Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Backpacking in the Archipelago

About four weeks ago we went backpacking in the Stockholm archipelago.  The archipelago is a collection of about 30,000 islands.  When we visited Stockholm this summer we wanted to go on a cruise through the archipelago but we weren't sure we wanted to spend the whole day doing that when we really only had three days to sight see.  Plus, at that point we knew we were being offered the chance to move here so we thought that was something we would do over the course of the next year.

Lots of people camp, hike and backpack during the summer in the archipelago because the weather is perfect.  We went on the last nice weekend of the year to camp in a tent.  Several of the islands have cabins or hostels that you can stay in once it gets cold. There is a chance we could go out again this year we just won't be staying in a tent.

I didn't grow up camping with my family but thankfully two of my best friend's families took me camping. (Don't listen to any of their stories.  They are full of lies.)  I think Jake really appreciates that because if they hadn't done that I'm not sure I would be camping now.  Jake and I have gone camping several times in the Kansas and twice in Colorado with his parents.  This time was different because we had to carry everything we needed in a backpack.  We couldn't throw in extra things just in case.  That was really hard for me.  I like to be prepared and I definitely over pack.

I think Jake has figured out that me moving to a foreign country is the craziest and scariest thing I have ever done so anything that isn't moving me to another country is something I should say yes to.  Hence backpacking in the archipelago.  He planned this whole trip.  He is NOT a planner.  He has also figured out that if he plans something and he claims it will be romantic than I also get suckered into that as well. He figured out which ferry we needed to take and which island we were going to.

On Saturday, September 21st we left at 8:30 am from downtown Stockholm.  We took a ferry 2 and a half hours to the Island of Finnhamn.
Leaving downtown Stockholm.  I love this view!
Another view of the city as we were leaving.
This is Gröna Lund which is an amusement park on Djurgården Island.  We haven't been there yet.  We thought about going this summer or this fall but it also might be fun to go when we have visitors.  So who is up for a trip to an amusement park that has a great view?
We took this picture for our nephew Andrew.  Do you notice the animal in the picture?  A crane that looks like a giraffe.
We went out on the upper deck and on to the back part of the ferry a couple times during our trip.  It was a little chilly but not too bad.
We passed a cruise ship.  I really want to take a cruise around Europe.  I'm thinking that will be on our to do list in the spring.
Here is what the inside of the ferry looked like.  It was really nice.  There was a cafe for breakfast and snacks.  We also had power outlets and wifi.  
I still can't believe we are on this crazy adventure.  But I am so glad I get to share it with this guy!
We just got off the ferry at Finnhamn.

The ferry we took heading off to the next stop.
All we had for one night of camping was in those two backpacks.
The restaurant didn't open until 12 so we had about 30 minutes to walk around and explore.
I think we picked the perfect day to go camping.  It was so clear and sunny!
My view at lunch.
Our view at lunch.
Jake's view at lunch.
 There was one restaurant on the island which was great because we didn't have enough room to pack food.  We brought some granola bars and dried fruit for breakfast but we were planning on having lunch and dinner at this restaurant.  The food was good and it wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be considering there isn't another option on the island.  Lunch was about $40, which back home is ridiculous.  Here it is a pretty good deal.  While we were eating lunch we asked the waiter what time they were open for dinner.  He said they were open from 5-10 but they were already fully booked for the night. Huh?  The only restaurant on the entire island was fully book and we have two granola bars and a packet of dried fruit to hold us over until we get back on the boat tomorrow at 12:20.  Awesome.  Thankfully the waiter said they could work us in since it was just the two of us.  We would have to be there for dinner at 5:00.  We were finishing our lunch around 1:15 or so.  It worked out fine but we were hoping to have more time to explore the island before dinner and before it got dark.

Trying to figure out where the campsites are located.  Thankfully there is a sign.  Unfortunately, it is in Swedish :).
Sometimes we take pictures of things so we can translate them later when we have time.  This one says you can't wash dishes or laundry here.
This one says, "Laundry and dish washing prohibited"

While we were walking around trying to find a place to set up our tent we saw lots of platforms made out of wood.
We thought we were supposed to set up our tent at one of those sites but all of them had things on them, like the picture above, and they were covered in tarps.  We found someone who was packing up her things on a platform and asked her where we should camp.  We learned that the platforms are spaces that can be rented during the summer season.  She was packing up her site since the camping season was pretty much over.  We asked her where she would recommend we put our tent for the night.

This was her recommendation.  I'm glad we ran into her.  I'm not sure we would have found this place without her help.
In Sweden there is a law, allemansrätt, that you can camp anywhere you want for one night.  You can even stay on private property as long as you leave it as you found it and you are not disturbing anyone.
We brought a tent from home that Jake used when he went back packing through Hawaii for a month.  He decided to air out the fly.

Our tent with our sleeping bags but without the fly.  This tent is mostly mesh and I could definitely tell it wasn't as warm as our other tent but it is lighter weight than the one we left at home.  
Our view from inside the tent.

After we set up our tent we decided to do a little exploring before dinner.
The view of our campsite from above.  It was a pretty good hike down to the campsite.  I'm thankful someone told us where to go or else we would have missed such a great place to stay for the night.
I'm checking out the bathroom situation. Not as excited as my face makes you think I am.  

The closest outhouse was about a 5 minute hike/walk from our tent.  The closest flush toilets were about 15 minutes from our campsite.  I was thankful we were only there for one night.  I don't mind sleeping in a tent but I'm not a fan of these types of facilities.  I did learn a very valuable life skill, peeing in the woods :).

One of the cabins you can rent on the island.  These only have beds.  If you need to use the restroom you can go to the yellow building on the right in this picture.  That is the hostel.  You can also spend the night there.
A chessboard outside the hostel.
This was inside the hostel.  We stopped by to check out the hostel and to use the flush toilets :).
I love seeing all of the colors in the fall.

The drink menu at dinner.
Our table for two.  The restaurant was pretty empty.  I think most people make their reservations for a little bit later in the evening but we were just thankful for the food.
We were hoping to get back to our campsite by the time the sunset but we weren't able to get all the way back.  We did get to see a glimpse of the sunset though.

Having dinner early actually worked out better for us since we wanted to walk back to our campsite and build a fire before it was too dark.  We ended up talking with some guys at the hostel when we were picking up firewood so Jake had to build the fire in the dark but he did a great job.
I love campfires!

Sleeping in the tent went pretty well.  It got down to 43 degrees or so over night which isn't horrible.  We have camped when it was below freezing before and that wasn't very much fun but we survived so this was better.  Although that time we had more clothes and covers with us than we did this time.  I think the harder thing about camping in Sweden instead of Kansas is that it doesn't warm up as much during the day.  So even though it doesn't get much colder at night we don't ever get warm during the day before it gets cold again.

On the night we camped K-State played Texas.  We checked the score around 4:00 am our time to see if it would be worth following for a little while before going back to sleep.  Unfortunately we weren't doing very well so it wasn't worth staying up.  I sure do miss football but I'm kind of glad I'm missing an off year.
Jake was warming up some water for tea and coffee.  This camp stove is the same one he used when he was in Hawaii.
This is a pop can alcohol stove.
This man loves adventures and I love him!
Jake thought he found some lingonberries.
Lingonberries are really popular here in Sweden but apparently they don't taste very good uncooked.
This is the view of the restaurant from the ferry on our way back home.
We had lunch on the ferry.  It was pretty good.
Jake taking a picture of us with our backpacks.
I keep telling myself and others that I am not adventurous.  Apparently that is hard for others and myself to believe after you  move to a foreign country.  So I am beginning to think that instead, I am just not adventurous by nature.  I will do adventurous things but only after someone else comes up with and plans the adventure.  And that is one of the many reasons why Jake and I work.  He loves adventures and I love him enough to say yes when he asks me to go with him. I love how God puts people in your life to really stretch you and make you grow.

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