I made it back to England. I’ve done this trip between Sweden and England twice this year and I must say it isn’t the most exciting of routes. I had my mind set on a freight ferry to take me across the Atlantic but, since it was fully booked until end of September, I had to come up with an alternative plan. Making plans late is a problem, especially when everyone else is making plans early, which is the custom in Sweden. Therefore, the Gothenburg – Kiel ferry was ridiculously expensive so I settled for the Gothenburg – Fredrikshavn ferry instead, even though it gave me one more day of riding I still saved money on it.
I tried to see the ride to England as a journey rather than a commute to get there, and with this change of mind frame I started feeling better about it. With this new outlook, I was to embark on a 1700km holiday and this must indeed be seen as a good thing. Plus, I was to stay with Fokje from WIMA Netherlands again. So after an early morning ferry and a ride through Denmark, I stayed in a campsite in northern Germany, before heading west to Groningen. Fokje and I had a lovely evening reminiscing about old holidays and WIMA rallies. As a bonus, she offered to accompany me on my way to Hook of Holland. Being guided on the back roads by a local is indeed one of the best presents a biker can get. We stayed off the main roads and rode the little back roads through villages and along the canals, small roads that I would never have found on my own. We rode through the Hoge Veluwe National Park and, as we were just in time to see the heather in bloom, the fields were purple – an amazing sight. There were plenty of signs saying: “Let op, drempeln”, Fokje continued unaffected by the speed bumps, I had to “let op” a little bit with my fully loaded bike but not much. This reminded me of my commute to work in Madrid, where I had to down shift to first gear on my Ducati when passing speed bumps, but with the Kawa the ride was much smoother. Well, I don’t think that one should need to slow down when keeping the speed limit. The villages had cobblestoned streets, a rather smooth surface that just reminded you to keep your speed down a bit, not at all as the horrible cobblestone roads I came across in the countryside of eastern Germany. The houses we passed were tidy and the gardens well-manicured. I imagine the neighbour pressure can be quite high in areas like this, resulting in impeccable gardens, something not so common in the Swedish countryside. As we were in a bicycle country, I saw quite some different features along the bicycle lanes as well. As, for example, a nursery teacher with a container full of children in the front of her bike, I counted 8 heads! She must have strong legs.
We had a fantastic day riding and for the first time since Hungary it was summer weather with a temperature peaking at 35 degrees. What a contrast to my Tulip tour in May, when I was riding through hail, sleet and snow to Hook of Holland! Now I arrived tired, sweaty and happy at the ferry, again a contrast to the following day in England with grey and damp weather. When travelling one needs to be prepared for everything. Now preparations for Scotland are underway, the bikes need some fixing, but more about that later.