A late decision at the end of our two-night stay in Sundsvall made Örnsköldsvik our second destination during our northern road trip. With short notice, we were able to get a camping cabin for two nights in Överhörnäs, a short distance south of the town. However, before getting to our destination we had a lot to explore on our way north.
Driving North to Örnsköldsvik
Packing down the tent and getting ready to leave Sundsvall turned out to be an easier affair than expected. As many know, it is almost impossible to pack a larger tent the same way each time. Every time is almost like playing a new game of Tetris. Well, let’s just say that the pieces had the same shape and size, making it a lot easier. It meant that we were soon on our way north towards Örnsköldsvik. The drive would normally be less than two hours, but we had several places we wanted to see along the route.
We found our first stop only 45 minutes north of Sundsvall. The town of Härnösand has a long history and we could not resist a short stop. The town is famous for being the gateway to the Swedish High Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s actually not all, this is one of the oldest towns in northern Sweden.
We made sure to get some fresh air while walking along the streets in the centre of Härnösand. In the end, the focus of our exploration was on the streets along the strait that connects the two parts of the town. It wasn’t possible to have lunch in the sunshine here, the seagulls were more than happy to disturb any peace.
Just a short distance north of Härnösand we exited away from the road leading to Örnsköldsvik. We were heading to a small locality a bit inland. Sweden saw many protests during the 1920’s and 1930’s. One of the larger ones took place in the area known as Ådalen in 1931. The events led to five dead demonstrators in Lunde, all killed by the shots from the soldiers assisting the local police. This was the last time the Swedish military were sent to support the police.
We took a short break here to see the monument and to get a view of the impressive Sandö Bridge before continuing back towards our main route north.
Höga Kusten Bridge
Sandö Bridge is impressive, but there is another bridge in the area that is even more impressive. Downstream there is the main bridge across the river Ångermanälven. The Höga Kusten Bridge is the third longest suspension bridge in Scandinavia and one of the most impressive structures in Sweden. On the northern shores of the river, there is a rest stop with a great view of the bridge. So here we stopped to enjoy the sight of the bridge that was inspired be the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
A co-worker had recommended a stop in the old fishing village of Norrfällsviken. It was even more off our route than Lunde, but pictures had convinced us that we needed to give it a try. Small roads led us all the way out to the tip of the peninsula, where we found this beautiful small fishing village. The boat houses and small residential cabins stood close together the shores of the bay. It really was the most picturesque place on our whole trip.
We took our time to enjoy the view and the sunshine before heading to the small building housing a restaurant and a shop next to the boat houses. It was still a bit early for dinner, but we found the food for later. Smoked salmon was going to be on the menu for us once we reached the camping cabin and had settled in.
Överhörnäs Camping is in the small locality of Överhörnäs, just a few kilometers south of Örnsköldsvik. It has the river Moälven at its feet, which would give us some beautiful sunsets. We had originally planned to set up the tent here as well, but decided the price difference for the camping cabins was so small. That is why we ended up with the tent still in our car.
We were greeted by the owner and manager. He showed us our cabin and were soon eating that delicious smoked salmon we had purchased in Norrfällsviken. The camping was small, but it really felt welcoming. We could look back on a great day when going to bed.
Our first morning in Örnsköldsvik gave us a warning about what was to come. It had been quite hot outdoors during our first days of the road trip, but this day in Örnsköldsvik turned out to be the peak. We could feel it already when parking our car in the centre and we had only reached the main square before Little A asked for her first ice cream.
Örnsköldsvik City Centre
The centre of Örnsköldsvik is quite similar to many other towns in Sweden of the same size. Susann was far from impressed, but I still have a special relationship with this town. In my opinion, the Heart of Örnsköldsvik is in the main square. But before we could head to my Mecca, we made sure to get an early lunch. This time we opted for a place with at least some kind of air cooling. As you might imagine, air condition is not the most common occurrence this far north.
So where did I want to go? Ice hockey has always been an interest of mine. I grew up watching players such as Peter Forsberg and Marcus Näslund. Modo Hockey became my favourite team early on and many consider their home arena, the Fjällräven Center, the real centre of Örnsköldsvik. Yes, it was a hot summer day and the arena was of course closed. But at least I got to see it again for the first time since 2007. Let’s just say that I was satisfied as we headed back to the car and the air condition.
An Afternoon Outside of Örnsköldsvik
We were soon on our way to the nearby hill, Varvsberget, that is overlooking the centre. Sometimes you need a view from the top to understand a new place. This was also the time that Little A decided it was time for her nap, so we had some time to kill. We even had time for Susann to do some grocery shopping before Little A decided to wake up. While Susann and Little A cooled down in the cabin, I took a short trip to Själevad on the other side of the river for some additional sightseeing. Let’s just say that the main atraction in Själevad is the great view of the river Moälven.
As was the case during this whole trip, we never decided where to go in advance. We did, however, call to the probable next camping during the last evening in Örnsköldsvik. We had actually tried to book a spot for our tent online, but they had made the cancellation insurance mandatory. The reason for the mandatory cancellation insurance was the pandemic. Booking less than 24 hours prior to arrival and having to pay extra for a cancellation policy that we knew we wouldn’t use? No, we made sure to confirm that it was possible to just show up on the day to get the spot without paying any unnecessary fees. We had set our sight on our next target: Skellefteå.
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