Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dalarna: Where Storybooks Come to Life

The moment I set foot in Dalarna for the first time in June 21, a sweeping sense of wonder washed over me. I had  been told that it's a special province or county in the heart of Sweden, a popular tourist destination in summer.  I found out later in the camping site that not only the Swedish people flock there but also tourists and adventurers from other countries.

It had been part of our travel itinerary to have a two-night stop-over in my hubby's province of birth before moving on to Oslo to attend a three-day convention. We started off in the morning of 21st and got there in the afternoon. We headed straight to the legendary Lake Siljan and into the largest island therein, Sollerön, where we set up our tent right by the lakeshore.

We boiled water for our coffee with this mini-portable kitchen that we brought before looking around the area in the early evening.

We traveled mostly around Lake Siljan for two days. The lake is located at the heart of Dalarna, and is fringed with beautiful towns and villages where the signature red-colored cottages and timber buildings have been preserved and have become part of the breath-taking landscapes that dazzle many tourists.


The camping site in the island of Sollerö (the largest one in the Siljan Lake) draws hundreds of people with their homecars, trailers and tents. The vast camping area was almost filled with such mobile lodging quarters and cabins.

What attracts most of these tourist to this camping ground is it perfect location - right along the lake with a splendid view of the blue/green hills, some little islands scattered about and the sunset.  The ambience is nothing but serene, refreshing and relaxing despite the presence of many tourists and children playing in the little playground. 

Sleeping in a tent beside the lake was pleasurably sweet. Watching the lake scenery in the morning while sipping our coffee, and in the afternoon as the glow of the sun begins to paint the surface of the water and the distant mountains gave us a dose of panacea.

We spent our days circling the whole Siljan Lake and stopping by the three main towns that grace the coastlines: Mora, Leksand and Rättvik, all well-known for their many folkloristic attractions and spectacular Midsummer celebrations.

Personally, I find every corner an oasis of beauty, with all the gorgeous landscapes, deep green forests, profusion of colorful wildflowers, charming red cottages bedecked with colorful flowers and stunning gardens, the blue waters of the lake and the distant hills, the little islands scattered throughout the lake, etc. Here are some of the many attractions that I have captured as we roamed about these places. (Note: Sometimes, pictures fail to do justice to the real beauty and aura of a place.)

Dalarna has so much to show, though I haven't seen all of them yet, but I can say that everything I've seen, the landscapes, houses, gardens and forests, are like the scenes in children's storybooks that I've found endearing.

It's one place where wonderful surprises never end, where beauty lies in every corner, where storybooks come to life. It's a place that one longs to visit again and again and again....