Europe by bike 1: Sweden

Introduction

europe_map_route_days-200In the summer of 2002 I biked from Stockholm to Krakow, via Berlin, Prague and Vienna. The tour was 2,700 km (1678 miles) and took 27 biking days with some resting days in each of the big cities.

After I finished the tour, I published a travelogue from it online. Then it somehow evaporated, like so many projects and domains.

So I decided to publish it again, with bigger photos this time. (Somehow 200 px wide photos seemed ok in 2002.) You can call it a “remastered” travelogue.

The text is my original English, as I expressed myself as a 20-something. I’ve added statute conversions and currency conversion to euro and dollars.

There are no maps, except for the original (yes, 200 px wide!) overview that you can see here.

I’ll publish the travelogue in three parts:

  1. Sweden (from Stockholm to Trelleborg along the east coast)
  2. Germany and Czech republic (from Rostock via Berlin, Prague to Passau)
  3. Austria, Czech republic and Poland (from Passau via Vienna to Krakow)

Enjoy!

Karl Andersson

  • Day 1: Stockholm – Nyköping

  • – headwind, 14 °C (57 °F).
  •  Distance: 77 km (48 miles)
  •  Time: 4:07 h (10:10 – 15:50)
  •  Average speed: 18,6 km/h (11,6 mph)
  •  Accomodation: Youth hostel, 150 kr (16 €, 22 $)

It felt unreal when we rolled down the long slope from my building in central Stockholm, Sweden. My friend Mirek, who will live in my flat while I’m gone, waved goodbye to us. If things go well, we will meet again in Prague, since he’s Czech and lives there. But to think that I will be in Prague in some weeks… No, I better not think of that.

Adam and me outside my house in Stockholm. Mirek took the picture, developed it and scanned it, and sent it in an email. Like we did in 2002.

Adam and me outside my house in Stockholm. (From Mirek’s camera.)

But more than unreal, it felt good. I have planned this bike tour for about a year. The motives behind it have changed along the way, but right now they didn’t matter – we just wanted to go.

And so we did: First we went to the local train that would take us to the suburb of Mölnbo. From there we biked to the idyllic little village of Trosa, the whole time watched over by evil clouds that hinted that rain was to come.

Reading the map outside the tourist information in Trosa.

Reading the map outside the tourist information in Trosa.

After some muffins and yoghurt in Trosa we continued, now in strong headwind, to Nyköping, where we had booked a room for the night in a youth hostel. Even though the headwind was hard to stand at times, we were happy to reach our goal before the rain did.

This is the first time that I bike with panniers. Maybe I was stupid not to practice biking with panniers before this megatour, but I must say I hardly think of them. And in the downslopes it’s nice to feel the speed increasing thanks to the heavy bags – you just have to steer.

Typically Swedish, red houses. If only the sky had been blue too...

Typically Swedish, red houses. If only the sky had been blue too…

Adam, who will follow me on this tour through Sweden ”only”, has had some problems with his foot and calf. Myself I only suffered from ”white fingers” in the strongest headwind.

At the youth hostel we cooked a delicious meal of salmon and pasta. It feels totally unreal that we left Stockholm this morning – it feels like days ago.

  • Day 2: Nyköping – Söderköping

  • – cloudy, headwind, 18 °C (64 °F).
  • Distance: 69 km (43 miles)
  • Time: 4:00 h (10:00 – 16:40)
  • Average speed: 17,2 km/h (10,8 mph)
  • Accomodation: Youth hostel, 170 kr (18,50 €, 25 $)

Despite a dark weather forecast, we managed this day too without the rain. Actually, we even saw the sun from time to time.

The headwind continued though. But we took many breaks, about one every 10 kilometers, and we ate more, which made the cycling quite ok.

We usually had our coffee breaks on graveyards (true!) since they provide both benches and excellent washing up equipment.

We usually had our coffee breaks on graveyards (true!) since they provide both benches and excellent washing up equipment.

However, the cloudy sky seemed to suggest youth hostel instead of camping. We passed an extremely boring youth hostel on our way into Söderköping, and thought we would have to go back there after the receptionist of another hostel – central and cosy – told us they were full. But just as we were about to go she called us back; some guests just left, and we could take their cabin.

This is the routine that we seem to have established when we come to the town where we’re gonna spend the night: Shop groceries for dinner, make dinner and eat, take a walk and look at the town, fall asleep.

The walking part was especially nice here in Söderköping, since the little town is the beginning (or the end, depending on how you see it) of Göta Kanal, the channel that connects the Swedish eastcoast with the westcoast. We walked along the bank of the channel, looking at the many restaurants and just talking.

So, these first two days were conveniently short. That will change though – tomorrow we’re going for a 100 kilometer (63 miles) ride to Gamleby, where we’re gonna live at my uncle’s place. I have just called him to prepare him for our arrival.

  • Day 3: Söderköping – Gamleby

  • – rain, sun.
  • Distance: 100 km (63 miles)
  • Time: 6:00 h (8:40 – 19:00)
  • Average speed: 16,7 km/h (10,4 mph)
  • Accomodation: My uncle, 0 kr

This day – our longest so far – didn’t start well. We overslept, since I apparently didn’t know how to set the alarm clock. The rain was falling heavily as we left the hostel at 8.40. After four kilometers we realized that we had forgotten to leave the key to the room in the hostel’s keybox. What could we do – I unhinged the panniers and went back in what we later realized was the heaviest rain of the day. I was soaked as we continued.

Happy and satisfied after a huge lunch in Valdemarsvik.

Happy and satisfied after a huge lunch in Valdemarsvik.

The rain had vanished as we reached Valdemarsvik, where we had a huge lunch – fish and potato for me, meat pancake for Adam. One of the best things with bike touring is that you actually deserve all the calories you eat. That’s not exactly the case for the average office clerk, who usually eats the same fatdripping dishes. No wonder fetma is a widespread problem.

The sun shone in the afternoon, and we could even take a bath in the little lake next by the famous manor Hornsberg. The rest of the day we biked through beautiful and extremely peaceful areas – kilometer after kilometer without seeing a single human being.

Landskapsgräns Östergötland - Småland

To cross the province borders is always nice – this was the second one and we crossed it in Valdemarsvik, from Östergötland to Småland.

Unfortunately, Adam’s knee is hurting more and more. He has to lead his bike in the steepest slopes, but not even that is enough. So he’s thinking about quitting, but we’ll see how it all develops tomorrow.

At least we will have a good night’s sleep tonight, since we’re staying at my uncle’s summer residence. We’re very thankful; not only does my uncle provide a place to stay for us, he also insisted on paying at the supermarket, where we loaded for tomorrow’s stage.

  • Day 4: Gamleby – Västervik

  • – 18 °C (64 °F).
  • Distance: 32 km (20 miles)
  • Time: 2:00 h (10:00 – 14:00)
  • Average speed: 16,0 km/h (10,0 mph)
  • Accomodation: Camping, 90 kr (10 €, 13 $)

This is it for Adam. His heel and knee are hurting too much. Whereas muscle pain can be forced away during the biking, pain in the joints will get worse and may damage your body. And Adam’s pain is in the joints, so we take it that his body has simply said stop. Tomorrow he’s gonna take the bus to Oskarshamn, where we will meet after I have biked there.

These sad news made it hard to appreciate the very picturesque landscape that we biked through. The strip between Gamleby and Västervik is called Norrlandet, and is – unfortunately for Adam this time – very hilly. It goes up and down – not so much, but all the time. Since we walked in the upslopes, gangs of flies joined us to feast on our sweat this stuffy day.

At the end, we decided to split. I left Adam and made my way into Västervik, where I found a camping and raised the tent.

In Västervik I raised the tent for the first time. A nice feeling, despite the heavy showers during the night.

In Västervik I raised the tent for the first time. A nice feeling, despite the heavy showers during the night.

An hour later Adam joined, and we spent the evening walking around in Västervik. Like all other days so far, I looked for a cheap hairdresser with drop-in, but they don’t seem to exist in smaller towns. Today I asked almost 10 hairdressers, but no one had time, and if they had they would charge me about 250 crowns (27 €, 37 $) – after all, it’s just about cutting my hair short and I won’t let anyone do that for that ridiculous sum! Instead, we enjoyed a good pizza – it was a nice evening.

I don’t look forward to tomorrow though – the weather forecast has promised 30-40 mm (1,2-1,6 inches) of rain. The people in the camping’s TV room didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. They laughed, probably because they can hide in their big caravans…

  • Day 5: Västervik – Oskarshamn

  • – 15 °C (59 °F), RAIN!!!
  • Distance: 97 km (61 miles)
  • Time: 4:34 h (9:05 – 15:15)
  • Average speed: 21,2 km/h (13,3 mph)
  • Accomodation: Youth hostel, 170 kr (18,50 €, 25 $)

Our first night in a tent was a rainy one. Despite my cheap tent, we managed to stay dry during the night. Well, in the morning it was quite humid, not to say wet, but let’s say it was OK at least.

Remembering the rainy day that lay in front of us, according to yesterday’s weather forecast, we decided in the morning that Adam would book a room for the night in a hostel in Oskarshamn, where he will go by bus, that lucky bastard.

As for me, I suffered one of the heaviest days of the whole bike tour. The weatherman had promised 30-40 mm (1,2-1,6 inches) rain, and I can promise that every single millimeter of that fell! Sometimes as ”normal” rain, sometimes as cats and dogs. The breaks were approximately three, and lasted for about five minutes each.

It was me and the desserted wilderness. Beautiful at times, but I had to focus mainly on the road, in order to stay on it.

It was me and the desserted wilderness. Beautiful at times, but I had to focus mainly on the road, in order to stay on it.

As if this wasn’t enough, I stubbornly followed the Cycle Route (“The East Coast Cycle Route in Sweden”) along bumpy gravel roads. So bumpy that my lowrider almost bumped off – fortunately I saw it in time and tightened the screws. The reason I didn’t choose a better – and shorter – road was that the Cycle Route was supposed to be extremely beautiful along this stretch. Yeah, maybe in sun, or at least without the heavy showers that forced me to focus all my attention on the winding road, just in order to stay on it.

The only positive thing about today’s biking was that the areas where the bad road went were totally deserted – there were no humans and no cars. I think I even saw more animals than cars: Roe deers, storks, and the rest I’ve forgotten…

Wilderness, then wilderness, then even more wilderness... and then a café! A cup of hot coffee would have suited me perfectly, so I wish I had passed it two hours later, when it would open...

Wilderness, then wilderness, then even more wilderness… and then a café! A cup of hot coffee would have suited me perfectly, so I wish I had passed it two hours later, when it would open…

When I reached Oskarshamn at 3 pm, my bike was more brown than blue. Someone let me in to the house where the hostel was, but its reception would open only after two more hours, and Adam was still on the bus.

And then a miracle happened. I went down in the basement of the big building and found a lockable showerroom, complete with soap and schampoo! So what could I do, but carry down my panniers, lock the door and enjoy a wooonderful shower, hot and long.

In this weather everything becomes boring. Picture this Slakmöre coffeebreak in just a little bit of sun.

In this weather everything becomes boring. Picture this Slakmöre coffeebreak in just a little bit of sun.

After I had changed to dry clothes, the next miracle happened. On the first floor I found the hostel’s unlocked TV room, with sofas and fresh newspapers. While I relaxed and waited for Adam, I ate canned mackerel, which has become something of a habit since I need proteins immediately after a stage.

Adam soon turned up and made dinner for me, tuna pasta, while I changed brakes on the frontwheel (I hadn’t done that before I left Stockholm). I totally didn’t care to go sightseeing in Oskarshamn.

  • Day 6: Oskarshamn – Kalmar

  • – 16 °C (61 °F), cloudy.
  • Distance: 86 km (54 miles)
  • Time: 4:25 h (8:20 – 14:30)
  • Average speed: 19,5 km/h (12,2 mph)
  • Accomodation: Camping, 60 kr/person (6,50 €, 9 $)

Finally some flow. The rain continued falling during the night – none of our clothes dried in the humid room – but when I left Oskarshamn, the rain had stopped and the roads were drying. And how I love getting off early.

In Mönsterås, a typical Swedish village, I stopped at the local bikeshop to get longer screws for the lowrider and more oil. With the thin kind of teflon oil that I prefer, I have to oil the chain quite often.

The ruins of Kronobäck Hospital Church, a nice place to have a coffeebreak.

The ruins of Kronobäck Hospital Church, a nice place to have a coffeebreak.

Outside Mönsterås I had coffee and snacks in the ruins of Kronobäck Hospital Church, where I learnt the following fact: The collection bag net is on a long stick only because the leprosy victims begged money in that way, in order not to infect the one who wanted to give them a coin.

Adam took the bus to Kalmar, and we live at a quite nice camping. We’ve seen the castle and the magnificent cathedral, and right now we’re enjoying a cup of tea in the outdoor serving of the camping’s bar, where a troubadour tries to entertain us.

The castle of Kalmar. Note the blue sky in the background, an unusual sight on this tour.

The castle of Kalmar. Note the blue sky in the background, an unusual sight on this tour.

What’s so nice with bike touring is that you never really get fed up with it. Even if you just have been through a real hell stage, in the evening you turn the page of your map booklet and start to plan next day’s biking. New windling roads to hit, new Swedish towns and villages to see. I’m sure I will tour again, because it’s a great way to see a country.

Tomorrow Adam will go back to Malmö, where he lives. It feels sad, because even though I’ve biked alone the last two days, having company in the evening is very nice. Especially when you camp.

We camped under big trees and hoped there would not be a thunderstorm during the night.

We camped under big trees and hoped there would not be a thunderstorm during the night.

Once again the atmosphere in the camping’s TV room was depressed as the weatherman presented the forecast. Only clouds and rain, and only over the exact strip of the eastcoast where we happen to be at the moment.

I taste something bad in my mouth, like you do when you’re about to get sick. I hold my thumbs…

  • Day 7: Kalmar – Karlskrona

  • – 17 °C (63 °F), cloudy, rain.
  • Distance: 86 km (54 miles)
  • Time: 4:16 h (8:10 – 13:30)
  • Average speed: 20.1 km/h (12,6 mph)
  • Accomodation: Camping, 100 kr (11 €, 15 $)

I started out quite fast, since I wanted to reach Karlskrona before the rain did. Yesterday’s weather map had pictured the situation as it would be at 2 pm, so I didn’t know exactly when the rain would begin.

Stressed as I was by this, I took a shortcut through the deep forests of Småland. It was a long and stuffy road of the type that flies seem to like. Every time I stopped for a banana and/or some hot chocolate, the flies gathered around me. Since I didn’t appreciate their company, the only thing I ate on this stretch was some bananas while still biking.

Fields after fields with potatos surrounded me outside Kalmar.

Fields after fields with potatoes surrounded me outside Kalmar.

The rain was punctual – at 2 pm sharp it started to fall. But I had biked at a fast pace and already raised the tent at a camping in Karlskrona by then. I don’t know if that was a good thing to do, because now my cheap tent, that lacks an inner tent, will be all humid or maybe even wet by the time I go to sleep. I did call several hostels during the day, but they were all full.

However, I have also called the ferry company TT Line and managed to book a ticket from Trelleborg to Rostock for Wednesday the 10th of July. I wanted to go a day earlier, but there was no place until Wednesday. So now I have sent an sms to my German friend Andreas in Berlin, that I will arrive on Friday.

I like these kind of deserted and small, yet asphalted roads.

I like these kind of deserted and small, yet asphalted roads.

I was right in suspecting the worst from that bad taste in my mouth yesterday. I have caught a cold, or something like that, and I think I have a fever. Today’s pretty desperate biking (to arrive before the rain) probably didn’t make it better.

After walking around in beautiful Karlskrona, a city more or less built on 30 islands, I have now gone to bed, despite it’s not more than 8.30 pm.

The big square of Karlskrona. Not much of a good mood boost.

The big square of Karlskrona. Not much of a good mood boost.

At least the weather forecast is promising. It seems the last rain has fallen, or at least does so while I’m falling asleep. The atmosphere in the TV room was OK during the forecast today, since I was alone there…

The nights are so cold. I often wake up in the early mornings from freezing. I should have bought a tent with an inner tent.

  • Day 8: Karlskrona – Karlshamn – Sölvesborg

  • – 16 °C (61 °F), cloudy.
  • Distance: 115 km (72 miles)
  • Time: 6:29 h (8:20 – 18:00)
  • Average speed: 17,7 km/h (11,1 mph)
  • Accomodation: Camping, 100 kr (11 €, 15 $)

Finally no more rain! Even though the tent got quite a heavy shower of it tonight. Despite it didn’t rain in, I can’t stop thinking about how nice it would have been with a better tent.

I biked slowlier today, on a very beautiful road that stretched from the big E22 to the little village of Johannishus. You could tell that this is a nature reserve.

A miniature Stonehenge that I passed at Ysane.

A miniature Stonehenge that I passed at Ysane.

Then I passed Ronneby’s port and had coffee and sandwiches on the cemetary of Saxemara church. And then again in Åryd.

In Karlshamn, named after our Swedish king Karl X, I took a longer break to eat lunch: A fish burger with french fries at a quite boring street vendour.

Another statue or sculpture, this time of Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg's characters Kristina and Karl-Oskar. They, like thousands of other Swedes, emigrated to America during the 19th century, and it was from Karlshamn – where I found the statue – that most of the ships left.

A statue of Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg’s characters Kristina and Karl-Oskar. They, like thousands of other Swedes, emigrated to America during the 19th century, and it was from Karlshamn – where I found the statue – that most of the ships left.

Now I’m sitting on a bench on the sandy beach of the camping in Sölvesborg. It’s 9:30 pm and I look out over the light sea and the as light heaven. It’s quite warm and if I close my eyes, the border between sea and heaven disappears. This can only mean one thing: I’m on vacation!

9:30 pm, a meditative view of the Baltic sea as seen from the camping in Sölvesborg.

9:30 pm, a meditative view of the Baltic sea as seen from the camping in Sölvesborg.

But I’m also ill, feverish, and that makes me weak, both physically and mentally. But aware of that as I am, I try not to put myself into any hard situations. Whatever those would be, I don’t know. I guess I’m just weak.

  • Day 9: Sölvesborg – Kivik

  • – 20 °C (68 °F), sunny.
  • Distance: 91 km (57 miles)
  • Time: 5:00 h (8:20 – 17:00)
  • Average speed: 18,3 km/h (11,4 mph)
  • Accomodation: Camping, 70 kr/person (7,50 €, 10 $)

The night was terrible. I woke up at 4.30 in the morning because I was cold – it was 7 degrees centigrade (45 °F) at that time. When I rose at 6.30 the temperature had increased to 12 degrees centigrade (54 °F).

I didn’t like the receptionist at this camping. She seemed to say “have a good trip” only because the situation demanded it. But then everything was just wrong with this camping from the beginning. I think it’s a caravan camping, and that must be the reason why it’s not listed among the campings in the list in the accomodation guide that accompanies the map of the Cycle Route along the Swedish eastcoast. I could as well have camped in the forest as between the grotesque dinosaur caravans on the camping. To feel like an alone outsider wasn’t particularly hard…

These cows became very interested in me as I talked to them while passing them in the morning.

These cows became very interested in me as I talked to them while passing them in the morning.

However, things can change fast, and so they have done now – positively. Outside Sölvesborg another tourer biked up beside me – he was solo and my age, which makes him the first of that kind on this trip. Like me, he had been stood up by his bike friends. His name is Jörgen and he’s a 23-year-old electrician from Karlshamn. Starting from there he plans to bike around Skåne.

The castle of Trolle-Ljungby – a great place for a banana break.

The castle of Trolle-Ljungby – a great place for a banana break.

We joined forces the rest of the day. A banana break at the 17th century castle of Trolle-Ljungby, pizza lunch in Åhus, banana break again at the renaissance castle of Vittskövle – yes, there are many castles in Skåne – and then via Degeberga and Brösarp to Kivik, where we will miss the famous market by just a few days.

However, people are already coming here for the sake of the market, so the camping had a big sign with the text ”FULL” written in block letters. For once a positive thing about being bikers – the manager allowed us to raise our tent in the corner of the camping if we found a free spot there, and we did.

Jörgen and me on the big – and not so busy – square in Åhus, where we had lunch.

Jörgen and me on the big – and not so busy – square in Åhus, where we had lunch.

How nice to live in Jörgen’s big tent, made to fit three persons. I had to raise my tent for a while too, to let it dry in the evening sun.

The best thing with meeting Jörgen was that we were each other’s equal when it came to tempo. The cruising speed was around 25 km/h (16 mph), almost too much for me, since I’m recovering from my cold. But that didn’t bother me, because I have actually never biked with anyone as fast as me. So I concentrated on enjoying it – we took turns drafting each other.

Another castle, or is it the same?

Another castle, or is it the same?

Today’s hardest stretch was the one over the ridge of Linderöd: Linderödsåsen. And they say Skåne is flat! The upslopes wouldn’t stop, it seemed.

By the way, Jörgen has camped in the forest so far. Five kilos of his packing consists of the five liters of water that he carries to drink and to use for cooking. I’m the more convenient type (yeah, says the one who’s gonna bike to Budapest), and I was happy it wasn’t hard to convince him to stay with me at the camping. After all, a warm shower at the end of the biking day is worth a lot.

  • Day 10: Kivik – Ystad

  • – 23 °C (73 °F), sunny.
  • Distance: 77 km (48 miles)
  • Time: 3:55 h (9:00 – 16:30)
  • Average speed: 19,7 km/h (12,3 mph)
  • Accomodation: Camping, 70 kr/person (7,50 €, 10 $)

This feels like a big day. OK, I do have 50 km (31 miles) left to Trelleborg, but the Cycle Route – Cykelspåret – along the eastcoast stops here, in Ystad. So I have biked along it from Stockholm to Ystad. The 833 km (521 miles) plus the distance to Trelleborg tomorrow show that I was quite right in my calculations that the biking in Sweden would be 900 km (563 miles).

Österlen was the perfect landscape for biking – especially in this sunny weather.

Österlen was the perfect landscape for biking – especially in this sunny weather.

We had an enormous flow in our biking today. Österlen, as this part of Skåne is called, is so beautiful. Full of little picturesque villages, each with its little church. It felt like riding a motorcycle as we made our way from village to village at a cruising speed of 30 km/h (19 mph). The wind was sometimes strong, but as often in our backs as from the side.

Me in front of the hill called Stenshuvud – stone head.

Me in front of the hill called Stenshuvud – stone head.

We started the day by walking up to the 80 meter (260 Feet) hill in the nature reserve called Stenshuvud, from where we had a beautiful view of the 97 meter (315 Feet) high stone head, that watched over the sea beneath. (Stenshuvud means stone head.)

This was as near as I could come to the medieval castle Glimmingehus – on the other side of the bar you had to pay.

This was as near as I could come to the medieval castle Glimmingehus – on the other side of the bar you had to pay.

We also passed the famous medieval castle Glimmingehus today, but there was an entrance fee just to get close to it, so we continued after having an ice cream.

In Simrishamn we had a huge lunch. The streets were full of people having their holiday. I bought Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair from an antiquarian on a square. A very nice copy printed in the 60s.

bike_tour_2002_1_sweden_22

Biking with someone means you have someone who can take your picture while you’re biking – as Jörgen did with me here.

At the camping just outside Ystad, we once again took benefit of the facts that we don’t have a big car or caravan. The camping was ”full”, but we were allowed to raise our tent on a free spot where no car could go because of the way the caravans were placed around the trees.

Just like yesterday, we cooked dinner in Jörgen’s kitchen: Pasta with tuna and chopped tomatoes. A delicacy after a hard day’s biking.

Jörgen enjoying the tuna pasta we made for dinner.

Jörgen enjoying the tuna pasta we made for dinner.

Me writing down today's travelogue.

Me writing down today’s travelogue.

  • Day 11: Ystad – Trelleborg

  • – 26 °C (79 °F), sunny!
  • Distance: 58 km (36 miles)
  • Time: 2:51 h (10:00 – 15:30)
  • Average speed: 19,7 km/h (12,3 mph)
  • Accomodation: Ferry, 210 kr (23 €, 31 $)

Finally some flow. Today’s biking – the last in Sweden – was fast and wonderful. For the first time we had the wind in our backs, maybe because we biked purely westward, and the cruising speed was 30 km/h (19 mph) during almost the whole way. The extremely sunny weather added to the good experience.

I have now reached my goal in Sweden. The 891 kilometers (557 miles) along the eastcoast diverges not even with 10 kilometers from the expected 900 kilometers (863 miles).

We took a break at Smygehuk, the southernmost point of our 1600 kilometers (1000 miles) long country.

We took a break at Smygehuk, the southernmost point of our 1600 kilometers (1000 miles) long country.

In Trelleborg we had a big meal of falafel. While walking around in the city, we finally found a cheap and good hairdresser, who cut both our hairs. Then we had a look at the Trelle castle, that has given the town its name but was found by archeologists and then rebuilt only years ago, before Jörgen continued his trip around Skåne.

Have a nice trip, Jörgen!

Have a nice trip, Jörgen!

I guess it was in time that we went separate ways. He’s been a great biking partner, but except from that, we don’t have much in common. But that’s also what’s so good about biking: that you can share some nights in a tent and get some company as well as reduced meal and camping costs with whoever happens to bike up to you.

Tonight I’ll take the ferry to Rostock, from where I will bike through eastern Germany to its capital Berlin. In many ways it feels like this is where the real adventure begins. I will be touring for eight weeks – not even two have passed.

And finally a good hairdresser. Salong Göran had an original 1960's interior.

Finally a good hairdresser. Salong Göran had an original 1960s interior.

The continental feeling is represented by more than the palm trees that the town of Trelleborg has planted along the boulevards to make the city look exotic – at the ferry terminal I met other bike tourers: a pair of Dutch tourers who came up to me since my bags are from the Netherlands, and a Danish father with his son. This is unusal for me – I have seen very few bike tourers in Sweden, and hope that will change in Germany, where bike touring is a big thing and something that’s respected by car drivers. Well, I guess I gonna see proof on that one quite soon.

At the same time that I’m loaded and ready to enter the continent, I can’t help thinking: The Swedish eastcoast from Stockholm to Trelleborg – isn’t that enough? Of course I won’t think about the answer. Not now.

To be continued!

This was part 1 of 3. Here are part 2 and 3: