On the Road - Stockholm to Beijing travel blog

Oh love, love, I feel normal again!

What a great nights sleep, I didnt even hear any snoring! Actually I dont think that I even changed my sleeping position. Heaven.

We wandered up to the nose of the plane for breakfast, and it was delicious! I ate and ate and ate, real food mmmmmmmmm. I also packed a little snack for a bit later - travelers habit when you get free breakfast!

The morning was lovely and leisurely, as we only flew out at 10am. Our body clocks are a little out of whack which is expected so we awoke early (about 6am) but having had such a great sleep time didnt make sense to us, we just got up when we got up.

The flight to Lulea, Northern Sweden went quick, only an hour or so. It was great to get out of the city and into the coastal\countryside. I am tre' excited about our next stop - The Tree Hotel. I've heard so much in themedia about this hotel since I started researching my trip all those months ago.

The philosophy of the Tree Hotel was 'Why not create a comfortable, well designed hotel which allows visitors to live in harmony with nature amongst the trees?'

Well, with the help of a group of well known designers and architects, they did exactly that, they have turned the idea into a reality. The ecological rooms are all set in pristine Baltic Forest, refined to the local conditions.

“Dig where you stand” as the saying goes.

The owners felt it was important that we find another way to value the forest, rather than to cut the trees for industrial use. This Boreal forest is one of the Earth’s lungs.

Their inspiration came from the documentary film “Trädälskaren” (Treelover) by Jonas Selberg Augustsen. It is the story of three men from the urban environment who look to get back to their roots by building a tree house together. It is a philosophical film about what “the tree” means to us humans, both historically and culturally.

It was their inspiration to expand the idea into a hotel, with the added dimension of innovative modern design, with construction and daily running of the Tree Houses as green as possible.

The rooms to name a few are The Mirror Cube, The Cabin and The Birds Nest.

The mirror cube is a lightweight aluminium structure hung around a tree trunk, 4x4x4 metre boxes clad in mirrored glass. The exterior reflects the surroundings and the sky, creating a camouflaged refuge. The interior is constructed from plywood and the windows give a 360 degree view of the surroundings.

The tree hotel concept meets the increasing interest in wild life-/eco tourism where one may encounter and experience the pristine nature of Sweden. To prevent birds colliding with the tree hotel, a infrared film, visible for birds only, will be laminated into the glass panes.

The birds nest concept is based upon the contrast between exterior and interior. From the outside it appears as a big birds nest, only the scale separating it from other nests in the vicinity. Discreet windows are almost hidden by the network of branches.

Inside it’s a high standard room with modern design. A coachwork panel and reindeer hide decorates the inner wall.The bedroom is a separate room with sliding doors. You access the nest by a retractable staircase.

The cabin, where we stayed I think was the best. Although not as surprisriding to see, it had floor to roof windows overlooking the spectacular forest, river and mountains. I afforded myself time to gaze out across the landscape, and just breathe. I could have spent an eternity in that moment. These moments are all to few and far between these days.

I drifted to sleep, maybe a nanna nap, maybe just jet lag (!) before heading to dinner at the guesthoust just through the birch forest and over the wildflower covered plain.

To my surprise I was presented with a reindeer steak. Britta, the host, must have seen to the look on my face because the moment she put it down she picked it up again and went back into the kitchen! 10 minutes later I had the most tastiest wild mushroom and vegetable spicy stirfry presented to me.

We chatted to a few other guests at our table, Professors from Sweden and Nepal which made for an interesting dinner.

Now, I am not sure what I was thinking when booking this, but at 10.30pm, we were picked up for a Midnight Horse Ride....

We each took care of our horse shoes and saddles etc before heading off through the light summer night of Norrbotten, riding through the fantastic fire scorched area with its special flora and fauna for about 3 hours. With us we had one of the year's foals, which stayed with the mare the host was riding.

Along the way we stopped at Klusåberget Mountain to enjoy our waffles with cloudberries and cream together with a warm mug of chocolate while the horses rest and we thrill to the exciting sounds of the night. The sun set above the horizon, and alike my experience in Norway went sideways, then rose again! It was truely beautiful and a great experience even though it was close to 3am when we arrived back at the hotel absolutely shattered.

Must... rest....now....

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