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sweden 2005 - part 2 : west sweden

Tjörn and Orust

We didn't stay in Gothenburg upon our arrival, in stead we opted to take the scenic route to our first destination: Uddevalla (Bohuslän). This is about 90 km to the north of Gothenburg. We followed the E6 highway from Gothenburg up to Stenungsund and then turned west to the island of Tjörn. The middle of the island features mostly farmland, with soft rolling hills. The coastline is scattered with small fisherman's villages, that are now popular holiday destinations. Almost each of these villages has its own guest harbour for sail boats and yachts.

We spent some time in Skärhamn. Next we drove to the island of Orust and visited the Hällviksstrand, another fishing village. Outside the village, there is a nice wooden church. Along the way we stopped at Hoga, where a road sign pointed to a national heritage site.

By then it was getting late in the afternoon (not that we'd really noticed with the sun still blazing high in the sky), so we headed for our camp site near Uddevalla: Hafstens Camping. We'd booked a cottage here, which turned out to be very comfortable.

Tourist info about the islands Tjörn and Orust and the wider area.

Smögen and Tanum

Day 4

The next day we decided to head a little more north. We drove to Smögen, which takes you over a high bridge with a splendid view over the area. The ABBA factory is located there (think herring, not pop songs).

Tourist info: Sotenäs

After our brief visit to Smögen, we continued north at a leisurely pace to Tanum, to take a look at the famous Bronze Age rock carvings in the area. We didn't have time to visit the museum at Vitlycke, which has a reconstruction of a Bronze Age Farm.

Tourist info: Tanum

In the evening, we went to Grebbestad for a meal and a walk allong the pier. On our way back to the camp site, we stopped at a large prehistoric cemetery, with about 200 upright stones. An impressive sight in it's own right, but when two roe deer appeared from the woods we were even more awestruck. They stood and stared at us for a while, then bounded of into the woods again. We're city folks, easily impressed by any form of wild life.


Day 5

After all this time in nature, we felt it was time to spend some time in a more urban setting: Uddevalla center. Uddevalla is a nice little town, with a river cutting through the city center. A the tourist office, we got a brochure with a tour of the historical buildings in the center, at least so we thought. At quite a few locations indicated on the map, all we saw were modern buildings.
Apparantly, the city of Uddevalla burnt down more than a few times the 19th century. We had an idea why, when we came to old site of the Uddevalla match factory offices. There was also a fire station, but it had only been built in 1903, a decade after the foundation of first permanent fire brigade.
Anyway, we did get a good feel for what a Swedish town looks like, and some streets did give us a fair idea of how it must have looked in the beginning of the 20th century. Afterward we went to have a look at one of the shell banks, in Bräcke on the outskirts of Uddevalla. The shell banks were formed around 10.000 to 11.000 years ago, by deposits of shells from millions of shellfish. In some places the layer is up to 20 meters thick. The shell banks are the perfect environment for a variety of lime-loving plants. We didn't take any pictures, but you can visit this site about the shell banks.

Tourist info: Uddevalla


Day 6

On our last day in West Sweden, we visited Trollhättan (Västergötland). First, we visited the lock are that is part of Trollhätte Kanal, connecting the Kattegat (west coast) with lake Vänern. There are several sets of locks. A first set of small locks from 1800, which are now derelict. A second set of locks from around 1844. A third set of locks from 1916, which are still in use today. About 10 freight ships per day pass the locks today, and throughout the summer months about 4000 pleasure boats pass by.

Not far from the locks, is the Olide hydropower station. The waterfall of the mighty Göta river was tamed with the construction of a huge powerplant between 1905 and 1914. The power station is built with huge granite blocks and looks like an enormous castle. On some days in the summer months the waterfall is (partly) released again, but this was not the case on the day we were there. We wanted to visit the SAAB museum, but it was closed to the public due to a showcase going on for the new SAAB model.

Tourist info: Trollhättan

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