It’s wonderful that parkrun attracts visitors from abroad to Scandinavia, and sometimes it helps to remind us of whatever a beautiful part of the world we have the good fortune to live in. Here parkrun tourists Katie Robertson and Aileen Galvin write about their experiences on their recent tour to the Nordics, including two stops on Saturdays for parkrun!
Our Nordic adventure started in Edinburgh airport on Friday 27th July. Our flight to Copenhagen was delayed by more than an hour which meant we landed too late to try any local beers but in plenty of time for parkrun the next day. We chose Amager Strandpark as our first Danish parkrun because of its proximity to the airport and public transport as we were literally only there for parkrun before our holiday really began in Sweden.
We enjoyed the two-lap parkrun (first lap anti-clockwise, second clockwise) in very hot conditions – so hot that one of their regulars had run it early morning before parkrun started for real! We chatted to the Run Director and a fellow tourist from South Africa who was run/walking which is quite common there – she was initially worried that she would be too slow but parkrun is all-inclusive is they simply wait until the last runner/walker comes in. We clapped her over the line but unfortunately didn’t have time to stay for coffee as we had to check out of our hotel by 11.00.
From there it was back to the airport and on to a train to cross the iconic Öresund bridge to Malmö. We are both hug fans of Nordic Noir – both in book and film/TV format – so we were very excited to be going over THE bridge! So excited in fact that we got off at the wrong stop, somewhere in the middle, but realised our mistake in time to hop back on! We spent the remainder of Saturday exploring Malmö. We love Swedish design so visited the Form Design Centre and we enjoyed a few tasters at the Malmö Brewing Company. Skål!
On Sunday morning we went out to Ribersborg Kallbadhus to try out the quintessential Swedish sauna/bathing experience. Once we got over our innate British/Irish prudishness we absolutely loved it! We have since discovered that Malmö parkrun is right beside the Kallbadhus at Ribersborg and have already recommended this to the parkrun tourist fraternity. It would be ideal for adding a ‘loony dook’ as we say in Scotland to the New Years Day parkrun double that is being planned.
We picked up a hire car on Sunday afternoon and headed north to Hjo on Lake Vättern.
Hjo is a lovely little town, with beautiful big old wooden houses from its days as a spa town. We spent four days here, swimming and kayaking in the lake, trail-running in the woods and trying out the local ice-cream. New (to us) flavours like rhubarb & ginger, cognac & fig, and polkagris were all great but nothing beats the liquorice & seasalt! Yum!
In Hjo, we also discovered the joys of ‘loppisar’ and sight of ‘Loppis’ and ‘Öppet’ triggered many a detour or sudden halt over the next few days!
We then ventured further north again to the rural village of Gammelbo, in the Bergslagen area. Here, we stayed in a typical red stuga overlooking a lake. The owner recommended some great places to swim – one secluded lake for ‘the best sunsets’ in the area, and we also had a go at the ‘natural jacuzzi’ in the river rapids at Skrädtorpsfallet.
We had chosen our base to be within an hour of a parkrun so we could get our weekly fix and experience a Swedish one, so on Saturday we drove south to Örebro. The course there is a single lap – out, around anti-clockwise, and back – through the beautiful nature reserve.
It’s a wonderful setting and we really enjoyed spending some time with the core team and some of the other runners over fika afterwards in the lovely Naturens Hus Café. Apart from running in lovely places, one of the joys of parkrun is meeting new people and getting a local insight into an area. In Örebro’s case, this was some great tips for (more!) good ice cream and great swimming spots, and some help translating the manual of our hire car to diagnose why it had started beeping at us! We meandered back north stopping for lunch in Nora where we loved seeing all the vintage trains, and a quick dip in idyllic Lake Uskens.
Our final evening was spent on the deck of our stuga, drinking Swedish beer and playing Scrabble whilst watching the sun go down over Lake Normogen.
We’ve had a fantastic time in Sweden and will definitely be back, perhaps in the winter to brave the icy waters and experience a snowy parkrun.
Katie Robertson, A4077369, Edinburgh parkrun
Aileen Galvin, A103028, Edinburgh parkrun
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