Midges, Mozzies & Meatballs – the delights of Sweden

27 May 2018

So since day 2 in Sweden we seem to have encountered every midge and mosquito in the country. I know it’s something we will have to get used to on our journey, especially coming into the summer, but Sweden seems to have decided that it should be the country to toughen me up for mozzie bites – on top of the challenging cycling.  And the mozzies seem to love me – even if I douse myself in repellent.  On top of that,  the midges are so bad in the evening we have to hide in the tent after dinner to avoid them.  That aside, Sweden has grown on me and despite not many towns and villages to look at on our travels, our cycling over the last few days has been lovely.  And day 5 started no differently….lovely tree lined rural countryside in the sunshine and stopped at the harbour in Strangnas for lunch, followed by grocery shopping in the local Lidl.  Oh the excitement of aisles of nooodles, pasta and all the camping menu delights that we are both starting to tire of…!

Afternoon cycling wasn’t as pretty but we got to our campsite at Sodertalje relatively early and in time to set up before the midges came to attack.  A strange campsite in that it was in the middle of a public park, but it had all the facilities we needed and a nice lake so couldn’t complain. The camp appeared to be full of Eastern European workers who kept themselves to themselves for the most part, though we did meet a couple who into the kitchen area when we were just finishing up with our dinner.

Our last push to Stockholm and what we thought would be striaghtforward and quite a short day, but getting out of Sodertalje wasn’t easy….it’s the industrial base for Scania trucks, and our SatNav took us right into the middle of the factory complex, which was huge! Thankfully a very helpful couple, who obviously work there, came to our rescue in helping direct us out….which then took us to another web of roads, bridges and canals.  I have to say, Nigel has been amazing at navigating the maze of roads and cycling routes…I can’t even follow a blue dot on Google maps without getting lost so if I was down to me, we would probably still be Chelmsford!

We did pass a Viking rune stone by the side of a road on our journey, which was probably the most interesting thing on this part of the trip. Apparently these stones can be either tombstones or the Viking equivalent of a social media post from someone  telling the world how brilliant they are …and Icelanders are the only race nowadays who can read the content, as their language is the closest to this.  So we have no idea if this was a Facebook update or a memorial to a great Viking warrior – but we took a photo anyway!

Anyway, we eventually made it to Stockholm – a whole day earlier than planned and I have to say I was glad. Feeling tired, knees are starting to hurt and I just wanted a rest.  We have 2 different places for accommodation in Stockholm as our main place couldn’t fit us in early.  But they are near each other and packing up and moving on is as normal as getting up in the morning so it shouldn’t be a problem.  So got to house 1, unpacked, showered, washing on and off into the city centre which is about 30 mins away on public transport

Wow. Stockholm is beautiful.  And very lively with a great vibe. We wandered around the old town, got our bearings and then headed for a few beers and some decent food, just enjoying being tourists. As I said earlier, the campsite diet is getting a bit boring so a proper meal was definitely in order.  You can see that Nigel, who is proudly sporting his new Forrest Gump look, clearly enjoyed the Swedish meatballs!

 

A weekend of tourist activities such as feasting on elk and reindeer, coffee and cake in the sunshine (yes it’s a Stockholm thing..horrah!!), walking tours and boat tours followed. As David in Oslo mentioned,  the Swedes, unlike the Norwegians, eat out a lot, so we had plenty of restaurant and menu options. The elk at the top of the photo, reindeer at the bottom – both of which were delicious!

8 weeks of our trip done and we have conquered parts of Northern Europe and Scandinavia.  The weather has been very good to us and we are loving every minute of it.  Next stop Poland and Eastern Europe …Phase 2 of our trip.

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