Etappe 9 (adventures in Sweden)

Final Etappe was 1570km long passing four countries which I already knew from before quite well; Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. It  wasn’t exactly the most exciting etappe I had, but it had it’s moments.

I already wrote how I got to Denmark, so I will make a short summary of Sweden, one of my favorite countries in the World.

1st day: I slept four hours at the “over night” ferry from Grenaa to Varberg.  In my tiredness I still had to cycle 75km to Gothenburg that morning, because one couch surfer-cyclist had offered me a couch for the night. Or so I thought, because I was convinced it was Friday. Well, in Gothenburg I learned I was one day ahead, but fortunately this Swedish cyclist knew how to treat another cyclist. He advised me how to sneak into a University sauna before we met at his flat to exchange our experiences over South America. Thanks Carl-David.

2nd day: I left Gothenburg early morning and headed towards Stockholm. I calculated 520km in four days is an easy job, so I cycled only 70km that day. I found a good place along a quiet dirt road to pitch a tent already at 6p.m., but was happy to get finally a good rest.

3rd day: Things didn’t start well in the morning. I hadn’t even cycled two kilometers from my camping spot when I heard a snap and my front pannier fell down. Closer observation showed that one of the clips was split in two and no longer good for attaching to the rack. That moment it also started to rain and I just couldn’t believe how unlucky I was on my last etappe. First the pole of my tent, then the crank  and now this.

I cycled 15km to the nearest town, almost a village, and found a bike shop. The bike shop owner didn’t obviously have Ortlieb products but helped me out with few cable ties.  I also found a perfect hose fastener in my tool bag and so I could continue to Stockholm with a relief.

After 60km I was caught by a very hard rain, but luckily I found a nice farmer who offered me a shelter. With all these incidents I wasn’t able to cycle that day more than 107km. Again I found good looking spot for camping, just next to a pasture.

4th day: Piece of an advice. Don’t pitch your tent next to a pasture inside the fence. Cows are stupid but very curious animals. Just before midnight I woke up in a herd of cows eating grass just next to my tent. Not that I’m afraid of cows, but the whole herd is not the safest thing to have next to your tent. I got out of my Hubba Hubba and chased the herd away. This procedure took place three times before they learned their lesson.

I had two days left to get to Stockholm and 340km to go. There was no way I could have afforded another lazy day so I woke up at 5.30 a.m to start the day. It was raining a bit, but I managed to pack my stuff quickly and hit the road. My focus was to do lots of kilometers that day, nothing else.

The rain stopped and actually I had some tailwind as well. Soon I found myself riding along lake Vättern towards Örebrö. My condition was good and motivation high. Road signs passed one by one, by noon I had already more than 100km cycled. Then the crazy idea came to me; today I will break the 300km/day milestone. Now or never, I thought.

With one thing on my mind I pedaled like never before. It was just pure athletic performance, no sightseeing or long lunch breaks were allowed. With the optimal wind and temperature everything went as planned. Just before 6p.m I already broke 200km. At this pace I would’ve reached 300km not long after dark, around 10p.m.

At 10p.m. I was sleeping in my tent. No milestones were meant to be broken, or otherwise I wouldn’t have bumped into this perfect camping spot with a  perfect lakeside and a sunset. It was when the road begun to be hilly and 240km was already cycled when I though that enough is enough. I didn’t break the great three hundred, but I did have a great swim in the lake and a good supper before falling asleep. Another time.

5th Day: The previous day I had made such a distance that no magic trick was need for the last push. With a nice back road I entered Södertälje and met this Belgian cyclist who was touring around Sweden. Together we had a lunch and cycled to the suburbs of Stockholm. My trip was about to end.

I met a Swedish cyclist Peder two years ago, when he was finishing his tour from Sweden to Beijing and back. I hosted him via hospitality club in Turku, his last stop before Stockholm. On 29th of August it was the other way around. I was finishing my trip and he was hosting me at my last stop. I had planned to meet some of my old friends who live here and there, but it was only the first day of my trip and the last one that I did so. In France I met this friend from America and now in Stockholm I met Peder. Somehow it was a perfect way to finish my journey. Thanks Peder.

The next day I cycled to the port and took a ferry to Turku. Check out rest of my pics.

country roads mentality costs mark
GER Very good, but often you have to keep on the poorer bike paths. This reduces the freedom and bike paths are always longer. Lots of cars! Wild camping is not permitted, but there are places to do it.  Bike shops everywhere. Germany is safe and easy to bike. I got one hotel for 27e. Camping ~15e, Hostel~20e, Food is cheap from Lidl’s and Aldi’s. At least candies, chocolates, chips etc. 4
NED Mostly perfectly organized separate bike paths. Sometimes even better bike paths than roads for cars. This is the Mecca of cycling. Everybody is doing it, everyone is supporting it. The weather is the only minus. A bit more expensive than Germany. You have to camp/couch surf to keep your budget. 4,5
DK Very good. Bike paths and roads are fun to ride on. Denmark is surprisingly hilly, the weather isn’t the best, but you have the freedom. It’s hard to find a wild camping spot. Quite expensive. 10e per day goes mostly in the food. This means hostels (20-25e) are very luxury. 4,5
SWE Even less cars than in Denmark. Good quality. The bike path goes zig zag, so it’s better to follow the map or GPS. Wild camping easy and allowed. Lakes, forests and fields all around. If it wasn’t so rainy, it would be perfect. Cheapest Scandinavian country. Even so you have to reserve 7e for food each day. 4,5
FIN On this trip I cycled in Finland only 5km. I know everything is comparable to Sweden. Same as above. Weather maybe slightly worse. More expensive than Sweden, still affordable. 10e per day is possible. 4

(Legend: 1-Try to avoid biking in this country 2- Bike in this country for transit 3-Biking is even fun here 4-Nice landscape with good roads for biking 5-Beautiful landscape with nice people and good roads, you should definitely come here)

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