Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer in the North

After experiencing the Spanish heat for several weeks and complaining about humidity, we have moved North, and now complain about cold and rain instead.  Northern Sweden is very different from the South indeed, it has its own beauty and personality.  Water (which unfortunately also means mosquitoes) and trees are abundant, making the scenery beautiful and reflective.  

Slow sunset over the Golf of Bothnia, picture by Jonas

There is also climbing in Northern Sweden, although not so well-known as the rock in neighboring Norway.  As Jonas works on the new version of the guidebook for the area, we visited several crags around Lulea, such as the famous Niemisel, claimed to be one of the best sport climbing crags around here, especially for the climbers getting into the 8th grade, visited by both Swedes and Finns of the North.

 Jonas pulling hard in Niemisel

I found Niemisel rather hard, slopy, and overhanging, not to mention wet, for the first visit.  It is another of those places one needs to get used to, requiring patience and motivation to stick to it. Lacking both for the moment, I enjoyed the sunshine and took some pictures instead.

A different Jonas enjoying summer climbing in the North

While in Sweden, I was treated to the classic of the Northern Swedish cuisine, Surstromming.  It is fermented - or rotten - herring, that smells very very bad when the can is opened.  Several stories circulate about unknowing foreigners opening the can and being more than surprised by the unpleasant result.  The taste of the rotten fish is mainly salt, and having practiced with French cheeses before, I successfully passed the exam and enjoyed this special food.

Rotten herring, a "delicacy" of sorts, picture by Jonas

More to come about Northern climbing, hopefully in Norway, if the rain lets us, soon.