With closed borders, quarantine rules and flight cancellations, planning a holiday in 2020 required more creativity and flexibility. After my plans for a big US trip in September burst, I thought about what else I could do with my annual leave under the current circumstances. I wanted a trip that would be uncomplicated and spontaneous, with a good dose of adventure. After a nice evening with a glass of wine, I had the thought – why not just saddle up my new mountain bike, take the ferry to Sweden, and get rolling.
Without further ado, I sat down at the computer and thought about how many kilometres I could easily cover in a fortnight. Kalmar looked like a good turning point, so I simply left the rough planning to the komoot route planner in mountain bike mode. I tied up the route here and there and, within one hour, I had a round trip of 800 kilometres (497 miles) finished.
In mid-September, I took the ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg with my bike. From there, I headed north, deep into the nature reserves and forests. The mountain bike route, which komoot had put together for me, often led over wonderfully quiet backcountry and gravel roads, as well as rocky paths and winding trails like the Skåneleden, especially on the first days. As my skills are not quite up to such tricks yet, I had to push and lift my bike in parts. I was happy that I hadn’t planned to ride more than 50 kilometres (30 miles) per day at the beginning.
The further north I went, the more wooded the landscape became and the more lakes I saw. There was one beautiful campsite after the next. Despite the possibility of wild camping, I spent almost half of the nights in so-called Vindskydds – simple wooden sheds, open on one side that are always equipped with a fireplace. Nothing beats a campfire! I found most of them relatively spontaneous and adjusted the route a little bit from day to day. This was just the kind of spontaneity I had hoped for. Finding shops to fill up supplies on the way was just as uncomplicated – a beer in the evening was always within reach.
After a city stroll in Kalmar at half time, I rode along the coast on my way back south to soak up the salty sea air. Small fishing harbours, pretty villages, narrow trails and the surprise of where the route would lead to next. An adventure that was created in an hour on the computer will provide me with great memories for years to come. I highly recommend copying it!
With the TT Line we went over from Rostock to Trelleborg at 1.30 p.m. Although you can book bicycle spaces for the ferry, we were the only cyclists between motorhomes, cars and trucks. The placement on the car deck was correspondingly creative. A little complicated, but doable! :) We also had the great advantage of being the first to go on the ferry.When we docked in the harbor at around 7 p.m., the sun was slowly setting. Since there are not many possibilities for camping in Trelleborg, I had already planned a nice spot on the beach west of Trelleborg. In the most beautiful sunset we drove only a few minutes and had a 1A front row campsite on the Baltic Sea beach.
From the beach we went back to Trelleborg for shopping. Not at all easy to take only a handful of all the delicious things with you, because the bike is almost fully loaded. The selection of processed cheeses from the tube alone is gigantic!After that, the route mainly led through rural regions and komoot said we had to navigate through private property. Fortunately, the nice owner let us drive through, but her house dog was still of the opinion that he had to pinch my calf as a punishment. On the way we looked at one or the other shelter. These are small wooden shelters that are open on one side and have a fireplace. Hikers and cyclists can set up camp there for the night. Such shelters are cleverly distributed all over Sweden.At the end of the tour it became much more wooded and at the ruins of an old mill the day's stage was almost over. The night was spent today in a very cozy shelter - including the cat, who took advantage of the advantages of the daily changing hikers: There is always a bite to eat and, if necessary, a cozy place to sleep on the sleeping bag. 🐈
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The tour today was marked by a few difficulties right from the start. Komoot loves to route in mountain bike mode over the Skåneleden, which is actually a hiking trail but can be used with care by cyclists. This is how the condition of the path turned out to be: with stones, steep climbs, plus a number of gates, ladders and bridges over which the packed bikes had to be lifted. As a result, we made very, very slow progress in the beginning. But the views were fantastic and the paths pristine beautiful.To make the whole thing even better, it went over a path that no longer existed and then through a closed military training area, which is still very actively used.Finding a nice camp spot wasn't as easy as we had originally imagined and so we finally pitched our tent at the end of a forest road after more kilometers than we actually wanted to drive. The weather, however, was first class. 😎
Today komoot was nice to us and almost exclusively guided us - apart from a slip over a field without a path - over developed bike paths to Kristianstad and then to a wonderful place on the Immeln waters. We were almost twice as fast and with significantly more kilometers on the clock than yesterday.In Kristianstad, people bought what fit the bike and enjoyed Swedish kebab pizza with french fries. This is something like a national dish here. What we couldn't manage, we somehow tinkered with the bike. 🍟 🍕 🥙In the evening we looked for a nice place by the water on the Immeln. It took a while again, but the little spot I found at the end was gorgeous. Right on the water and under pine trees. This is how I imagined wild camping in Sweden! 🌲
We made it out of Skåne and into Småland! Today we drove on beautiful forest trails, a bit of the daily, stony hiking trail was also there. I always notice how expandable my MTB skills are. This was followed by a forest road that had not been maintained for ten years. For us it meant fighting our way through tall ferns and thick pines. In the end, we came out on private property. Fortunately nobody was home. Lots of variety, lots of fun!On the way we talked briefly with fluffy highland cattle who didn't understand us. As well as? So without Swedish? : D At the end a wonderful lake with sunshine, picnic benches and an inviting bathing jetty was waiting for us. 🧽 👙
Today's stage was just amazing. After we met two Swiss people yesterday at our overnight stay, who emigrated to Sweden in June, we stopped by for a coffee and the typical Swedish cinnamon rolls (Kanelbular) in their sugar-sweet home.Then we went over lonely roads and forest trails that reminded us a lot of Colorado or the High Sierra in Arizona. On a proper ascent, we then went up to the observation tower on the Ramnaberg. From there you have a breathtaking view of the Åsnens National Park. The park has only recently become a national park. Here you can not only cycle, but also paddle, hike and fish first-class - everything that is fun outdoors.An exclusive bike (gravel) away took us across small islands to our shelter on the northern tip of Getnö island. There we were spoiled for choice between four shelters and some wonderful campsites. In the end we decided on a particularly inviting shelter and spent the afternoon around the campfire. 🔥
Today the sun tried very hard and brought us a sensational sunrise in Åsnens National Park, which left no doubt about why the shelters are all facing east.From there it went a bit to the south via the Banvallsleden, then steadily to the southeast via the Sydostleden and Kronobergsleden - all of them wonderful cycle routes. After doing the bulk shopping in Tingsryd, we found ourselves on the Utvandrarleden again on a hiking trail that gave us a few rooty and stony single trails, but also fantastic gravel roads. The curiosity then drove us instead of the forest road on another small path to a natural cave, the monastery grottan. People used to fish here during the Stone Age. 🐟Shortly before reaching the day's destination, a huge wood chopper vehicle suddenly stood in the middle of our route, which took up the entire width of the forest road. So we tried to drag the wheels around the obstacle. The driver saw us, but instead of shutting down his machine for a moment, we were showered with a mass of shavings and had several minutes to struggle through the undergrowth. I have seldom been so happy about a swim in the lake at the evening shelter to wash down all the shavings.The sunset at the shelter at Kinnensee was no less romantic and kitschy than the morning sunrise. For dinner there was delicious pasta around the campfire. 🍝
We are slowly cycling in. The 52 kilometers went by in a flash, even if, as every day, there were a few "interesting" pushing sections on the Utvandrarleden. We cycled through a place with the resounding name of Yxnanäs, half of which was inhabited and the other half looked more like a ghost town. In many of the windows of the abandoned buildings, appliances and utensils from the 1950s could be seen.Our “accommodation” today at Örsjösjön was of course a shelter again, but the toilet house alone made the place unique. Lovingly furnished with a modern composting toilet, mirror, books, first aid and even ... electric light! 💡The afternoon / evening was again dedicated to the campfire - including delicious barbecue experiments. And at least there was a mushroom in the pan today. 🍄🍳
Komoot's preference for orange-marked (hiking) trails continued today with the dachshund talk. The sometimes slightly technical sections provided both me and my beloved Bombtrack with the first scratches. But we discovered a quite considerable lake on the roadside, which is not yet shown on any map.Really scary, however, was the section that led us to the highway to Kalmar ... where after a short time both the bike lane stopped and the second car lane disappeared. There was hardly any space left and the cars and trucks thundered closer to us at well over 100 km / h and passed us almost zero distance. Fortunately, I found a bypass road that was longer, but saved us from further horror on the highway. 🛣With a lot of headwind we went into Kalmar. According to my original plan, we weren't supposed to get there until a day later. But since the weather turned to rain tonight, we rescheduled without further ado and put in the first day of rest tomorrow with a little sightseeing. 🏰
On our “rest day” we stretched our legs a little and explored the city of Kalmar with its impressive castle and the cannons that are still pointing towards the Baltic Sea. On the first day without the sun, the right mood arose immediately: whether pirates would emerge from the fog?We then walked relatively aimlessly through the streets and alleys, over wooden bridges and ancient gates into the old town. It used to be the center of Kalmar before the medieval city was largely destroyed during the Kalmar Wars in the 17th century. After that, many moved to the island of Kvarnholmen and inland.Of course we also looked at Kvarnholmen with the free-standing cathedral, the old market square and the tranquil pedestrian zone. In addition to cute cafes and restaurants, there is even a well-stocked outdoor shop. After walking to the end of the island, we were back on the shores of the Baltic Sea, where an inviting jetty beckoned. With the weather we didn't feel like it.On the way back we passed the shopping center and went to the ICA and Coop for bulk shopping. After all, you need a lot of food for a lazy day in the hotel. 🥘
After a lazy day in Kalmar with a little sightseeing, we continued today and once more inland. The hope of still seeing a moose has not yet died.Nevertheless, unfortunately no one showed up today. Instead, there was a long break on a fantastic cliff on Torsjön - actually too nice to continue.But since there were still a few kilometers left on the plan, we saddled our bikes again and made a quick purchase in Vissefjärda - for the obligatory beer in the evening.For a change, we didn't spend the night in a shelter, but on a mini-beach. Actually, I wanted to pitch my tent on the small peninsula. The way there is so overgrown that I only got through on foot with great difficulty. But impossible with a packed bike. 🍺
After about ten days of cycling without rain, the cool water has caught up with us. In the morning we were able to sit out the shower for a while, but in the afternoon it got uncomfortable.On the way we met two Danish anglers who invited us to beer and vanilla coke in the small, open game hut. You don't say no. After a good hour of talking about God and the world, it was about 36 kilometers to drive to the shelter and at the end of the day we were back in front of the sea. 🌊
Today we followed almost exclusively developed cycle paths such as the Sydostleden from Järnavik to Sölvesborg. It's comfortable and you get ahead quickly, but the variety is missing when you drive straight on asphalt kilometer after kilometer. So I was looking forward to diving into the woods again tomorrow.As luck would have it, the route in Karlsham had a long-awaited soft ice cream with a chocolate coating ready for us, including one or the other view of the Baltic Sea.In Mörrum, the center of salmon fishing, we stopped by the Salmon House. Actually, we've been lugging a fishing rod around with us since the start of the tour. However, we haven't had the leisure to fish - with the exception of just under an hour at the beginning of the trip.In the evening we treated ourselves to a cute hut at the Valjeviken campsite, which would normally have been closed at this time of the year. We were probably the last guests, because tomorrow the place should finally close for the season. As a special highlight, we were able to take a hot shower today and, for the first time, wash our laundry in a real washing machine - not just in the lake, river or hand wash basin. It's just the little things. The cherry on the cream cake was then a first-class sunset over the Baltic Sea, which we could enjoy from the small terrace of the hut with a beer in hand. 🌅
Today we rolled further south over the Sydostleden and the smugglers' trail towards Åhus and enjoyed wonderful forest paths.One more time, however, we stood in front of a military area with bold warning signs that komoot wanted to send us through. There was only a long detour around the outside. In defense of the navigation: I believe I have read that the area is freely accessible in the summer months. Bad luck if you drive around out of season.In Åhus there was the well-known typical Swedish kebab pizza with french fries and a wonderful view of the sea and the beach. Unfortunately, the trail on the beach was often so sandy that we could hardly make any progress even with our wide tires. In the forest a little above there were great single trails that were a lot of fun.In Brösarp we stocked up on our daily beer for the evening, which we enjoyed comfortably by the fire. 🔥
When a journey comes to an end, there are many final times that make you feel melancholy. One last single trail, one last climb, one last night in a windbreaker, one last campfire with grilled cheese. 🔥🧀 For a better understanding: That is, roughly speaking, melted cheese between two slices of bread - nothing more, but still something very special. The marked trail led us for the first few kilometers in an absolutely idyllic way along a river through dense forest and at the end to a small waterfall.In the nature reserve, our route suddenly disappeared and we were once again busy finding alternative routes. Interestingly, they led us to an abandoned mining settlement where alum used to be mined.The last stage was still pending and would bring us to the southernmost point of Sweden. After that, a small hut was waiting for us for the last two nights. But one thing is certain: it won't be Sweden for the last time! 🦌
The weather change is here! After we got away for around 15 days with just two light hours of rain (!), A good wind started today. Heading south, I had to struggle hard not to be blown into the field. Slightly inclined position included. To the west along the coast it was then over the Sydkustleden very quickly with a friendly tail wind to Trelleborg. 🌪Of course, we took the southernmost point of Sweden with us and fully loaded the bikes in the supermarket again. In the cottage today there was shrimp and garlic bread. Delicious! 🦐🧄🍞
Since the ferry would not leave until 11.30 p.m., we made a few more laps through Trelleborg and the surrounding area. To lookout points, parks, Trelleborg and a little hype at the water tower. It doesn't take long to scour the small town.Fortunately, the big grocers are open on Sundays and equipped with toilets, WiFi and lots of food, so that we at least had a roof over our heads until 10 p.m. before we put our bikes next to the motorhomes and trucks of the TT completely out of place -LINE convenient. 😅🚲🚛The storage of the bikes was also very alternative on the way back: We were allowed to store them in the control center. The red buttons in it were very tempting ...