While traveling in Sweden, I met up with a newly-discovered Swedish relative who was both friend and guide for a beautiful day of exploration at Vinterviken, near Stockholm.
Before our magical day at Vinterviken, I had no idea the place existed. Historically, the area was purchased by Alfred Nobel in 1865, so he could safely conduct experiments with dynamite. Though it was once the location of violent explosions, these days it is a place of serenity.
Today the land is a public recreational area. The result is that the area has tunnels, hidden nooks, and exploded cliffsides to explore.
But be aware, as a result of Nobel’s tests, the surrounding soil is contaminated with lead, arsenic and uranium. Visitors are warned against allowing children or dogs to ingest the soil. Walking the paths is considered safe.
When my distant cousin and I were there, autumn had painted the trees in the region, making for a day of stunning views.
One of the factory buildings on the land has been renovated, with an eye toward preservation of its historic charm and a few tasteful, modern touches.
Inside the banquet hall, known as Winterviken, you will find Wintervikens Cafe, which serves up world-class food primarily for a bustling crowd of young mothers with strollers, as well as others who frequent the place.
Vinterviken is a great day trip from Stockholm’s city center. Plan to dedicate at least a couple of hours to hike the area and take fun photos in the tunnels, then dine in the cafe.
When you’re tired of the tourist crush of Old Town, Vinterviken is a relaxing and restorative way to spend an afternoon, away from the hustle of the city.
Especially when you do it on a lovely day in the fall, while connecting with a distant relative and your own sense of history.
Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to her clients.
Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.