8th August 2016. Idre to Torsby, Sweden.

It was pouring with rain when we woke up so we set off heading South for Torsby which is in an area of Sweden called Varmland.

We stopped for lunch in Malung, we walked round the town looking for a café that might do Vaffles but ended up at a kebab shop where we had two wraps that were so big we cut them in half and ate that later for tea.

We were very lucky on this journey, as we were driving along the road North of Torsby we saw a female elk about to cross the road.  Unfortunately she was halfway up the embankment, saw us coming, turned round and went back the way she’d come but at last we can stop singing No Elk, No Elk (to the tune of ‘The First Noël’) as we drive the rest of the way through Sweden!

We found a restplats for our overnight stop which had a great view over the lake and mountains.  Just before we arrived we passed a man cycling along the cycle path, nothing unusual about that except he had a bunch of leads in his right hand and a pack of huskies attached to the other end who were running along beside him.  I’m amazed he didn’t end up in a ditch!  We noticed him cycle past us later and turn into his house which was in a beautiful setting beside the lake.

We went for a short walk around the restplats and down the road a little while later, which caused another change of plan.  We had intended visiting Rottneros sculpture park, the view point at Tossebergsklattin Hill  and maybe cycle down the disused train track at Hagfors on our speedy retreat further South but we saw an advert on the information board for a Rockabilly Festival on the coming Friday and Saturday night so we decided it would be fun to go.

Darren noticed that there were three strange looking rocks in the restplats and on closer inspection they turned out to be sculptures of animals, there was some information about them but it was in Swedish.

We’d run out of places to walk in the restplats so we wandered down the road beside it and could hear the huskies barking like mad.  Most of them were in a cage but I could see one running around. I hoped fervently that it couldn’t get up the driveway and was pleased to discover it was penned in so I didn’t need my running shoes on after all.  On the way back to the van Darren took a slippery short cut up the steep bank so I tried to race him back to the van via the road.  I thought I’d beaten him but when I walked round to the door he was sitting at the picnic table with a smug look on his face!

Our neighbours had two huge Newfoundland dogs lolling outside their van.  Their owners were Dutch and the man began chatting to Darren so I came out to see what they were talking about.  I chatted to the lady about their dogs and she told me they also had a little dog which had gone into the van because she was cold, she was a Jack Russell mixed with a Maltese, very cute. We chatted with them for ages and they gave us suggestions for places to visit and told us about an app for stopovers.  They showed us a photograph that they’d taken when they arrived earlier in the afternoon when a very bright rainbow had appeared halfway down the mountain, I wish I’d been there to see that too.

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