On the way

Since it’s a long drive from Loos to Stockholm to catch the morning ferry, I drove to Älvkarleby for the night. It also provided me a chance to catch some sea air (not that I really crave for it) so I headed straight to the beach. I had planned to take some long exposure pictures of waves, but once I was there it just didn’t inspire. What I found all the more interesting was the barren pine forest and I tried long shutter speed here instead, moving camera up and down during exposure. Everyone and their brother does that at some stage of their photography careers and truth to be told, I rarely bother to get excited about such pictures. They all more or less look the same… so I won’t inflict my blurry pictures on you.

While I was walking around, I came across a map of the area, with some descriptions of what you can find here. The magic word was right there – orchids! So without further ado, I rushed back to the car and drove to closest parking and tried to find the trailhead. At first I almost ended up on a nudist beach. Naked people and me with a camera… I think the risk of misunderstanding would have been considerable! But I quickly found the trailhead and the common spotted orchids were the first flowers I came across, oh happiness! And this time, there is no shadow of a doubt that these are the real McCoy. They’re so Dactylorhiza maculata ssp. fuchsii it screams.

Dactylorhiza maculata ssp. fuchsii
Dactylorhiza maculata ssp. fuchsii

There was a promise of even more orchids – one of them new to me – so I followed the trail. Alas, I didn’t find new orchids but some other new flowers instead, including the biggest darn bluebell I’ve ever seen. Yes I’ve been living a sheltered life.

I wish I had had more time there. The coastal environment provides its own species for flowers, just the mountains did. If I ever take the same morning ferry again (in the summertime), I will make sure to do this same stopover in Älvkarleby but with more time to spare.

At the hostel, something gave me an allergic reaction. I couldn’t quite pin down what it was, maybe it was the place itself – Laxön (Salmon Island). I’m allergic to fish.

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