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.
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.
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.
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.
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.