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!
Day 23 (April 23): Stockholm, Sweden
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.
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!
Day 24 (April 24): Stockholm, Sweden
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
I’m getting tan!
Day 27 (April 27): Gävle – Söderhamn, Sweden
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.
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!
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
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.
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…
Day 29 (April 29): Hudiksvall – Sundsvall, Sweden
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.
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.
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!