I’m currently on a ferry to the Aland Islands, Finland, on my Baltic Sea cycle tour.
I’ve been looking forward to cycling through the Scandinavian countries since we planned the tour. Sweden and Finland have a ‘everyman’s right’ to camp where you like (within reason). So whilst food is more expensive, we have yet to stay at a campsite.
My third bicycle touring top tip that has come in incredibly useful in Sweden is:
“European churches and graveyards tend to always have water”
Whilst ‘everyman’s right’ is great, it’s not much use mid-summer when most water sources are mosquito HQ. And so it is definitely worth finding a church with a grassy corner hidden away. We have yet to be kicked out.
So far, Swedish churches have been beautiful and the taps plentiful.
Near Ljungbyholm we camped beside a large river in a beech wood. We walked along it hoping to find somewhere in the sun away from mosquitoes, when what do we find… A football pitch! It was overgrown so we decided to camp along one edge to catch the morning sun.
After pitching we went for a swim in the river. It was incredibly deep with a strong undercurrent, holding onto a branch and staying still resulted in your legs being swept horizontal.
For breakfast we had yoghurt and three berry muesli, all picked by us.
Cherries we commonly find alongside the road, raspberries near the deep river and bilberries up the rocky valleyside we were camped in.
We occasionally cycle past fields of flowers, clover is planted to put nutrients back into the soil for the following year. By far the best was this one, with a multitude of flowers mixed in and a traditional Swedish red barn in the background.
On our way to the ferry port to Gotland we cycled through miles upon miles of woods. At times they seemed a neverending mass of brown and green. Having spent a month cycling in Ireland, I am of the firm opinion that moving on to different countries is important on long tours, this is as too much of one thing can become tiresome. Especially if all you can see is trees.