Halmstad - Molle 82.2 kms 839’ ascent
We are nearing the end of our journey through Sweden and we have clocked up a total in excess of 2500kms and I have no idea how much height gained (or weight lost!). At twenty something one is described as slender, at forty something the description would be slim at 60 something the word to use is scrawny. No matter, we can eat what we like and we could drink what we like if only we could source the alcohol. Maybe Denmark has a more liberal attitude to the selling of wine and Scotch.
We started our journey in an area so under- populated we could ride all day and spot an occasional passing motorist. We leave a very different Sweden. Not heavily populated by UK standards, but nonetheless, distances between urban areas has decreased significantly and the traffic is incessant. Campsite facilities are now out to make a fast buck and lack the fastidious care of those further north. It feels as though there is a real north/south divide. In fact, I am quite surprised that this end of the country hasn’t sunk with all the extra habitation. Must be the weight of all those trees that keep it so perfectly balanced! We now understand why so many little cabins have sprouted among the trees and around the lakes. It’s the ‘get away from it all’ syndrome. Mind you, a penchant for fishing is an essential requirement for owning such a dwelling for there seems little else to do except swat armies of midgies. The Swedish and the Sami people in general (except for the tw** who peeped Alan) have been friendly and endlessly helpful, if not actually exuberant.
Today has not been without interest. We had, as ever, carefully planned a route which would keep us clear of the motorway but, as usual in the towns, signposting for minor roads and minor villages, is intermittent at best and non-existent at worst. We picked a non-existent one and spent a few tense minutes discussing our predicament! Locals to the rescue again; their advice – just carry on and they were right. Having located the right road and partaken of coffee and bananas we surveyed what was to come. Sweden had one more sting in its tail! The hill ahead looked like the head of a cobra and was just as unpleasant; two and a half kilometres of 8%! The strong Northerly wind, which had been forecast, and would have assisted our ascent, was nowhere to be found until we reached the summit! By now very hot and sweaty (NOT glowing – don’t know who dreamed that up that one) we were hoping for some relief on the downhill. Thwarted again, for the clouds disappeared unexpectedly and the sun shone with a vengeance and we were now inappropriately dressed for hot. Undaunted, but a bit pink, we reached our final site in Sweden where we plan to take a day to repair more holes in the trailer covers and render a little TLC to the bikes – (Alan does most of that clever stuff). Then the final few kilometres to Helingsborg and on to discover what Denmark has in store for us. Watch this space.