The compulsion that has taken over Philip Hart’s life sees him sail on a cruise-ship to Sweden, and later to seek passage on an old tramp freighter to one of the forbidden places of the continent. While in this Scandinavian world he stays in Gothenburg, but his obsessive search for information requires a train journey to the country’s sub-arctic wilderness.
This entails an express service through the farmland and lake country of southern Sweden to the town of Kristinehamn, with its totemic ‘Picasso’ statue. The statue was created by the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar, based on a design approved by Picasso (https://www.visitkristinehamn.se/en/do/picasso-sculpture-28711).
There Hart boards the jaunty little Inlandsbanan train which rambles its way slowly northwards, stopping for the night at Östersund, and reaching Vilhelmina, about 300 kilometres below the Arctic Circle, the next day.
From that isolated little town his destination lies in the bleak surrounding countryside of mottled moorland and rushing streams, at the end of a causeway across a wind-ruffled lake.
The map below shows Hart’s sea voyage from the UK to Gothenburg (light blue line), his train trip to Vilhelmina (grey line), and the start of his tramp-freighter voyage (darker blue line) towards a destination somewhere on the Baltic coast.
The Inlandsbanan Train
The Port at Gothenburg