Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Today will be a day full of funny incidents. Our plan is to first visit the Nämforsen waterfall, for which we need to enter the countryside some kilometers, and then return back to the High Coast.
Before we leave the camping at our usual time, around 10h, we take some pictures of the place. I like specially the space where children can play safely with all kind of toys. Parents can “abandon” them there for a while and relax. There is also a little lake, like in all campings. In our way to the waterfall, we find a lot of signs where it is written a mysterious word: LOPPIS. Nobody knows what it means, and we forget always to look on a dictionary. Yes! We have one! Incredible, isn’t it?
Yesterday we already saw some. We make all kind of suppositions. Perhaps it’s something to eat, typical of the region, or perhaps it’s a souvenirs shop, or perhaps a B&B, or perhaps…
– Pareix que jugam a mem qui la diu més grossa.
An easy way to find out will be to stop at one of them, but we resist. No time to lose! No time to lose, but to take pictures of churches. Marga seems quite obsessed with them:
– Mira, una esglèsia! Atura, atura!
Car stops. The window goes down. Click, click. Car starts again. However, this time we stop for a while. It seems to be a “special” church, with a quiet cemetery. We get out of the car and walk around it. The cemetery is very well entertained. I’m surprised to see that the tools to maintain it (rake, watering can, buckets) are hanged in order at several places. In my town, people will damage them or take them home. When I say this, my trip colleagues tell me that here, in Sweden, there is a “secret police” that takes care of discreetly eliminating all “bad” people. I laugh at this suggestion… However, it’s true that everything is very clean. Later on, in Stockholm, I’ll discover who is this “secret police”. But let’s return to our car…
When we return to the car. Surprise! It makes a weird sound. Marga is driving. We stop. Toni and I look at the car. We are worried. The sound comes from the front wheel, like a small stone trapped in the brake disc, yet we cannot find it. The car cannot be broken already. Not now, please! We decide to continue. If the sound persists we’ll call a garage. When we increase the speed, the sound fans out. When we decrease it, the sound reappears. Marga is afraid.
– Per què sempre m’han de passar a mi aquestes coses?
Toni and I start joking on her (aka li feim una mica d’abús) I even start recording the scene on a video, but then, suddenly, the sound stops. When we see the next “Loppis”, we decide to visit it. We are plenty of curiosity, and we also want to investigate the strange sound. When we stop it makes a horrible cric-cric. When we see what Loppis actually are, we are a bit deceived. We were expecting too much. Loppis are simple places where people sell their old stuff! There is really nothing special about it. The magic of the “Loppis” has disappeared. However, when we return to the road, no more sounds. The little stone is also gone! Yuppie! Two mysteries solved in one go.
We drive to the waterfall in parallel to a river. My music compilation is starting to like, despite the initial reserves. I brought some Jazz, Rock, Swing, Van Morrison, Ray Charles, and of course, balkan music! We can see a lot of bridges, all different. There is even a hanging one, like in Indiana Jones films. We cannot help stopping to take a closer look. It’s amazing. A car is coming, so we stop at one side to let him pass. Only one car can pass at a time. The bridge moves when we walk on it. Wow!
Around lunch time we finally arrive to the waterfall. We were beginning to doubt whether it really existed, but some rail workers confirm us that we are very close. We hope is worth all these extra miles. It is, I can assure you. We still haven’t seen the Norwegians waterfalls, but this one is spectacular. I don’t understand why there is no more people visiting. Until now we haven’t seen any “massive” touristic place. We park our Polo at the dam, and go down to take some pictures. The sound of the water falling is like music. I like water, source of life.
Downstairs, we see some (prehistoric?) paintings on the rocks. We have a wonderful sunny day, perfect to go out. There are still things to visit at this place, but we are hungry, so first lunch. I’m trying to establish the five meals a day spirit to the group, but they resist. For example, we have been skipping the second breakfast for two days. Ay… They want to make me starve… Hopefully, we had a “decent” first breakfast. For lunch, we eat “pa i coses” (bread and things). While we were eating, a police car from NY has appeared. For a moment we thought that it was the “secret police”, and we were afraid our car was not correctly parked. We soon realize the car was from a crazy guy that has decorate it as a police car, including the lights on top. I’m sorry we didn’t take a picture. It took us by surprise. :O
After coffee we bring all the food stuff to the car and we walk down to pay a proper visit to the area. More people has arrived. There are plenty of wood constructions, including cages to fish salmons when they are jumping. We enjoy a really good walk in the woods. The river, the mountains, the trees, the rocks, the water, this air so pure. It’s so beautiful we can’t stop taking photos. But no photo can describe that feeling. We really feel the freedom of nature! 🙂
Around 16h, after that magic moment, we decide is time to continue. I wish we could stay more, but we still have a lot to do.
– Anam amb es coet a n’es cul!
My sharp driving (or “conducció brusquera”) receives some criticism. Some people (those who keep their arms into the car and pray while I’m driving) may have been wondering until now whether they let me drive the car. The answer, yet unbelievable, is yes! They are very irresponsible, but the thing is that I enjoyed. Now I’m a better driver. For those who don’t know me, I’m not a crazy driver. No, it’s just that I have to practice more. I often mislay myself. I cannot drive and look through the window at a same time, to make it clear. That said, today I get criticized just because I’ve tried to advance a truck in the wrong moment. A double overtaking, to be precise. However, I was just making sure they were awake.
– Jo vull baixar!
– Jo també!
Yeap, driving it’s not one of my skills. Certainly not in a city. I prefer to bike or walk. The reason is that I’m only driving about 6 hours per year. Half an hour from the airport home. And back. Three times a year. However, I always park perfectly aligned. Hum! 😉
Next stop is Bönhamn (I’m having serious trouble looking for these names in Google Maps, as I’m unable to spell them correctly, argg!!), a typical fishing town on the Gulf of Bothnia. On the way we wanted to border the coast, but we only saw forests and lakes. The roads, even the small ones, don’t run along the sea, and reaching a fishing village can be tedious. However, it is worth. When I see the sea and all those rocks, I want to swim!
We take our swimming clothes and food for the 4th meal. On the way to the water we find some wood bars were fish can be hanged to dry. When we arrive to the rocks, we realize we are a bit late. People are already preparing their dinner, and some children play around. There is still sun, but it’s going down quickly. If we really want to swim, it has to be done quickly. I would like to dive into the water directly from a rock, but they prevent me. Perhaps the water is cold. Indeed it is, but that will not prevent us from taking our bath!
Marga is there with her camera to immortalize the moment. But for one reason or another (Marga call that “excuses”), the moment is taking long. I wish I had jumped when we arrived. It’s getting cold. We finally swim for a short time. Then we are allowed to have our “berenar des capvespre”. Marga starts complaining that it’s late, and that we should continue to arrive at Umea.
– Sempre amb es coet a n’es cul!
Once in the car, we discover a little problem. Imagine what. Yes, we are running out of fuel! It’s still not critical, but we should find a petrol station soon. The alarming fact is that we haven’t seen one for hours! We find one on a little village, but it’s already closed, and we are unable to pay with the automatic system. We try all our credit and debit cards without success. In addition, the language is a barrier. After 15 minutes we desist. A friendly Swedish also tries to put benzine, but he can’t neither. Thus, we continue. We all pray in the car. I’m criticized again because I refused, early this morning, to fill in our deposit. My argmunet was, of course, that the Diesel was too expensive. Too expensive means that it was 1SEK or less more expensive. That means less than 5 or 10 eurocents per liter, but is still something. I thought we’ll find another station, but it was not the case. So now we are “happily” driving to the main road, expecting to find there an open service station. We drive carefully, minimizing the diesel consumption. After some miles, a red light appears on the control desk. We have less than 50kms available. Toni poses for the photo. I cannot stop laughing. Marga is not so happy:
– Mira que ens ho han dit de vegades. Anau sempre amb mig depòsit com a mínim! I anau i no posau benzina. És que no teniu consol!
I think it’s clear who will go (walking) for the can of diesel. I’m the guilty one. No dinner tonight. 😦
But praying has its effect. When only 20km were left for the engine to stop, we found a fuel station! It was expensive, so we only filled the deposit with 150SEK, enough to arrive to destination safely. Everybody is happy again! I’ll be allowed to eat tonight! Yuppie! After this incident we decide, this time for real, to fill in the deposit when the indicator reaches half. Whatever the price of fuel is. Understood? Yes… Everybody agrees.
After all these moments of stress, we desist of our idea to reach Umea tonight. It’s already 21h. We’ll sleep at Gullviks Havsbad Camping och Stugby, near Domsjö. The palce is nice. This time near the sea, not a lake. For the first time, we have WC in the cabin. No shower, though. Having a WC in the cabin is convenient, more if outside there a plenty of mosquitoes ready to attack you. That happened when we went to the beach to swim before dinner. They massacred us! Only in the water you were safe. Water was cold, but bearable. Once crossed the arctic circle, it will not be the same.
While I was taking a shower, Toni has prepared some tasty spaguetti with tuna. They were delicious. After dinner we have taken our traditional midnight picture, but this time very quickly due to the mosquitoes.
Today, we’ve added a new routine: the photo selection! Most of them taken from the car are blurred, so we’ve deleted them. My 1GB SD card was full, so time to clean up. Fortunately enough, I took two cards with me. It’s also nice to review what we have done until now. Those funny videos and pictures made the first day, already so far in our memory and only taken two days ago! We are seeing a lot of new things every day. We are all still very excited with crossing the arctic polar circle. I’m also very happy with my new trousers, specially designed against mosquitoes, wind and waterproof, my Bestard boots, my North Face jaquet. I feel well equipped for the adventure. I only need a DSLR camera. 😉
It’s 2 o’clock in the morning, but I still want to write some notes on my diary. The other two think that I’m crazy. However, I know that if I don’t write now, I’ll never do it. Thanks to them I can write this post. Last note is:
Estic cansat. Potser hauria de dormir. Els ocells ja se desperten.
Again, directions are not exactly the same we took, but you get the idea. We took the small roads.
Why in English?
Even though it’s more difficult for me to write in English, I feel I have to do it. My English-speaking fans can follow my diary, and it’s also good for me. I’m learning some new words every day I write. Web translation tools and my Longman dictionary are my best friends. Writing the memories of this trip has become trickier that I thought in the beginning. Instead of one post per day, I’m producing one every two. Spelling of the places we visited seems to be wrong in most of my notes. In addition, pictures have to be selected, resized and uploaded to Flickr. Finding a name for every picture can also be challenging. And I was planning to geolocalize all pictures! However, all this work is worth. My intention is double: to remember what we visited and experienced, and to help others to organize a similar trip.