TUBT-13 Göta Kanal Edition. Day #5

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Today we left Askersund for Motala and a total of 50,5 km (31 miles). Our maximum speed was 45 km/h (27 miles/h) and average speed was 16 km (10 miles/h).

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First of all we have the obligatory boat picture as boats are the first and the last thing we see after we wake up and before we go to bed. Besides that, there hasn’t been many boats today though. Even though… But I’m getting ahead of myself, patience is a virtue.

When we woke up this morning we heard the rain rattle outside but we knew from the weather forecast that it would stop during the morning so we took it slowly and didn’t rush and by the time we were leaving Askersund the rain had stopped.

Let me tell you straight up, it wasn’t a nice ride. It was windy, it was cloudy but still sticky and it was uphill, uphill. I’m not going to bore you with many pictures of the first two thirds of the ride, it was trees, road and lorries; trees, road and lorries. Only two things are worth mentioning. One:

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This is the view from the bridge over Stora hammarsundet. It’s grey and more grey but still pretty magnificent in my opinion.

The second is this:
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I’m not sure you can see it but we think that’s a heron (the little V-shaped dot in the middle of the picture). Maybe Agnieszka would be so kind as to ask Pelle if it’s actually a heron (if it’s even possible to see)?

No, the ride in itself is not that much to talk about, it was uphill a lot which made everything just a little worse. What it worth mentioning is the stop we made, both the planned ones and the unplanned one. You see, when everything was at it’s worst we saw a sign that said Vätterns väveri (The Vättern weaving mill). That sounded much better than the prospect of being overtaken by yet another lorry so we decided it was time for a break.

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They had beautiful stuff! I got a little overwhelmed and bought myself a table cloth (yeah, I know, where to put it on the bike. Luckily Julle was wearing his sweater and that made a little room in his bag, and again, I know, this means that for the rest of the trip Julle has to either wear his sweater or the table cloth but he is a darling and I’m pretty good at packing so we’ll probably sort this out somehow before Julle has to wear a white and pink table cloth sail behind him when he bikes. It could be good if it’s downwind though…).

Then it got really interesting as they invited us into the actual factory and we got to see the looms in action.

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(This one is the same pattern as my table cloth, only green instead of pink.)

This was a win-win situation for us since I’m fascinated with the handcraft and how to make the process mechanic instead of manual and since Julle is fascinated with looms being the first program controlled machines with punch cards.

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(You can’t even see the shuttle moving back and forth!)
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That stop was a nice surprise and since I fell in love pretty much everything they had (I just need to get a bigger dining room table…), we’ll be sure to come back.

Then we’re off on the road again and again it’s not worth mentioning but the hills were really starting to get to us and when we finally reached Medevi, where we had planned to stop for food, and it turned out that the inn had closed thirty minutes before we arrived, the mood was so low that you’d had to use a fishing rod to pick it up.

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(This is NOT a picture of the inn, it was just a cute house with pretty flowers.)

Medevi, a very cute village, has a famous spring where people used to come and take baths to get rejuvenated. Even though the spring is not in full function as a health clinic anymore, they continue the tradition of the place. Since the inn was closed we found our way to a café where we bought just about all the sandwiches there were and after eating those, and some cookies and some tea and coffee, the mood was raising, slowly but surely.

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We happened to come when the traditional spring music was about to play which gave it all a nice touch.

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(“I told you the orchestra was beautiful!”)

I also happened upon a fellow knitter but I didn’t show my true face and only took her picture stealthily, or you could say I kinneared her, to keep in the tradition of another knitter, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. This knitter might have noticed me though so it wasn’t a proper kinnear.

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When moods had risen a bit more, and the orchestra had stopped playing (they ended with a song that I only know as a cheering song for the Sirius bandy team which then got stuck in my head and has been playing non stop ever since. It is now seven hours later and the song is still stuck in my head, thank you very much!) we went to actually see the spring itself as it felt weird to have been there without seeing it.

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Don’t you just love how utterly bored that boy looks? I wonder if he’d rather clean hotel rooms as I did for a summer job instead of helping tourists to a glass of spring water.

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When we came back to where we’d parked our bikes we got a little surprise as it seemed as if Pauline and Conrad had created an addition to our family. Luckily that was not the case as a father and his son came to pick up the bike soon after.

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From Medevi the road was better as we could use an alternative road instead of the main road. It was only a short way (in our perspective, short can mean anything between a few hundred meters up to 15 kilometers) to Nedralid where we were to turn to get to Övralid where Verner von Heidenstam lived (yesterday we had lunch at the place where he was born, Övralid is the place where he lived and died).

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If we had talked about uphill before it was nothing compared to this. It was uphill to a degree that it was impossible to bike but instead we had to push our bikes up a very steep hill. It was a little crazy actually. And what is shown on the picture is not even the worst part.

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We did see some sheep though which is nice. They were cut so somewhere there is wool that can be spun into yarn. Unfortunately there were a lot of flies around the sheep and they liked us. They liked us a lot. We arrived at Övralid, each bringing a swarm of flies around us.

We went to Övralid in the first place because my aunt Birgitta had said that the view was spectacular and the waffles where excellent. I’m pretty sure she went by car from the main road though because she failed to mention the almost vertical hill to get up there.

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It was totally worth it though. You can see fields and meadows and then Vättern with its islands that melts into the sky at the horizon. It’s hard to see in the picture, you’ll just have to go there yourselves. Be sure to bring a car though unless you’re in for a real workout.

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We didn’t enter the main building because we were sweaty and tired but we did talk to the guide, Ingrid, and bought a fridge magnet in the shape of Heidenstam’s fridge. I like the meta in that.

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We also sat down at the table where Heidenstam himself used to sit and admire the view.

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We had coffee (and tea!) and waffles at Farfarstugan (Grandad cottage), the cutest place you can ever imagine. And the flowers, oh, the flowers!

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wpid-DSC_1075.jpgAunt Birgitta was right, the waffles were delicious!wpid-DSC_1077.jpgI also knit a few rows before it was time to get going again.wpid-DSC_1083.jpg

We took another road downhill which was pretty steep as well, but not nearly was long as the way up, and it was also a bit uphill to which I was utterly miffed since I don’t like the idea of first getting uphill and uphill and then you take another route so that you have to go uphill again. Where’s the justice in that?wpid-DSC_1087.jpg
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It was a pretty road for the most part though. Pretty soon after Övralid we got our first glimpse of Motala.wpid-DSC_1090.jpg

Again, hard to see in the picture but it is there, I promise. We also wondered what type of crop grows on this field. Can anyone please enlighten us? We thought it looked like corn but is corn cultured in Sweden like this?
After we’d found our hotel and had a well-needed shower we went down to the docks to find the canal again and also get some food.wpid-DSC_1094.jpg

We did find the canal, hooray! It hadn’t left us and it was a sweet reunion. We also found the classic canal management office and another canal boat, one that we didn’t have to race, yay!

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As I said, I love to watch boats during dinner time, it’s peaceful and very interesting to look at. My favorite this evening was this:wpid-DSC_1097.jpg

Look, there’s flower pots on the boat!
After dinner we took a little walk and we saw a boat we recognized.
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The Lazy Lady who was in Karlsborg on Tuesday evening, we were watching her as we had dinner at Idas Brygga. Now she’s here in Motala. I think that’s pretty neat, she has crossed Vättern, we have gone around it (yes, that part is very much Nu ska vi ut på tigerjakt with Moraträsk). We stopped to admire her, she’s darling, and started talking the owners Ulf and Agneta who invited us over. Now, you know me, when it comes to boats I’m pretty much like the character Berit in the Swedish movie SOS – en segelsällskapsresa. “Fender, Berit! No, that’s not a fender, that’s an Ibanez.” Despite this fact, all went well, I didn’t fall in the water when climbing up on the boat. It was actually great fun to see the inside of Lazy Lady. What amazing opportunities there are. Julle was really excited and I think I could really love being on a boat. At least if the boat was as pretty and as practical as this one, there is something very enjoyable with a real toilet and shower after all. wpid-DSC_1101.jpg

Now it is time for bed before I start quoting the entire movie mentioned above (I tend to do that). I’m looking forward to tomorrow, Julle has promised me locks!

TUBT-13 Göta Kanal Edition. Snapshot 3 from day #5

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We’ve finally reached out destination, Motala, and gone hunting for food. We’ve found the canal again and sat down in a restaurangt in the harbour. I like that the view have been boats for every dinner we’ve had on this trip so far. It makes us remember the purpose of this, The Ultimate Bike Trip, it is the Göta Kanal Edition after all.