14th August 2016. Säffle, Sweden.

We had a ‘Hi Di Hi’ alarm call around 10 a.m. with the first song of the day blasting out across the field, anyone camping next to them must have been deafened, the plus side to that was that it was loud enough to hear properly not just the booming of the bass and on top of that it wasn’t covers this time (at that precise moment)  I think they were luring us into a false sense of security because about an hour later they played a very strange spoken version of Sweet Child of Mine, Country and Western style, the jury’s out on whether it was good or bad!

We left late and went into Sunne to have a proper look around as the sun was shining.  As we drove down the hill to park the van we saw a family with two cute little twin girls who were eating ice lollies, their mum went and threw their sticks in the bin and was just cleaning the children’s faces up so they could get in the car as I stepped out of the van that we’d parked behind their car.  Their mum called me over in the hopes that the girls would speak to me in English but they came over all shy as young children tend to do.  She was a lovely chatty lady and she told me that they had lived in the UK for a number of years, in the same city where our son Morgan went to University, small world.  Apparently their daughters were born in England.

After they left we walked up beside the river to take some sunny photos of Sunne to show it at its best rather than just show the rainy ones from our previous visit.

The town had some pretty wooden buildings and the roundabout was lovely.  There was a large ornate wooden building painted pink that we’d passed last time, we noticed it had a sign saying come in for fika, I’d seen that a lot in Sweden so we went in to see what it was.  I asked the owner, who was nice and chatty and he told me it meant coffee and cake (two of my favourite things!) Darren had ice cream and my fika (pronounced fee ka) was very tasty gooey chocolate cake which we ate sitting in the sun in the restaurant garden.

When we left Sunne we went to Rottneros Sculpture Park.  As we drove up to it we discovered that we had actually seen the car park from where we stayed at the restplats by the golf course.  We didn’t know it was so close!

The gardens were beautiful, they had a brilliant childrens area.  There was a pond with two small chain ferries for the children to play on.  We watched a group of children pull themselves across the pond on one of them.  As they reached the other side one of the little boys jumped off the ferry, waved a thank you at the little boy who’d pulled them across and ran off to find his parents, it was so sweet.   In the meantime another little boy who was standing on the other chain ferry watched them working the ferry and finally sussed out how to get his moving.  He must have felt a great sense of achievement.

We walked down to the lake, Övre Fryken (no more Fryken lake jokes, Peter the driver of the American car at the Rockabilly Festival put paid to those, as we drove past the lake I asked him how to pronounce Fryken and he told me it was Frooken!  D’oh!)  It was beautiful and so peaceful.  I paddled in the lake and then we sat in the sunshine on a little peninsular where they had lots of wooden benches for guests at the weddings they hold there, what a perfect place to get married.

We left Rottneros and drove to Karlstad but the ställplats we turned up at was manky and locked up so we carried on driving to Säffle where Darren had found another ställplats, we kept our fingers crossed that it was a nice one.   We found the ställplats without a problem but we couldn’t find any information about cost and there was no sign of any of the services that were supposed to be there.  We were just getting ready to move on to check out another ställplats at Åmål about, half an hour away, when luckily for us another van turned up.  They obviously had a different book to us and their book told them that the Harbour Master’s Office was a 2 minute drive up the road or a 10 minute walk beside the canal.  We drove round because we needed to empty the cassettes.  We were very lucky and caught the Harbour Master just as he was closing up for the night.  He gave us directions to the ‘tømming station’ (service point) which was further along the road we were on, behind the school on an industrial area.  When we got near the school there was actually a sign directing motorhomes to the waste emptying area but there was no sign near the ställplats, very strange!  We’d never have found that without directions.  The harbour car park was nice and secluded and we had a quiet night recovering from the weekend.

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