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North Cape Cycling Adventure – Day 23 to 29

This has been a difficult week.

For starters, I didn’t fall in love with Stockholm. After having to fight fierce headwinds in Holland and getting soaking wet in Germany and Denmark, this time I got lost and wet on the Swedish roads… I also had one particularly bad night and a miserable afternoon.

On the plus side, I have now cycled more than 2000km and I’m away from the bigger cities now, and back to what matters most: nature!

Cycling Adventure Day 23-29

Day 23 (April 23): Stockholm, Sweden

0km.

21.36h. Don’t know where to start, so here’s a list of things I did today:

– Bought groceries
– Ate a lot
– Bought maps and souvenirs
– Wandered around Gamla Stan (Old Town)
– Changed rear brake shoes
– Blogging and networking
– Hung around and wrote postcards

I’m not sure what to think about Stockholm. It didn’t blow me away like Copenhagen did a week ago, or even Prague several years ago. It’s obviously a beautiful city, the Old Town is really charming, the colors are beautiful and water in a city always looks nice, but I don’t really feel the need to see more. So weird.

Norrmalm waterfront in Stockholm, Sweden.
Norrmalm waterfront in Stockholm.

Copenhagen totally surprised me and maybe I expected the same to happen here? The first impression wasn’t good, traffic is insane, especially with a bike, and that probably has a lot to do with how I feel right now. I sort of just want to move on right now.

Might do some more sight-seeing tomorrow. Need to plan next stage as well!

Small alleyways in Stockholm, Sweden.
Narrow alleyways.

Day 24 (April 24): Stockholm, Sweden

0km.

20.46h. Went to Skansen in Djurgården today. I liked that a lot. A lot! Stockholm has over 80 museums and that probably was the best one I, personally, could have gone to. It’s the oldest open-air museum in the world. It has all kinds of original old buildings from all over Sweden. So much history to be found there! I also has a great zoo with Scandinavian animals. Nice walk to Djurgården too.

Stockholm waterfront, Sweden.
Nice place for a walk.
Skansen in Stockholm, Sweden.
Old church in Skansen.

I really want to go kayaking some time. Maybe in Norway?

The next two days are planned. Room is a mess. Watching a TV show now.

I’m still not a fan of Stockholm. I guess I should come back during summer… And I definitely need some company when I’m a big city. I like being alone on my bike way more than being alone in a major city. Called home for an hour.

I just had literally (and yes, I’m using the word correctly) eleven kiwis.

Day 25 (April 25): Stockholm – Uppsala, Sweden

102.02km.

19.36h. What the hell is wrong with those road signs in Sweden?! Got seriously lost today and I had to ask directions twice. Never had to do that since leaving home. Incredibly annoying.

Should have been less than 80km today, but ended up doing 102. I was in the worst mood this afternoon. Not fun whatsoever. I took exactly one picture the entire day. If you know what I’m like when I’m traveling, you’ll know that says a lot. Luckily the weather was the best it’s been until now. A perfect spring day (18-19°C), but of course there was this stupid headwind at the end.

Sunny day in Sweden.
The one picture I took today.

I’m camping in Uppsala tonight. Wonderful city, I definitely could spend some more time here. If I had known, I would have skipped Stockholm and come here. Yeah well. Nobody skips Stockholm if he hasn’t been there yet, right? Like the camping a lot too. Good place to be after a day like this.

I’m almost out of food and I need to go shopping tonight. Met a young German couple who’s going to the North Cape too, but with a little child and a camper. Might see them again along the way.

This spaghetti I just made is the bomb!

Day 26 (April 26): Uppsala – Gävle, Sweden

115.59km.

19.49h. If I had written this during the first 75km it would have been all swearwords and curses. Rain and hail showers, headwind and extremely boring roads. I’ve got nothing to say about today really, except maybe that I’m glad that I’m done.

Cycling to the North Cape - Sweden
I really didn’t like the sight of those clouds.

I am staying at the best B&B though. The past two days weren’t very pleasant, but the places I stayed at were both excellent.

Cooked a gigantic dinner tonight: pasta and a lot of Swedish meatballs. So good! Gävle looks interesting too, just as Uppsala did yesterday. Wish I could explore more.

Pasta and Swedish meatballs.
25 meatballs for dinner.

I’m getting tan!

Day 27 (April 27): Gävle – Söderhamn, Sweden

88.18km.

17.37h. A great day. It was over before I knew it. I was flying over beautiful winding roads, over rolling hills and through immense forests. Again. Finally.

Beautiful lake in Sweden.
Blue sky and blue water.

There were a few rain showers, but I didn’t mind those at all today. It feels awesome to have had a day like this after Thursday and Friday.

I saw a fox today. I guess that’s a sign I’m heading into wilder regions. So exciting. I also passed the 2000km mark this afternoon. Major milestone!

Rolling hills in Sweden.
Endless climbs and downhills. So fun!

I’m staying in a room above a steakhouse/bar tonight. There are bands playing, might go and check them out.

Day 28 (April 28): Söderhamn – Hudiksvall, Sweden

62.83km.

9.43h. I had a total nightmare of a night. The bar downstairs was bopping all night, but I got really tired at around ten, so didn’t even bother to go see what all the fuzz was about. There was noise all freaking night long. People talking and yelling outside, cars stopping and leaving, shattering glass bottles,… And to top it off people got into a fight right underneath my window and in the hallway. Apparently the two bands were staying upstairs as well and decided to trash each other’s room or something. It was the worst night.

Luckily I have a short day planned anyway, but breakfast better be awesome now.

17.10h. There was glass and empty cans of beer in the hallway when I got out to have breakfast. The bartender/manager wasn’t too happy either. He was a cool guy, I don’t blame him.

Instead of just breakfast I decided to make it brunch. I sat there for an hour, eating away. I even got chocolate cake with whipped cream for dessert. Didn’t need lunch at all after that. I was on the bike by 11.30.

Cycling in Sweden.
On the road…

I had a lot of fun on the bike this afternoon. It was a short and really enjoyable ride and I wasn’t feeling tired at all. Cycled through the woods the entire time. I’m camping again tonight and it might be cold and rainy. Let’s hope for the best…

Snowy camp ground in central Sweden.
Snowy camp ground.

Day 29 (April 29): Hudiksvall – Sundsvall, Sweden

126.76km.

20.55h. The night in the tent wasn’t too bad and I was on the road before 9. However, the afternoon was absolutely miserable. Cycled in the rain for five hours, it was freezing cold and there was no shelter for 30km. Nothing at all. I couldn’t even stop to eat something or turn on my iPod, because it was just too cold. Another stretch was on a gravel road in the middle of freaking nowhere. Scared of getting hypothermic for a while.

Frozen lake in Sweden.
Frozen lake. This picture doesn’t do the view justice.

I love gas stations. They provide coffee and bakeries and warmth.

First thing I did after checking in was take a hot long shower. I just had an enormous pizza and salad for dinner. Exhausted now.

Cycling through Sweden.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It was a long day…

When times are a little harder due to whatever circumstances, the key is to stay focused and just keep pushing on. There’s absolutely no point in stopping, you’ll still have to cover the distance later… Pin your eyes on the horizon, turn off your brain and pedal!

 

I try to write a blog post about this journey once a week, but I post photos and short updates on Facebook and Twitter more often. Don’t forget to like and follow!

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12 thoughts on “North Cape Cycling Adventure – Day 23 to 29

  • I still can’t believe you’re doing this.
    All the rain… I would be SO bummed!
    May I ask why you didn’t plan this trip in summer?
    Did you think it would’ve been too hot?

    • The weather can’t always be perfect :-). It’s challenging at times, but it’s nothing you can’t overcome. I’ve had a couple of amazing days just now!

      I’m doing this now because I couldn’t wait any longer ;-), and because it’s low season and it’s quiet now, but also because I’ve got other plans this summer.

  • Keep it up! Brutal stuff, brother! But oh-so-rewarding in the long run!

    • I’m sure that it will be the best feeling when I’ve actually finished all of this. But every evening, when I’ve reached my destination and look back at the day, I’m proud of myself for pushing on and not giving up. It’s rewarding every single day already!

  • It saddens me that Stockholm didn’t impress you. I loooooove that city. I lived in Uppsala last summer as well. Good to hear you liked it but the city is too quite for me it drove me insane haha.

    • Haha, Uppsala seemed like a pretty lively city to me! Lots of students :-).

      Yeah I didn’t like Stockholm, but that’s definitely partially my fault. I mean, the way you feel about a city has everything to do with circumstances. I was alone, tired, frustrated and maybe a little overwhelmed as well. I will give it a second chance later for sure! 🙂

  • Man, I cannot even imagine what an adventure that must be. What really tops it off has to be the sense of accomplishment, like “yes, I got all the way here by myself, under my own power!” Hopefully you didn’t have to pedal on through the rain and hail for too long to reach a stopping point tho.. Otherwise great photos, sounds like you’re having a blast! 🙂

    • Thanks Derek! That one afternoon in the rain was horrible, but the next days I’ve always found some kind of shelter when it rained. Luckily!

      I am having a blast indeed :-).

  • Wow Bram, what an eventful week and I know exactly what headwinds, rain and long boring roads feel like but it does make it all worth it when you get that day or two of pure blissful cycling.

    We are not keen on cities either and have already planned to skip a few in exchange for quiet, country roads and I am looking forward to cycling through Germany as we have found a great route – lets hope it doesn’t end up being like your experience.

    • The previous days have been fantastic! They definitely made up for those bad days.

      Usually I really like being in cities, but now that I’m with a bicycle they’re not my favorite places. So hard to navigate through…

  • Haha! Love the huge plate of Swedish meatballs for dinner! Your photos are gorgeous too. Must be an incredible way to see the countries you’re seeing.

    • Thank you for the compliment Jennifer. It totally is a great way to see a country. It’s not the fastest way, but you do get a feel of what the country really is like. Sweden for example is one big forest, with a couple of cities here and there.

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