Dalarna

I havn’t written for a couple of weeks! Last week we went on a road trip to the south-west of Sweden, to Dalarna, about a couple of hours drive from Norway.

We had a fantastic time! Here is a short summary….

The first night we stayed with our friends Thomas and Helena. Thomas has recently bought an amazing old farmhouse, complete with barns galore.

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The kids were fascinated by all the different hidden rooms and spaces in the house, and just as fascinated by the huge number of seemingly giant mosquitoes!

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Even more exciting was Peter, the farmer from next door, whom after he had fed the cows, took all the kids out in his tractor!

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We also managed to visit some 14th century silver mines where we were able to go 60m down into the mine to see how and where the miners used to work.

So that was day 1.

On day 2 we drove to our rented cottage high up in the mountains of “Gronklitt”.

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In the winter time this is a popular ski-ing area, but by summer it is a wonderful place to go hiking, and spot wildlife. It is bear country, but wolves and lynxes can also be spotted.

We went to the top of the mountain where the highest ski run went from, and this is the view.

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Despite the rain, it was very beautiful, and when Leon and Maya fell in love with the giant ski-ing blueberry, we  knew we had to come back up for a walk  into the “blueberry forest”!

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Day 3.

We decided to go to the bear park. It’s a place where you can observe bears in a (relatively) natural habitat – they live in huge areas, and you observe them from over land platforms.

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We managed to spot quite a few bears, including a few cubs! There was also an extremely good exhibition about polar bears and climate change,  but for some strange reason the fake glaciers seemed to strongly attract all three kids…

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Day 4.

“Tomteland”. By winter it is home of Father Christmas, his elves, and the snow king and queen. By summer it is home to an abundance of fairies and trolls. Oh, and Father Christmas…

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Maya writes her christmas list...

Maya writes her christmas list...

So that's where all our letters go!

So that's where all our letters go!

And there's the man himself!

And there's the man himself!

Alfie got stuck in the toy shop, while Leon, Maya and I went off to troll school with the fairies...

Alfie got stuck in the toy shop, while Leon, Maya and I went off to troll school with the fairies...

The big trolls houses..

The big trolls houses..

The little trolls houses...

The little trolls houses...

Some of the fairies we followed to find the...

Some of the fairies we followed to find the...

...trolls, who led us to.....

...trolls, who led us to.....

...the troll king!

...the troll king!

The whole theatre production, involved the audience, and was set in the forest, moving from place to place!

And then it was a quick drive by a viking ship…

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Getting tired...

Getting tired...

Day 6.

We decided to take the kids to an outside water park. Leon became obsessed with going down the slides on big orange rubber tires, Maya flew down the smaller slides, and Alfie point blank refused to go into the water after the first 10 minutes, because, lets face it, we’re in an unheated outside pool in Sweden.

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Day 7.

I decided to take Leon and Maya off on our blueberry forest walk today. It seemed to be a relatively easy walk downhill through a forest which was cleared for use by the ski runs, with giant blueberry and wild animal statues along the way, to ensure there would be no fear of getting lost.

Now just look at that beautiful sky...

Now just look at that beautiful sky...

The road looks pretty self evident doesn't it?

The road looks pretty self evident doesn't it?

What was it they said to Little Red Riding Hood?

What was it they said to Little Red Riding Hood?

Watch out, watch out, there's a bear about!

Watch out, watch out, there's a bear about!

And a wolf!

And a wolf!

Followed by a lynx, and an elk, and a tiger (true!), and a few more bears and blueberries…

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And this was our last picture. At the bottom of this road, way after the ski run had finished, we came to a fork in the road. Should we go left, should we go right? Let’s check the map! Ah, yes, that’s right, we didn’t bring one. And then the thunder started…

An hour later we left our little shelter in the woods, shaking with fear after experiencing thunder and lightening cracking over our heads, our eyes blinded with the flashes from the lightening, and trudged back the way we came through the deep puddles of wet wet moss and mud….

Very scary. We loved it!

Later we drove deep into the country side (okay, deeper..), where we came across a bunch of old-time farm enthusiasts. We watched some old ladies jojking (akin to yodeling), playing violins, ate some sour cheese sandwiches as we listened to folk songs on the guitar, and watched a cow wander into the vicinity.

Little house on the Prairie?

Little house on the Prairie?

Most definately..

Most definately..

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And Alfie made friends with a cow…

"No, we're going THIS way!*

"No, we're going THIS way!*

"She's not listening is she?"

"She's not listening is she?"

After which we went on another walk through the forest to see a waterfall, and pick some (rather early) blueberries.

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Day 8.

An easy day today. Among some other things, we went to the “samlar museum”. basically a museum started by an old lady who liked to collect things. Leon loved this as he is also obsessed with collecting things.

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Day 9.

The journey home. We went to the Dalarna horse factory to see how they were made. It was pretty wonderful, and each one is made by hand. Plus George Bush, Madonna and Elvis have all been given one as a gift.

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