TUBT-13 – Göta Kanal Edition. The Castle.

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Sunday night we spent at the Börstorp slott. We stayed in one of the connecting buildings and didn’t see the inside of the castle until the next morning when we had our breakfast.

We met Björn and Annika who live in the castle and asked them if we could go exploring a bit. They said that we could as long as we closed all doors behind us and off we went. Now I know how it must have felt being eight years old in a great British mansion, think Downton Abbey. The place was huge! And beautiful! I don’t know how many rooms there are but Björn told us there is 28 tile stoves all in all. Perhaps 40 rooms?

The castle was built in the 17th century by Conrad Falkenberg. He was married to baroness Catharina Bonde and had seven sons and four daughters who all lived in the castle. Then you can see why Conrad needed that many rooms. In the 1850’s the castle was heavily rebuilt but a lot of the original design is still there. Conrad is said to haunt the castle, and did so especially during the reconstructions in the 1800’s. His painting has been up on the wall for most of the more than 400 years that have passed since the castle was built but apparently he only haunts when his painting hangs on the wall, when it is laying down he rests peacefully. Well, I would haunt too if I had too be up all the time. Laying down is pretty neat even though I realize that the purpose of a painting is to hang.

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We started on the second floor where we went through the galleries and salons till we found a spiral staircase which we climbed. It took us all the way up on the roof where we could see as far as we wanted to in every direction.

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Far down there are our bikes and the building where we slept.

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Look at that window. Wouldn’t you want to sit there with your copy of Pride and Prejudice and see your friends arrive in their carriage? And then run down to have the ball begin?

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In one corner we met the King of the Woods, a moose. Obviously there should be a moose on the wall in a castle.

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We were a bit more surprised to find this little rascal in another corner though. I wouldn’t want to meet that one alive.

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This little guy met us at the entrance to the kitchen. Please compare to Julius, the armour is very small and very cute.

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Also, it turned out that the canon I had though where to protect the castle in case of a Russian invasion, was actually brand new and had arrived not even a week ago. Even though it’s new it looks like it belongs.

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Up there on the top, that’s where we were standing looking down and taking pictures. Naturally a castle needs a watch tower and this was a good watch tower, I assure you.

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In honor of Börstorp slott Julius has now named his bike Conrad after Conrad Falkenberg (for me, Conrad will still be a cat from Pelle Svanslös, and a not very nice cat that is. But if Conrad Falkenberg really does haunt the castle, I guess he isn’t very nice either). I really do hope that Bike Conrad does not take after his namesake and starts haunting us. A haunted bike, that could get ugly. My bike is still named Pauline, not even a visit to a castle could change that.

TUBT-13 – Göta Kanal Edition. Day #3

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I will start today’s post with a picture of the lock in Tåtorp for two reasons.

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One is that it’s a really cool lock (all locks are cool!), the only manual one on the entire canal, where you need two people to open and close the lock. The other reason is that I really miss the locks! We haven’t seen a lock all day, besides the one in Tåtorp, and now we’ve reached Karlsborg and I want more locks! Since the canal has temporarily disappeared into the lakes, we haven’t been able to follow the canal and I miss it! We’ve gone a total of 31,6 km (20 miles) of which about 15 km (9 miles) was by bike (plus a trip to a restaurant and back for a total of 4 km (2.5 miles).

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In Tåtorp we were also able to see our first proper canal boat, Sandön. The oldest day trip boat on the canal. Since we’ve both read Maj Sjöwall’s and Per Wahlöö’s book Roseanna, the first book about DCI Martin Beck where the team investigate a murder connected to the canal boat Diana, we have been anxious to the see the canal boats and today we finally had the opportunity. It wasn’t Diana though. Maybe that’s lucky.

From Tåtorp you can either take your bike around the lakes for a pretty decent amount of biking, or you can take the little bike boat.

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We took the bike boat.

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It has been a cloudy day and the trip across the lake was very windy. When I breathed it felt a little bit as when I went skydiving last summer, it took effort to get the air into the lungs. Pauline and Conrad, our bikes, seemed to enjoy the boat ride as much as we did. They got a little wet which was probably good since they were getting a bit dirty.

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Can you imagine this little boat managed to take on 9 people, granted two were children, plus the driver, 8 bikes and a bike trailer? I was impressed.

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We all arrived safe and sound to Brosundet, which probably got it’s name from the bridge above. There is no food in Brosundet, which shouldn’t have surprised us as there is no food along the canal (except Töreboda, we love Töreboda) but that meant biking all the way to Karlsborg without food and that hit our spirits pretty hard.

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The road was asphalt to which we were happy,  but apart from that it was boring. There weren’t many cars but we couldn’t ride next to each other, which we could as long as we were next to the canal, and it was upwind and cold and we were afraid it would rain (it didn’t) and there were no locks and nothing was fun. When we finally reached Karlsborg, we were not happy campers but as soon as we had found our hostel and sat down for a few moments and our ears had stopped aching from the wind and I had knit a few quite many rows, spirits had risen again and we went out to find food.

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It’s totally impossible to see on the picture but in reality you can, if you squint, see Motala on the other side of lake Vättern. We will be in Motala on Thursday if all goes well.

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We also found a piece of the canal and a bridge (no lock though). On this side you see where we’ve come from, this way eventually leads to Sjötorp.

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This is virgin land, the way we’re going (if we were able to go on water, as it is, since we can’t cross the lake, we’ll ride around it). This, as you can see at the end of the canal, is lake Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake. It’s also around this lake that the annual bike ride Vätternrundan goes. I’ve never done the entire ride but I’ve biked around half of it (if you can bike around half a lake, it was more of biking along a quarter of the lake and then turn but all in all it added up enough kilometers to fill half a round around the lake. Tomorrow we will cover another part of the lake and if I continue like this I will eventually be able to say I’ve biked around lake Vättern if not all in one go.

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We had dinner at Idas Brygga, a lovely restaurant just beside the canal (it is TUBT Göta Kanal Edition after all). Aparentely the original Ida was a really cool lady who lived in a cottage where the parking lot is today. She was an entrepreneur a hundred years ago and was well known both by voyagers and the locals.

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The food was delicious and we ended the meal with some crème brûlée and raspberry jam.

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When we were sitting at the restaurant, that’s when the rain came. But who cared, we were under a roof, we had reached our destination and all was well.

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And there was tea, let’s not forget the tea. I’ve had such great tea on this trip so far. Both yesterday in Töreboda and today in Karlsborg. There might not be much food along the canal but where there is food, there is also excellent tea.

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Our hostel is located next to this. It makes you feel pretty safe, let me tell you.

Tomorrow will be a heavy day bikewise so I’m going to pick up my knitting now, before it’s time for bed. See you tomorrow!