Backpacking in Skåne (Sweden) – Part 1/3
Packing our backpacks – Sweden here we come
After weeks of planning and purchasing all the stuff we needed our vacation could finally start. We decided to hike 80km on the Skåneleden Trail 3 which is a very nice hiking trail in Southern Sweden. I have never hiked in Sweden before but I got very enthusiastic after having seen some pictures on the internet. We had so much luck with the weather. The temperature was perfect for us as well as our dog Bobby and almost all rainfall happened during the nighttime. We drove from Heerlen (The Netherlands) to Sweden (Åstorp) by car without using the Ferry. To make the drive less exhausting we spend one day at my parents’ house in Germany which is a 7 hours drive away from Åstorp (our starting point of the trail). As always Bobby behaved very well in the car and we had a few play sessions and breaks on our way to Sweden. When driving to Sweden we crossed two very high bridges for which you have to pay quite a high amount of toll. But hey building such large bridges also did cost a lot of money ;)
We immediately felt a huge difference when crossing the border to Sweden. Compared to Germans, Dutch and Danish, Swedish people drive much calmer and friendlier. I really enjoyed driving in Sweden!
After we had arrived in Åstorp, we parked the car at the train station, packed our backpacks started our hiking trip which is called the Skåneleden Trail 3. Unfortunately we had to set up the tent quite early because it started to rain heavily. Luckily we were in a nice forest where we could find a good sleeping spot quickly.
First day in Sweden
After a good night sleep in the tent we woke up to a sunny day! The rain had stopped completely and the tent dried quickly due to the sun. Bobby did sleep through the entire night and seemed to enjoy it. In the morning he came to cuddle and pushed his wet nose in my face. We had breakfast (warm oatmeal with freeze dried fruits), packed our stuff and went hiking.
We enjoyed the little lakes and Bobby met his first Swedish friend, a Golden Retriever called Mieke. Mieke was hiking with an elderly couple and the man tried to speak with us in Swedish. Since we both don’t speak Swedish it was a bit difficult to fully understand him but there a quite some similarities between Dutch and Swedish. The first thing he tried to tell us was his dog name which I found very sweet. Of course we introduced Bobby, too and after some happy butt sniffing we continued with our journey.
10 km later we decided to have a warm lunch and cooked some pasta at a very nice shelter in the woods. We had access to tap water and could refill our drinking bottles. Bobby met a reindeer and it took him quite a while to calm down again. Reindeer are so much bigger than the regular roe deer in the Netherlands. Pretty amazing to see.
Hiking, hiking and some more hiking
I have never camped in Sweden before but I can tell you….mosquitoes everywhere! At some places it is worse than at others and of course it varies across the time of the day but at some places you couldn’t stand still for a second without getting bitten. Having breakfast or lunch was impossible at some places so we had to pack our stuff quickly and just move. I think that Bobby got bitten too because he was itching at some places regularly. He also got lots of ticks, at least two a day. The anti-tick oil I used did work, apparently. It took us about two days to get used to the heavy backpacks. I love sleeping in the tent so that was no problem. Bobby did so well in the tent and was so tired at the end of a day that he fell asleep immediately.
After some super nice and sunny days we had one day full of rain. Without internet access it was difficult to tell whether we actually could hike or not so after hours of playing cards (Skip-Bo) we decided to pack our (wet) stuff and hike. Otherwise we would get in trouble with our food supplies.
We had luck and could hike for 3 hours without rain. Crossing some small, idyllic villages we saw so many nice houses. They even sold fresh salmon next to the road (self service). At the end of the day we found a beautiful place in the woods between some rocky walls to set up our tent. Later we found out that this place was full of slugs who left huge slime paths all over our stuff. If you tried to shake them off and they fell on the ground it sounded like you dropped a potato. By the way, Swedish slugs are ten times bigger than Dutch slugs. They even have white slugs! I tried to make a picture of them but couldn’t stand still due to the mosquitoes terrorizing me.
Every other day I would wake up with a dog bum in my face. But hey, that’s what you get when backpacking with a dog right? :P I really really loved sleeping next to Bobby. At home he is not allowed on the couch or the bed so it was very special to sleep next to him and being able to cuddle him all night long.
One day we decided to pamper ourselves by having a lunch at a cafe. We have read about the cafe and its great homemade and organic products. We hiked to that place with an almost empty belly and great hunger. In my head I imagined what I would order and I got so so excited. You can’t imagine how disappointed we were when we found out that the place was closed. Only open on Sundays it said…it was a Thursday…At least we could fill up our drinking bottles. I ate some candy from my backpack (candy helps in difficult times you know) and we went on.
We crossed Söderåsen National Park which was so amazing! The nature there is so beautiful and very different from what we have in the Netherlands. The trails were adventurous and varied every 2 kilometers. Despite some rocky trails Bobby did so well. He really enjoyed hiking all day long and I could feel that he started to walk so much better on the leash. Obedience and leash training (if needed) can be very well combined during such a backpacking trip.
To my terror Bobby got diarrhea! The K9 natural freeze dried dog food seemed a good solution for a backpacking trip but after only a few days he got diarrhea.
After our disappointment during lunchtime we were so happy to find another cafe at the endpoint of our day hike. Happy as child on Christmas Eve we walked to the cafe which had a beautiful location next to a lake. My belly started to rumble and again I got so excited to finally order lots of food. There is nothing better than getting nice food served after a day of hiking. You cannot imagine how stupid I felt after we saw that the cafe closed 10 minutes ago. How much bad luck can one have??? We had no choice than making our own meal which wasn’t so bad.
Although we both felt pretty disappointed about the food we were so lucky to be there. Hiking all day long, being outside all day is so re-freshening and calming. You feel so much more alive and Bobby enjoyed it too. Not only being around with us all day long but also hiking 4 to 5 hours a day.