After a few short one-night-stops on our way south, it was time for some rest and relaxation in Östersund. We had left Swedish Lapland when we arrived in Gäddede and the province of Jämtland was ahead of us. However, the exploration had to be adapted to the weather forecasts, which promised plenty of rain in the coming days.
Leaving Gäddede also meant that we were soon about to leave the Swedish Wilderness Road. A mini-adventure within our main adventure was about to come to an end as Little A was talking in the back seat. We had been driving a long distance and she still seemed to be pleased as we drove on.
Our one and only stop on our way to Östersund was in Strömsund. We once more had a day with sunshine and could enjoy a few hours in what could have been the second town of Jämtland. We focused our time at Ströms Hembygdsförening, the local heritage organisation’s open-air museum. Here Susann and Little A had the chance to learn a bit more about the cultural history of Sweden as we said hi to the Giant Jorm. The Giant Jorm was one of the characters in the Swedish film Dunderklumpen from 1974.
We enjoyed the beautiful view out over the lake Ströms Vattudal before Little A took the chance to play in the large playground. If she would have been the one to decide, we wouldn’t have reached Östersund at all. She was more than pleased to play and would have continued for a lot longer had she been allowed to.
Leopold Bed & Breakfast
We stayed at Leopold Bed & Breakfast for our three nights in Östersund. We had a small, but cosy, room. Our stay also included breakfast, so we had little to worry about except finding food for lunch and dinner. This wasn’t much of a problem as Leopold’s was directly on the main pedestrian street in the centre of Östersund. Actually it was the location that caused problems for us prior to booking the room. They do not have any parking and the information about parking possibilities was scarce. We were lucky that when we asked a friend living in Östersund if he knew where it was possible to park for a longer time. He was away for the week, so we got to borrow his parking spot during our stay.
Settled in our room we finally set off to explore Östersund. We were expecting rainfall during our stay, but we still hoped for some sunshine. We had one evening and then two full days to relax in the city.
Finding the Sea Monsters
Östersund has one interesting thing in common with Sundsvall. There are dinosaur-looking sculptures along the pedestrian streets. Well, that is at least what Little A called them. While Sundsvall had dragons, Östersund showcased the many possible shapes of the local sea monster. Our first part in exploring Östersund meant walking along the street finding as many sea monsters as possible with Little A giving each one of them a hug.
We ended the day with some Greek food, enjoying a glass of wine while Little A painted in a colouring book that was given to her by the restaurant.
The Expected Rainfall
Our first full day in the city greeted us with grey skies. This was quite expected, the forecast had mentioned plenty of rain for several days and we were hoping that it would just be for the day. We headed out to purchase some Lego for Little A and we had something to do for a few hours in our room. Sometimes it is better to play indoors than getting wet.
Östersund & Frösön on Foot
The sun was once more shining for our last full day in Östersund. We took the chance to walk down to the waterfront of lake Storsjön. Storsjön is the fifth largest lake in Sweden and is believed to be the home of the sea monster Storsjöodjuret.
We walked along the marina, with a short stop at the playground before we found our way to the bridge to the large island of Frösön. This island was for a long time the centre of Jämtland, that was until the establishment of Östersund. Today only a small strait separates the two areas, meaning that we could walk in between. Unfortunately there is not much to see within walking access and we missed the most famous sight, the Frösö Runestone. Well, we were soon back in Östersund enjoying a walk along the central streets.
Frösön by Car
While Susann and Little A had a nap I took the possibility to explore more of Frösön. The island is quite large, so it was easier to explore by car. I started off by driving to its highest point and the watchtower Frösötornet. It offers a view of most of the island and the lake, making a great start in getting your bearings before heading out to see more.
Afterward I stopped shortly at the Frösö Church and its impressive church tower, before heading to my main objective for the drive. I was looking for the walking path Mjällestigen to get to stretch my legs in the nature for a change. The path led up the an old hillfort at the top of the hill. With the sun shining it was really nice with the fresh air.
It was our last evening in Östersund and we were discussing where to head next. Sitting at the main square, sharing a large ice cream, we finally decided what to do. We had for a long time had the thought of ending our trip with a longer stay in Mora. But it would be a long drive from Östersund. Instead we opted for a stop about halfway there. The Wilderness Road had given us the taste of mountain air and we set our target on Vemdalen, a well-known ski area during winters.
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