17th July 2016. En route to Norway. Visit Älgen Hus in Bjurholm, Sweden.

Before we left Köpmanholmen this morning I phoned my Mum to wish her a Happy Birthday.  It was so lovely speaking to her, I don’t get to do that very often at the moment.

Although we were leaving I wanted to go and have a quick look at a hamlet called Hålviken which was 15 minutes down the road in the opposite direction to the way we should be going.  It was the coastline we could see from the restaurant we’d visited yesterday.

I’m so glad Darren drove us down there.  It was a single track road with passing places and the scenery was beautiful.

The lane ran along side the bay, past little red huts and there was a load of silver coloured moss smothering the huge boulders that littered the bank on the opposite side of the lane.  I’ve never seen so much moss, it was an amazing sight.

Darren was getting slightly concerned at how narrow the road was getting and decided to turn round by reversing into a track which curved round and ran up hill.  As he began his manoeuvre a lady passed us out walking her dog and she told us there was a turning circle 900 metres further on so we thought we’d take the opportunity to see further along the coastline.  Just round the corner there was a big American car parked outside one of the little holiday houses, I bet he had fun driving down the lane!

We drove down to a beautiful bay and passed a floating hotel.  It was well worth the detour.

We drove for two hours to visit the Älgen Hus which is like an Elk sanctuary owned and run by a man (who started the sanctuary about 21 years ago), his wife and their son.

We stopped for a cup of coffee in the van before we went in.


We could smell food cooking when we set foot through the Älgen Hus door, there was a pot of Elk stew sitting on the counter (I wonder what that Elk did to deserve his fate!) so we decided to eat before we toured the Älgen Hus.

Darren had the Elk stew, it had to be done.   Apparently it was very tasty.  Over on the table they had a large bowl of pickled cabbage ‘salad’ and crisp bread for you to help yourself while you are waiting for your food to arrive.  It’s great in Sweden, they often do that as well as allowing you to refill your coffee cup, I’ll miss that when we leave.

Sad people that we are, we were interested to see how wide the double glazing was in the windows, I’m glad we won’t be experiencing a Swedish winter!

Double glazing 1


It was very interesting they showed a film show about Elks in Sweden.  The son put the English version on for us, we were the only 2 people in the room, at that time the other people at the sanctuary were Swedish or German although some Americans arrived later.

After the film we went out to see the Elk in their enclosures.  The babies were in one enclosure, the youngest one was a month old and the other two were two months, the little one was still wobbly on his legs.  Apparently the owners milk the female Elk and hand feed the babies to tame them, I could hear one making little whining noises as he wandered around the enclosure.  They were just lazing around eating leaves from the branches they were given.  We were allowed to stroke them.

After we’d seen the babies we went into the enclosure with the adult Elk.   Two of them were just lazing around enjoying the sun but there was one Elk which had huge antlers and he was standing with the sanctuary owner eating.  I stroked the velvet on his antlers, it was very soft, unsurprisingly.


When we’d seen the Elk we were told there was going to be a guided tour in English around the Elk museum, it was very interesting, they showed how Elk used to be caught using pits, they were made wide enough so the Elk wandered up and fell in breaking its neck and dying instantaneously rather than the way it was done before which caused the animal a lot of pain.  I’m glad to hear that neither method is used nowadays.

When the museum tour was finished the rest of the people who’d been with us went to see the film we’d watched earlier and I popped outside to see the baby Elk one last time.  They looked so cute, two of them had climbed up on top of a mound and were playing however as soon as they saw me they stood stock still.  They weren’t able to contain their inquisitiveness too long and they walked over to the gate from where I was photographing them.  I was still thinking “Aaah! They’re so cute” when I suddenly realised what they were up to!  Naughty little Elk!

Darren had been waiting for me out in the car park.  There was a lovely rainbow over the hills.

We left the Älgen Hus and started the next part of our journey up North, the roads up until now have been wonderful and they obviously keep their roads in tip top shape, unfortunately for us they had just started the maintenance on the VERY long road we were on and we had to drive down a stripped road, driving on the pot holey substrate for about 6 km.  It was a relief when we got back on the good road.  On our journey through Sweden we’ve noticed the lack of pot holes in the roads, unlike the roads around where we live in England which are riddled with them.

As we came out of the road works Darren shouted to get the camera and there in the road were two Reindeer wandering along, we were a confused mixture of excited because we’d seen Reindeer and disappointed because they weren’t Elk, a very strange sensation I can tell you!


We bought a fridge magnet of a ‘Beware of the Elk’ sign in the shop, we told the man at the Älgen Hus that we laugh every time we see the warning sign for Elk just like we did when we drove around Canada for a month, saw the signs but no moose and he said he sees them a lot when he’s driving around, we reckon they’re stepping out into the road behind us and laughing behind our back!

We stopped overnight at a rest stop beside the road, there were five motorhomes and three very big caravans parked there.  It was beside a lake and there were people outside eating at the picnic tables.  We got sucked RIGHT in seeing that.  We have been wary of going outside in the evening because in a lot of places we’ve encountered mosquitoes but we assumed that if these people were eating their dinner out there it must be fine so we wandered over to look at the lake and took a few photos (we experimented with putting the camera on a table and setting the timer, if nothing else it kept us amused for a while) then we noticed we were becoming mossie fodder so we scarpered back to the van.

We were pleased to find that it wouldn’t cost us anything to stay overnight at the restplats so we could start topping up the camping budget after the horrendously expensive camping in Stockholm and ready for the no doubt horrendously expensive camping in Norway from what we keep being told.  There were facilities to empty the toilet cassette, fill up with water and empty rubbish bins, all in all it was a bargain!

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