After driving north for a week it felt weird that we were now once more heading south. After four stops so far, in Sundsvall, Örnsköldsvik, Skellefteå, and Vuollerim, we had reached the turning point in Jokkmokk. It would take us days before we left the vast province of Swedish Lapland as we set our target on Arvidsjaur.
We were no longer driving further from home. It is not until you start driving north that it is possible to get an understanding how long Sweden actually is. Turning around already in Jokkmokk meant that we still had a large area in northern Sweden unexplored. However, the ongoing pandemic made a visit to Gällivare and day trips even further north unappealing. So we were satisfied and in this case turning home felt like a relief.
Even better, we actually crossed the Arctic Circle twice on our way from Vuollerim to Arvidsjaur. Driving via Jokkmokk, we slightly passed it before reaching the main road south.
We were on our way, and fortunately the drive from Vuollerim to Arvidsjaur wasn’t too long. Via Jokkmokk it only takes around two and a half hours. This is, however, a road with very few sights and even the villages are few and far apart. Our first stop was a rest stop next to the Pite River. It was next to the Ljusselfoss rapids and the wide river showed some of its powers.
The rapids are close to the small village of Moskosel and we drove by to see if we could find anything interesting. The local navvy museum about the railroad and its builders caught our interest. Sadly a year like this it seemed to be completely shut down. At least we got to see one more stop along the railroad that connects the Swedish inland. A short exploration and 40 minutes of driving later, we arrived at our destination: Arvidsjaur.
Lapland Lodge in Arvidsjaur
Our one-night stay in Arvidsjaur was the first one on our road trip where we stayed at a hotel. Lapland Lodge was a small and cosy hotel owned by a German person. It is split by two interconnected buildings, one dating back to the 1840’s and a more modern part from 2014. We received a warm welcome and the family room really gave us some space after the nights in the tents and small cabins. There was also coffee for Susann in the room!
We explored Arvidsjaur on foot. We knew that there would be more than enough driving further down the road to actually leave the car for a few hours. Our walk took us along the main street where Little A got to say hi to the wooden elk family. The group of sculptures really is one of the more interesting human made sights here.
Before continuing our exploration, we had to make a short stop for some fast food hamburgers. It was just a calm walk talking us along the streets and past the railway station. Due to the pandemic, the passenger service along Inlandsbanan was suspended, which resulted in the stations being abandoned. At least that was the feeling when walking by.
After a short stop at the hotel room on the way back we eventually found our way to the main attraction: Lappstaden. This is the church town of Arvidsjaur and where the Sámi population of the region built their goahtis. Here they only lived during the two occasions each year that they were required to attend the church services. The settlers’ cabins don’t exist anymore, the Sámi constructions still standing are a very interesting sight indeed.
It had been a nice and relaxing day in Arvidsjaur and we had our target set on a new destination. Upon leaving Arvidsjaur, we had a camping cabin booked in Vilhelmina, a locality almost three hours south. This was for us the gateway to the Swedish Wilderness Road and we were still debating if we should extend our drive with the extra kilometres up in the mountains.
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