My trip started with work! Jonas Hallen and Jörgen Johanson, both Swedish ultralight hikers, had invited me to do a workshop on long-distance hiking. Very easy task - I just showed and explained the equipment that I had brought for my upcoming hike! When Jörgen and a friend picked me up from Stockholm airport they told me that I had arrived at the first day of spring after a long winter. Perfect timing! After this prelude I took the train to Gothenborg and started hiking the E1 northbound from there on May 7th. The E1 uses existing trails - some of them well known, but also some local trails. This brought me to the Sjuhäradsleden.
Although it was nice to be out in the woods again, the Sjuhäradsleden is definitely nothing to write home about. It is mostly within earshot of a major motorway which made finding a quiet camp site at night rather difficult for me. But as a nice surprise I got company! Knut, a veteran E1 hiker who had already completed most of the trail in Italy and Norway, camped with me one night. As I prefer to hike alone we split up again but I met Knut again at the end of the Sjuhäradsleden in Mullsjö where he took the train home to Oslo for a short holiday from the holiday. Knut had managed to get a shower before boarding the train whereas I was still dirty and smelly after my first week of hiking.
View from a shelter along the trail
Therefore I was a bit reluctant to give him a good bye hug. But Knut just smiled and said: "You don't smell bad. You just smell like a real hiker!" I guess he is right .... And I managed to get clean very soon as well because Mullsjö was my first rest day on this trip which I spent in a rather posh hotel.