Friday, 21st June – Östersund to Örnsköldsvik

Today was a holiday in Sweden, Midsummer’s Eve, a celebration of the summer solstice – the longest day of the year.

Midsummer is one of the most celebrated holidays in Sweden. The hotel staff had kindly told us the night before to make sure we had enough groceries and petrol. Not much would be open over the next two days and the roads would be quiet.

It was a fairly light itinerary today although we did have four hours to cover to reach our final destination of Örnsköldsvik. We weren’t in a hurry so we had a good sleep in and enjoyed our breakfast before checking out.

There are over 100,000 lakes across Sweden and we came across the Kvarnbergsvattnet Lake shortly after leaving the hotel. We didn’t really need a break but it was nice to have a look around and watch the fish jumping in the lake.

About 70% of Sweden is covered in coniferous forest. As we began to drive through a particularly dense forest area Bec suddenly sat up straighter. “Slow down, I’m sure there’s a moose standing in the middle of the road up there” she yelled.

Sure enough, a huge moose ran across the road about 200m in front of us! It paused in the safety of the forest, turning to look at us as we stopped the car to hastily take some photos. We couldn’t believe it, we had finally seen a moose or as the Swedish call them älg.

The Lillsjöhögen Stave Church is a modern building built using the timber stave church principles. It was finalised in April 2011 by a group of local volunteers.

It’s beautifully completed and being set amongst the forest it’s quite a pretty church.

We stopped at a rest stop for morning tea on the banks of the Indalsälven River, one of Sweden’s longest rivers with a total length of 430km. It was so peaceful since there really was no one around today.

Our next stop was Doda Fallet (The Dead Fall), the site of Sweden’s greatest natural disaster.

Today a unique geological formation, it is the result of an attempt in 1796 to divert water from a large waterfall. Plans went catastrophically wrong and an entire lake was emptied.

A wall of water some 25m in height thundered down the valley, wiping out everything in its path. Fields, forests, houses, barns, boats, and sawmills were all destroyed. Within four hours the sandy ridge was gone and Lake Ragunda had been completely emptied. Miraculously, not a single person died.

With only an hour to go our last stop was the Höga Kusten Bridge also known as the Veda Bridge.

A 1,867m suspension bridge crossing the mouth of the river Ångermanälven, Höga Kusten Bridge is the third longest suspension bridge in Scandanavia.

There was a good rest area with plenty of tables with a view of the bridge and river. We had some lunch and a bit of a walk around.

We arrived in Örnsköldsvik and found the town completely deserted. Conveniently, there was a burger shop open where we could get some dinner.

Oh my goodness we finally saw a moose!

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