In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Sweden and Time to Reflect.

So now I have time for reflection. After my couple days break in Copenhagen I cycled the 50 or so kilometres north up the coast to the ferry that would take me to Sweden. The coast north of Copenhagen is scenically pretty with expensive looking seaside homes. Unfortunately like a lot of Danish roads I encountered it was heavy with vehicles. It was a Sunday so maybe a lot of this traffic was weekend day trippers. The weather now ,had ,since Copenhagen , settled to fine sunny days. I took the chance on leaving the Danish capital of using a bypass to try to avoid the the main city streets as I went north. This all worked well and I arrived at the ferry without stress for the 20 min journey to my last Scandinavia country , Sweden.

The ferry dropped me off in a medium sized  Swedish city that I just wanted to get north through so that I could start my 5 day journey towards my final departure point, Stockholm.
I was stopped before heading across town by a cycle passenger also disembarking from the ferry and out of courtesy talked for ages about his quest of cycle touring one day. I thought I might regain a bit of wasted time by using his local knowledge of the city I was in to get north more quickly, but after spending ages following him and still not getting out of the wharf area I just bid my farewells , put my head down and headed inland as fast as I could. In an hour I was away from town and heading into the Swedish countryside. Another two hours saw me on smooth quiet roads the likes of which Danes can only dream about. Not another cyclist or cycle lane in sight. As in Norway , food premises seemed to pop up just when needed and invariably they would be Italian.  Pasta and lasagna for dinners fine by me. And just as in Finland, wild camping was just a matter of pulling off the road in the forests and finding a smooth ish spot to pitch the tent. In fact the countryside was very like Finland but with a moderate rolling nature to it.

I think some may have been put off touring Scandinavia by the notion that it is expensive here. But on reflection now having experienced every Nordic country and coming from New Zealand,  which is expensive, I feel that this is not the case. If you are the sort of cyclist that is happy to freedom camp at times a Nordic trip will probably cost you less than a campground tour through other parts of Europe.
On my 4 to 5 day cycle to Stockholm I freedom camped all the way, expecting to stay in a campground near central  Stockholm. My last night of freedom camping was I discovered in the morning , spent 2 meters away from a huge ants mound. The little fellas , of which there were thousands, didn't disturb me at all during the night even though they could have completely smothered the tent should they had wanted too. I was immensely grateful for that, so grateful that I gave them half a bottle of coke and a handful of m&ms.  They seemed to really enjoy the sugary treat and I thought it was a good partnership we had going.

With Stockholm in my sights I thought I had the whole thing in the bag. But didn't factor in that ;
1. The camping ground on the outskirts of the city clearly did not want to be found, by not advertising it's presence along the road as I approached , and
2. The effect big cities have on sucking cyclists in towards their Centre.
Before I realised it and even by stopping and asking locals, I had passed the campground that no one knew existed, and was headed on a non stop collision course with central Stockholm much like I had with Oslo weeks before.
No worries I thought. Map info and Internet searches showed a central Stockholm camping ground. Not as handy for the international flight home but good enough to stop me ending up on a park bench. Anyway after the predictable horrid ride into the central city the camping ground did not materialise. Darkness , approaching now at 7 pm,  put a slight pressure on , and passing a hostel sign right in the best part of town , I called in.
I don't like backpacking hostels, but a beds a bed. And I booked a couple of nights to give me a chance to search better accommodation in the following days. To this point I had effectively closed my Scandinavian circuit and had covered 7000kms. ... to be continued, the final chapter Stockholm.


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