Friday, September 07, 2007

Cybercuisers - on their way to meet the Captain

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Töcksfors, Sweden:
– Meeting the Natives in a Norwegien shopping Paradise.

--- and the raise and fall and raise again off a tiny Swedish border settlement

--- come back to life due to lack of oil in Sweden and currency changes

We went from Norway to Sweden on a Friday afternoon in July in the year of 2007.
Our purpose and goal was to meet a blogger friend and Captain at Faaroe in the Baltic Sea. A trip of about 7-9 hours – depending on the traffic – to the Car Ferries at the Mainland. ++ 3 hours on the Car-carrier to Gotland ++ n hours from Visby to Faaroe.

We left from Oslo (Norway about 4 pm) on E18 – or for US readers E18 - that might be similar to an Interstate-xx. Heading east for about 100 km (62 miles). 75 minutes. Lucky us. We were invited to non the less but Johs and Bettan. For dinner and stay overnight before our next leg in direction of Captain and Mr Lifecruiser.

Butt – where did we stop?
In Sweden. Only 10 km (6miles) from the border. In a tiny “village” named Töcksfors.

This is what met us

What the %#”%?&% is so interesting about such a place?

Going back in history a frontier settlement like this, the people that lived there, during centuries were trapped between the Kingdom of Sweden and /Denmark/Norway. They really did suffer. That’s from these period the name Toecksfors is originated ( popular translation: Put down place). They suffered because of the wars and hostility between the the two neighbouring countries for centuries. In reality, it was a question of power between Kings - not people in general.
Some hundred years ago. Iron was discovered, and the place blossomed, but it was suddenly time out for iron mining. Then it was timber, and the channel- Dalslands Kanal were opened in the early 1800. Bancrupcies and new industries came and left over the years. People moved away from the area.

To day it is very popular to sail/boating on this Channel (Dalslands kanal)during the summer. You can go for days at the channel and lakes. And cross the border in to Norway. It's also interesting to know that the local radio station do cooperate with local Norwegian radio stations. And that the sport club together with a sport club at the other side of the frontier has build a cross country ski track - ligthened in the evenings - that goes on both sides of the border. No customs or passports needed. And no security control.

We were served crab shells and shrimps and white wine
Johs and Bettan. They live in Töckfors. That’s their home. In Sweden. Natives so to speak. Butt they are Norwegians. 75 minutes drive to Oslo. Where they work. Crazy? Not at all. House prizes is about 40% of what it is in the Oslo area – and when only a few years from retiring; Very wise.

Having dinner outside in the evening Sun

Here are some pictures from their home and the food we had. Please enjoy. It was a very pleasant evening and stay. Excellent food. A mild, sunny summer evening. After the meal we went to the river and Lock. There is 2 Locks in Töcksfors and total height difference is 9 meters.

You want an egg? Not far to go here.
Back to the Village. Number of habitants were decreasing year after year. Until the Norwegian currency suddenly became more valuable than the Swedish. When I was young we in Norway had to pay NOK 1,20 for oneSEK,. Today we pay NOK 0.84. That has led to a blooming in Toecksfors. Serving Norwegians hunting for cheaper Meat, Pasta, Wine, Tobacco, Chicken and even light beer and sodas. And sweets.

They live close to the channel and river (just behind the trees)
Butt, the Swedes have neglected this small village. It’s so far from Stockholm (400 km - 250 miles). The Capital at the border of the Baltic Sea. So what do you think have happened?

From the Trumpet glasses, you can see we had come to the end of a fantastic meal. PS. We are sitting outdoor.

Norwegian retailers have build a large Shopping Mall. 30000 square meters. It's expected 3 million customers a year. Also new housing has been buildt. In that tiny village, last year the number of citiziens grew by 50 – to 1692. That’s much to be declared as a “non-place”. But this is only the beginning. In a short time new shopping Malls (60000 sq meters) will pop up. New houses (100 villas). And new hotels. Thanks to the strong Norwegian currency and relative low food prices in Sweden. Tobacco and Wine is also half price. For Norwegians it’s a shopping paradise. Only 6 miles from the frontier. Special busses goes from Oslo directly to the Shopping mall. All thanks to the Oil and Gas found in the North Sea, which have made Norway a very rich country - and the people too.
For us, it’s a canoeists paradise. On the Lakes and rivers. And Johs and Bettan.

Thanks Johs

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Blogger mar said...

Oh, no! shopping malls should stay near the large cities and leave fairy tale villages live their own quiet life...

September 08, 2007 11:27 am  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

Now maybe I should retire there...only thing is, I hate the cold. But it certainly sounds idyllic.

I do think it's a shame that there is a shopping mall going in there...isn't anything sacred anymore?

Interesting post, Tor. Thanks.

September 08, 2007 11:40 am  
Blogger TorAa said...

@Mar: The point is that this community was about to be more or less depopulated, and they are happy with all the Norwegians shopping there. But principally, I agree with you.

September 08, 2007 11:41 am  
Anonymous captain lifecruiser said...

What I as a Swede must react upon, are the facts that:

1) Why we Swedes do this to our country. Instead of spreading out in the whole Sweden we're centralizing to the bigger cities. I hate that, because a lot of very beautiful villages is destroyed this way. Half of Sweden (north) is becoming emptied.

2) Why Norway must have such high prices when they are such a rich country with all that oil money - why all the high taxes?

That's beyond my understanding. Both are equally wrong.

I totally understand why the Norwegians comes over here - as much as we Swedes do the same in the south of Sweden over to Denmark :-)

That foooood looks delicious, you made me hungry now, so I sent Mr Lifecruiser for shopping - not quite like the ones you used to write about earlier though. He does follow the list I make... *giggles*

September 08, 2007 3:08 pm  
Anonymous Sword Girl said...

It is very interesting learning more about the country you and Renny are from and our Captain's country. I never knew that was going on up there. I'm glad you wrote about it. It seems that goes on a lot down here too. :/

September 08, 2007 7:23 pm  
Blogger Melli said...

Oh what a great little visit! The place seems rather charming - even if the name is not! Sounds like life is GOOD there! Especially if you work in Norway!

September 08, 2007 7:43 pm  
Anonymous RennyBA said...

What a great post about a common friend of ours. you know we pass this little village on our way to the vacation home, but seldom stop as we are eager to get to our paradise. I can tell we just have to pay Johs a visit.

I think you've described the trade rush from Norway to Sweden in an excellent way and of course we are benefit from in as a regular visitor.

September 08, 2007 10:49 pm  
Blogger Gattina said...

Very interesting ! Of course I didn't know that shopping is cheaper there ! We have the same situation in Belgium at the Luxemburg border ! Everything is soooo much cheaper then in Belgium so that it is even worthwhile to go there from Brussels (it's only 190 km) Luxemburgers pay very small income taxes and TVA is also much lower. And the Frenchs have the same in Belgium, they live in Belgium and work in France because it's cheaper !

BTW I take the Cruise to London today ! More exactly to Croydon. I love this place it's much better then Central London once you have seen all the tourist stuff and museums ! I had 10 years for that, lol !

September 09, 2007 9:28 am  
Blogger mar said...

Dropping by to wish you a lovely sunday evening. I am early,I already posted my boats :)

September 09, 2007 10:11 pm  
Anonymous RennyBA said...

Like Mar, mine will be on early too, just in an hour - my first bouts on Monday post and a very special one:-)

September 09, 2007 10:59 pm  
Blogger Fleur de Lisa said...

What an interesting name- put down place. But they have such beautiful food. Your pictures are making me very hungry!

September 09, 2007 11:28 pm  

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