After checking out from the hut, we headed over to the swimhall this morning as they have a heated indoor pool. The kids haven't been swimming in a while so we thought it would be nice. Unfortunately their definition of heated is not quite the same as mine - a bit chilly! Made me nostalgic for the good old virgin active pool.
There was a big group of primary school children so we went in the diving pool which was, of course, a bit too deep to hold onto felix properly. Em wanted to go on the waterside so I took her...so much fun! Think I scared her a bit though - we went so fast! And apparently we soaked a young teacher supervising some of the kids. Oops.
Felix was turning blue around the edges so we all went in the spa. So lovely. Is great to be able to take the kids in with us. And they love it. Em left briefly as she wanted to jump off the diving board. She was nervous about it but after watching some other kids and with some encouragement she did it and was very proud.
I had the girls and J took felix to get changed. A major cultural difference - communal showers. We came in just as the school girls were finishing up and they were all naked together in the showers. All the communal nakedness made ME uncomfortable, but I wonder if it's a good thing in the end. At least it's all out in the open, and you grow up seeing that everyone else is just like you. Perhaps being body exposed makes you less body conscious?? Made me think of our individual shower stalls with doors as a bit prudish.
We drive through Mora - not much to see and headed to Rattvik for lunch. Once we figured out how to get across the train tracks to the parking lot, we had a nice picnic on grass beside a sandy lakeside beach. Rattvik is home to the world's longest pier made entirely of wood. 635m of it. Very elegant looking, it takes much longer to walk than you think it will. The original pier was built in the early 1900's, once the train line stopped here bringing lots of summer tourists. They built a manmade island complete with trees and open air swimming baths (?necessary in a lake?) and the pier joined it to the shore. The swimming baths closed in 1930 and the pier itself was rotting away so they have rebuilt it only recently. They cleverly raised money for it by selling each plank if wood to be used, and if you bought it you got your name carved in it. So the pier today has Swedish names carved neatly all over it. The girls played for a while on the beach, paddling in the lake and drawing pictures in the sand. They liked looking at all the names in the wood, though I'm sure my pronunciation is awful. Intermittently along the main pier were seating areas with nearby steps that led down to short low platforms right on the water. Em and meg loved these and would disappear down them to dangle their hands, feet or heads in the water. The lake is very shallow and clear enough that you can see the uniform ripples in the sandy bottom.
Halfway along meg decided she didn't want to walk anymore and proceeded to have a crying, sulking tantrum about wanting to be picked up until we arrived back at the car! She's dreadful sometimes and really overdramatises. She's such a mummy's girl and will cry about wanting to be carried but ignore or refuse j's offers to pick her up. So at the end of the pier she stood there, arms crossed and pouting while the rest of us had a look around. Was quite lovely - a grassy area shades by trees surrounded by a wooden promenade that extended further past the item to what I assume was a boat pick up point. Again there were stairs down to low platforms and ladders into the water. I imagine that in the height and heat of summer it would be delightful to swim from there. Em and I had a lovely time pottering around. She is such great company, always has lots of insights, questions and comments on everything around. The commentary never stops!
Back in the car, we drove to Leksand and Tallsberg, the latter of which is described as a hillside village where the houses are dotted like red jewels! Now I agree that the views over the lake were nice, and that all the houses were painted the traditional dark red, but not so sure about picturesque. To me, the houses and villages in Sweden so far don't have quite the character or charm of Norway. The scenery seems less wild and more sedate. This 'taming' is apparent in their commercial use if the environment. Driving along we saw areas of deforestation (small, granted), wood mills, and long trains pulling flatness piled high with stripped pine trees.
We got to Uppsala early evening, having been battered by torrential rain on the highway. When we arrived at the campsite (next to the waterpark j had told the girls about), hubby decided he didn't like the look of it and almost had us turned around. The beauty of travelling spontaneously is not being locked in and being able to move on if we don't like somewhere, but it can end up being a goose chase sometimes. It was late, and the girls were clamouring both for dinner and the swim adventure they'd been promised, so we booked in for the 2 nights and got swimming passes for tomorrow. We had the luxury of dinner out - though was just the waterpark restaurant - and flopped into bed.