img_1692We are currently in Rovaniemi (Finland) – almost at the Arctic Circle. We are still missing a handful of kilometers as the Arctic Circle is located at the northern end of the town and we are spending the night in a camping cottage at the eastern side of town so that we cross the Arctic Circle only tomorrow morning. The drive from central Sweden to here would have been unspectacular if it wasn’t for air-polluting factories which shook up the expanse of the Swedish woods every now and then.

From our romantic domicile at Lake Siljan we continued our journey diagonally across Sweden towards Söderhamn by the Gulf of Bothnia, and then swinging north. Around lunch time, just passing through Sundsvall we’ve discovered that we all had the munchies and decided that we were going to enjoy one of those tasty Swedish fish soups. Unfortunately, Sundsvall was a rather depressed city, and despite several attempts to find some sort of restaurant, we were left with a Subway sandwich. I have given Sundsvall several chances to improve my opinion, but in the end it was things like the rain, the petrol factories on the outskirts, the never-ending construction sites, the broken parking meter, that shabby-from-the-outside-but-super-sophisticated-inside restaurant with completely excessive prices, the other restaurant with a waiter who speaks neither German nor English, and the lack of pleasing views in general which left me to decide that Sundsvall languishes in a bitter mood. Sorry, Sundsvall!

Örnsköldsvik on the other hand scored points with a ski-jump run-out on the roof of a gas station right by the town’s main round-about, and an interesting cubicle building – see blurry photos below, spontaneously shot during the drive.

Byske Havsbad was picked as the destination for tonight. Located towards the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, we’ve settled on an upscale camping cottage that came at a surprisingly acceptable price. Overall we’ve been lucky with our cottage selection up to now. Sometimes rather simple (one room, two bunk beds, no running water), sometimes luxurious (two bedrooms, family room, fully-equipped kitchen, shower, toilet, large patio), but with our “good enough to have a roof over your head” philosophy we didn’t ask for much, and should we ever find nothing, we still have a tent with us.

The border crossing between Sweden and Finland was quite unspectacularly situated between two round-abouts. Today’s journey was rather boring. Many speed cameras (luckily pre-advised), many ‘Caution, Elks’ signs (but no elks), we’re moving at between 5 and 50 m above sea level, the traffic is moderate, it’s slightly rainy, 15 to 17 degrees. We are now in Rovaniemi in Lapland and have unburdened the tourist bureau of some brochures, found a budget-friendly campsite only on the third attempt, and are surrounded by many Russian friends who have flooded Finland thanks to some Russian holiday.

Despite the late hour, the World Cup opening game will be watched tonight – it’s bright outside and will remainn bright throughout the night. Hello, Arctic Circle :-)

730 km Rättvik – Byske:

344 km Byske – Rovaniemi: