Friday, October 24, 2014

Ending the trip in style

A veritable palace
You might wonder now where I fnished. Good question - the finishing was one of the best parts of this trip. The idea of the whole trip was to paddle across Southern Sweden from one side of the country to the other. Having started on the Eastern coast in Valdemarsvik my projected terminus was on the Swedish-Norwegian border. I had reached that point 2 days before actually finishing on the Swedish-Norwegian island of Trollön. But this was definitely not a good end point because first of all it is an island and secondly it is in the middle of nowhere. I had to go somewhere with public transport. The logical end point would have been Ed which is at the end of the Dalsland canal system. But unfortunately now in October all affordable accommodation in Ed was closed and the idea of dissassembling my boat in the rain and then stealth camp somewhere was not very appealing.

Luckily the solution to all these problems had already been provided three weeks ago in Lidköping. Back then I had made the acquaintance of Nicke, a very friendly Swedish gentleman, who had driven me and all my gear to the train station and had offered me to stay in his summer cottage in Dalsland. And this summer cottage was only 10 km from Ed. There were even several daily bus connections. I had called Nicke from Töcksfors and arranged my stay with him. Provided with instructions on how to find the house and the key I was now only worried if I could find everything. But things worked out great!

The friendly neighbour
I found the buoys and the beach - and after a short walk the summer cottage which turned out to be more like a luxury hotel for me. Nicke had even arranged for a neighbor to turn on the central heating and so the first thing I did after portaging my kayak up for the last time was taking a long hot shower in an heated bathroom. I had a real kitchen to prepare dinner and a real bed to sleep in at night. But the very best of all was that this was the perfect place to dissasemble my boat and get everything packed into two neat backpacks again. Dissassembling the Feathercraft is a real pain to start with and even more so when you dissassemble it at the end of a trip because then everything has to be dry. But Nicke's place even had a huge barn where I could work out of the rain and dry everything. It still took me the most part of the next day before everything was done and dusted.

Nicke had even been so kind as to ask his neighbor to take me and all my gear to Ed's bus station the next day. This short car ride unexpectedly turned into a little adventure. The neighbor showed up with German punctuality and soon we had loaded everything into his car and locked the cottage. But 5 minutes into the ride we heard some strange noises that would not go away. He pulled over and then we saw the damage: a flat tire. But this guy was a true professional: Although he told me that this was the first flat tire in his entire 50-year long driving career he had changed the tire within 10 minutes! We still arrived at Ed bus station with half an hour to spare.

Maritime museum
From Ed I took the bus and train to Gothenburg where I spent to nights before returning to Germany. Strangely enough I had not received any answers to my couchsurfing requests and had therefore booked myself into the youth hostel. A wise decision as it turned out. The hostel was just great and right around the corner from a Lidl. They even let me print out my train ticket to Germany. Next event that made me very happy was when I found an all day vegetarian AYCE buffet for 79 SEK. But the nicest surprise were the Gothenburg museums. For 40 SEK (around 4 EUR) you get an annual ticket for 5 of the big Gothenburg museums. This is definitely the best museum deal in whole Scandinavia and I managed to see 4 museums in one day......

Now I am back in Germany. The outdoor season is over for this year and I am now entering another planning phase. I will spend the winter in Germany mostly sitting in front of  my computer planning new trips for 2015. I will keep you posted!

4 comments:

Robert said...

Congratulations! And great ending! As usual, the world is very kind to travelers like us. :-) Enjoy your stay in Germany!

Ron Haines said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your travels this season. Coming through loud and clear is the nice message: Things DO work out!

Trekking in Nepal said...
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Anonymous said...

Your comment about the "happiness threshold" resonated with me, and will share the comment with my wife. As I own a large inventory of assets, but my happiness threshold is 4 or 5 out of 10. I am the happiest when on the trail. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

-- a guy from BPL.