confusion: Now what about the sausages? And since when does our child eat cucumber rolls?!

At the end, she can of course steal the chips from mum and dad’s plate and dip them in ketchup. We probably don’t have to explain what salsa is anymore. You can also dip strawberries in ketchup. But the little one is not that enthusiastic about that idea after all.

Since some rain is forecast for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, we continue towards Örebro. This is another larger city before further north the population will probably become much thinner and there should be more nature to be found.

Örebro: Osets and Rynningeviken

In Örebro we stop at the Naturens Hus car park, right by the entrance to the Osets and Rynningeviken nature reserve. The puddles on the square once again offer our little one the best conditions for extensive water games. After dinner is eaten and our little one goes to bed, I go on a short tour of discovery alone.

The famous information boards tell us where we actually ended up again. The area of the nature reserve consists entirely of reclaimed nature. Previously there was a landfill and an oil terminal here. Both were shut down and redeveloped so that there is now an oasis for flora and fauna. A smaller part of the area is cordoned off as a bird breeding area. The Internet reveals that access and drone flights are only prohibited there. Of course, that also means that the drone can show us the beauty here from above in the rest of the area. Shortly afterwards, I can already see the lake with the reed areas. There’s only one catch to this thing. Apparently we forgot to take the memory card for the drone with us. So I’m limited to 1 minute and 55 seconds total video footage. The internal memory of the drone does not give more.

An interesting encounter and actually the first direct conversation about our drone I get directly on site from a local. He is surprised that this drone is so quiet. And I expected that I would have to justify myself here as to why I’m flying a drone in the nature reserve… Well, because it’s allowed… But good. In fact, our drone is rather small and quiet. This has many advantages and one of the major ones is, of course, that you are less noticeable and less annoying. This mission was apparently successful.

Örebro: Biltema and Shopping

Unfortunately, the next morning it only rains. Accordingly, we continue our planned rain program. Biltema is a chain in Sweden that sells everything to do with cars. Here we try to get some accessories for our Dumbo. Unfortunately this is rather unsuccessful. Apart from a mount for one of our cameras and more toys for our little one, we can’t get any further here. After that, we do a bulk purchase in the ICA Maxi supermarket. A few supplies still need to be refilled. Therewhile, our little one discovers the fun of shopping. With one of these play shopping trolleys with a car element in front, we jet through the aisles of the shelves like a bumper car, stop at a suitable point, let our little one load the desired products and the continue on again.

Leksand Bakeri

Our next stop should now be in Leksand, the hometown of the crispbread, which we like and eat quite often. In order to shorten the journey for our little one, the story of the moose Erwin, who was standing in the rain, is invented without further ado. (Artificial intelligence from chatgpt kindly supported us.) Here for you to read again:

Once upon a time there was a little moose named Erwin. He was still quite young, only two years old, and lived in a beautiful forest. Erwin had soft, brown fur and large, friendly eyes.

On a rainy day, Erwin decided to take a walk through the forest. But just as he was about to leave, it started to rain heavily. Erwin hesitated, but his adventurous spirit did not let him flinch. So he grabbed his umbrella, which was specially made for moose, and set off.

The rain was beating down on Erwin’s umbrella, but he thought it was funny. Each drop sounded like a little melody accompanying it. Erwin danced in the rain and jumped happily from one puddle to the next. He was so happy that he forgot about the bad weather.

While Erwin was frolicking around happily, he suddenly noticed a little squirrel sadly sitting under a tree. It didn’t seem to like the rain as much as Erwin did. Erwin stopped and looked sympathetically at the squirrel.

“Hey, little friend, why are you so sad?” Erwin asked sensitively.

The squirrel looked up at Erwin and sighed. “I’m scared of the rain. I can’t play or frolic like you. It makes me wet and cold.”

Erwin smiled and held out his umbrella to the squirrel. “Here, you can have my umbrella. Then you can stay dry and still have fun in the rain.”

The squirrel looked at Erwin gratefully and took the umbrella. It began to laugh and now danced together with Erwin in the rain. The two friends had a wonderful time and the squirrel realized that as long as you had good company, the rain wasn’t that bad.

After a while the rain stopped and the sun came out. Erwin and the squirrel enjoyed the sight of the rainbow in the sky and knew that they had developed a special friendship. They promised to always be there for each other, rain or shine.

And so ended the story of Erwin the moose standing in the rain. Erwin and the squirrel became best friends and had many more adventures together, come rain or shine. {.blockquote}

As soon as Erwin and the squirrel are happy, we arrive at the parking lot of the factory outlet in Leksand. In the shop there is really a wide variety of things with, from and around crispbread. We are most enthusiastic about the crispbread pizza. We haven’t even come up with the idea of making pizza from crispbread. We were already a little surprised in the parking lot when people with four moving boxes full of crispbread came towards us. Who is going to eat all that? In the shop, however, we understand ourselves quite quickly. The price is unbeatable. So for about 10% of the original price we also take a 5kg box with crispbread — but only one and not four…

In the Knäckeria, the small, simple café next door, we then try a piece of crisp pizza. It’s surprisingly good. The base definitely has its own taste.


Arrived in Leksand we park directly in town and right next to the playground. The little one is enthusiastic and so we spend almost an hour on the playground until mum has our Swedish Köttbullar dinner ready. The only drawback at this place: Apparently, due to all the rain of the last few days, some of the playground equipment has been washed away so that the swing is no longer usable. This is a bigger problem, at least for our little one.

Naturum Dalarna

From Leksand we start a trip to Naturum Dalarna the next day. This is an observation tower with a small exhibition on nature on site in the neighboring town. Here we walk the child-friendly Humlebumle path through the forest, marveling at the figures of badgers, rabbits, squirrels and co. and at the end test how our long jump performance can measure up to the different animals.

Then we go up to the lookout tower. While Anne can easily take the elevator, the little one insists on going up the stairs with me to the 32 meter high tower. Of course I should still carry her. But from the top you have a wonderful view over Lake Siljan and the surrounding forest. In general, the region seems to consist only of forests and lakes.

We’ve probably only seen so much forest in Canada recently. Back down in the exhibit there are more stuffed animals to admire. Here you can also see the first moose for this holiday and learn some exciting things about nature. Our little one definitely enjoys discovering the different things. Afterwards we enjoy our morning without rain with waffles at Buffil’s Anna Kaffeestuga. So this is what vacation feels like. Have we found it now?

When we get back to the car, the rain starts again.

Leksand with rain

Back in Leksand we use the rain breaks to go shopping again. After all, we’re still missing a memory card and — oh dear — we’ve run out of coffee. On the go, our little one is completely excited from one moment to the other and doesn’t want to move any further in its pram. We absolutely have to: … yes, what? No idea? We just passed a toy store. But not more…? The little one calls out again: there! We look at each other in confusion, then we understand where we stopped. In the parking lot of a supermarket. There are shopping carts. She wants to drive one of these car shopping carts again! No problem, we still need the coffee anyway. A few buildings further down the street, we can also treat the drone to a new memory card. All that’s missing now is better weather.

As a reward we treat ourselves with a hot chocolate in a café in Leksand and then return to our overnight accommodation. Today we just stay next to the same playground in Leksand as last night.


The next morning the rain has finally let up and we are greeted by a pleasantly gray sky. Yes — gray is good. The days before, the sky was always black and full of rain clouds. Today you can almost guess blue gaps — at least with a little optimism. Therefore we want to drive to Styggforsen today. A waterfall very close by with a coffee stuga to stop off afterwards.

In 1.7km it is easy to walk around the waterfall. You have a great view after just under half the route and can then walk over the waterfall on a bridge. The path then continues down the slope into the valley to the actual watercourse, where we can still admire the Getryggen rock formation. Here limestone layers, which normally run parallel to the ground, have risen almost vertically. A local hiker explains to us that this was the result of a meteorite impact and is therefore special.

After the short loop we are quickly back at the coffee stuga and enjoy another typical Swedish fika — coffee with waffles and company (and a drink pack). When we’re done with that, our litte one decides that she wants to go hiking herself. With photo camera! So we go back to the car, get the desired toy camera and start the hike again. Naive as I am, I had hoped that it would be enough if we went back to the first stream we had seen. That was only 200 meters. After all, the little one also wants to take photos of the water. But it quickly becomes clear that I was wrong about that, and we will definitely do half of the actual hike again. When other hikers (I guess from Switzerland?) point out to us that there are wild strawberries and blueberries here, the little one listens carefully. And less than 5 minutes later, Anne has disappeared into the forest and comes back with two handfuls of blueberries. They are then literally eaten out of her hand. That way you don’t get your hands dirty.

Only after this second excursion do we continue. The next planned stop is then in Mora.

Change of plan

Well… That was the plan. After this spectacular and exciting hike with a rest, our little one is so exhausted that she fell asleep again shortly after the start. So while we drive our sleeping one through the rain, we discuss again what we want to do in the next few days. And after a bit of back and forth, we agree that we are tired of the rain and want to try our luck further north towards Östersund and then at Lofoten. It’s quite a drive, almost 14 hours driving time only on the shortest route, but the weather seems to be much better further north.

Digression on storm Hans

To illustrate a little more clearly why we are now completely overhauling our itinerary and what we mean by rain, here are some facts and news reports. In the last 4 days there has been up to 80l of rain per m² on individual days. About 82l is the normal average for the whole of August in Sweden. In some places it was even up to 100l per day. The whole country is correspondingly wet. In Gothenburg — which we also had on the plan as an alternative destination in the meantime — the port area is 70 cm under water. There was actually no severe weather warning given here.

Parts of the roads we wanted to drive are closed due to flooding, and the well-known ski resort of Åre was downright devastated by the floods.

So we didn’t dare to go to any campsite. We were suspicious of every meadow, whether we wouldn’t get stuck after all. Also at Styggforsen you can clearly see from the current water masses how much rain there has been in this area. Even if we avoided the worst of the storm thanks to intensive news research and following the instructions and warnings of the Swedish Meteorological Institute, the fun of traveling is limited. The weather just isn’t compatible with our favorite activities like hiking, photography or going to the playground.


So we don’t drive into Mora at all, but turn off again at the roundabout at the entrance to Mora, heading north to Östersund. And so this journey continues. What began with a postponed start due to bad weather is now degenerating into a completely spontaneous discovery tour through northern Scandinavia.

While our litte one sleeps on and has no idea of her fate, we drive through endless forests with Dumbo and find out that over time the road leads uphill and downhill more and more often. The terrain is getting hillier and we are slowly getting into a real travel mood. We often compare the landscape with its huge fir forests on smaller hills with Canada. Not only is it geographically at about the same level. There, too, we drove for hours through endless forests — just like here. Where there is no forest along the roadside, it is interrupted by one of the countless lakes. The tourism website for the Jämtland region, which is where we are now, claims that there are around 17,000 lakes in this Swedish province alone. Also the landscape is completely different than in Norway. Although it’s only 100-200km as the crow flies, this doesn’t remind us of Norway at all and is different than we probably expected.

The complete route to Östersund is still too far for us this afternoon, so we make our next overnight stop in Sveg about halfway through. Sveg is a sleepy town with almost 2600 inhabitants, many abandoned houses and the only industry here is wood processing — no big surprise. It’s also the first “bigger” town since Orsa, which is just past Mora. In between there are more than 100 km of road through the forest. The place still has historical value. After all, Henning Mankell apparently grew up here and shows that origin definitely doesn’t have to exclusively decide about the future.

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