SWEDEN IN 1806-1808. Snippets of Leopold von Buch: ”Travels through Norway and Lapland during the years 1806, 1807 and 1808.” Translated by John Black. With notes by R. Jameson (London 1813). Pt 1 of 3.

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On the morning of the third we came to the great Angermannself. It was not like a river here, but like a lake. We crossed over in a large flat-bottomed boat, and rowed for more than an English mile before we reached Weda on the opposite bank. Delightful bushey banks, beautiful prospects and distances down the river, with ships in sail! It is a great and majestic stream. In this neighbourhood one of the ornaments; of the north again made its appearance for the first time, the Norway Maple (Acer platanoides). The river is the boundary of its growth; it does not cross it with impunity. In Finland Linnæus first saw it between Christina and Biörneburg, about half a degree farther south.

The road constantly follows the windings of the coast, and never goes to any great distance from the sea. This however increases the number of miles greatly. The views of Fiords which penetrate from the sea are very frequent, but we seldom or never have a view from the road of any extent out at sea. On an island beyond the wood, between three and four English miles from the road, lay Hernösand, the capital of Norrland, and the seat of the chief magistrate (Landeshöfding), who is mentioned every quarter of a mile on elegant mile-stones of cast iron. Late in the evening we came to Fjäll, the first place of the small province of Medelpad, and completely adapted to excite in us the most favourable prepossession in its favour.

The fourth of October. Near to Fjäll we crossed the Indals-Elf, the outlet of all the waters from Jämteland, on which account it is a considerable stream. We had twice to cross it, for it incloses a small island over which the road runs. The woods become at last here not so frequent and extensive; the churches crowd closer and closer together; the country seems more inhabited, and the views are more rich and refreshing. The bay of Timmero was astonishingly beautiful. The noble and simple church on a hill in the valley was reflected in the clear unruffled stream, and the bushey declivities of the hills were delightful. The people came flocking down by roads and footpaths from the heights, hurrying to the church, as a central point. Immediately the solemn peal of the bell resounded through the valley. The people on the footpaths now quickened their pace. The groups on the roads began to separate, the whole valley was in motion, and the sound was solemnly borne up the mountains. How grand and elevating is nature!

We were at a short distance from Sundsvall. A valley opposite us descended towards the town; the declivities were green and covered with houses,

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beautiful and animated like Tannhausen in Silesia. The town was burnt two years ago, but was now re-edified, and run dazzlingly from the sea-bay up river. But internal prosperity did not seem to be yet restored. Many of the Streets were only laid down, no where paved, and many houses were not completed; and that the town should contain one thousand six hundred inhabitants is hardly credible at first sight. We see, however, from a few respectable houses along the water, and the ships in the harbour, that there is a stir here which is considerably increased by the linen manufacture. Before the town we beheld again the first fruit gardens: apple trees with fruit on them; and they did not seem sickly, or to stand in need of the greatest care to succeed. High willow trees stood every where round the town, salix fragilis and, for the first time descending from the north, in a latitude of 62½°. This is the extremity of the successful cultivation of fruit-trees (apples) along the Bothnian Gulph. On the Western Ocean, in Norway, fruit gardens have been seen if is true at Ertsvogöe, near Christiansund, in a latitude of 63°. full of various sorts of cherries, and even wallnuts bearing fruit, which seldom however ripened.* It is deep in the interior of the Fiord, where the Warmth of the great ocean may, but where the fogs cannot penetrate.

Before Sundswall there was a country house, perhaps the most northern in Sweden: a small stone palace agreeably situated on a hill, to which we are conducted through maple alleys. Grefwe Frölick dwells there the whole year through, said the Sjuts Bonde (the peasant in charge—Schützbaüer), to me, who delivers the horse for proceeding onwards at the station. The climate must have its charms when it is chosen to erect country-houses on.

We crossed the Njurunda-Elv over a beautiful bridge, and Shortly afterwards we again proceeded between high mountains betwixt Maji and Grytje. The Norbykuylen is a celebrated mountain in the whole country round, and serves as a mark to seamen a great distance out at sea. It was not so rockey as Skulaberg, nor so steep and perpendicular in its ascent, but it was certainly equally high. It was evening when we descended, and we did not reach Bringstadt, the second station in Helsingeland, till late in the night. The mountains had placed limits to the more southern extension of Medelpad.

Non Nemo Rudolf Strömberg
Målning 1893 av Non Nemo, dvs Rudolf Strömberg.
Verket brukar anses vara fritt efter Lydia Sjöströms foto från 1880-talet.

Note: Highlightings by blogger (Peter Ericson)

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