Scandinavia (2021): From Thuringia to the North Cape and back

Rural Sweden

Blaikfjället National Park

In one of the moments when we were able to connect to a WiFi network on the go, I downloaded a map of hiking trails in nearby Blaikfjället National Park. There was a loop trail called Sumpskogsstigen that we wanted to walk. The way to the start was already more than adventurous. We turned off the normal road onto a dirt road that didn’t want to end and in some places was more like the Sani Pass in Drakensberg in terms of road condition. The road ran between tall spruce trees and apart from us there was not a soul far and wide. It soon seemed like we had lost all ties to the outside world as we drove pothole by pothole deeper into the national park. In the end, the path uphill was much too bumpy and the road stopped right there where the hiking trail began. And not only that, there were even traces of civilization here. No, we still didn’t see any people, but suddenly there were signposts, information boards and a small house which was closed. We could make out the word “Sumpskogsstigen” on the slightly worn signposts. Even if it didn’t feel that way during the journey: We were spot on here.

The path started out very promising. There were actually enough signposts so that we never felt lost and there were often boards on the ground so that you were always safe on uneven places. However, there was a problem. Not only today there was no one to be seen far and wide, also lately no one has lost their way here. The boards were often overgrown with undergrowth and ferns, which we had to fight our way through. In addition, it was so muddy that we sometimes sunk in the mud together with the board we were standing on. And yet it was a picturesque hiking trail whose remoteness and desolation had its own charm. So we bravely fought our way through the nature of Sweden. We were richly rewarded for this fight. It went uphill for a bit and the next moment we were standing on a hill surrounded by ankle-high bushes with berries, some of which I nibbled right away. As we looked down into the valley, what was probably the most beautiful rainbow I’ve seen in my life suddenly stretched out in front of us. The journey was worth it for this alone. Since we were still the only people far and wide, we had this magical moment completely to ourselves. After some consideration and of course numerous photos, we went down again, where the circular hiking trail ended and we arrived at the car.


The next place with a campsite was the small community of Dorotea. There were not only pitches and huts but also fairly cheap rooms. The rooms did not have numbers, but each room was represented by a different room. So we had the woodpecker room. Room is a bit of an understatement, because when we opened the door next to a wooden woodpecker figurine, we were faced with a small apartment with a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. We haven’t had such a “luxury” for weeks and of all places we didn’t expect it here in this sleepy little town. After we had brought our things in and enthusiastically walked up and down several laps in the apartment, we wanted to take a closer look at Dorotea. And so we set off on foot towards the nearby center. Like so many other countries, Sweden seems to have a rural exodus problem. The place seemed pretty deserted. There were hardly any people to be seen and on the way we passed many empty shops. It’s actually a pity, because Dorotea was still quite pretty to look at. But we did find a small attraction. Next to the local church there is a cemetery with a chapel in which there is a life-size group sculpture of the last supper by the Swedish artist Björn Martinius. Regardless of whether one is interested in Christian art or not, this sculpture was quite interesting to look at because of its size, colors and the place where it was displayed in the form of the chapel that was entirely dedicated to this sculpture.

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