Day 47 (July 29, 2019 – Nynashamn, Sweden): “Last Bit Of Nature”
It was about 5:15am when I awoke to the sounds of cars whizzing by on the streets below our apartment. Apparently, the city wakes up pretty early.
I used some of the time between now and when Julie finished preparing the breakfast to get all the way caught up on blogging (before setting my sights on organizing and categorizing the photos).
As usual, it took a bit of time to get ready, and I was already getting nervous about not leaving on time by 8am (or earlier) nor not having time to drive to and properly check out the Little Mermaid statue without the baggage of relying on infrequently arriving buses.
However, it wouldn’t be until around 8:10am when we finally left the apartment. That was because Tahia took forever to eat, and Julie got her start too late after 6am.
Julie really should have gotten up earlier (like when I got up), and that would have allowed her to not to be too rushed but at the same time not to miss out on sights due to complacency.
We also wound up with a very full brekkie consisting of kefir, fruits, skyr, cooked eggs, bacon, and veggies.
We really had to empty out the fridge and any of the perishables since we knew that they wouldn’t keep without refrigeration from the long drive today as well as the ferry ride and sightseeing in Visby tomorrow.
So we tried to finish off the caviar as well as the pesto jar (though I had nothing left to eat with the spread by now so we wound up bringing it and hoping it wouldn’t spoil during our journeys today and tomorrow).
And in the end, given our fairly late start, I gave up on the idea of driving to the Little Mermaid.
This was especially when I realized after researching on GoogleMaps that driving all the way to Nynashamn via both Forsakar and Danska Fallet waterfalls would require nearly 10 hours of driving (and this was without stops!).
So by my calculations, this day would take at least 12 hours, and so by us leaving after 8am, it meant we wouldn’t be at the apartment to check-in until at around 8pm.
I sure hoped that we wouldn’t regret missing this photo op, but I wasn’t particularly pleased with the complacency costing us the ability to at least experience one of the iconic and most well-photographed spots in Copenhagen.
Regardless, Julie didn’t seem to care too much about the Little Mermaid even though our experience from the boat wasn’t the greatest as we were looking at the statue’s backside.
And so we drove off and used the iPhone to navigate our way out of the city and towards the international bridge. My Garmin Nuvi apparently didn’t have Copenhagen properly loaded so any routing involving the city wouldn’t work.
I think of all the Scandinavian border crossings we had been doing throughout this trip, this was the first such time that they checked for passports. I guess Sweden had to make sure that funny things didn’t happen by land from the main part of Europe to Sweden though the lax border crossing via ferry still seemed pretty loose compared to this option.
Anyways, after being asked where we were going and counting passengers to match up with the number of passports shown, we were on our way to resume the very long drive.
While we could have stayed with the smooth E roads all the way to Nynashamn, we ultimately drove further east along the E22 before turning off at the Road 19 and taking it south to the town of Degeberga.
The Forsakar Waterfall was signposted from town and was only about 1km from the Road 19 so I was right to ignore the GPS and iPhone routings, which had us trying to take these other smaller roads to get there.
But it turned out that after getting past the not-yet-opened cafe as well as some private buildings, there was a signed fork in the trail where going up the steps to the left led about 650m to an overlook for the Forsakar Waterfall as well as some upper car park another 400m after that.
As we did that, we were entering a forested area flanked by some fields and a fence that might have belonged to some farm. It was as if we were right on the border of some kind of reserve that protected this waterfall.
The path continued to be gradually uphill as it rose above a gorge below to our right, where we knew the stream responsible for the waterfall meandered.
By about 10:30am, we finally made it to the overlook for Forsakar, which was on a metal platform at the bottom of some steps. It looked like a newly-built platform, and we could clearly see that there were some steep false paths that the authorities didn’t want people to go on to further erode the slope.
Anyways, the falls was pretty tiny by this trip’s standards, but when you consider that we were in the far south of Sweden, and it was probably one of the closest waterfalls to Copenhagen and the flat country of Denmark that we’d encounter on this trip, it actually was a pretty nice Nature stop.
As we got our fill of the falls just as a Swedish mother and daughter duo showed up, we all headed back the way we came. However, on the way back, I noticed a trail that appeared to have connected this upper trail with the lower trail that kept teasing us from below.
Julie and Tahia stayed on the main track back to the car park while I pursued this path, which was actually quite a rather tame path leading to the base.
However, given the amount of leaves covering the track, it seemed like not many people have gone this way, and when I got to the bottom, I saw signs facing the lower trail saying not to climb up the path. Funny, I didn’t see any signage saying not to go down this path.
Regardless, I was now on the lower trail and I walked back along that trail in the upstream direction until I got to the bottom of the Forsakar Waterfall at about 10:40am.
From down here, it felt a bit cooler and less muggier than above, and it also felt serene as I was all alone down here.
When I had my fill of the falls, I then followed the lower trail all the way back to the swimming pool and the car park area. There was also a rather dingy toilet near the fork in the trail here that came in handy since I didn’t see any other facilities along the way, especially with the cafes being closed.
Finally at 10:55am, I rejoined Julie and Tahia at the car park and quickly headed back towards the E22 bound for Kristianstad. We had the AC turned up pretty high given how warm, sunny, and somewhat muggy the weather was at the time.
After driving towards Kristianstad (but not actually getting into the sentrum of the city), we then took the Highway 21 towards the northwest. We were now bound for the Danska Fallet.
Along the way, we had a little more struggles trying to get the gas station machines to read our credit card, but we ultimately found one at a mom-and-pop station that worked (the one seen by the Highway 21 didn’t work – again).
So that further confirmed that it really depended on which kind of machine the gas station used in order to fill up with or without hassle.
Regardless, we then pretty much followed the Road 21 for quite a ways before we eventually followed along the Road 24 all the way to the E20 on the western side of Sweden.
Once we got to the city of Halmstad, we then headed east on the Road 25, which eventually got us to the town of Simlangsdalen.
That was when we saw signs for Danska Fall as it went south on a semi-narrow road ultimately leading to the rather busy and full car park at its trailhead.
We got there at about 1:15pm, and at first, we had to do the European thing and just carve out our own parking spot opposite the official ones to our right. But just as we were about to leave the car, someone had left so we quickly pulled into that spot.
We then went back out and did the walk as a family towards the Danska Fall. It was nice to be able to do this walk as a family since I swore that of all the waterfalls that I had visited on this trip, Julie and Tahia may have only visited about 25% of them.
So having this little family moment on the pretty tame and wide trail was special though that also meant that I had to put up with Tahia’s tendency to want to photobomb or mess up our photos and talk over our videos.
Regardless, after getting past the sounds of a lake near the trailhead, then getting through a farm with a couple of cows grazing in it (near a toilet in the middle of the trail), we eventually got to the Danska Fall at about 1:45pm.
The interesting thing to note about this visit was that we heard lots of Swedish being spoken. We didn’t hear much in the way of English being spoken, and that kind of reinforced in my mind that we were visiting a spot that locals knew about but not so much the international tourist crowd.
And I found that to be refreshing because the touristy spots somehow doesn’t really feel as genuine as if we were part-time locals really getting the authentic Swedish experience.
Anyways, Danska Fall was a wide but short segmented waterfall. Its left segment looked like it had a dam that Tahia noticed just upstream of it. However, the right segment was more cascading and had more of the volume, and that one didn’t seem to be regulated.
Perhaps the striking thing about this waterfall was that it had a bit of a brown tannin-laced color to it, which made me think that it was draining some kind of peatlands.
Once we had our fill checking out this waterfall, we quickly made our way back to the car as we knew the hard yards for driving towards Nynashamn was just ahead of us.
When I got to that lake, I noticed that there were guests staying at some cabin right on its shores. There was fencing put up to discourage the public from getting to the lakeshore from there, however.
So I had to follow a different faint path that eventually led me to a family chilling out by the lakeshore with a rope swing set up for the kids to take a dip in that part of the lake.
The family seemed surprised to see me as apparently I crashed their little party, took photos, and politely excused myself. I think I heard one of the kids saying something in Swedish to the rest of the family about “some random kid in photo” in reference to my photos (not knowing that I did study Norwegian prior to this trip and could make out some words).
But in any case, I was back at the car with Julie and Tahia at 2:15pm, and all of us couldn’t wait to turn on the AC and dry off the sweat that was beading from our bodies from the muggy weather here.
I found it surprising that it could get so muggy considering we were still at pretty high latitude compared to the rest of Europe, but I guess that’s the kind of idiosyncrasies with the climate that we could appreciate by exploring more than just the obvious cities and touristy spots.
Next, we continued driving east on the 25 towards the E4. All along the way, I noticed lots of speed cameras (possibly even more than what I saw in Denmark and definitely more than what I saw in Sweden).
I guess the big difference between driving in Norway and here (as well as Denmark) was that the roads tended to be more like actual highways so the speed limits were pretty consistently about 110 km/h or 120 km/h. At no point in the Norway part of the trip did I recall speed limits exceeding 90 km/h and that was pretty rare. It was usually at around 80 km/h or less.
Nonetheless, as we got onto the E4 near Ljungby, we then followed this highway all the way towards Stockholm. It was a brutally long drive, but things got interesting as we were passing through cells of thunderstorms dropping squalls before clearing up again.
As we got towards Lynkoping, there was a major traffic jam. Luckily, our iPhone informed us about an alternate route that we should take to avoid the accident.
I found it ironic that we had to pass through the town of Linkoping because I knew it was a university town with a bit of a haphazard UCLA connection. As mentioned earlier from the start of the trip, my connection with it stemmed from an old MUD (multi-user domain) text-based game that preceded the internet back when I was at UCLA.
Linkoping happened to be the location of the server of that game called the NannyMUD, which was housed in the University of Linkoping.
Anyways, when we got back on the E4, we then passed through a seemingly more menacing storm cell over Norrkoping (funny how all the towns here had -koping in their names like Jonkoping, Linkoping, Norrkoping, and later Nykoping, and I wasn’t sure what the deal with that was).
This larger storm cell produced a faint rainbow as well as vertical cloud bursts when looking out the rear view. Apparently, we managed to avoid the worst of the squall, but I wondered if that might have had something to do with the car accident that happened near Linkoping.
We then continued towards Norrkoping where we entertained the idea of visiting Kungsfallet as well as having a dinner. But Julie eventually thought better that we should try to check in to our accommodation in Nynashamn first then worry about dinner later.
So we ultimately skipped the man-made Kungsfallet en route to Nynashamn while making another couple of gas stops en route.
Eventually, we got off the E4 and headed south on the small roads towards Nynashamn. In hindsight, I probably could have stayed on the E4 then followed the 73 directly south.
But this was the one time we followed the GPS’s not-so-great directions as they always sought the shortest distance and not the most sensible route.
Eventually by about 7:55pm, we finally arrived at the Skargarshotellet, which was where we were staying in Nynashamn. It was right across the street from the Destination Gotland Ferry that we were going to take tomorrow. So it was a sound strategy to leave the car at the hotel and not take it onto Gotland, especially since we were only visiting Visby for two nights.
After having our fill of dinner, we then headed back to the accommodation. Fortunately, there was hidden backside parking that we took a non-descript road to get to that we knew would have spaces available. Then, we showed the parking avgift (permit) that was good for three days.
That at least planted in my mind that we had to bring the bug repellent onto Visby with me as we were now having to decide what to bring onto the ferry with us tomorrow morning. We certainly weren’t going to bring everything so we had to treat this part of the trip as if it was a backpack in a way.
Regardless, after cleaning up and opening the door to our balcony (hedging against the mozzie threat to at least keep the room from being way too stuffy), we finally crashed from this rather long day where we drove all the way across Southern Sweden from Copenhagen to near Stockholm.
Indeed, the final part of our trip over the last 4-5 days was about to begin…
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