“You had me at ‘Troll’”

Friday 7 September. I looked for reasons to return, but Gothenburg didn’t draw me back. I could have pushed north to Norway but wanted to find a Sweden away from the flat and the cities. Scanning Google maps I saw Troll, and zoomed in. A bit of reading and loose plan formed – head northeast to Trollhätten, then into the lakes and forests beyond.

The hint of hills seen as I drove to Gothenburg soon delivered as I drove out. Tree covered crags thrust ever higher, the landscape and the driving becoming more interesting by the minute. I arrived at the Trollhätten tourist information centre and, after speaking to the helpful woman there, left with marked up maps and confirmation that I’d made a good call. No more cities for a while, just stop where I want and explore. Northeast, then northwest to slip into Norway; well, it’s kind of a plan!

Waterways, linked by canals, allow shipping to cross between Stockholm on the east and Gothenburg on the west. Northeast of Trollhätten lies Lake Vänern, the largest lake in the EU and the third-largest lake entirely in Europe, after two in Russia. The lake used to discharge down the Trollhätten falls but there’s a dam there now, although it does release waters during the tourist season so people can see what the falls were like. The Trollhätten locks allow shipping to manage the drop from Lake Vänern. The old locks have been superseded by wider modern ones, but they can still be seen.

I went for a short walk this afternoon,

and it’s a beautiful area. I shall explore further tomorrow.

It’s 19:00, thunder has been rolling for the last hour but the skies have just opened. I’m looking at the canal basin, through the rain running off my roof, feeling very cosy.

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