...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thursday road trip with friends

From Norrköping to Oxelösund and back

On weekdays, we have access to Marcus' dads' girlfriends' car – a dying Mitsubishi Carisma which all concerned are using just as long as it's is rolling. Despite all the signs that it might conk out soon, it still passed last year's safety check. But before the car retires for good, we're all kind of making the most of its last days. What better way to maximize an old car than a car trip, preferably somewhere near (in case the car decides to break down)? Our friends Per and Paulina were in a summer house down at the coast of Oxelösund, about 60 kilometers from here. We decided to visit them last Thursday and drive them back to Norrköping through a scenic coastal route.

Öxelösund is a small industrial municipality at the Baltic coast, best known for the gigantic iron works there, which easily makes up about a third of the municpality's land area. However, there are also natural harbors there, and small islands with protected forests. These nature reserves are considered important to small industrial towns like Oxelösund, as they provide oases where people can go out in nature, and wild animals can thrive. Per's family has a summer house in one of these islands, just at the edge of a protected forest. Our coastal car trip back to Norrköping started there (Labelled (1) in the map above).

So what's there to see in a small island in an industrial town? A cold war-period top secret artillery fortress!

Obviously, from our picture there, it's not top secret anymore these days. Since 2003, the Femörefortet (Femöre fortress) opened to the public as a museum, showing how Sweden was like in the cold war. Artillery fortresses like these would have protected Sweden's coastline from a possible Russian invasion. Femörefortet's radars could spot ships halfway to the island of Gotland and shoot targets up to 15 kilometers away. It's underground tunnels could even protect from a Hiroshima-sized nuclear explosion, according to the trivia on their website.

A tour group and a big gun on a hill overlooking the sea

The island of Femöre also has another, more civilian-themed tourist attraction: Femörehuvud, a light station – a lighthouse and surrounding cottages – used between 1867 to 1974. The lighthouse is most often the cover of Oxelösund's tourist brochures, and we had a good time picture-taking there.

A typical Swedish coastal landscape: sea, cliff, and red cottage

Marcus, Paulina, Per, and the lighthouse

Here we were laughing because we thought Marcus was taking close-ups of our nostrils. I must say, it's a good picture after all! :-)

Joy and Marcus at the edge of the sea

We stuck to the coastal road on the way back to Norrköping, passing small towns and forests through a really narrow, really curvy road. Lunch was at Nävekvarn (marked (2) on the map), a small harbor area that has one gradeschool, one grocery, and a camping. Here's Marcus happily eating his schnitzel in the area's only restaurant, which is simply (and aptly) named Hamnskrogen, "the harbour restaurant". The driver needs his schnitzel!

He even has a bit of sauce on the corner of his mouth. So adorable!

After more driving in the curvy narrow road, we neared Norrköping and stopped at our old favorite lookout place at Marmorbruket, an old marble mine (marked (3) in the map). It's always nice to walk around Marmorbruket and we take all our visiting friends there to see the bay into Norrköping. The flora around the area is also interesting, as well as seeing the old water-filled marble pits that I think are up to 40 meters deep. People fish herring there in the summer and the ground is covered with hepatica flowers in the spring. Also, if you're doing a car trip around the area, its lookout point provides a relaxing and beautiful picnic- and resting area.

This was our last point for a snack before heading back home. The setting sun and the cloudy sky gave a mysterious green-blue shade to the water, sailboats floated by on full sail, the summer grass bent with the wind, and four friends stood in a cliff, looking across the bay towards Norrköping.


Anonymous Amelia B. Guerrero said...

Hi Joy , it's good to see Per and Paulina once again , even the views of the sea and the land are so nice that I wanted to visit Sweden once again . Come your graduation in early 2013...we'll be there... sana !!!

10:44 AM


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