from the band Sleepytown, wearing the silly American red trucker hat, handlebar moustache and huge square glasses followed me out along the stony potholed path, onto the main road.
I paused to look at my sat nav as he overtook me in his dumpy high roofed van, beige in colour. I was in no hurry, no script, simply to be in Holland sometime before next Saturday. Some motorway travel E6 then fast food and free WiFi. The stage was set; actors milling and shuffling around me in the McDonalds. A stocky Swede father boomed out his order to the meek highly intelligent looking young woman; he holds up the queue, probing his wallet for those special money off coupons and further enraged the others in the queue as his two badly behaved boys, thumping and arm wrestling each other. They pause to hold up their expensive smart phones at the cashier, winning further discounts. I order the biggest burger on the menu, I needed it.
Enough of motorways: it was time to see the last part of Sweden before Malmo On the way up, I didn’t enjoy it, it was cold and rainy, not this afternoon, a balmy quiet Sunday. I drift down empty little lanes past endless charming unique houses, clipped lawns, sculpted trees, tidy villages, immaculate churches. I even stopped to photograph some of them. No space to drop my tent however, all was taken. Fortunately Netto was still open, a man with a huge blue scorpion tattooed on his neck had commandeered the one sole member of staff, leaving all four tills abandoned. No rush.
Carpets of lupins, with their scent gives way to poppies and cow’s parsley then daisies the further south I travel…
Eventually, I find a quiet spot in a forest, after three attempts. A good place to stop is not quite as simple as it sounds. Away from the road, a firm place to support the bike without toppling over, good coverage behind trees to promote privacy. As you may already know, wild camping is legal in Scandinavia provided you do not camp more than one night and not on someone’s farmland, although it is possible to do so with the owners permission.
The Netto bread was almost inedible, I eventually decode the Swedish instructions,requiring one to bake the rolls in an oven for ten minutes. I eat the huge tub of beetroot salad and chew methodically on the sesame bun with some salami. The coffee was made on my little stove and I used vanilla flavoured custard as a milk substitute, another shopping error…. But it tasted nice, you should try it.
Memories of the previous afternoon fading faster than my glittery transfer of a bird, applied to the back of my hand, it was really special. Welcomed by those pretty blond angels, such friendly people. To Rebekka who panicked that her life was flashing by, she was nearly forty, to Viktor who tried to scare me with his moose stories, how I should run if I see one, he’ll take you down,your four steps is one step for him… He told me of a nasty old moose hangs around in the area, he is tales than a land-rover and if I see him, don’t wait, run to higher ground, Viktor would guffaw and nudge me within elbow, passing me his joint. He and his wife had the dark brown hairless crestie dog and they were part of the main organisers of the event, living at the house with other artists. Rooms full of art installations or sleeping bags or weaving looms…. I so was lucky to have met Fillip and Annie in Dals Langed, who tipped me off, otherwise it would not have existed for me. I became Warren Oates in Two Lane Black Top while I was there.