Summary: I did a road-trip with my buddies Thomas and Antoine around Sweden and Finland, camping and fishing by lakes in the middle of nowhere. It was awesome, especially the chilling around the fire that we did every night, no matter whether it was by the beach, or in the middle of the forest.
Long version: I had taken the night train from Luleå to Stockholm, and I was sitting on a bench munching on some muesli while reading a book at the southern end of the Vasabron (Vasa bridge to the north of Gamla Stan). And then out of nowhere, 2 very familiar faces jumped on me out of a black Polo car. I was so happy… I hadn’t met any of my good friends in soooo long. After updating each other with some coffee and a walk around Stockholm, we were off to try to find a cool spot. A couple of hours later, we found it. We had driven deep into the forest by car and parked it as close as we could to the lake that we could see on the GPS, and did the rest by foot.
We even found the perfect spot, camping at the water-front, and fishing by the sun. We got quite a few fishes to compensate for their small size, fishing with the road in one hand and the beer in the other. At night, we did a massive fire and cooked the fishes both enrolled in aluminium foil with onion and spices, and fried with olive oil and salt.
The next day we set off on a bridge-hopping tour… Basically, Thomas loves bridges, so I had a look at the map in the GPS and found a road going through many islands and bridges through the countryside. We found a really good spot for fishing and chilling by an inflatable platform on a lake, next to probably the most beautiful forest I’ve ever been in. But later on we moved on to a beach and did a massive fire after collecting a lot of wood. We even put on a huge trunk root that looked like a meteorite on fire which was still burning in the morning when we woke up. Well, technically, we went to bed in the morning after a really cool night.
In the morning we had a swim and then head-off to Uppsala to see some of the student vibes and to print the ticket for our ferry. We all loved the city… I mean, with all those incredibly hot girls walking around, who wouldn’t? In the afternoon we went to the outskirts of Stockholm trying to find a good spot to camp. Our ferry left really early the following day so we did not want to take any chances. At the end we found a really cool place in front of Björn Borg’s old house where we did some fire and talked to some french ex-jokey and some swedish fisherman. My friends slept in the car because it was too cold and they were too lazy to put the tent up, but I slept in my hammock between 2 trees over the lake.
Thomas woke me up super-early in my hammock and I was so surprised that I did not even hear him get closer. Anyway, we took the ferry to Turku, and all along the way there were thousands of beautiful islands. I promised myself to do an adventure trip there one day and fell asleep, waking up just on time to see the last dancing performance and to hop in the car. Finland was so different from Sweden. For starters, the language has nothing in common with anything else I’ve ever seen. Also, it seemed that no matter how hard we searched, every single piece of land surrounding a lake was private property with some houses. At some point we found a good parking spot to camp, but a young guy came and told us that it was private property and that we couldn’t camp there, even though it would disturb no one. It was quite funny, because while he was saying all of that I could see his boat getting further and further from the dock but thought that if he did not help us out I would not help him neither and after a while he had to dive into the water and swim to go to his boat again. At the end we found another camping place, nothing fancy at all but at least campable and without being surrounded by houses.
We woke up with a woman calling the police. Even though some locals had told us that we could camp there, she somehow decided to call the police because of us camping. Kind of nuts if you ask me! So we left before they arrived and kept on driving. My friend Antoine got news that his grandfather was really really sick and we decided to go to a friend’s house nearby: Uc, one of the coolest guys around.
We ended up sleeping there for 2 nights, exploring old WWII bunkers, sliding down ski slopes on our asses/wooden sledges, having sauna and jumping naked in the lake, going around the lake fishing on Uc’s boat and perhaps my favourite: Uc’s radio call. Basically, we were listening to the radio and he decided to call them in finnish and pretended that I got married to a girl called Tina (wanting to pretend that it was my buddy Thomas). He told them that we were having a crazy bachelors party and then I also talked for a while on how I met Tina outside the supermarket. Actually, I’d just met a girl just like that a couple of hours before that so it was funny to pretend that I got married with her… Imagine speaking on the phone while you can hear your voice in the radio in the car… Because we were on air. It was funny. Anyway, Uc’s family are so much fun and welcoming and are kind of the perfect hosts! (Except one morning of forced garden labour in which I had to de-root a few trees XD).
The next day we tried to find some more good spots, but we could not find any! Not by a lake at least… So we decided to fill up our bottles with water from the lake and to go deep into the forest until we could find a cool and empty spot, which we found after a ride through rather high vegetation on the path. There was no lake but we were surrounded by forest. We had so much fun dancing to techno trance music throwing around the ball and cooking loads of tasty foods on a beautiful fire constructed by the fire masters, Thomas and (especially :P) me. Antoine got a phone call saying that his grandpa had died so he got very sad and decided to fly back home the next day…
We took him to the airport and then went again scouting for a relaxed and remote place by a lake… And again we failed. The perfect place that we found had a house next to it. It was more like an uninhabited hut, but still it was private property and we had the impression that Finnish people do not really like trespassers of that kind. Later, somehow by pure luck we saw a quad and followed it for 100m until his home. Upon asking him if he knew where we could camp he invited us into his house for some drinks with him and his wife, and later a sauna, after calling a friend of his to ask for permission for us to camp. After that we had dinner and some wine with a really nice conversation on the terrace… And when we started getting tired they showed us the way to the perfect place that we had discovered a few hours ago!! But this time, we could do a big fire (with an already cut and stocked wood pile) and grill our meat while chilling out on the sofa.
When Thomas opened the tent the next morning, a plate of breakfast food was lying just in front of our tent… The incredibly kind Finnish wife had brought it to our tent and we hadn’t even heard her!! We wrote some nice goodbye letter and we were on the path to leave when a van blocked our way… It was the owner of the property, a really nice and funny Estonian guy about who we were talking the previous night. We wanted to thank him so it was like the perfect coincidence. That afternoon, Thomas drove me to Helsinki airport after a walk through the city… It was so weird saying goodbye to him. We both felt a really big funny feeling in our stomachs, because it was the start of some new adventures and uncertainty for the both of us… He had to return to Luxembourg on his own car, and I was off to Iceland without a single clue of what would happen… Without plans, expectations, or even a picture of what Iceland looked like.