Summering like the Swedish and Swedish flat

Day 2

After finding that our cycle route turned into 6 km of deep gravel, we detoured and found a much nicer campsite next to a lake. The bugs were out but there was a bench with a campfire pit. After determining the flattest spot to pitch our tent, we realized the trees surrounding it had little mounds of toilet paper covered by sticks. Apparently we discovered the number 2 bathroom.

Amanda next to the campfire on night 2 of wild camping, drinking the last of the Champagne we had biked this far

Amanda next to the campfire on night 2 of wild camping

Day 3

Hit the road early and arrived a Navekvarn. Found the TI with super-clean toilets and showers. We would have enjoyed but continued on with the knowing we would just be getting sweaty again. Heading on, Rob and I just caught our second tiny ferry. We shared it with a tourbus and a tractor. After a bit of flattish biking and some accidental detouring, we finally reached Mem and the beginning of the Gota Cannal and OMG more flat biking (once we could get the sheep off the bike path). Soderkoping, the next town 5.5 km in, is apparently known for their ice cream. Multiple Swedish folks and the guidebook mentioned ice cream. Therefore, we HAD to get ice cream. There was an incredibly long line to get the largest, most ridiculous ice cream sundaes in the cafe (one even had a special dry ice compartment so the sundae smoked), so we settled for take-away. So good! Followed by some ferry booking/internet time at the local TI, some grocery shopping and Swedish pickle consumption (very salty/half-pickle half-cucumber), this was a lazy afternoon.

Famous ice cream place in Soderking right next to the Gota Canal

Famous ice cream place in Soderking right next to the Gota Canal

We decided to put some more miles on the bike. These ~25 km redefined Swedish flat for us. There is no flat. Sweden = up or down. Trees mean elevation change and the road connects houses on hilltops. A campground appeared when I was crashing so we stopped for the night and found out what Swedes do in the summer: go to a cabin or if you don’t have a cabin, camp at one place for weeks at a time in your camper. Overall, the campground, although mostly filled with RVs, was nice. It actually had flat tent pitches, not in a pet poop yard or under a light, hot showers and a nice kitchen. The only issue came when Rob decided to hammer in the tent stakes with his bike shoe.

Rob put a tent stake all the way through the heel of his bike show. Oops.

Rob put a tent stake all the way through the heel of his bike show. Oops.

Thankfully the shoe is fine, except for a small hole in the bottom.

Day 4: Valdemarsvik to Vastervik
After looking at the bike route mileages, we decided to save distance/leg strength and take the E22 highway for a bit. Turns out that Sweden does not believe in road shoulders. We braved this for ~15 km then managed to find some Swedish flat side roads that were less trafficked and made it all the way to Vastervik.

Bridge from spit to Vastervik

Bridge from spit to Vastervik

After determining that we might do another couple miles on the highway to save a big loop on the cycle route, we decided to do another night of luxe camping since Sunday night heading home traffic was in full force. This campground – scratch that – luxury camping resort has everything: mini-golf, golf, turkish spa, sauna, kids adventure waterpark, amazing kitchens, a grocery store, 3 restaurants and fantastic bathrooms. Oh and awesome wifi that I’m currently using. On to Oskarshamn tomorrow.

Survived Night 1 of Wild Camping!

Rob and I survived our first night of wild camping. After fueling up at an outdoors store in Stockholm (we proceeded to see three more branches on the way out of town), we finally hit the road at 2:30pm after ditching our massive duffel at our hotel for before we flyo out. Construction and navigation issues slowed us down but we managed to get in 80+km ending just outside of Trosa. Our route included a nature park stop (Lida) complete with water, tons of bunnies/hares and a wc as well as a surprise ferry ride.

Tandem at Lida Nature Park (They had a ski lift!)

Tandem at Lida Nature Park (They had a ski lift!)

Surprise Ferry ride at Skansen.

Surprise Ferry ride at Skansen.

This bike route seems to be a popular pleasure cruise- tons of motorcycles and a whole convention of convertibles. We found a campsite off a dirt road and ate the best ramen ever – curry flavor. Rob and I were debating if it tasted better than the last night’s dinner on the boat.

We had an offer from a Warmshowers host for tonight, but with the delay getting out of town and some mileage mis-estimation, we had to cancel. Right now, we’re at the awesome library in Nykoping – bathrooms, water and wifi = everything we were looking for in a rest stop after 55 km. The tourist guide is a bit disheartening with it’s “Nykoping, located on the coast one hour south of Stockholm,” but the journey has been pleasant thus far. The only thing I would happily remove is the plethora of insects in the evening. Oh well. Maybe we’ll check out the underground Cold War museum or a beach this afternoon.

Non-stop action

Ever since Norway, we’ve had very little downtime with internet, so cruise photos will be forthcoming. Rob and I are now embarking on a 10-day tour of southeastern Sweden. The current plan is to head to Kalmar and return to Stockholm via ferry from Gotland.

Amanda by the bike as we pack everything to ride into Stockholm.

Amanda by the bike as we pack everything to ride into Stockholm.