The morning started grey and damp, with the usual one hour take down of camping gear, put it all on the bike and get your ass moving. There are generally few words exchanged at this time other than over a hot drink that Sam prepared on his outdoorsy camping doodah gear (easily mocked but gratefully received).
Moving through southern central Sweden was surprising. Half expecting lots of pine and beech trees with a scent of Scandinavian beech, instead it was like riding through the South Downs or some part of Dorset – full of rich green and lush forest. The main difference was that we cycled on the wrong side of the road and were politely avoided by cars rather than a target of them.
Southern Sweden was not quite what I’d expected so far. It was rural, agricultural to a degree (not like the kind of industrial production we’d seen in Rioja last year) and actually a little bit redneck, like southern Sweden is twinned with Mississippi. The big clue was the combination of John Deere’s tearing down the road and the inordinate amount of American classic and muscle cars. Throughout the day we must have seen over 30 Cadillac’s, Chevy’s and Buick’s. We even saw an old New York checker sedan taxi and a couple of converted Volvo pick-up trucks.
We spent the day meandering around lakes and beautiful countryside, observing more muscle cars before making the resort by an impressive 4pm. The daily target was 100km today, finishing on 105km with only marginal detours. Lunchtime was spent in Kristianstad, Sweden’s version of Romford, with all its yellow bricked, red slate roofed and brown window sill’d apartments. The centre was classic Swedish with beautiful architecture, small shops and café’s and town square.
Arriving at the resort meant another stunningly beautiful lakeside, this time in a nature reserve, it was peaceful and slightly Blair Witch on the way in and arriving at the resort it had a sense of Village of the Damned with all the blonde children around, although it is Sweden so go figure.
This time, however, instead of getting rinsed by the punitive prices that Sweden offers for all it’s fare, we opted instead to do a Sam special of pasta, sauce and whatever the shop had, which is cooked on a clever stove and certain to sedate you for the night and fuel you for the following day.
Highlights: Stunning views of the lakes, a helpful tail wind, hitting 104km and buying a new pair of cycling shorts with acceptable levels of translucency (ie none)