Losing the ancients

I am having a well earned rest today after Keyvan and I trekked for miles in the Swedish countryside yesterday. It all started when we caught the first train to Strömstad and went in search of the iron age burial mounds, stone circle and stone ship settings. After we arrived and visited the tourist information office to collect a free map we finally found and followed a tiny, unused path from the north of town to the iron age burial mounds. It was lovely and also kind of strange. We don’t really have such large forests in England and we were surprised to find ourselves in what seemed to be a large, isolated forest with large deers and possibly other unseen animals. The trail was definitely only for walkers as some scrambling over rocks was required and a bike wouldn’t have been at all useful. You follow the bright splashes of orange paint on trees and rocks for about 6 km and it’s a lovely walk until the end when you have to cross the motorway to get to the mounds.

Although they have been excavated you can’t go inside – you can only look at them – and as the site is right next to the E6 motorway it’s not the quietest area in the world. However if you were arriving by car and could read maps properly you’d probably have a lovely walk in the wooded area and enjoy the experience. Unfortunately on our way from the mounds to see the stones at Blomsholm we foolishly got lost and wandered for what seemed like miles until we found a road. For the first time in years I actually hitched a lift, so we could finally get to Blomsholm as we had no idea where it was. On arriving we saw a few wooden houses and not realizing the stones were so close we hitched a lift back to Strömstad in time to catch the last train back to Gothenburg. It’s a bit of pain to get up to Strömstad for the day because the train takes about 2.5 hours and the first doesn’t leave until 8am and the last one back is at 18.02 so it doesn’t leave much time there especially if you want to walk to the stones, it is however possible and we even had about an hour in Strömstad to have a little look around! On the hitching side – I’ve never had it so easy – I stuck my thumb out and about 2 cars later we had a lift! The second lift was from a Norwegian couple who had popped over the border to stock up on cheaper Swedish goods.

Although Strömstad isn’t large, it is quite touristy as quite a lot of Norwegian tourists come over. While the fishing harbour was quite sweet, I didn’t take to the rest of the town. Although there were some nice elements: you could buy fresh fish from a little shop near one of the harbours and although we didn’t partake there was a swimming pool area in the sea that you could take a dip in for 20 ske. There is a little museum there but as there was an entrance fee we didn’t go in. There are also frequent ferries to the islands of Koster which are supposed to be very nice.

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