The move – part 3 (Sweden & Finland)
In my previous two blog posts, I’ve been writing about my move from the Isle of Man to Åland, Finland. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. This is part 3 and the final installment of the series:
After having eaten breakfast at the hotel (Mmm, boiled eggs and Swedish caviar on rye bread!), I hit the road again. Skåne looked just like Denmark: flat and full of flowering fields, which was pretty and all but it didn’t really feel like the Sweden I knew. (Yes, I’m prejudiced. But I grew up further north, where we had proper forests and hills. And moose.)
Once out on the motorway from Lund, I looked at the satnav: I was due to turn right in.. Crikey: 140 miles! Now I was in Sweden for sure! I’d better step on it if I was going to make the ferry to Finland later that night.
Passing through Småland and Östergötland
After a few hours I entered Småland and the landscape changed and became more like the Sweden I remembered. Downside: the motorway just kept going on and on, which got tired pretty quick. All I ever saw was trees, trees and more trees. Then a petrol station and then more trees. At least I was making good progress. I’d covered those pesky 140 miles and was now heading north. My next turn was in.. Oh. 215 miles. (Sigh..)
Suddenly the sky turned dark grey and each car I passed sprayed my windscreen with grubby brown road water. I had to turn off and pull into a petrol station to rinse off the windows and fill up the washer fluid. I looked up at the sky again; it seemed like it would start to rain soon. And as I pulled out of the petrol station (Right hand traffic! Right hand traffic!), it did. With a vengeance.
(This is probably the time to apologise for the poor quality pictures in this blog post. I only had my phone camera to hand, and was operating it single-handed whilst driving. Also, I had promised Fiancée not to die in a horrible traffic accident, so I couldn’t really focus properly on taking pictures.)
Entering Östergötland was not particularly dramatic. Rather, it was more of the same. I was reminded of that traveling by car in Sweden invariably gets rather tedious.
Södermanland and Uppland
A few hours later I had passed Norrköping (without even catching a glimpse of the city, as is the Swedish way) and was in Södermanland. In another hour I’d be in Stockholm, my birthplace. But just north of Norrköping I passed Scandinavia’s largest wildlife park: Kolmårdens djurpark. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stop, so I could only wave at the road sign and drive on.
As I approached Stockholm the traffic got busier. I was to pick up my mum’s husband in Mörby, just north of the city, on the way to the ferry to Åland in about 30 minutes, but it took more than an hour to go around Stockholm (including another asshattery by my satnav: it got me to turn off and tried to get me to board yet another ferry just south of Stockholm. What’s with this satnav and its bloody ferries?!). In the end I did manage to meet up with my mum’s husband which meant that on the final leg of the journey I had some company.
After a quick stop at a superstore to pick up some groceries, we arrived at the harbour in Grisslehamn with time to spare.
The ferry trip to Åland was quick and painless (less than 2 hours), and I enjoyed a tasty dinner. They even had free wi-fi onboard, so I could get up to speed with my Twitter, Facebook and blogger friends.
Just before midnight, we landed in Berghamn, Åland and I was finally reunited with my family and Assar the cat – and even Lydia the dog! I’d arrived.
And this concludes my move from Isle of Man to Åland, Finland. It was both exhausting and exciting, and I’m now looking forward to begin the next phase of my life.