Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Cycling Diaries

So the last few days I've been quite busy.
--bicycling
--picnicking
--more bicycling
--more stops to picnic

Cute is a word that often comes to mind when viewing the cottages and numerous boat houses. Until it becomes typical.It's all cute. Many of the larger residences remind me of dachas--something Tolstoy would have lived in. (See The Last Station.)

After the Göta Canal I took three local buses, but eventually arrived in Hjo where Lotta picked me up. We drove to Lake Vattern where we picnicked. Later we drove to a national park and hiked. At one point the trail took us between and under giant boulders. Upon popping out on the other side there was a small pool of water. We continued walking over rock outcroppings until we could look out over the forest and several ponds/lakes.

This is a land formed by ice and fire, by volcanoes and glaciers. My second day with Lotta began with a bike ride through Tranås--but quick enough we were out of town and in the countryside. The roads here are never as wide as those in the States. Multi-lane highways are in some places, but not everywhere. Mostly people get around on single lane roads--yet Sweden has the best vehicular safety record in the world. Signs with an M let drivers know that up ahead is a meeting place where two cars can safely pass. Isn't that kind? Almost on the level of fellowship, chums sitting in the pub exchanging stories. Meeting place--except they are waving and counterwaving until someone acquiesces to actually go first.

So where Lotta took me I kept asking, isn't this someone's driveway?  Can we actually ride here? Is this a driveway? I was all over my gears chugging up and down gravel roads, past cows and sheep in fields.

Then we entered an emerald forest where mushrooms grow as plentiful as Illinois corn. We gathered enough for an omelet.

That day we made about 80 km--about 48, 50 miles. I'm not sure, but a km is cute compared to a mile. In Sweden everything is cute.

Later we jumped into icy Lake Sommen--again, I don't know why but it woke up my tired body in a way coffee can't.



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