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First of all today we found out that even Linköping has a lock. Oh, the joy! Today we covered Linköping to Mem and then back to Söderköping. All in all we’ve covered 70,4 km (44 miles) today . Maximum speed was 46 km/h (28,5 miles/h), average speed was 21 km/h (13 miles/h).
All of this wasn’t by bike though. Instead of going around the lake to Norsholm, we took the bike boat, straight from Linköping to Norsholm. Actual biking was 44 km (27 miles) today.
Through Linköping down to where the bike boat was picking us up was probably the hardest part so far navigationwise. It took a little while to find but we made it in time.
This boat trip across the lake Roxen was much nicer than the boat ride across Viken, mainly because it was such great weather. It’s been sunny all day.
Don’t the clouds look like they are painted? The boats can’t go for sail in the canal so it’s nice to see them in full vestment.
The boat was also nice because we were by ourselves. We could take all the pictures we wanted and didn’t have to work around other people’s heads.
We reached Norsholm at went ashore just next to the lock.
The captain gave us some good advice about the road ahead of us, before he left.
We ate an ice cream and watched the lock for a while before we left.
Today I’ve seen a father showing the lock to his kids and tried to explain how it works. Unfortunately this happened after 6 pm there were no boats, and I’m pretty sure the kids didn’t understand one thing about the construction and weren’t very interested either. Locks need to be seen in action. I don’t think I would have developed this fascination with locks if I hadn’t seen one in action the first time I got aquainted with it.
It was nice being next to the canal again, I mean, that was the point of the whole trip, to bike along the canal. I had no idea there were that many lakes in between pieces of the canal. I’m really glad we took the boat today, it made it feel much more real. The canal has sort of become a friend.
I’m glad no one has tried to rationalize the canal. There are 35 bridges and 58 locks along the canal so you shouldn’t be in a hurry when you go through it and I’m glad that’s the case. It’s supposed to be fun. Even though, because of the locks, we’ve been told that the canal is called The Divorce Ditch. Well, I can only imagine. I’ve seen some really bad locking (even though I haven’t done it myself yet I’ve come a long way on the road to become a connoisseur) and if one of the two in the boat is sure the other one has no idea what to do in the lock but still expect them to help, well, that can include a lot of yelling and nobody likes being yelled at. Then imagine this going on for another 57 locks.
Speaking of being in a hurry or not, we stopped in Brådtom, or Bråttom(Hurry) as it is spelled on moderna maps, named because he boats was always in a hurry when passing. From Brådtom we rode to Hulta and there we had to leave the canal for a while since canal disappeared into a lake (this did not happen as much on the other side of Vättern! I think Monday, day #2, was the only day we stayed by the canal all day long.
The road form Hulta to Snöveltorp was horrible! Only hills and only gravel roads except for the very last part. The small road on the left of the yellow building was the end of the hills, our reward, a gigantic, steep downhill.
I don’t think I’ll comment on this car. It was marked as a slow vehicle but wasn’t really slow at all…
Look, a canal boat we didn’t have to chase!
A few kilometers after the hilly part we reached Söderköping where we are staying tonight. Söderköping was a little overwhelming, there were so many people there! A huge contrast to the small lock villages where there might be some people looking at the locks but nothing at all compared to this.
The sign points to our hotel (and the house in the background is pretty). We checked in to our hotel and left our bags before we continued on to Mem, the very end (or the beginning) of the canal.
We wanted to get there before 6 pm since that’s when all the locks close and we wanted to se some last locking. Overall it’s much nicer to follow the canal as long as the locks are open, after they close all the boats stop going and it’s very empty on the canal.
We made it and saw the last lockings for the day on our last day of biking. I wasn’t the best lock of them all but it was good enough. It’s also fun because you can start conversations with boat people everywhere, especially around the locks. In Brådtom we met a couple from Spain who also liked to watch locks. In Mem we started talking to the crew on a boat from Finland. In Hulta, since there is no bridge there and bikes and people have to use the lock itself to cross the canal, we were reprimanded by a crew member on a Danish boat who told us that they were about to open the lock now, even though the lock guard had told us it was fine to cross. But that’s actually the only time during the entire trip that someone has been a little rude or unfriendly, besides her, everyone has been on the scale from nice to really nice. Special mentions to Ingrid in Övralid and Sofia at the hotel in Motala who went beyond themselves to help us.
Out there is the Baltic sea, the sea that leads home.
We went out as far as we could come and now we’ve really been to the very begining of the canal to the very end. We’ve biked along Göta kanal. Summaries will be up tomorrow.
In Mem Faith hit us quite literally in the stomach again. We’ve had one major problem during this trip – food! A minor problem has been shops and restaurants that only accept cash and no ATM:s. Therefore we made sure to ask at the hotel if there was a place to eat in Mem and if that place was open after 6 pm. There was one and it would be open till 10 pm, unless it was booked by a wedding or some other event. So off we went.
A Saturday in July, of course there was a wedding! Which meant no food for us. We kind of hoped they would have had two no-shows and invite us to dinner instead but no. I hope they had a great party since it made two little bike riders very hungry. Our ride back to Söderköping was a bit low-voiced, so to speak and that didn’t pick up until after we’d eaten as much of these as we could possible get down.
Neither of us could finish our ice cream despite hard work but it was great! Mine is the one to the right, called a Broadway, and Julle’s is the other one, a Tropical.
The sun is setting over the port and it’s time to say good night to the canal. Sleep tight, I’ll see you, both readers and canal, tomorrow!