Just two wheels

One week of fika

Sept. 15, 2023

"Fika is a social institution in Sweden. It means interrupting an activity to have coffee or, less commonly, another drink with family, friends, or colleagues." Wikipedia

Saturday 09.09.

Who comes late to bed may also get up late! I think that should be laid down somewhere in law. Is a very convenient concept. Well, at least in the "rules of our tour" we have included that and so we met Ilinca only around 10:30 in the kitchen. Of course with a luxury breakfast. Pancakes, scrambled eggs and bread toppings as far as the eye can see. Somehow the amount of food seems very familiar to us.... From Romania maybe? ;-)

Unfortunately, it was already time to say goodbye for a few days, so that we can visit Julchen in Stockholm before her trip to Germany. The temporary farewell was anything but easy for us. Although we drove without much luggage and had only about 70km ahead of us, the day dragged on like chewing gum. It was also unusually warm! In between, the speedometer showed a temperature of 29 degrees Celsius. Maybe that explains our slow progress... After we had inserted an ice break with the Lidl, it went however again substantially smoother. The more we approached Stockholm, the louder and more crowded it became, of course. Fortunately, there was all the time a good bike path next to, so we could safely and less stressfully enter the city. Julchen gave us an address in the north of the city in an industrial district where a friend of hers had rented rooms. They are used as a venue by her friends, among other things. Or as a good place to accommodate guests for a night :-)

We received a super warm welcome to this crazy and cool place! For dinner we had typical Swedish food: tacos. With so many people probably also quite a good choice. In the flat we spent a colorful evening and at the end there was even sauna before going to sleep! So we fell asleep super exhausted but happy on a cozy mattress.

Sunday 10.09.

Especially if you are used to wake up slowly with the sunlight, it is a bit irritating when it is dark as soon as you open your eyes. So it happened that we woke up only around 10:00 in the event room. We quickly put away all the sleeping things, said goodbye to our nice hosts and set off with the bikes to the boat of Julia's friend near downtown Stockholm. There we had a great time. Coffee and blueberry pancakes on the deck of the boat, sunshine on our faces and a view of the "skyline" of downtown Stockholm.

Bild von Stockholmer Skyline

Since Julchen still had a decent mountain of work before she goes to Germany, we escorted her to the university and safely parked our bikes there. We then slowly moved back by foot. Meanwhile it was already far after 16:00, when we arrived at the bridge to "Gamla Stan". So the sun was slowly tilting towards the horizon and we witnessed a really beautiful evening red over Stockholm.

Bild von Strasse in Stockholm
Bild von Abendrot in Stockholm 1
Bild von Abendrot in Stockholm 2

The city center was heaped with penetrating touristic stores that don't really fit into the cityscape, and espresso house branches. Since we were looking for a sticker for the cargo bike, we went into almost every touristic store (some quite nice and neat, others bombarded us with endless cheap tourist stuff) and compared prices. We didn't have much to do anyway. Always along the water we went back to the boat. Until Julchen came back from work, we enjoyed the evening on the deck and watched the play of the city lights in the water. Sometimes life can be so beautiful and simple!

Bild von Das Leben kann so schön sein

Monday 11.09.

Together with Julchen we got up to have breakfast together. The first night on the sailboat was very quiet and somehow very pleasant. Maybe it isnt shacking as much in the harbor as at sea, but you could get used to the coziness on the boat quite quick. After Julchen left, we tidied up our stuff a bit, watched a CCC (Chaos Computer Club) talk on our cell phones, and headed into town around noon. By then, the mystical fog of the morning had also disappeared and we could actually see the other side of the river!

Bild von Nebel im Hafen Stockholms

On our yesterday's walk through the old town we have already checked out the cheapest tourist stores and so we concentrated today simply on the atmosphere and strolled along the streets. Somehow we got lost in a big sci-fi book and game store and only after a good 1.5 hours we found the exit to the street again. The fact that we were on the road with the bike was definitely good for our wallet! By chance, we also visited the palace, where some tourists were already in front of the guard, as if something was about to happen. And indeed! It was just change of the guard, which was a spectacularly unspectacular millitary process. But it was exciting to witness this theater. Next to the palace there was a nice exhibition on the occasion of the 50th jubilee of the Swedish king. The Swedes don't seem to be quite as obsessed with their royal family as the English, yet one noticed a certain pride in the exhibition. The king himself also seems to be very close to the people and somehow not quite as mystical, abstract and alien as we know from England. After this royal excursion, we set off on familiar paths toward the university, where we were to meet up with Maya, Tilman's roommate from Umeå, and her husband. Since our search for a good cafe on the university grounds was rather mediocre, we went back towards the metro and sat down outside with a soft drink and chatted. and chatted and chatted and could hardly get out of chatting again.... It was a pity that the next day they had to work again. Maya offered us to bring the bikes from the basement of the university into the bike cellar at her work in the south of the city. We gladly accepted this offer and so the two of them took the public transport and Tilman and I carefully sped through the city. In fact, we arrived in spite of the red lights in the time frame of the Google Maps forecast. The way back to the boat we did on foot again and could see another part of Stockholm. Julchen was fortunately able to check off everything on her to-do list and arrived at a humane time back at the boat, where we then ate dinner together.

Bild von Im Seegelboot

Tuesday 12.09.

The annoying ringing of our alarm clock tore us from the already too short sleep. The nights on the sailboat are surprisingly very restful (despite the shortness). I already had the fear that I could get seasick, but except for a slight feeling of dizziness when you are again neatly in the harbor, my body seems to cope quite well.

Before we left the boat, there were a few things to do: Have breakfast, cut battery connection, dispose of bag toilets, turn off gas, etc.... To everyone's surprise, our morning procedure went very efficiently and we were more than ready in time to say goodbye to Julia, who was on her way to the airport. The time was again way too nice and way too short. As it always is. Tilman and I chilled a bit at the harbor and tried different methods to transport our yellow bag the next 3km to Maya's work.

Bild von Boot im Hafen

Most of the time it was actually Tilman balancing the bag on his head with his Mexican tortillera technique. While we were walking through Stockholm like this, we encountered armadas of cyclists. I have a feeling that the bike lanes are way too small for the number of people biking.... but what can you do? We were in any case glad that there were at least some!

At Maya's work, of course, we chatted again. But that was not bad at all. We had all the time in the world to cycle from Stockholm to Uppsala and Maya seemed to enjoy it very much. After we had said goodbye to her, we joined the other cyclists in the turmoil. Luckily we already knew the first few kilometers by heart and did not have to pay attention to the navigation. We had at times even a little entertainment in front of us. A wheel with jukebox behind it, from which loudly "country roads" was played. Is there anything nicer than driving out of town to good music? At least the music was nicer than the noise and exhaust fumes of the cars next to the E4, which we had to follow out of town. Since I was still a bit tired, we stopped at a cemetery on the outskirts of town, where I first took a nap. Such naps work wonders! Especially in the peace and quiet of a cemetery. Maybe that's where the name comes from? (At least in german) The district of Stockholm with everything around it stretches really long, so we drove almost half of the distance to Uppsala still in "Stockholm Län". The advantage, and for this you really have to praise Sweden, is that there are quite a few bike paths and alternative bike routes to the car route. Maybe not always the most efficient or the best segmented, but they exist, so that we actually hardly had to ride together with cars on the road. At a break on a bench, we were joined by two older Swedes with their bicycles and we came into conversation. The two were retired brothers and try every day to ride a little bike to stay fit. A very good project! The topics of conversation revolved around cycling and international and Swedish politics and their problems. Not an easy topic with strangers on the bench while being attacked by mosquitoes, but the exchange was still very interesting. We also learned once again that we have apparently caught a severe mosquito season. The whole summer were almost none and since a few weeks they seem to multiply like crazy and suck blood..... You just can't have everything... In the north we had rain, in the south mosquitoes. We definitely prefer the mosquitoes!

Arriving in Uppsala, we got the rest of the ingredients for the pumpkin soup and met Ilinca's roommate Oreen in the apartment. This time the bikes didn't go into the bike shed, but we took them up to the balcony. Hurray for elevators!

A little later, Ilinca also arrived with very good news about the work. A reason to celebrate! And since it is in the week, we celebrated with pumpkin soup and all rejoiced. Life can be that simple!

Ilinca took the time to pimp up my hair and bring the curls to the fore. Since I usually do not do so much with my hair, especially not on tour, this was a welcome change :)

Wednesday 13.08.

Waking up in a bed is just a really nice feeling! But I had a lot of things to do today: To complete the blog entries of the last weeks. The north has demanded quite a lot of energy from us, which is why I mostly just slept away in the tent and on the other hand, of course, we did not really have Wi-Fi to upload all the pictures. Now with a laptop and wifi in Uppsala everything is also much faster and more comfortable than on the cell phone.

In the evening I made so much progress that at least all the texts were reasonably written and inserted. After that was done, we spent the evening with Oreen and Ilinca and watched the teen movie "Mean Girls". Very stereotypical, but also very funny!

Thursday 14.08.

The next day, the work on the blog continued right away. Today it was the images that need to be uploaded and inserted one by one. This process was more work than I thought. Tilman took care in the meantime how to set up an own mail server. When Ilinca came home from work in the evening, I don't think she was that surprised to find us still in the apartment. But the next day we had to promise her to go out and see the city!

Friday 15.08.

So today we finally went out of our cozy cave. We packed all the things together and went by foot to the city. Uppsala seems to be decently sized, because not half an hour later we were already on the grounds of the castle, which is very prominent in the skyline of Uppsala. From here you had a super beautiful view of the surrounding city and the cathedral of Uppsala. The castle nowadays houses an art museum and is used as a venue on official occasions. If you look west down the hill, you can see the baroque style garden, which reminded me of the garden in Sanssoucci Park.

Bild von Schlossgarten Uppsala

After that we went to the cathedral. By the way, it is the highest ecclesiastical building in Scandinavia. The Swedish Church is an evangelical - Lutheran church, which you can see from the inside. However, the walls were always painted with beautiful murals and patterns and gave the whole a very cozy impression. On the sides you can still find old tapestries that tell the story of Uppsala Cathedral. In addition, the church houses the relics of St. Erik. This is considered the patron saint of Sweden, although his life story and his death in the research are not quite to be interpreted.

Bild von Kathedrale Uppsala von oben
Bild von Kathedrale Uppsala unten
Bild von Wandteppich Kathedrale

The downtown was super cute and as soon as we crossed the little river, we realized that it had the same layout and kind of the same atmosphere as most Swedish cities. Ilinca gave us another tip: we should look for little mouse scenes that were embedded in the buildings. We found 3 of them too!

Bild von Tilman und die Mäuse
Bild von Mäuse 1
Bild von Mäuse 2
Bild von Mäuse 3
Bild von Mäuse 4
Bild von Mäuse 5

The evening we again relaxed, ate dinner together and watched a movie. Some things you only appreciate on the bike tour when you no longer have them. For example, sitting comfortably in front of the TV and watching a movie with friends.