Day 5 Saturday 28th May – Gothenburg to Asa 45 miles
Marko was the best kind of host, giving me a hearty breakfast for the day ahead. Consisting of scrambled eggs, tea, cucumber, three types of cheese, rye bread and cracker bread, which is very popular in Sweden.
Whilst eating, Marko told me a valuable fact about telling the time in Sweden! Apparently if someone tells you to meet them at half five, we in Britain and most other countries would think that as half a hour past five. However in Sweden, it means half a hour to five (4.30). Something I’d never even thought about. So if your meeting somebody here, make sure you don’t get confused and arrive a hour late!
On the subject of time, I had completely forgotten which day it was. Without any need to be anywhere like work or meeting people, it is easy to lose track of the days (and months!). I felt sorry for Marko who woke up early to make me breakfast instead of having a relaxing start to the weekend.
After a farewell, I planned to spend the first half of the day in Gothenburg center. Cycling into the city with cars, buses, trams and cyclists everywhere, it was all quite a shock! The past few days I had been mostly in the countryside, and occasionally popping through a small village or town.
Although it was a overcast day (but 20°c according to the digital billboard) Gothenburg was a bustling city, with many tourist groups, shops, cafés and even a big cycle sportive just about to begin.
If I’m honest I felt slightly lost, standing in the main high street, while watching the city live on. After a few minutes, I knew I had to start somewhere so started walking my bike down the streets, trying not to knock any tourists out with my sticking out panniers.
On finding a suitable cafe that I could sit watching my bike outside, I went inside and ordered a Kaffe mocha and a interesting looking chokladboll. A small chocolate ball with oats and coffee it seemed!
A rather embarrassing moment followed, involving me knocking over the mug off the table with my handlebar bag, making the floor covered in mocha and broken fragments of the mug! Although the waiter tried to hide it, I knew she was secretly laughing at my misfortunes!
Knowing I shouldn’t have a whole rest day this early on in the trip, after two enjoyable hours in the cafe (which had free Wi-Fi!) I headed out of the city. This wasn’t as tricky as I thought. Often in large built up areas cycling in is easy as there are always signs pointing to the center, but leaving can sometimes be harder. However, with plenty of cycle paths it wasn’t a problem, I don’t think I cycled on a road for about five miles as there were so many! Even at any junctions or roundabouts there are zebra crossings where bikes always seem to have priority.
It was a cloudy day but still humid and warm, around 20°C. Although it did keep trying to rain, and looked like a storm could be on its way, but this luckily never happed.
The past few years I have done a lot of road cycling and racing, so touring with a heavy loads can sometimes feel like cycling in slow motion! My average speed is normally around 10-12mph, however with stops and breaks, it can often be lower. Often I will plan longer than I actually end up doing.
Today I thought about doing an extra 20 miles but as it was already getting on six o’clock, I headed towards Asa. Here I could see there was both a campsite and youth hostel. I chose the campsite first but on hearing you could only stay with a ‘camping card’ I rode back up the road to the youth hostel. Although it was a HI hostel (Hostelling International), it was semi private. It was small, dark and damp but still cheap and cheerful!
Cheap and cheerful also ment I couldn’t seem to make the electric hobs to work. The warden had disappeared and with no one else to ask, instead of pasta and sauce, it was cold bread with sweaty cheese!