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After a glorious morning at the castle where we went exploring and almost got lost in all the staircases and rooms, blog post will arrive shortly, we were off again on our path, this time first to Sjötorp where the canal begins (or ends depending on which direction you go. To us, since we came up with the brilliant idea to sort of bike towards home, to which we are pretty grateful, the canal begins in Sjötorp. The plan for day #2 was to go to Sjötorp and the from there to Tåtorp where we hoped to be able to catch a boat across the lake Viken, the next day. All in all, a distance of 41,5 kilometers (26 miles).
We were pretty happy when we saw the sign that said that we were close to Sjötorp and suggestions on how to travel along the canal and what to do. We’ll see how many of these we can tick off before we go home.
I always imagined it to be sunny in Sjötorp and it was. It was cute and sunny and exactly as I imagined it. Actually, the entire day the weather was superb! We went as far out in lake Vänern we could go without getting our feet wet (my mum especially would be pleased to hear that, I have grown-up, who would have thought) and saw a boat, the Sea Horse, enter the canal.
Then we went to look for an ATM only to find out there are no ATM’s in Sjötorp (and from what we can tell so far, not along the canal at all). Since our hostel doesn’t accept credit cards, cash is crucial. Instead we had to go to a convenience store and buy stuff for 200 kronor just to be able to get some cash as well. That felt pretty weird, buying food you don’t want (and I absolutely cannot trow away food that hasn’t gone bad) to bring on a bike where it doesn’t fit.
So, after getting some junk, biscuits and cookies and such (about which we where pretty happy in the evening because there is really hard to find food along the canal, another thing next to the ATM, that we didn’t expect (note to anyone traveling along the canal, bring food and cash)), we were a bit bummed and went down to the locks and had ice cream (that we also bought at the convenience store to add up the money). That’s were it got really interesting! Locks, I can tell you, are super fascinating and I think I could just spend the entire day watching the boats go in, the water rise or sink and the boats go out again. And all the techniques people have to go through this!
Pretty soon you can tell which ones are used to boats and locks and which ones are not. Which people who take this “I am the captain, it’s my way or the highway and I won’t tell you my way until you’ve done it all wrong and then I’m going to yell at you in a manner that make you feel stupid”-thing a little too seriously. If you’ve ever watched SOS – en segesällskapsresa and noticed the couple Arne and Älskling, they do exist in real life!
There will be an entire post about locks as well, mainly because I’m not sure all of you are interested in looking at my forty eleven* pictures of it.
When we had watched the locks and the boats (and I had gotten pretty jealous that we were on bikes instead of a boat) we started our journey along Göta kanal. It’s pretty, it’s lovely and it’s gravel. The roads are gravel which is a bit hard on Pauline’s (my bike) tires but since there are no cars, I’m still happy.
The view is darling and the pollen amount is high. We passed bridges and locks and it’s all just so pretty and thanks to them the distance doesn’t seem so long as they make natural stops every now and then.
There are so many types of bridges, for cars, for trains and even for bikes. All of them use a different technique, some bridges turn, others are drawn back up on the road, some are lift up and one is more of boat it self and is pulled from side to side with a thick rope. All the little lock cottages are yellow with a big sign on it that says which village you’ve reached.
We went through Lyrestad, Norrkvarn, Hajtorp, Wassbacken and so on. In Norrkvarn there is a “Children’s canal” with the entire canal in miniature. There you can also stay in a cottage that looks exactly like a giant tree-stub, it’s really cute!
In Norrkvarn we realised that we needed food and that soon, so we set off for Töreboda and food. And tea! And the food was soooo good! The fries, oh, the fries. And the beef, and the chicken and oh yeah! The tea was delicous and I will probably need to find more of that sort somewhere.
I said earlier that I wanted to be on a boat instead of on bike, well, I still think a fridge would be nice since food is tough to find but most of my jealousy disappeard when i noticed that we actually bike faster than the boats can go on the canal. This makes for fun stuff as you pass the gigantic luxuary cruiser and wave at them. Then you make a stop and they pass you but not for long as you go much faster and soon you have passed them again. Then you continue in this manner until either you or they stop for the night.
One boat that went with us in this manner for a long time was Tuffe Viktor II, a boat that looks as if it was taken from a children’s book, it’s really small and really cute with two real ol’ sea dogs on it. We passed them the first time when they were held up by some ducks who thought that swimming was best done exactly in front of a small boat. Then we saw them again at regular intervals and we waved and they waved back.
From Töreboda we went fast, we were pretty tired, there was pollen everywhere and mosquitos and we almost flew to Tåtorp where there was no food but thank goodness a shower. It kind of gets to you, being outside for many, many hours even if it’s not cold at all. And how dirty you get! Luckily we had all that unwanted food from Sjötorp with us so we were able to get some energy back.
The only real drawback was that there was no internet connection what so ever because the place we were staying at was an electrical free zone in that aspect that there is supposedly no radio waves around there so you can’t even get a text message through to your mother! That’s fine by me, except the text message part, but I wonder, would it be possible to create a pollen free zone in a place like this? (Yes, my good spirits fall when the allergy gets worse which makes me pretty bad company sometimes.) We went out on the outermost part of the pier to try to get a connection for a blog post but the batteries weren’t co-operating and hence the late post about day #2. But here it is.
* Forty eleven, or thirty eleven or fifty eleven or the likes, is a really useful way in Swedish to discribe an unaccountable number, like “gazillion” in English.