Many years ago Peter, a very good friend of mine told of how his grandfather when travelling for his holidays would send a postcard home to the family, always with the same simple message “Doing fine, Grandad“. Looking at a map, there are signs that some Swedish folk like Lin and Jon are coping – e.g. Linköping, Jönköping also Norrköping, Nyköping, Lidköping, Enköping although after our first night spent in Söderköping, we were still a little worried how the people there were doing. But the next day after sampling the local ice cream we concluded like Pete’s Grandad they’re probably koping fine…!
It’s quite surprising in this day and age that there are still people who don’t believe in trolls..? I know, it’s shocking isn’t.
Buying fresh bread or rolls for lunch is one of our daily tasks on the road. We often take the easy option and find a Lidl, which is fine, but let’s face it you could be anywhere. So after some research Lesley discovered we should be seeking out Konditori‘s where great local bread and all manner of traditional Swedish patisseries can be found. Yum, yum
The troll at the candle shop recommended to Lesley a local walk down the Skurugata gorge. Getting there (the way we went anyway) involved quite a bit of rallying Margo along winding Swedish forest roads. Starting off easy, the short walk became more challenging once we entered the main gorge section. This is definitely the sort of place where the innocent and the foolish are ambushed.
I know – is he scary or what? You certainly wouldn’t want to mess with this guy down a dark passage… come to think of it, I wouldn’t want to mess with him anywhere!!
By all accounts the community of trolls who live in Gamleby are generally a well behaved and on the whole friendly bunch. As I understand it no they longer eat the locals whole (well unless they’re particularly tasty) but their pet midges are partial to a nibble or two of any unwary tourists!
Arriving at the Mem stellplatz we immediately sensed it was a good spot. There is only parking for 4 MoHo’s (or the odd caravan). So we were lucky to bag the 2nd free place, especially as getting here we’d passed huge queues on the main drag to Soderkoping – it was obvious this was a busy holiday weekend but we have been really surprised just how many motorhomes there are on the roads in Sweden.
Sweden has most caravans in the world compared to the inhabitants, in 2017 there were 300,00 caravans and 90,000 motorhomes registered in Sweden – (The UK has 225,000 caravans and motorhomes on the road 2018). Plus around 900,000 boats! For a population of only 10.2 million.
Parked and settled, we’d spotted the attractive looking lunch menu at the pub by the Marina. It had to be done. Lesley had a very nice Swedish Cullen Skink I had a tasty butternut squash with a creamy garlic sauce. Apart from pizza this was our first proper eating out experience and for pub food it was excellent.
Hearing tales of a “too die for” at the ice cream parlour it was time to get out the bikes and cycle along the canal tow path past the locks to Soderkoping. It was particularly good ice cream.
As well as the ice cream tip, Lesley’s ears picked up when our friendly stellplatz neighbours told us they were off next to Sweden’s Skåne county (the southernmost bit) to a wine tasting, we nearly fell off our deckchairs.. Swedish wine? Really? However perhaps it’s not that remarkable, as temperatures today are expected to reach 31 celsius so not as daft as it sounds.
“Scientists say the world’s wine map could be fundamentally changed by global warming, with traditional winemaking regions in southern Europe, as well as Australia, California and Latin America, becoming simply too hot while more northerly areas such as the UK, the Netherlands and Scandinavia boom”.
We’re starting to fall in love with this county, although it’s not easy to capture the essence of the Swedish landscape. There is a reassuring consistency in the blend of softly rolling fertile farmland, dotted with pretty red and white painted farms and houses, Interspersed with swathes of commercial forest and mixed woodland extending for miles and miles.
From what I can make out Sweden has no toll roads and just two toll bridges. I thought we’d test this by taking a ferry as a shortcut to Stendörren, a popular coastal destination located along from Nyköping. We timed it perfectly as there were no queues and no attendent so we just drove onto a Margo-sized space in the middle row, 30 seconds later later we were off.
It took just a few minutes to cross this stretch and it avoided Nyköping and was 30 kms shorter than the long way round, oh and of course it was FREE…
A dirt road took us the last kilometre to a popular grassy parking spot for our lunch. Fancying a dip we took our swim gear and towels and followed a path to reach a small archipelago of rocky islands linked together by several wire suspension bridges. Limited to two people and their bags at a time these structures were bouncy affairs but they allowed us to find our own spot at the waters edge.
Unfortunately as we got closer to the water it no longer looked that appealing as the shoreline was covered this green-yellow soupy sludge that you need to swim through to get to open water. Other people (and their dogs) were managing ok, but we had read warnings about blue-green algae (especially of its toxicity to animals) so we decided on this occasion not to chance it
After our non-swim we headed up the road a bit further to what was suggested by others as a free overnight spot. at Sibro Kvarn. Reading the information at the gate, the pricing has changed and is now 150SEK / night which although reasonable was difficult for us as they only accept Swish (a Swedish payment card). Without a Swish card we parked outside and left early the next morning.
Parking outside the official spot had the advantage of watching this gorgeous sunset slowly develop over the lake.
That’s all for now, once again thanks for reading.
Dave & Lesley