• 14th July 2017

The Swedish Riviera

Sunset at Tylösand - the first I've seen since leaving the UK. I've not experienced nighttime for a month!

Oslo to Grebbestad

Day 27 of riding | 116 miles | 187 km | Ascent: 1,450 metres

Today was mostly following the main E-road/ highway southwards, to leave the incredible country that has been mine & my bike's home for over a month. *sobs*

A naughty bridge crossing, rip off campsite, and mourning Norway...

The Norway/Sweden border bridge...

Perfect Swedish minor road

The route was always either on a cycle path alongside the E road, or eventually on good minor roads weaving across & alongside it.

The sun was shining, which always helps the day, & I quite soon reached the last major Norwegian town at mile 60: Fredrikstad.

Riverside snacking

Approaching the Fredrikstad bridge (as there are still many inlets/fjords/islands along this coastline), the pedestrian-cycle path was closed with a no entry sign, & the mention of needing ferry.
Whaaaat!? A quick scroll on my satnav to find this ferry place, & nothing showed up within a nearby radius.

I'll go ask/beg someone, I thought.
Wandering over the bridge, under scaffolding & loud noises to approach the parked workman vans, unfortunately I came across no one to ask! Hmm, I'll walk a little further to the other workman van. Still, no one there. Before I realised it, I'd crossed the bridge. Ah, oh well eh, I tried to ask.

When there is no spectacular Norwegian scenery to photograph...

Crossing the border, unlike the strong, bold Norway sign (classically patriotic), there was nothing for Sweden. Selfie-plan crushed.

You'll have to trust me, but here is the border. I'm stood in Sworway.

The scruffy border town, & proceeding broken glass along the roadside didn't create great first impressions. I miss Norway, I whined inside.

Local cyclists!

After more fields, headwind (southwest, or west in general is NEVER a direction to ride!), & some roadside woodland, & I reached Grebbestad.

Rolling into the "4* camping resort", I had the shock of my trip when the reception charged me the equivalent of £52.
£16 for a 'camping card', & £36 to set up my tiny tent on a patch of grass.
My God.
People & camper vans absolutely everywhere, I angrily set up my home, utterly too exhausted, hungry & dirty to bother moving on.
I miss wild, small-scale campsite Norway (I'm sure time will heal my grievance, eventually!)

A bay at the end of the campsite. One nice aspect of this place.

Grebbestad to Gothenburg

Day 28 of riding | 120 miles | 193 km | Ascent: 1,388 metres

A seagull ate my chocolate...

A grey & rainy 5am start, & I was groggily packing my tent, & prepping the day's food.
I heard sounds of brisk tearing of plastic, & I turned to find a scavenging, thieving seagull had been plotting against me. My special vegan white chocolate (from Oslo) was scattered all over the grass, & my sandwhich bags, still intact, were out the bags too.
Hmm...2 minute rule for the chocolate? No peck marks on the pieces hmm... maybe I'll risk it.

The road to Marstrand

Grebbestad. Difficult to tell which nation I'm in.

Riding south, I passed at least five roadkill toads with their guts splayed across the tarmac. Envisaging my scavaging seagull friend pecking away at these guts, I decided even white vegan chocolate wouldn't be palatable, with those extra flavours.

The dangers of mapping unknown "roads"...

On Orust island

More flat roads & fields lay ahead, as well as busy 100km/hour tourist traffic. Daring to reach for snacks & therefore mildly swaying about on my beast became quite an adrenalin-filled activity.

Around the west coast islands

Another fun game was finding a place to wee, the only options being open to the road, an open roadside field, or someone's private garden bush. This gets quite exciting when cars obviously appear & you need to disguise your activity.

Over to Marstrand

Surpringly not seeing much coastline, if any, along this west coast ride, I got my view of water as I crossed to an island, Orust, & as I made the brave westward headwind diversion to the pretty town of Marstrand.

Ok so the sun decided to rear its pretty head, & shower me with warm evening light as I approached Gothenburg, yaay!

Cute town of Haga, Gothenburg

I arrived at my airbnb place, which was a beautiful townhouse apartment in the centre. Here I met some lovely people, including the sweet Colombian Cecilia. Those who know me will know of my Spanish obsession. Hablamos solamente en español :D
I even treated myself on arrival to an awesome dinner at the vegan restaurant Blackbird.

And unlike in Norway, a main meal didn't cost £30! :D

A Swedish girl approached me with the opener, "are you a tourist?" & asked me to join her & her friends for the night. Herein lies the paradox of the challenge I'm doing, vs missing out on experiences because of it. I just needed to go to bed. Such a shame!

Rest/errand day in Gothenburg, then Swedish coast part 2 awaits.


Distance: 2,585 miles
Ascent: 39,356 metres
Ride days: 28

Thanks for your interest!
Please help support aid in Syria if you can - www.alaina.org.uk
Thank you!

Alaina Beacall

Return to Arctic-to-Med Blog contents Return to Blog Main Page
Help save Syrian lives. Together we can make a real difference.
Make a money donation