Never work in a location you don’t like !…….
Not often enough did I follow this maxim, but luckily I have always been wise enough to make a move before settling permanently for a poor compromise. There are just too many hours in the day when you are not working and you owe it to yourself to spend these in nice surroundings.
This had been the case in Surrey and since starting to work and to travel at the same time, I have always made it a precondition for all my recent as well as for my future placements.
It shouldn’t stop you from trying something new, but don’t commit yourself for too long if it doesn’t feel right.
I had no such doubts with Sundsvall and the town and I hit it off right from the start : a sizable place with a good selection of shops and restaurants, right on the shores of the Baltic Sea, where not only I was born, but where also a lot of my friends and colleagues are working in other Nordic and Continental European countries. In addition to this a landscape broken up with a few hills and a lot of forest and lakes – what more do you need ?
In the middle of November I took the opportunity to explore the countryside around my new (temporary) home:
Norra Berget – a hill at the Northern end of the town – gave me a good overview over the “Stone City” which the place has been called since its fore-fathers had decided to change its main building material after the town had burned down for a second time at the end of the nineteenth century.
Thankfully they didn’t make a bad job at all of it, with a lot of Art Nouveau features on many of the central buildings, with a picturesque church in the middle of town and with a couple of great view points for everyone to enjoy from the hills both in the North and in the South.
The somewhat sleepy harbour is sheltered by Alnön, a low lying and completely forested island in the East, which at one point counted more than ten saw mills.
Today there are mainly signs that are telling the tale of the great timber trade and its main feature are a lot of weekend and holiday cottages and beautiful beaches.
Heading further North I am crossing the spectacular Högakusten Bron
which is not only the gateway to the cities of Umeå and Luleå, but also to the border to Finland and to the areas of Sweden that are located North of the Polar Circle.
Not far from the bridge is the small Skuleskogen Nationalpark with a dense pine forest that has hardly changed since the last ice age.
With the sun now just reaching above the trees in the middle of the day, it is my last opportunity for hiking before the snow is coming…..