We packed up this morning - still takes a while - and were on the road by 10. First stop was Roros, an old copper mining town on the inner highlands. It was just under 2 hrs away. Completely different to anything we've seen so far but uniquely beautiful. The mine there ran from 1644 till 1977 when the company went bankrupt. The town itself is very utilitarian in appearance, prettily industrial in a very oldfashioned way. The houses are small and squat but painted in varying colors (red, blue, yellow, orange) with white trimming and grey roofs. We parked at the top of the sloping main street (which I imagine would be a hazard in winter!) near the church - Kjerkgata - built in 1784 and paid for by the mining company. It's a lovely looking timber church with a beautifully baroque altar and podium standing halfway between floor and ceiling. I could imagine some stony faced clergy thundering down sermons from that! Seating 1600 it's one of the largest churches in Norway, and is a sort of romantic blue on the interior. The seats are divided up into sections. The right was the men's side and the left was the women's. The rich would sit at the front and the workers at the back. There were balconies along the side in the upper floor with separate entrances for the really poor and criminals to view services. At the rear of the church and up a level were some balconies for the 'royalty' or mining company executives and their families. These boxes had pretty arches over them and gauzy white curtains to shield the inhabitants from the gaze of commoners! There were more of these curtained boxes on the sides of the ground floor which were used by the richest of the rich - the seats were put up for auction once a year and the highest bidder would then own the seats until the following year.
We had lunch beside the car though it was quite chilly as the wind swept across the high plains. In winter you can do dogsled or horse and sleigh treks, or head put to a southern Sami (indigenous people of northern Scandinavia and Russia) camp where you can eat reindeer and learn to ice fish! So it must get seriously and sustainedly cold.
Fed and watered, we walked amongst the houses over to what used to be the mine itself, and is now a museum. It was fairly small and not much in English (and audioguides are impossible with children - we've learnt that lesson!) but the bottom floor was full of miniature working replicas of various parts of the mining process. They used some horse power, but mostly water to power all the ingenious machinery needed for mining and smelting. Water even pumped the bellows! Human ingenuity is amazing. The girls loved peering into tunnels and watching all the miniature people and parts moving. They ran around quite madly in the large smelting warehouse. There was info on a machine introduced at the factory in the late 1800's that produced refined copper in 1 1/2 hrs, replacing a complex 5 step process that took 1 1/2 months. It made me marvel at how all these discoveries were made - who realised that you could get copper out of rock, and who figured out how to do it?? We take so much for granted nowadays and don't even think about where things come from or how they get there.
The other draw in Roros is it's traditional wood and grass-roof miners cottages, which looked lovely in the sunshine. All rich, old timber and bright, lush green. They seem to have character, especially when the grass grows a bit wild and haphazard on top, like someone in need of a haircut. We saw the enormous slag piles too. I wonder what they do with all that waste? Now I understand where the term 'slag' comes from!
I had a brief wander down the main street which had some surprisingly trendy and quirky clothes and souvenir shops. Then we continued - with Sweden as our destination. The landscape was very wild, high plains with lots of trees but the sort of undergrowth you expect to see on the moors (brackeny, mossy type plants). When we crossed the border into Sweden it was without fanfare. In fact we had to turn around to go back for a photo as we hadn't noticed! I guess I have only lived in countries that share no borders so was expecting something more dramatic. The houses seem slightly squarer, and while the forests continue there are more young pine trees (?regeneration) and signs of logging. And the roads are tarmaced a faded red...perhaps to blend in with the traditional Swedish house color! And of course the lakes continued.
We arrived at Mora, a popular summer destination on the shores of Lake Siljan and found the campsite - a big park with hotel, restaurant and various activity centres (including swimming) attached. Jason got us a hut as we're only staying one night. A lovely red hut with...you guessed it...Swedish pine floor, bunk beds and furniture inside. J was delighted to have a sofa for the first time in ages, though didn't get to make as much use of it as he'd have liked. I cooked spag Bol as requested by Em for dinner but the meat I had got and thought was beef...wasn't. Annoying as I spent ages reading the labels and wasn't in the 'svine' section (think it was pork). Ah well. The joys of shopping when you don't understand anything. Is quite fun actually. Nighty night.