Cycling the Swedish countryside

Sweden. The only European country that we hadn’t visited.
It happened this June!
It was one of our rainiest trips [to be continued], but the sun eventually came out.
We took advantage of that.

Our base in Sweden’s Skåne County [I’m not a fan of starting it off with a country’s capital and I always choose the less-commercial variants] was Nybrostrand. In a neat Swedish-looking country house, beautifully decorated, which we needed to clean ourselves. We even brought in our own bedsheets – which wasn’t an issue, in the end, only a new experience. And we were only minutes away from the beach.
We wanted to explore more, though – and I had my eyes set on the best-preserved medieval stronghold in the whole of Scandinavia, Glimmingehus. First things first, we put together a breakfast from the items we had bought in Ystad a day before – because, yes, Swedish prices tend to be very discouraging, so eating out is not always an option. Plus, as we would see along the way, nothing is open on Sundays – people take their time to really smell the flowers.
Long story short, we couldn’t find any bicycles to rent in the small settlement [there were hardly any shops], so we took the bus to Ystad and had fun conversing with an old local lady about the rabbits in the area.
Of course, in the typical Swedish elegance we had gotten accustomed to, the POS wasn’t working [lack of network connectivity], so our ride was free. Yay!
Donkey Republic’s pick-up spot was close to the central station, so it was easy to find. We had some issues unlocking our bikes, they weren’t of the best quality or the most comfortable, but they were perfect for us, that day! You get to pay less the more you ride – and we planned to keep them until the following day, pedalling our way from Nybrostrand back to Ystad [there was a special bicycle lane, anyway! and I loved this in Sweden!].

We started shyly, exiting Ystad and finding the bicycle lane to Nybrostrand. Things got a bit fuzzy afterwards, but the poppies and our perseverance guided us the right way. I felt so happy, so at ease! The temperature was perfect for cycling, the views were incredibly peaceful, every house we stumbled upon would look different – but charming in the same way as all houses would. The most difficult [sandy] conditions were around Valleberga and we did stop several times to photograph the old church and the features of the Nordic summer.
Ystad, Sweden

Nybrostrand, Sweden

Around Valleberga, Sweden

Swedish countryside

The first official break was in Borrby, where St. Maria kyrka caught my eye and I asked Marcel to stop. Some minutes before, we realised that we had bought juice concentrate instead of regular juice – that’s why it felt sweet and kept us going. :)
Borrby, Sweden

We got lost on our final 3 km to Glimmingehus and some very friendly locals helped us find the road. ‘Where are you coming from? Löderup?’ ‘No, Ystad.’ ‘Wow, you’ve ridden such a long way!’ Up a hill, through the forest. Not climbing again… please! :D I have a secret to share, btw, on our arrival to the castle – but now is not the time. I will only say that it’s an impressive place, but I was mostly fascinated by its café, which is also located inside some very old walls. The staff is lovely, the food is great – there are vegetarian options and delicious sweets. And they serve free water and coffee! We even got our water bottles filled and our energy boosted.  
Encounters on the way to Glimmingehus, Sweden

Glimmingehus, Sweden

Glimmingehus Café, Sweden

Leaving Glimmingehus, we thought we’d only go downhill. We were wrong and we even took some wrong turns. I also realised that wearing thongs had been a terrible decision for that day. Plus, our food and water supplies were running short.  
On the way back from Glimmingehus, Sweden

I would’ve liked to bathe in the sea and those perfect dunes and open horizons at Sandhammaren teased me! Following two days of aggressive storms, the currents were tricky, though, and swimming was not recommended. Moreover, the water was so cold, that I immediately pulled my foot back. We relaxed and felt the love and prepared to get back in the saddle.
Sandhammaren, Sweden

By the time we reached Ales Stenar [said to be the burial place of Viking king Ale], I was drained. The last thing I needed was some more climbing by foot. I also got the unwanted company of mosquitoes and some unsupervised cows gone wild. Many people love this place and consider it magical. Yes, the sunset was pretty, but I didn’t end up finding my wand mood.
Ales Stenar, Sweden

With the hundreds of mosquitoes left behind us, we headed into the light, along fields of poppies. It became one of my favourite sunsets ever and I tried to savour it as best as I could.
Around the poppy fields of Kåseberga, Sweden

Around Kåseberga, Sweden

As we were getting closer to Nybrostrand, our hunger had become so severe, that we were close to fainting… when I remembered that I had packed 2 Daims in the morning! It was precisely what we needed to complete our 80-km ride.
Daim, the saviour

I felt proud, as I had rediscovered my love for bicycles on Favignana, a little over one year before, and I had purchased a bicycle in January this year… so, without much training, I had gone on my longest ride ever.
By sipping lingonberry juice and eating our home-cooked dinner [chef: Marcel], we felt grateful. Nostalgia started creeping in.

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