The last time we saw Will and his friends, they were traveling the Ring Road in Iceland. During this leg of their journey we follow along as Will explores Sweden.
The first few days of the trip were spent exploring by bicycle. Stockholm has many bike lanes and paths through the city to make it easy to see the sights. Before leaving the city, the group splurged on a visit to a local ice bar. Ice bars originated in Sweden in 1994. Usually popular tourist destinations, ice bars feature bar tops, tables, chairs, and even drink cups crafted out of ice.
Will then headed north to hike the Kungsleden. Located in northern Sweden, the Kungsleden is a (roughly) 270-mile long hiking trail. Created by the Swedish Tourist Association (STF) in the late 1800s, the trail takes hikers through a large wilderness area. The STF works to maintain the Kungsleden–even going as far as to construct plank walkways over areas that are otherwise hard to traverse (like swampy areas).
The first day on the trail, the group covered about 30km (~18.6 mi) of trail. The weather was beautiful and they were able to see some local wildlife. In all, they spent five days on the trail and almost every day they were able to check out some pretty awesome reindeer–even an albino one!
Will and his friends went directly from Kungsleden to hike Kebnekaise. At 2,106m (6,909 ft), this mountain is the highest in Sweden. The boys were able to make the trek without any serious equipment and were able to take a picture at the peak after hiking only six hours (they were originally estimated nine).
Reindeer and amazing views aside, one of the most exciting parts of this leg of the trip was when Will and his friends were able to go Dumpster Diving. While they were in Iceland they heard about the high quality of food that could be found in the dumpsters of Sweden. Why not give it a try? As you can see from the picture below, they were not disappointed: pasta, tomato sauce, bread, granola bars, MREs, coffee, tea, chocolate bars and more! The reward of what they found made up for the not-so-rewarding means to get it.
On top of scoring great food, the group was able to take some time to utilize the local geothermal pools they enjoyed so much during their time in Iceland.
While a good portion of the trip was spent hiking and camping in the wilderness of Sweden, Will and his friends were able to find plenty of gracious and kind people to share their time with. A Swedish couple they had met earlier in their journey had offered the group a place to stay for part of their time in Stockholm.
During their time hiking the Kungsleden, they met a Nomad, Joachim, who has been traveling for four years searching for the meaning of life. He traveled with the group for two days and everyone was sad to see him go when they parted ways.
The group had a couple of different opportunities in different parts of the country to interact with Americans. While they had no complaints about their interactions with the locals, they did note that it was refreshing to interact with people who understood the personalities, mannerisms and sense of humor of Americans.
Will and his friends wrapped up this leg of the trip by hitching to Karuna to spend a few hours exploring. While eating ice cream and fries, Will found a ride to the airport just by playing with someone’s dog!
Next up, Will takes a few weeks to explore parts of Seattle!