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We really need to stop racing the canal boats. Yesterday morning in Tåtorp, we had to race the canal boat because we were out on the pier on the other side of the canal from our hostel and from where the boat across the lake started, when the canal boat Sandön showed up and we needed to run fast as to not be trapped on the wrong side of the canal when the bridge went up since we might miss the boat if we did. Hence, we ran. We didn’t need to worry though, since we could cross on the actual lock but we didn’t think of that until we had already run.
This morning we were outside our hostel preparing for take off when we saw one of the canal boats out on the lake. We weren’t sure it was coming in to Karlsborg and through the canal or if it was on its way across Vättern. We jumped on our bikes and started a crazy fast ride towards the canal. Luckily, the boat was going through the canal and we made it and stood on the dock waiting as the boat approached.
That’s Juno. Isn’t she magnificent?
One day we will make this trip by boat. Preferably our own so we can work the locks. Ah, the locks. Not a single lock today! Perhaps one tomorrow, there is supposedly one in Motala.
Before we set of chasing the canal boat I saw a house that made me decide on the absolutly most beautiful painting of a house: white with green corners. I will live in such a house one day.
This is Café Tant Lotta where we didn’t have time for a fika* but might return to one day. Please note that the house itself is not green, only the corners. As we all know, witches live in green painted houses (except in Aunt Elise’s house) but this is not a witch’s house. Maybe just a nice but eccentric old lady.
After we’d watched Juno go through the canal, we watched the boats for a while.
That’s double parking with boats!
The we started our ride to Askersund. All in all it took us two hours and 26 minutes of actual biking to get there. Obviously we also took breaks. We’ve gone 50 km (31 miles) today. Maximum speed was 35 km/h (22 miles/h) and average speed 20 km/h (12 miles/h).
I’ll admit immediately, the road no. 49 is pretty boring. Sure, it has nice views and so but after a while, it all gets pretty boring. For example, there are no locks. We ran in to a wanderer and his dog just outside Karlsborg. He had hiked from Uppsala and was on his way down to Båstad. He told us about the road and asked us about the best way to navigate in Karlsborg. He was really cool, last year he had gone north and he was thinking of canoeing on the canal next year.
Route 49 is uphill, downhill pretty much all the time but the uphill is not that hard except for maybe once or twice. It’s also pretty nice not going on a straight road, it makes for at least some surprises to see not knowing what’s on the other side of the curve. The wanderer had been right though, about there being a pretty non-existing verge.
Worst though were the lorries and lumber trucks even if at least the latter smell nice. Some of them really take us into consideration when they pass us and others are just in a hurry. It’s easy to almost being blown into a ditch by the airspeed.
We took a water break at Boviken where we also met some bikers.
So far we’ve met a hitchhiker from France, a wanderer from Uppsala, bikers from the Netherlands and cyclists from Lübeck (who didn’t wear helmets, those crazy people!). It’s fun to meet that many people when you’re out on the road. Sometimes I almost feel like in Rasmus and the Vagabond.
We continued on our ride. Trees, road, lorries. Same old, same old.
This place is called Koviken, or Cow’s Cove. The water is so blue, I can’t believe it!
Finally we reached Olshammar where my cousin Ulrika lives with her husband. Together we all went for lunch at Olshammarsgården where the Nobel prize winning author Verner von Heidenstam was born.
Great food, great company and great view.
From Olshammar it’s about 15 km to Askersund and Ulrika showed us a different route besides the no 49, which was a relief. Now we only had to go on the main road for just the last three kilometers (not even two miles) to Askersund.
This is the first view of Askersund. A relief I can tell you.
Ulrika and Niklas had also told us about the chocolate factory right outside our hotel. Guess where our first stop was, after we had bath to get rid of all the dust and dirt from the road (you can’t imagine how nice a bath was, I could have soaked there for hours if the chocolate factory wasn’t about to close).
The chocolate factory is called Venus Choklad and it was simply delicious in there. Impossible not to buy way too much chocolate for a bike trip in the sun. I’ve told myself it was mostly for this evening but not even I can have that much chocolate in one evening. Well, I probably can but I won’t, I’m full of food and pretty tired.
Now it’s time for bed. Julius is very pleased our hotel room has an aircraft theme.
He is also very pleased that he got great use of his Christmas gift from my dad, a gift that completely fulfilled it’s purpose today.
I had some chocolate this evening though. You can’t read about chocolate without eating it when it stands there right next to you.
Tomorrow Motala awaits us.
*Fika – one of the most important words in Swedish. Means having a cup of coffee (or tea) and preferably a little munchie. The average Swede fikar once to twice a day, usually twice if you work full time. There are super fikas including seven different sorts of cookies and buns and cake and then there are the more modest ones who only consist of a cup of coffee (or tea).