I’d gone to Dorotea specifically to visit the caravan museum. As the owner of a tiny campervan I’d thought I’d be able to pick up lots of ideas and tips that I could adapt.
Although it was still August, the summer season was over, leaves were just starting to turn golden and the caravan museum had closed for the winter. In fact it’s only open for about three weeks, so chances of catching it open are always going to be pretty slim.
I chatted to the Dutch couple who ran the campsite and they said they didn’t understand why the season finished so early either. This wasn’t just the caravan museum that was closed, but many other places in northern and central Sweden. Yes, the weather was turning autumnal, children were back at school and students were back at university, but for foreign tourists it was still the height of their summer holidays and there still seemed to be plenty around. Okay, maybe not in Dorotea, but certainly in other places.
As I didn’t have a caravan museum to go to, I had plenty of time to do visit the other tourist attraction in Dorotea – the Open Air Museum.
First, I headed up the hill past the museum to the small church to find Björn Martinius’ large sculpture ‘The Last Supper’. I’d read that this was a set of life-size wooden carvings, but was still taken aback when I pushed open the door to the small chapel by the church’s graveyard.
My first thought was that I’d walked in on someone. A second later I noticed the people sat beside him and a second after that I realised these were the carvings.
On closer inspection they were obviously wooden. That they appear so realistic at first glance has, I think, a lot to do with their size and the way they fill the space. As soon as you slip inside the doorway, rather than standing back as with most sculptures, with The Last Supper you could be an extra guest.
The church itself dates from 1934 and was designed by Evert Milles, brother of sculptor Carl Milles. It was built to replace the original 1799 church after it burnt down in 1932. I wanted to have a look inside as it holds some sculptures by Carl Milles. However, the church was locked and I couldn’t see through the windows. I had to wait until I got back to Stockholm to get my fill of Carl Milles’ work.
I plodded back down Kulerbacken hill to the open air museum. There was no-one about and I had a quick wander before finding the curator in her office. She told me she was waiting for the police because they’d had a break-in the night before. Several of the buildings had been broken into and because each building is stuffed with so many artifacts it wasn’t an easy job working out what had actually gone missing.
She took the time to wander round with me though, explaining about the ways of life in days gone by. Once the police arrived she left me to wander on my own.
Once I’d finished, I called back into the office to thank her and say goodbye. As we’d walked round she’d told me I’d missed the traditional bread baking display earlier in the day. Now, as I was about to leave, she presented me with a bag of the traditional bread as a gift.
I hadn’t got to see the caravan museum, which had been my sole reason for coming to Dorotea, but I’d still enjoyed my day and like that I still have a reason to come back one day. Though I’ll check that the caravan museum is actually open first.