Dalarna, a region called “Heart of Sweden”, lies 300 km in the northwest of the capital city of Stockholm. People call it like this, not only because it it is technically located in the centre of Sweden, but moreover because of its unique, lively and diversified landscape.
The region is best known for its typical red houses, a color called Faluröd after the city of Falun. There, a big copper mine is located, that produced the house paint as a cheap byproduct. Dalarna is home to many wild and typically Scandinavian animals, but it should also reveal a natural spectacle, that we did not expect, when we arrived.
Right in the centre of Dalarna, a 290 km² lake, the Siljansjön can be found. It is the seventh biggest lake in Sweden and not a lot smaller than the Bodensee. As part of a weekend trip we stayed 3 days in a vandrarhem in Rättvik, a city at the shore of Siljansjön. Our activities there included kayaking as well as a 25 km hiking round trip.
While we were walking a lot and thus looked at our feet, at one moment we followed Stephen Hawking’s advice to look up at the stars. And we were rewarded by seeing northern lights. The so called aurora borealis is a light display induced by fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetosphere due to Solar winds, allowing charged particles to enter the atmosphere. It is usually only regularly visible in the northern parts of Sweden but with some luck and good weather, you can also spot them in Dalarna or even Stockholm.
The aurora looked like a cloud in the beginning and was only distinguishable by the green image it produced in a camera. But during the intensity climax, clear fast-moving and slightly coloured structures were visible above the horizon. It did not exactly look like on the pictures, but it was nevertheless a fascinating experience.
After the Hawking lecture, this was the second day in Sweden that I will never forget in my whole life. Tack Sverige!