From Göteborg to Nyköping, part 9

Posted Monday, August 8, 2005

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The road to Ryd was ok, but the one I thought to take afterwards is nothing but dirt and rock. Why is it indicated on my maps? Now I can't avoid the highway unless I go hundreds of kms South.

When I reached it I despaired a few minutes before asking a young woman at the station who agreed to take me through Jönköping. Good that she wasn't scared of me because I start looking terrible. I think she might have refused if I hadn't asked in Swedish. Even if only the first few words, it's always good and respectful to speak the country's language. She -Carla- dropped me dropped me near Ölmstad, where I as told I could enjoy myself riding on the former E4 all the way to Gränna. Indeed it was great asphalt, though hilly, and nicely surrounded by typical Swedish countryside. But all in all I reached gränna where I thought I might find better camping place. Big mistake! This town cultivates tourism in such numbers as to make it horrific. Summer houses for rent lining the lake side, criss-crossing a network of souvenir and Polkagris (peppermint candy) shops. The attendant at the tourist information seemed really relieved that she could speak Swedish with me, but as she aptly stated, this is no "wandering" place. Hiking is "vandring" in Swedish but I think the etymology's quite obvious.
Aiming for the mountain range that lines this side of Vättern I passed Uppgränna, then onward, more tired and despaired every minute as there seemed no chance of sleeping by the lake or sheltered by the forests. I saw a sign saying "Stuga: 1" but upon reaching it, it said "ledig". If someone cares enough to put a sign, I guess there's money involved. I don't plan to pay for sleeping -yet. Will have to before the end if I don't want to be kicked out of the plane though!
Still, I needed a place quick when an old man on a bike came up to me and started askig me about my plans. Hearing them and my plea for a place to sleep, he said he'd ask around for me and I ended up in the village's fair ground. Let's hope it doesn't rain, because it's the worst setup since the first night -done at midnight.
All in all, a bad day: I've come out of Västergötland which was friendlier and nicer, and got so close to Mjölby that I could get there in only one or two days. Too fast, too early! Maybe all won't be as bad as Gränna, but it really seems like the end of an era. at least it shouldn't rain tonight, and I have a very touristically nice view from my sleeping bag: red-painted houses with their "överkörningsbron", ripe fields and Vättern, golden in the evening sun, Visinsgö lying flat on it and the rest of the country in the distance.
I did some heavy shopping in Gränna before fleeing: cereals and canned food, bread and an outdated pastry. I again forgot the disposable camera, though with Komosse behind me it would not be very fair.
This morning on the road I saw a man on wheel-skis. It really looks awkward to me, standing rigid on your legs and rowing with your arms... At least they see whereto they row!
The border between this county and the previous is far from imaginary: the nature, the people and tourism changes. Almost no fir trees, more hills, the landscape seems more southern though it's indeed northern. Insects, plants, birds: I don't recognise much.
Now, sleep calls, grass should be softer than boards and if someone hears me: Please, no more mosquitoes! My legs are all bumpy and itching, it's waking me up at nights despite the repellent I so liberally spread over every exposed part daily.
(Licking pistache crown off my fingers) Forgot to mention that last night some strange animal screamed in the distance, then another woke me up by looking for food in the garbage bag. Absolutely no idea what they were, except that the bag was still upright so it must have been a small one. But at night I couldn't tell for sure and, trapped as I was in my sleeping bag, I really prayed for it not to be a bear!

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