Sweden – Once on land, once on water

Route to blog:

On June 24, 2022, we enter Sweden and thus the 8th country of our journey. We chugged comfortably into Gothenburg by ferry. The ferry entrance has been our nicest so far because you don’t dock outside, but right in the middle of the city, past apartment buildings. We also liked the city itself right from the start, which is rarely the case with cities for us. We were a bit unlucky because it was Midsummer and we couldn’t find a place to stay with a Warmshowers host. We then discovered a nice little hostel where we could enjoy a long-awaited warm shower and bed after numerous nights in tents and shelters.

We liked Sweden right away, the constant wind was gone, the temperatures were finally summer-like and the people were very friendly. We were also able to climb the first hills – who would have thought that we would enjoy it πŸ˜ƒ. Everything flat can be ridden comfortably, but the view and the feeling of happiness when rushing down a mountain outweigh all!
A few landscape scenes:

Unlike in Denmark, our tent is now increasingly used again, since the shelter network is not quite as large and is located more along hiking trails. In Sweden, the so-called “Everyman’s Right” applies, which means that wild camping is allowed with certain restrictions. However, since every piece of land belongs to someone, no matter how remote, this is not so easy.
With the help of the site https://map.campwild.org we found a shelter on our route after all and what a one!!!!

After the perfect shelter night with evening and morning swim in the lake, it went straight on with action – that’s what we were waiting for πŸ˜„. On the approach the day before, passing three driving bans, we also passed a gate at the end of the way, where we still joked about whether it would still be open the next day. As if we had already guessed it there, it was of course locked when we arrived there again on the return trip πŸ˜…. With a detour through dense brush and past a snake, we fought our way past the gate and luckily got back on the road.
Only minutes later we were very lucky and saw our first moose in the wild. He was probably just as frightened as we were and jumped away with great leaps across the road and through the thicket.

Our next stop was Arvika. There we wanted to go on a 4-day canoe trip. On the way there, we experienced firsthand the friendliness of the Swedes. We didn’t have any cash with us because Sweden is the first country that wants to fully rely on card payments, which is why various stores unfortunately already only accept cards for payment. Then, when we stopped into a retirement home for our lunch via a tip from a local and learned that only cash payment was accepted, we were unceremoniously invited to a free meal.

Arriving in Arvika, we eagerly started our canoe adventure. Already on the first day Nicole wanted to get back on her bicycle. She imagined that at beautiful places it would also be possible to take a break from rowing and swimming and to take a close look at the nature all around. But the reality was that we paddled non-stop against the wind for several hours a day and also could not keep the tips of the canoe center, namely to row in the morning and in the evening (less wind), because of the rain. That was anything but relaxed, rather we were completely tense afterwards πŸ˜„. We also had very nice moments, but after the 4 days we were really looking forward to our bicycles, which is a good sign.

Knowing well that we will probably be glad of a break after the canoe trip, we have already arranged a night at a Warmshower host near Arvika. Dag spoiled us with fine local food and we had exciting conversations.
The next day we were in for a surprise when we had a beer in front of a Systembolaget (only in this store you can get alcohol with more than 3.5% alcohol content in Sweden). We were approached by Tom, he said we looked like tourists and he had seen us riding around on bicycles before. He asked if we already had a place to stay for that night, he would like to invite us to his home. Thankfully we accepted this offer and we stayed with Tom for three nights and had a great time with him. It was very exciting to learn more of his life as a carpenter, as he spent 3 1/2 years as a journeyman. This resulted in great conversations about traveling and the beautiful stories of the hospitality he experienced, which he can now offer some time.

Today we continue to the Norwegian border πŸ˜ƒ.

For even more insight into our everyday cycling life, check out our latest video:

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