At first we thought we had made a mistake coming to Sweden. The weather forecast changed and and it became colder and rain fell. On our first night we stayed in a hut in the Söderåsen National park; arriving in the twilight after a chilly ride we ate and went to bed. The next day dawned misty and very autumnal. It took a mug of coffee and a lot of persuasion to get Charly out of her sleeping bag and moving to investigate the park.
We were rewarded with beautiful old growth beech woods, a big canyon, rainbows and a sense that autumn had arrived.
This suffer / reward idea has been repeated time and again in Sweden. The weather (especially the hail) has been difficult at times but the scenery, the low population and the straight forward kindness of the people has made every minute on the road with numb fingers and hail pelted skin worth our time here.
From Söderåsen we made our way back to the coast and onto the Skåneleden to find a vynddkydd (wind shelter) which provided cover from the elements and a good night’s sleep before what I think was our hardest day so far.
25 km spent battling a wind so strong that both Charly and I had difficulty keeping the bikes in straight lines and led me to promise the kids an afternoon cafe stop. Unfortunately we found nothing open in the town of Torekov and were only able to console the kids when we learned that a cafe at Bårup was open everyday. We set off in search of it and though we now had less wind we began to climb…..
Arrival in the cafe was welcome and we enjoyed our fika but it was even better when we were approached by a lady who asked about our trip and then offered us the cabin in her garden for the night. This act of kindness was amazing – a bed and a warm shower are truly luxury items that we take for granted but when they are not available they are greatly missed.
This sort of brings me on to an organisation that I love – warmshowers. The idea is simple, it is a website to offer to and seek hospitality from fellow cycle tourists. We have used it intermittently and again this evening it gave us an insight into swedish culture, life and politics. Anders and Sonja hosted us in their beautiful house, shared food with us and chatted at length. The beauty of warmshowers is the opportunity to meet and get to know, if only for a short time, people from the country you are cycling in. Anders and Sonja were super hosts and we learnt so much about the culture and politics of Sweden. It also reinforces the kindness of strangers which is something that always makes me smile. The kindness of strangers continued through Sweden, friendly smiles and waves to the children happened so often their arms got tired of returning them!
But alas, all good things must come to an end and we were finding camping increasingly wet and chilly. Over head the geese were forming their echelons and beginning to fly south and we made our decision to do the same. Outside Gothenburg we had our final wildcamp in a wind shelter overlooking a beautiful mountain lake, toasted marshmallows, ate home made mushroom soup and felt autumnal. On Saturday morning we packed and made our way into the city to meet another warmshowers host – the wonderful Henrik.
We rounded off our two weeks in Sweden with a visit to Universium (a science museum with an aquarium and a rainforest), fika with Henrik and swedish meatballs (soooo gooood) before boarding the overnight ferry to head South.
Thank you to everyone who helped us or let us stay while we were in Sweden; you made it amazing!
Sunrise by the sea
Sunset by the sea.
Vital games education.
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