Hiking St.Olavsleden : Hållandgården to Åre

Day 16 was our second day at Hållandsgården, another rest day for us both due to feeling under the weather. It poured with torrential rain most of the day so we were semi-glad to be inside. We spent the morning having the first really really restful sleep in since we started, followed by catching up with some the little things we needed to catch up with as a result of working while on the road. Gunilla arrived in the early afternoon to meet us, ready to walk with us over the next few days.

We were invited via Instagram to meet Sara and Mattias at their house nearby in the afternoon.

Today is the first day I have managed to walk in my boots without a problem! Finally things are looking up. The short walk to their house was a good gentle test for my foot.

They cooked us apple crumble and served us coffee and we chatted for a couple of hours, finding it really hard to leave as we were having such a nice time.

Afterwards we went back for a delicious dinner at Hållandgården of reindeer in pepper sauce and potatoes with lingonberry jam.

I was feeling quite ill again as the evening drew in so I went for a sauna and shower to try and make myself feel better. When I got out of the shower I saw that the light outside was something special and I had to go outside and look at the sky even though I had originally planned on going straight to bed.

The sky was a very dramatic shade of purple blue in one direction with the fading remains of a rainbow and then a bright lilac shade to the other side.

I took some photographs and then went back inside to rest again.

The next morning we woke to beautiful sunshine and feeling better after a good nights sleep I decided that this was the day to walk again. I didn’t want to push my foot too much so I made sure that I could get a bus along the road incase I started having problems. Michael at Hållandsgården had so kindly offered to drive my pack to meet me after my hike so that I could test the foot without the weight of my pack.

The first part of the walk instantly lifted my mood as it was past the most amazingly fierce waterfall. It was such a rush just to watch it. We walked with Gunilla for a while until we naturally parted ways, enjoying our own hiking paces.

Autumn is truly arriving here in northern Sweden. We walked past some amazing trees that were turning stunning shades of red and gold. The forest floor is already scattered with leaves.

At lunchtime Angeliqa and I stopped to have lunch and it was at this point I had to decide to walk much further or stay at the nearby bus stop. Choice was limited as buses are infrequent here, so I decided to stay put and catch the next bus. Michael swiftly came and dropped my bag to me at the bus stop. It’s crazy that walking for almost 4 hours is only 7 minutes distance by car!

I caught the bus and we drove towards Åre and the mountains. The landscape changed dramatically as did the weather in only a short amount of time. I arrived in Åre to find mountains with their heads in the clouds and a light mist of rain falling.

I sat in the station cafe to plan my next few hours here whilst I waited for Angeliqa.

I spent the afternoon wandering around Åre. I really like it here, it’s  very beautiful and seems to have the best of everything – nature, beauty, culture, shopping and sporting activities such as hiking, skiing, climbing, mountain biking and paragliding – depending on the season.

Unfortunately as it is Sunday and kind of in between seasons, a lot of places were closed.

Eventually Angeliqa arrived and we went for a coffee with Sofia before meeting Sara Rönne from Traningsgladje, who we would be staying with, at her house in Åre.

She cooked us an amazing dinner and allowed us to use her sauna which was much needed after a chilly end to the day. We had some really inspiring conversations before heading to bed ready for a full planned rest day in Åre. I am planning on going to the hospital tomorrow to have my foot and throat checked, to make sure I have done all I can to help myself and see if there is anything else that can be done so I can continue this trip in the way I wanted to.

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