Saturday, September 22, 2007

Touring Sweden on two wheels.

Saturdays and Sundays are the best days for riding my bike -- I have time! When it’s A) not raining, and B) not too windy, it’s very easy to talk myself into a spin out in the Skåne countryside.

Last weekend, I rode with the local bike club, CK Lunedi. As always, I showed up at Clemenstorget, and found a group of 15 Swedish men on bikes. Many of them are a little bit shy. About half of them don't speak English very well. And for some reason, they don’t talk to me until we are least 10 kilometers into the ride. But they are all VERY kind. Once we do start talking, it is hard to stop.

Last Sunday, for example, I met Per, who is probably in his 50s. He asked me what I'm studying and mentioned that his wife teaches a course on Swedish culture at the University (a class I almost took!). Stefan, another rider, is in his 20s, and just moved to Lund to study Spanish. He encouraged me to speak in Swedish while we were riding. Not on the bike, I panted, as we hustled up another hill. (It’s hard enough when I’m breathing normally!) Gudmundur, or Gummi for short, is Icelandic, in his 30s, and lives in the same neighborhood as I do! He mentioned that he's learning Swedish, too.

ALL of them dropped me going up the climbs. And I mean all of them. But they waited for me, which was nice.

Today, I retraced part of the 75 mile route that we rode last weekend. Instead of my usual route, which goes southeast, I went due north. I took my camera with me and, since I have a cold, I took it easy and enjoyed the countryside.

I left town and passed through Stångby and Håstad before I arrived in Örtofta. The town is made up of only a few little streets, a sugar factory, and a train station. Also: streets named after fruits (I saw apple and pear…)

Leaving Örtofta, there was another factory…

Then I crossed Highway 104 and rode along the outskirts of Eslöv. Rum och frukost, anyone? (Bed and breakfast, that is…)

Into Remarlöv and towards Trollenäs. Out to Österby, and then it was time to turn around.

On the way back, I caught of glimpse of my future home here in Sweden. Nice digs, huh?

I also saw a milestone, with distances to all the nearby cities. The date carved in the stone said 1927, and it reminded me of the big stone street markers we have in the some parts of Berkeley… or that Mille Bornes card game!

Coming back into Örtofta, I got a different perspective of the sugar factory:

Back under the railroad tracks…

In Örtofta, I took a break to do some train watching. (Something I actually enjoy... I've got a thing for trains.) The route that runs north to south in Skåne is the perfect line to enjoy some train watching because it's the main corridor in Southern Sweden.

Sitting on a bridge, I watched no more than six trains pass by in just 15 minutes (three freight trains, two Pågatåg commuter trains, and one big SJ train due for Stockholm or Göteborg.) See?

It was a good ride. And a good day. I think my cold is already a little bit better. :-)



bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Those skies are so picturesque, especially the second factory with the smokestacks...

Sally said...

Hey, I like your new digs!!

We tried to do a "self portrait" of Paul, Roy, Carl, and me out on bikes in Portland yesterday. Made me appreciate just how refined YOUR talents are in this regard. ;-) (it's NOT so easy to take a picture of yourself.)

good train watching!

Betsy said...

Hey, Linnea! Just think - if you saw a train loaded with IKEA merchandise, you would feel as though you'd hit the jackpot!

Carlotosway said...

We're doing waves to wine tomorrow a.m. Wish us luck! Hope you have fun in Germany. Eat a gigantic pretzel and drink a couple liters of beer for me!