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Travel Log Part III

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It's been freakishly abandoned everywhere we went here in Sweden. Yesterday, we discovered why. It would appear that the Swedish school year starts at the end of August, and lots of people are already back to work. We are still not entirely sure why no one else comes here, but it's clear that it's normally in-state tourism. Not many menus in English in the backcountry of Sweden. The lovely boat tour lady almost fell into the water when we said we were from London.

We've had a lovely time in Safflë, which is a little town on the northern edge of the biggest lake in Sweden. It's like lake district without the people. It's quiet and idyllic and absolutely amazing. The entire time we hiked/kayaked/hung around in a villa lifted straight out of Gilmore Girls I was thinking "writing retreat". There are views and plenty of things to do, and if you listen closely, you hear a whole lot of nothing. Especially if the kids are reading or watching My Little Pony in Swedish (I'll never understand why, but she watched it).

We did a boat tour going through a little archipelago and ending in an island that used to be three islands. We hiked there for a few hours and then went back to the mainland to prepare for one of the highlights of our trip: The Beaver Safari. Two sweet Swedish guides took us, kids and all, in kayaks to see beavers. We saw an old den (we actually stood right on it) and an active one, and we even spotted a couple of beavers swimming in the river. They are not very active now because the den is already built, so now they mostly just hang out, it would seem. We also saw all kinds of birds and other "wildlife" (read: bugs). But going down in the kayak to the lake with almost no wind and virtually no noise is an experience I would sure like to recreate soon. It was amazing.

My kids are troopers. We've discovered they're great hikers and decent kayakers and wildlife watchers. Mostly, all four of us have been staying in a single room since last week, and no one was thrown out the window yet, so this trip is a big success. We're taking today easy as we're moving on to the next stage of our adventure. The bulk of the car trips are still ahead of us, and next week is packed with all sorts of activities. We are looking forward to all of it, but there's definitely some flagging in the level of enthusiasm. It's ok, though, because this has been an active trip, so a little exhaustion is to be expected. We'll have to see how we pull through it and enjoy the rest of the trip.


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