The end of March saw us drive to Sweden, Lulu in tow. The skies were gloomy that first day when we arrived in Lund to spend the night at a friend's after a five-hour drive. There were a few things that became obvious to us that first day: Swedish streets are extremely well-kept and comfortable to drive on, you cannot park for free anywhere (and there aren't many parking spots to begin with), the Swedish like to have red houses, and Dogs are not welcome in most eat-ins. The lack of cars parked in city centres was wonderful (you can actually take pictures of the city without having shiny cars covering doorways and pavements in every picture!) but the no-Lulu policy wasn't as impressive and meant we split up to have lunch in Lund. Note: the True Food Café allows dogs, has some truly amazing food, high-spirited staff and is very comfortable.
After visiting Lund's city centre we headed out to Lomma to go to the beach. It was windy and cold, but to Lulu's delight we found a little ball on the beach. Then we found a nearby café to warm up in (gosh, it was so cold!) but had to leave Lulu in the car (surprise, surprise...). We spent the rest of the afternoon driving around exploring the surrounding villages (definitely check out Jakriborg if you're in the area!) and other landmarks.
In the evening we left Lund and drove to Helsingborg, which is around a 45-minute drive from Lund.
On the third day we drove from Helsingborg to Linköping, stopping in all sorts of places to explore the surroundings. I had had a pretty bad fever during the night we spent in Helsingborg and so I was struggling with the cold, but it was well worth it for all of the beautiful sights! We had coffee and tea at a convent (not knowing it was a convent) in Jönköping - that was a pretty cool experience - and then went to see the town of Gränna which is famous for being the birthplace of polkagris (candy cane). Everything was covered in snow.
Sweden's second biggest Lake, Vättern, was largely frozen shut (see below) and probably ended up being the most exciting thing we saw during the entire trip. It was a sea of ice and we seemed to be the only ones fascinated by it for miles around. Is this an excerpt from the Arctic Circle?
We arrived in Linköping in the evening, where we had homemade pizza with family and friends. I was still so tired from the fever that I went for a little nap straight after dinner, and then got up again to greet a new arrival two hours later.
The next morning we were awakened by the arrival of a Swedish Lapphund who was dropped off at 7:30 for dogsitting. That is one crazy fluffy dog! Lulu didn't like him much the first day, but slowly warmed to him. All 9 of us went for a walk by the canal (partly frozen. lots of ducks, blue sky) and then Gustave and I spent the day exploring Linköping. Huge disappointment - the city centre is very industrial and doesn't contain many old-style buildings.
We later learned that the old part of the city centre had been moved further out and went to visit it the next day. It was beautiful! We had coffee and pastries in a sweet, vintage café with mismatched furniture and a charming waitress (there are a good deal of plant-based Swedish pastries available in Sweden, by the way). Much appreciated after a four-hour hike through a nature reserve. Oh, and we saw deer! No moose, but at least some deer. Of course I had forgotten to take my 200mm lens, and my 50mm did little for me (they were around 150m away from us).
The next day we left for Göteborg. Much to Lulu's dismay, who had been loving all the cuddles and the attention she had been getting in Linköping. The traffic in Göteborg was tough (amplified by the fact that it was the afternoon before Easter Friday, and parking wasn't easy either - but we had come to expect and accept that by then. We had dinner and then went for a long evening stroll through night-lit Göteborg, the second biggest city in Sweden.
Then came the drive to Malmö, which ended up being our favourite city in Sweden (it's the third biggest). Had a great dinner at Kao's and were impressed by the architecture (particularly by the city's main square).
And finally the drive home. We had lunch in Odense in Denmark (at Venchi - highly recommend the burgers!) and reached Germany in the afternoon on the final day of our road trip, feeling pretty satisfied and tired.