Sunset Serengeti Africa 2017
Sunset Serengeti Africa 2017
  • Lakes and forests, forests and lakes
    • 11/10/2022
Disembarking late in the afternoon into the charming town centre of Ystad, I set off east along the coast, dodging a heavy rain shower to be rewarded with rainbows spanning the glowing fields of crops, and startling a badger at the side of the road, the first time I can recall seeing one in the wild
Aimed for and arrived at a "lägerplats" hikers shelter to camp, adjacent to the beach which stretches for miles in a plenty of room for all kind of way. Sweden has "Allemansrätten", the right to roam and camp anywhere (within reason), but also, in common with Denmark, provides designated free campgrounds not accessible to vehicles, usually with a roofed but open sided shelter and a drop toilet. This one was already populated by a German couple from the ferry, a french chick cycling south, and a Chilean/ Argentinian holidaying around via public transport.

Next day followed the coast for a while, via some charming wooden fishing villages, strange rock formations and ancient carvings, before deciding that the tourist traffic was too much and turning to quieter roads inland.
Detoured to a village has which declared itself a republic, but disappointingly it seems just to be a publicity stunt for the local cafe.

It Rains here. heavily, persistently. Sometimes!
Now passing apple orchards, but there is a strong sweet fragrance in the air - fields of cherries.
Soon the forest and farmland becomes forest and lakes, lakes and forests, mixture of managed plantation destruction and tranquil spacious glades full of moss covered rocky outcrops and bilberries

Met a German bloke pulling a little cube shaped trailer, which would extend to be long enough to sleep in, a kind of bicycle caravan. Wouldn't fancy pulling it up hills though!
Also a family from the Pyrenees doing the Baltic route - allegedly the kids idea!

Lots of roadside signs - I should have catalogued the variety of different "slow! Don't run over the cat" (or children) signs. The other common site is "Loppis" (flea market), with households regularly setting out bric a brac tables.

Mainly I'm following small roads through the forest, which are often packed gravel, connecting the frequent homesteads, smallholdings and holiday houses, and sometimes forestry tracks of rougher, loose gravel, or worse, a sandy surface, which my heavy bike slips and slides in. I will take another look at a "bikepacking" setup in the future, might need to get another new bike though...

Occasionally amidst the forest appears a town (hopefully with a supermarket).
Glassworks town. Mining town. Ghost town. Basically, lots of "frontier" industry towns, some of which have died off.

Crane birds and deer, no elk though despite the roadside warning signs

Final camp, moss covered rock in forest, nice ending before succumbing to the outskirts of Stockholm, unavoidable motorway side routes and brutal tower blocks built under the million homes program, and then into the historic centre. I didn't know before this trip, being an ignorant English pleb, that Stockholm is on an archipelago, connected by many bridges and ferries, and not having had any wars for a while, the old centre is well preserved.

So a couple of days to fill before flying home, but first and most important is to secure a large cardboard box to get the bike onto the plane.
As on previous trips, a local cycle shop is happy to oblige, and the arlanda express airport train allows bike on board, which surprisingly is in contrast to most trains in sweden.

Back to sightseeing then: the Vasa flagship, salvaged in the sixties having embarrassingly sunk within the first km of its maiden voyage in the 17th century, the Swedish history museum, modern art gallery, some street art, the subway system where each station has its own art installation, the England vs Sweden women's Euros semi final (4-0), and a Viking themed film at the cinema.
The hostel also worth a mention, first one I've encountered with a) a no shoes policy and b) a sauna, which was greatly appreciated.

So, flying back to the UK, everything has gone like clockwork as far as Reading where i'm writing.
  • Road to Norwhere
    • 16/07/2017
Heading for the border crossing I meet another Frenchman descending from north cap (there must be a good patisserie up there), and then pass some Viking burial sites, a huge stone ship, marked out by standing stones, stone circles and such.

Just prior to the border is an absolutely crazy scene, a line of supermarkets, sweet shops, tobacco shops, booze shops, with bus loads of Norwegians day tripping for some cheap international stocks.

The border crossing itself is slightly more interesting than earlier anti climaxes, a bridge high above a scenic fjord with a line painted across the middle of it. Photo time!
  • Rock n Roll Sweden
    • 16/07/2017
But not a musical reference this time;
The rock is because the landscape is dominated by outcrops of granite bedrock everywhere, which the roads drunkenly weave between, and pine trees somehow cling onto.
Also for the bronze age rock carvings found in this area, from a time when sea levels were 15m higher. Only 3000 years ago!

The roll is for Volvo, meaning "it rolls". The high Volvo density is justified by the fact that the company and factory is based in Gothenburg. Have even seen a VW van with the Volvo badge glued on the front!
Visited the museum which contains a full history of models, from early american style whales, thru stylish 60’s sleek curves to the classic 80's box shapes and the present variations, you can see the common DNA in design throughout.
Volvo cars are now owned by the Chinese....

So in Gothenburg I had a delightfully relaxed stay with Lena and Lasse, thanks to the worldwide influence of Monday Night Football and Axel back in Nottingham.
They are keen ornithologists, with a goshawk in the living room, a clock which strikes the hours by different bird calls, and while Lasse is in the elite club of having observed all 300 of Sweden's native species, Lena has a published book on encounters with those you might find in your garden!
I learn that the swift, when it learns to fly, stays airborne continuously for maybe three years, only eventually coming to earth to rear a family. I can't help thinking there is some easy parallel or metaphor to make there.

I'm afraid to say the rest of the city got the whirlwind photo tour treatment, since I spent most of the time off napping. And what a great nap it was!
  • Woods and lakes
    • 08/07/2017
I have abandoned the coast line, which is unspectacular and smothered by holiday villages, so now progressing a few miles inland, through a region of lovely forests and lakes, with gentle climbs and subsequent long lazy freewheel descents.

Yesterday I finally realised that the USB cable I was using to charge my phone from the dynamo keeps cutting out, and hey presto, with a new cable everything is working properly. So the last couple of weeks have been unnecessarily tough power wise!

I never thought I'd see more volvos than in that one town in California, but here it must be the law that every household has at least one Volvo estate car.

Getting used to the slightly different exchange rate, things aren't really horrendously expensive, they do have a novelty way of selling booze though, if you want anything over 3.5% it's only available on government run bottle shops, which can be few and far between in the countryside!

Storks. No wait, cranes.

Camped by a lake again. V.nice.


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