Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cycling Skandinavia: Southern Sweden Part 2


Outside Ystad
As a huge Henning Mankell fan Ystad was my next stop. I felt like last year when I had hiked through the Eifel on the footsteps of the Jacques Berndorf crime novels. Ystad tourist office is very professional about the famous author and has an excellent leaflet called "In the footsteps of Wallander" that shows all the location of the crime novels in and around Ystad. But of course there have been several movies about Kurt Wallander and none about Jacques Berndorf.... But I must admit I was more interested in the library with free wifi and the lovely Lidl store. By the time I had updated my blog and eaten lunch I was not in the mood anymore for a lot of sightseeing. I was just surprised that such a small and peaceful town as Ystad is the location of all those Wallander murders....


Ales Stenar
As I prefer free sights my next stops were all stone age monuments. Ales Stenar, the Swedish version of Glastonbury features several stones erected to form a ship. Does not look that impressive but has been a great accomplishment back then. At least the hundreds of tourists there must have thought so. There were even parking lot attendants to manage the masses of tourists. And then the king's graves at Lyngby that looked like a dump of rocks first. I must confess that I jumped the fence to avoid paying 20 SKK entrance fee to look at it....


Entrance to Kings' Graves
Again, I had very bad luck with camping. Southern Sweden is prime agricultural country and there are rolling wheat fields everywhere - but no forests. Of course there is the everyman's right and I could have found a spot but probably I am too choosy. I like forest and I like hidden places where no one bothers me. I ended up cycling until late to get to a forest and then it turned out to be so overgrown that I could not find a place where to pitch my tent. It was already 9 pm when I eventually found spot deep in the forest and exhausted I set up my tent. I realised that I was overdoing it again. My last real rest day had been three weeks ago and although I was doing a very low daily mileage I needed a rest. I started next morning by sleeping in, reading a book in the morning and only leaving at 1 pm! (It was good to have a spot under tree cover. In the direct sun this would not have been a very pleasant morning...)

Also my birthday was coming up and I decided to treat myself with a town stay. Karlskrona is a UNESCO world heritage city and I planned to spend my birthday there. But alas, no warmshowers hosts there and Couchsurfing was down again.... Never mind, I just booked myself into a single room in a youth hostel. (Thanks to the wonderful Swedish tourist offices with free wifi). One more night free camping and then I would have a decent clean up. But again the camping was difficult. I have to find a new strategy for camping in Sweden and overcome my tick phobia or I'll never be happy here. I woke up on my birthday and felt pretty horrible: I was so dirty, grimy and sweaty that even I was disgusted. A bottle shower was not a good solution as there were mosquitoes everywhere. I got on my bike and hoped for the best. After a couple of km I spotted a church. Churches are usually surrounded by cemeteries and they have water taps. Maybe I could find a tucked away tap and discreetly clean up? No such luck: Gardeners were working in the cemetery and no way I could tuck away there. But the church was open and there I struck gold: A real toilet with a wash basin! Hikers and bikers are so easy to please.... 15 minutes later I felt like a new person and happily jumped onto my bike.


Karlskrona
The route to Karlskrona took me much longer than expected but when I finally arrived it was still too early for the youth hostel reception to be open. I found out everything about AYCE buffets, free wifi and even got myself a temporary library membership card. And then of course a shopping trip to my beloved Lidl for my big birthday dinner that consisted of new Swedish potatoes, brokkoli with olive oil and lemon and fried BBQ cheese accompanied with butter milk. It was great - as was the 15 minute long shower I took to wash off all the grime. I spent a leisurely evening in bed but unfortunately the only new book I could find the hostels book exchange in a language I could understand was the German biography of the Kiwi opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa. Never mind - I read almost everything....

2 comments:

CHRISPRIVAT said...

Was for ein großartiges, inspirierendes Tagebuch. Vielen Dank! Ich freue mich immer schon riesig auf die nächste Folge. Weiterhin Happy Biking und alles Gute!

Gerald Klamer said...

Leider hatte ich nicht an deinem Geburtstag gratuliert, aber dennoch alles Gute und habe weiterhin eine tolle Reise!