Start in the middle of february

Tree year of preparation for our sabbatical are gone and now comes the storm Sabine. But the trains restart to work yesterday and in the end we can start as planed. The first 1o kilometres we will be driven by car to the closest train station. There we entering the train to Göttingen where we have to change to the ICE to Hamburg. The travel to Hamburg runs without any disturbance, but then the first problems comes up. The next train to Copenhagen is cancelled because of the storm. We get an advice for an rail replacement bus and find the starting point after some searching rounds. Two buses are coming but there are much more travellers. Whereas we focused direct on the second bus we get places in the end and the trip continued with heavy gusts of wind to Flensburg. In Flensburg we have to change the bus to an Danish one. So we moved all the luggage out of the bus, carry it over the place in front of the railway station an load it to the next bus to Fredericia. This time the drive is neglected by wind and strong rainfalls. Instead of sit in the train having space and could relax we are sitting five in different buses don’t now what will be the next step, because every driver only knows to where he should drive and nothing more, and are one and and half hour late, but we stay all the time dry and warm. In we got the info that the next train to Copenhagen will leave in 10 minutes. That could be difficult with all the luggage. All other passengers try to be the first and so we are the lasts that carry out the luggage, preparing the trailer, put the luggage on it and start to run to train. Just in this moment it starts to rain but we reach the train station before the heavy rain shower starts. On the platform the train still waiting for the departure, but we got it. Its getting dark outside and we looking forward to the planed stop in the hostel in Copenhagen. The Hostel is close to the train station and after carrying all the luggage down stairs, because the elevator was to small for our trailer, we reach it. Unfortunately the computer booking system in the hostel was crashed shortly before and we have to wait. We get some drinks and decide to use the time for having dinner. We order and pay with some Danish money we still have but the young man looks very unhappy. He told us that he have never seen such money (we think it must be from the last school exchange 25 years before), but after asking an older college he got the information that the money is still accepted and so we can pay with a little smile. After dinner we can enter the room and go strait to beet, it was a long first day with many surprises.

On the next morning we take the train to Malmö, the storm have went done. We pas the bride over the öresund in the upper level and get some nice impressions. In Malmö we have some time and try to go to city, but after the first 500 meters its restarts to rain quit strong, so that we have to hurry up to come back to train station where we wait until the booked night train to Östersund leaves. The travel with the night train takes 15 hours and we reach Malmö on the next morning more then accurate. We getting out of the train, snow, minus 10°C, darknes – we reache the winter in Scandinavia.

Host in Trappnäs, middle of sweden, middle until end february 2020

Our first host family fetch us on the train station and after one hour of driving with passing to ferries where during it becoming more and more lonely with less and less houses we reach the aim of our first stage. The farm is located direct on a lake and most of the houses are painted in the typical Sweden red with white frames around the windows and the doors. We get tree rooms for us, which is more than we expected, and start in the day with an common breakfast and a briefing in the dally routines on the farm and the jobs we have to do. We are mainly in charge for the greenhouses and for care about the two roosters and additionally we should work on the building site for the new house. In the time after lunch we walking around and explore the surroundings and in the evening we have the first common dinner with the hohle host family and there tree kids.

The first days we need to organise the combination of working and free time and to have most of the time together. The bigger kids start with there self schooling concepts, which runs quit good and we start with bigger walks in the surroundings and careful on the frozen lake. Unfortunately there is no bus connection so that we have to use the car, which we can rent, for longer trips. We like to see a little more than we can reach by foot and would also do some cross-country skiing and so we decide to rent the car but only some times with pre organised tours. Additionally to some cross country ski tours we see two big waterfalls with much ice and go one day to Oestersund (drive over the ice road because the ferry close if the ice on the lake is thick enoughe) where we visit the Jaemdland museum (which have an exhibition to explore and to touch – which is very nice- especially for the kids).

But most of the time we spend in the surroundings and have a nice time together. We continue the walk over the frozen lake, it was opened for cars in the meantime, and go also on the lake with special slides, build snowman’s, walk through the forests (where we explore paw prints – may be from a bear). We have a picnic outside one the frozen lake with the host family, where we grill sausages and go to toboggan as much as we can, especially after more than half an meter new snow was fallen. In the working time with the plans we get new knowledge, but we also realise that we still have a basic knowledge about this and must trust to use it. So the view inside an ecological farm in the middle of Sweden which produced fresh salad, sprogs and herbs also in winter time gave us a lot but let as also think about the meaning of sustainability, because we have seen the technical efforts astabilisierennd the energy consumption for a local production (so we think the way with preventing a lot in summer and autumn – which we do at home – could be combined with production of some fresh things with surplus energy). We live together with a friendly more generation Swedish host family, see an beauty full winter landscape direct outside of the house. Not all the time was happy but this is also part of the process to see and to learn something.

Trondheim and Surnadal

After tree weeks of “work on a organic farm” in Sweden, we travel further to Norway. The planing of this some days took a lot of time (in the city of an accommodation Trondheim it is very expensive and we like to see something from the landscape). But to get somewhere in the surrounding is difficult, because we find no useful information about buses or other public transport outside of the train routes and close to this we find no accommodation. In the end we booked an cabin on a campsite in Surnadal, which is two hours far from Trondheim and booked two cars for four days (one car for all of us an the luggage was not available sow we took the smallest available ones – one was a hybrid). We have to decide between not seeing something from the surroundings, but we have travelled all the way up so we found this is not really rational or taking the cars and try to avoid extra tours. In the end we decided for the cars and an middle way of combining local available transport options.

On the day we depart from Sweden, it is early in the March, our host family carried us to an small railway station, where we can go to train to Trondheim. It was cold and sunny on this day. The train was very crowded with daily ski tourist on the way to Åre. We have to change the train on the boarder to Norway, because there are no electrification on the Norwegian site of the rail lane. In the train we see a young man with face mask, we have also seen some people with that in Copenhagen, and we realise that the Corona from the news coming closer to us, but it will go faster than we expected and the Corona virus will change completly our planes and will be the main topic for the next weeks.

After the arrival in Trondheim we collect the cars, which works better than we expected with the kids and the luggage. And after over two hours of driving on small and partly damaged roads we reached the campsite direct on the river. The cabin is nice but Katja was expected something else from the Norwegian fjords. But direct on the next day after a first walk in the surroundings and up on a hill in the next fjord she was very impressed. We walked trough a carpet of moss in the forest, saw a frozen waterfall and got an very breathtaking look over the fjord and the hills in the end.

On the next days we have much more such moments. We take a ferry over the fjord and from the water site the landscape looks different again.

We saw interesting brides on the Atlantic road direct on the coast where it looks that there is no end at the stating point. And we visit the city of Kristiansund. Unfortunately the old stave church and also old buildings close by are only opened in the summer month, so that we can just have an look from outside.

All in all it was a nice stay with many impressions from the nature and an new look after every hill or curve and we resume the landscape in the fjords of Norway is very different from that what we have seen in Sweden.

On the evening before we would travel back to Trondheim we got the news that the Corona virus spread out also in Norway. So we start the next day with different feelings and decide to avoid to go inside buildings with a lot of humans. After we give back the rented cars and with no problems, what we thought that it will happen, we go to the hotel where we have booked for one night. Now it was an fortune that we have a hotel without reception and with self check in. We walk around the city have an view on the cathedral of Trondheim an visited the fort over the city. For all these we could be outside the hole day and in the end we have dinner in the hotel room.

We got the feeling that the people in Trondheim don’t spend so much efforts in avoiding contact, especially after we see and heard the people in the bars until late in the evening. But these changed fast on the next day. We are very concerned about the train travel and at first we got an advice for avoiding contact. The tickets will be not controlled with contact. But the train is less then half full and so we could seat very separate and avoid to eat in the train. The journey was very nice and the train lane to the north follows some fjords and passes some mountain valleys. The people from the Norwegian rail are very friendly and we could store our luggage in an extra room. After leaving the train in Mosjoen we have to hurry up to get the bus and after half an hour bustour and passing the big tunnel with more than 10 km length we inform the driver to stop on the next station, but station was not the right name it was an parking lane and nothing more. The bus halts and the host family waited for fetch us. So we reached the next station on our tour witch well be a longer stay than planed and expected.