Sunday, 3 August 2008

The rain has finally caught up with me ...

After two weeks of browning my knees in the scorching Swedish sunshine, I'm now back in my rain gear again.

I'm trying to ride towards Arvika to find out about opportunities for a canoe holiday there next year, but the rain is falling in sheets today, so I am going to make a short 40km dash from Borlänge, where I have stayed overnight in the luxurious but very reasonably priced First Hotel, to the youth hostel at Grangärde at the top of Lake Väsman to the west.

Thursday and Friday were spent in a prison cell in Falun, home of Sweden's copper mining industry and its second city for many hundreds of years until the mine collapsed in the late 17th century. Fortunately the prison is now a Youth Hostel, so I had the key to my room, but nevertheless I didn't enjoy the experience - clanging cell doors at all hours, and five sets of locks to get through each time I left the place. I prefer Roar's approach, no locks whatsoever anywhere. Falun was well worth the time spent there though - apart from the huge pit left by the mine, it's a beautiful historic town in its own right and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I was also able to use Falun as a base for a day ride to Carl and Karin Larson's house at Sundborn, which will remain a highlight of the trip for me. I found the tour very moving. The house was so beautifully decorated by the couple who poured all their artistic ability into their family home. Every room conveys a very strong visual impression of the life of the family living there at the turn of the 20th century.

The First Hotel at Borlänge has been a very welcome refuge from the rain on my way back from Falun, I'd definitely choose it again if I come back this way!

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