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Published: March 7th 2020
Greetings! This is my third and final blog entry for my wonderful mini mid-winter trip to Sweden in February. So far I have written about my explorations in Stockholm and nearby Uppsala. In this one I plan to relate my amazing final full day in the country, taking in some seriously beautiful places of nature around the capital, as well as the day of my journey home on the Thursday of half-term week. As I mentioned in my first blog entry, the trip there was a little stressful to say the least. I must admit, I did spend a bit of time on my trip wondering how my return journey would go, half-expecting my flight again to be cancelled, but in the end it wasn’t, and the return journey went just swimmingly, thank goodness!
For my third full day I wanted to see more of the natural beauty which Sweden is quite rightly famous for. In the morning I planned a visit to the nearby Tyresta National Park, and in the afternoon an exploration of the Tyresö peninsula, a long jut of land sticking out into the sea, and part of the really beautiful and quite famous
Stockholm Archipelago. My day did not disappoint, and although it was only really dipping my toe into Sweden’s great outdoors, I really feel I got a wonderful taster of the natural beauty which this amazing country has to offer.
After another lovely self-catered breakfast in my lodgings, I headed once more into Trollbäcken Centrum, to take advantage of the area’s fantastic public bus transport links. I first of all took a bus southwards to a place called Svartbäcken, where I waited half an hour for another bus to take me the short distance eastwards into the heart of a tiny but seriously beautiful place called the Tyresta National Park. This is an area of wilderness and virgin boreal forest, one of 30 national parks in Sweden, and only 25km away from the centre of Stockholm. With a size of only 4900 hectares, it packs a lot of punch, being home to two billion year old rocks, 300 year old pine trees, lakes, marshes and a variety of bird and wildlife. After purchasing a map to the region in the Visitors Centre, I embarked on a 6km return journey through an absolutely gorgeous forest area, around the edge of Bylsjön
Wild Roe Deer
Tyresö, Stockholm Archipelago
Lake and towards my final destination, Årsjön Lake. While there were a fair few other hikers around, particularly around the first lake, I had all of my time at the second lake to myself. On the way I passed an amazing beavers’ dam and reservoir, noticing surrounding trees clearly gnawed and felled by these amazing animals of engineering. Sadly I saw no beavers, but it was a wonder to behold their amazing feats of engineering. At Årsjön Lake I rested in a small log-built shelter which was clearly used, more likely in the summer months, by hikers as an overnight lodging and campfire spot, and took in the completely unspoilt views over the water below and towards the forest on the other side of the lake. It was peaceful and magical, and although I much prefer my comforts of a cosy bed and hot shower, I imagined an overnight stay in this scenic spot would have been a lovely experience. I would have liked to have returned to the Visitors Centre by an alternative route, but my intention was to make it back within just 50 minutes to take another bus onwards to my next destination, and I preferred to
be assured that I would make it in time rather than take an unknown path, so I returned via the same route I came. Not to worry, it gave me more time to enjoy the beauty once more of the virgin forest I had previously walked through.
Once back at the Visitors Centre, I caught a bus back again to Svartbäcken, from there back again to Trollbäcken, and a third bus which was to take me eastwards to my afternoon destination for the day, the Tyresö peninsula.
I made a slight misjudgement of where I was when I got off the bus however – I was looking to get off in a town called Tyresö, and having seen the next bus stop to be Tyresö Centrum, I got off there. I didn’t realise until afterwards that the Tyresö Centrum was not actually the centre of Tyresö town itself, but merely a large, modern shopping complex. Not to worry, it was lunchtime, and I was just about ready to take advantage of my third and final “Dagens Lunch” of my trip. I happened upon a lovely little Italian restaurant, and ordered a meal of pork medallions, boiled potatoes and
Tyresta National Park, Sweden
sauce, with lingonberry juice, biscuits for pudding, and a coffee to top it all off. At around £10 it was another bargain, and had me substantially filled and rejuvenated for my subsequent explorations on foot. Whilst there, and right behind me, I noticed a few British accents, and stumbled upon a very friendly and jovial group of British expat pensioners, who had married and settled in Sweden, and who meet every now and then to catch up with each other. It felt quite strange to hear so many British accents in the middle of a suburb of Stockholm, and I got talking to a very nice 90-year-old gentleman, who actually looked about 65, telling me about all the amazing outdoor activities he enjoyed whilst living in Sweden – cycling, hiking and ice-skating in the winter. I mentioned that I wish I had as much energy as he had now, let alone in 50 years’ time…!
After lunch, I bade farewell to this delightful group of expats, and caught another bus on to the original destination I had aimed for, Tyresö town itself. I was glad to have made the mistake of getting off in the wrong place, however, as
there were not too many eateries around there, and I still had plenty of exploring to do.
I got off at the Tyresö Kyrka, a cute 17th
century gothic-renaissance church surrounded by lush meadows and trees. The building wasn’t open, but with the sun out, the exterior was really quite beautiful. From here I walked to the nearby Tyresö Palace, also built in the 17th
century, and dubbed the “Palace of the Archipelago”. This was also closed, being out of the tourist season, but a small café in the building was open, where I stopped off for a cup of tea, and continued my journey through the palace’s attached “Engelska Parken”, or “English Garden”, which had to be pretty much my highlight of the day. While the palace and its grounds were beautiful, their location surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Stockholm Archipelago was something magical to behold. I crossed a bridge over to nearby Fiskarholmen island, and was filled with absolute wonder of the stunning views all around – waters as still as a millpond, surrounded by forested hills on all sides. Again, I had the place to myself, and just wallowed in the aching
beauty of the place, its silence, and every now and then the sound of birdlife somewhere in the distance.
The sun was beginning to set about now, and I still had a bit more I wanted to see. My initial plan was to hike through a nearby wilderness area behind a row of houses towards a place identified as a beach on my Maps.Me app. As soon as I began the walk, however, I startled a wild roe deer only metres away from me, which also startled me, and I thought it may not be a good idea to hike in such an untouched area just as evening was approaching. The spotting of the deer, and the photo I took of it, was itself a highlight though, so I returned to the main road where I learned that a bus was due within five minutes which could take me as far as one could go along the peninsula by public transport. My calculations figured out that I would have 45 minutes to spend at the end of the road there, before another bus was due to take me all the way back to Trollbäcken, so I eagerly hopped on
the bus when it arrived.
My final destination for the day was thus a place called Tyresö Brevik, a very peaceful area of Scandinavian cottages and villas, surrounded by forests and coastlines of the archipelago. A short walk downhill from the bus stop took me to a body of water called Breviksmaren, where seemingly boats would be moored during the summer season when I’m sure the place would be awash with visitors. By now the sun had set and darkness had arrived, so I enjoyed a few cold, lonely and desolate moments on one of the boating piers jutting out into the marina, before heading back up the small hill again and waiting for my final bus journey for the day.
The bus left right on time, and about an hour later I was back in my cosy lodgings in Trollbäcken for the evening, ready to rest up and contemplate the beauty and magic of Swedish nature which I had experienced that day. It was a lovely day indeed.
The next morning, I packed and bade farewell to the lovely lodgings which had been my resting place for the last four nights, for one more visit before
I headed to Arlanda Airport for my return journey home.
A little bit of an explanation may be required first for this one. As mentioned in my previous blog entry, I had downloaded my favourite Abba songs ready for this journey, including my all-time favourite “The Day Before You Came”. I remember hearing this song in my childhood, and being captivated by the mysterious melody, and as I grew older appreciating the enigmatic meaning of the song – did she really meet a lover and live happily ever after, if the song is so melancholic and sad? I found the music video equally haunting, particularly the scenes at the train station and on its journey over a bridge into central Stockholm. This video itself was actually in part my inspiration last year to plan this trip, along with my current desire to explore Scandinavia, and so for my last morning I planned to take a train along this bridge, to the station where part of the music video was filmed, called Tumba, and back again. I found this journey and my time at Tumba train station very meaningful and very personal to me, since the song and its video
has come to mean a lot to me in my life – I actually felt quite emotional during my time there.
Thus, that morning, after heading back into Stockholm Central from Trollbäcken for the last time, with my backpack, I took a suburban commuter train from there southwestwards, over the quite famous Årstabron Bridge featured in the video, and onto the commuter town of Tumba. Whilst much had changed since the video was filmed, I was able to find the location on Tumba’s station platform where some of the scenes took place, and took a number of photos there. It was lovely to be there, and I spent about half an hour listening to the music on my MP3 player and soaking up the atmosphere of the place. I imagine there are not many people who have visited Tumba station for this reason, though I may be wrong… I took the train back again from there to Stockholm Central, over the Årstabron Bridge once more, and this time headed towards the Arlanda Express platform, where the train was to whisk me away quickly back to Arlanda Airport once more, for my flight home. This was a lovely way I
thought to have ended my amazing stay in Stockholm, it really is such a meaningful song to me.
The flight back to Heathrow, as mentioned, went very smoothly. It left on time, though due to strong headwinds, it took quite a while to get back to Heathrow – 1 hour 10 minutes longer than the journey there, which just seems incredible – the winds must have been blowing northeasterly from the UK very strongly on both days. Indeed, the landing at Heathrow was really quite bumpy again, and I was so glad to have made it back safely without any further issues at the airport! I returned home via a new route I had figured out for this trip, which actually seemed quicker than the usual Crodyon-Heathrow route I have previously taken (not an easy one), and which also avoided the busy-ness and costliness of going via Central London. This was a bus from Heathrow to nearby Feltham station, from there to Clapham Junction, and from there to East Croydon. I enjoyed a taxi ride home again from East Croydon, and despite the trickiness of connecting to Heathrow from where I live, the door to door journey (from plane
door to home door) was a mere two hours – fantastic! This is particularly great news as my next two planned trips are both via Heathrow.
So it is with wonderful contemplation, and sincere appreciation of the wonders and beauty of Sweden, which has very quickly made it up to my top list of countries visited, that I shall end my travel blog writing for this journey. I’m currently planning another trip during the Easter holidays, as well as my big annual trip in the summer.
Thank you for reading, and I am very much looking forward already to my next two trips, which of course I plan to be travel blogging about here 😊
All the best for now.
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