Day 144 – Road trip Sweden (Valdermarsvik)

Packed up and ready to hit the road.  We decided to walk into the small town of Valdemarsvik to grab lunch first. It was an easy stroll along a walkway bordering the water; although on the way back to the car it was starting to heat up.  We grabbed some more fresh strawberries and had our first experience of buying alcohol at the government run ‘Systembolaget’.  Now I understand why people in Sweden drive to Germany to buy alcohol.  One litre of wine in a tetra pak (yes, a tetra pak) cost us 60 krona ($9).

Back to the campground with our lunch supplies and we picnicked overlooking the water.  Now we had worn out the boys we were ready to get in the car and head to Stockholm. We had a booking at the ’2kronor hostel’ and we had to get there before the office closed at 6pm.  Along our drive Patrick needed a pitstop. We pulled into the closest town which was Soderkoping.  What a lucky find. Remember we don’t have a detailed guide book of Sweden, so some of you may know why this place is special but we didn’t until we arrived there!

As we passed through Soderkoping I spotted the sign for the Gota Canal.  This is a canal system that crosses Sweden from east to west for 178 kms.  I had heard of the canal and knew you could go on boat trips, but that was the extent of my knowledge.  We quickly learnt that the thing to do in Soderkoping is to sit along the canal and watch the pleasure boats go through the lock system which moves boat through the canal.  We enjoyed a walk along the canal; found the fantastic tourist information centre, where the boys made a pine cone critter for 10 krona each; and then got to see a boat go through the locks.  What a fun discovery. Check out Day 147 of our travels to see Berg and it’s locks.

We would have liked to stay longer but we had to get to Stockholm by 6pm .  If we had known just how bad the traffic was leading into Stockholm we would have left earlier because we were a little stressed that we weren’t going to make it in time. 

Alas, we did make it to our hostel but to find that the car park space I thought I had reserved, was not reserved.  The hostel only has room for one car to park and that lucky person booked it before me and turned up just after us. We unloaded all our gear and Steve drove down the road to the car park that they suggested we park the car in. Unfortunately it was 120 krona instead of 75 per day but at least we had a safe park.

The hostel is in an old renovated building.  The staircases were deadly spirals!  Not ideal with children at all but luckily no one fell.  We had booked 2 nights to start with but I realised that would only give us one full day of sightseeing in Stockholm.  Thinking this wasn’t going to be enough, we were lucky to be able to add on an extra night. Our room was simple and overlooked the street. It  had two bunks and two single beds.  The best thing about hostels compared to hotels is the kitchen and washing facilities.  We were able to eat breakfast, prepare lunch and cook dinner for the 2 out of 3 nights that we were there and also get our mountain of washing clean and dry. The boys enjoyed the two computers, set up in the basement with internet, and caught up on some of their favourite game websites. They also did some homework!  But we didn’t come to Stockholm to sit in our hostel; we were here to see the city over the next two days.


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