Sundsvall. The city they couldn’t kill

If it’s true that the definition of madness  is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then the good people of Sundsvall are the most insane Scandinavians on the planet.

This  city has burned to the ground on four  – yes four – spectacular occasions.

“They said we were mad to build a wooden city when the Russian army could march in at any moment  and set it alight.  So we built it anyway.  . And the Russians invaded and set it alight


. So we re-built it next to a steam-driven saw mill;. . And  that burned down as well.

They built it a third time and let steam ships visit the er, wooden port.  . And that caught fire.

…so they built it again  Out of stone. And that’s still here.

And truth to tell it’s an extremely pleasant town.  All wide promenades, squares  and elegant early 20th century buildings.

I spent the day interviewing refugees who are trying to make a new life here.  A more pleasant and intelligent bunch you really couldn’t hope to meet.

Then I was shown around the remains of an iron age village and burial mounds of kings. It was from this area that Olav the Viking began his last, fateful journey westwards towards Norway.  Tomorrow I’ll begin re-tracing that journey.




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