“Harbour well the spirit’s bounty….”

What a bounteous first few days!!

For those of you who love the soul calendar, this week’s verse could not have been more appropriate….

Entry into Sweden was a bit of a rough landing, with the challenge of a huge city after all the peace of the countryside. I manged maps, replacement pedals and the route out quite quickly, but was very tired by the time a conveniently placed Youth Hostel showed up, 6 miles or so out of town. On account of the youth football tournaments the prices were steep and so I was rather grumpy as I left for the first proper day’s ride. Hoards of young footy fans in the fast lane with ghetto blasters blaring etc…

This was soon transformed by Claes (Clorrs) a youth of about my age in lilac shell suit who sidled along just as I was rolling downhill into Kungälvs. He told me about the castle which dominated the skyline and where to find the pretty spots and was generally so good-humoured that I began to feel a lot happier! Thanks Claes!

Camping by the river in bright sunshine was a treat and 2 lovely lads hobbled in. Alexander and Linus have been friends from the cradle, and new to hiking, they had briused hips, shoulders and taped achilles due to inexperience with so much weight on board. As they limped away arm in arm the next morning they were determined to make the last 20k of their 100k walk. I hope you made it guys!

The castle is a wonder. Cunningly built to compel would-be invaders to switch shield arms to defend themselves from their right, rendering their weapon arms (left) much less effective. In the big seige, the cow hides were cleverly displayed all round the walls to make the enemy think they had supplies to last… in fact they were down to their last cow! The towers were named ‘Father’s hat’ and ‘Mother’s cap’. They were about to hold a fantastic mediaeval festival there and so by the time I got back to my little tent, I was hemmed in on all sides by mediáeval enthusiasts. One couple had put up a jousting tent, which dwarfed mine. The very large gentleman showed me a picture of himself in the costume his slender wife had made. He looked magnificent!!

My next camp was 18 miles or so north in an idyllic setting by the river, with lovely bench and table to make cooking easy. Just as I was finishing my meal 5 VIKINGS showed up ready to party. It really could have been 700 years ago! 3 very well built, 1 huge and 1 mountainous, they proceeded to drink gin in cartons as though it was lemonade, tossing their chicken bones in an exuberant arc over their shoulders in true baronial style. They were delightfully friendly and happy to entertain me with tall stories singing ‘old men of harlech’ to “nyär nyär nyär”, trying to convince me they were devoted church-goers. By 10.30 i was dropping, so just keeled over and went to sleep amidst the bellowing and laughter. Around 2am, the vast Andus roared GOD NAT into my tent in the full beam of his spot light and off they went. The carnage on the table next morning was amazing. There was a vehicle still there, so someone will have to come back for it! I am genuinely flabberghasted at how little this disturbed me… all that fresh air?

I am now relaxing for a day before moving on from a delightful hostel in Trollhätton. Little vases of flowers on the handbasins and in the rooms make such a difference. It’s wet again, but there is plenty to interest, with drawbridges and locks ringing and flashing while tall-masted cruising yachts pass through to the huge locks down river.

Tomorrow I start towards the Göta Kanals, aiming for Lidköping then Mariestad over the next few days. Sadly I haven’t yet worked out how to add to my route with google maps. Perhaps I’ll get the hang of it a bit later on.

My consistent nourishment comes from the people I’m meeting and I think probably the little flowers everywhere/wildlife/colours etc. A deer ambled across the road yesterday and a little wag tail boinked in front of me for several yards, making me laugh. The Blo Cloker (blue hare bells) delicate against the massive masonry of the castle, especially endearing.

Finally, just what I’ve always wanted… for the first time in my short 50 odd years, well defined calves!!!!!

Time up in the library, so cheers for now.

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My fine friendly Vikings!!!

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5 Responses to “Harbour well the spirit’s bounty….”

  1. sheila says:

    Your blog is a true delight and the descriptive way you write is like reading a well written book. So good to receive.All sounds amazing and I had a good laugh at the antics of your “friends” entertainment en route.Thanks for lovely card,will keep it safe.
    Keep enjoying.
    Graduation for Claire was wonderful and “The Family” well behaved throughout. I was so proud of her.Good to see Matt as well he has a very good hug for his Mum.Ah!Bless!
    Only 3/4 days till Heidi goes now.!!!!!!!Good to spend a night away with the girls together in Bristol before we all go our seperate ways.Claire now in Torquay with a friend sharing a flat for 2 months??
    Off to end of term staff night out tonight so more excitement,whooppee!
    Lots of love Sheila

  2. wendy h says:

    Dear Jenny
    I hope this is in the right place for you to get it! Today is 24th July – I can hardly believe we have been on holiday for 3 weeks.
    So much not done! We have been reading your blog and have received 3 of your joint messages, and will pass them on – hoping they don’t get stuck somewhere! How beautiful they all are.
    Andrew wants you to know that the funding for his Always Be Cycling Charity has come through from the Big Lottery. So now he has to plan a few things!
    We cycled in Cornwall, at the caravan last week, for a few days – it was unerringly a wet soggy week! I thought of you as i chugged up a few really tiring hills. It was so restful to be beside the sea for a while. But we had to come back because the site was filling up and getting noisy!
    The little cats have found me – the little tabby knows my voice and often comes up for a cuddle – but I don’t know whose cats they are. She knows she is not allowed in and waits patiently on the doorstep. She smacked her brother in the face one day when they were both in the garden, so he doesn’t come much now.
    The cows in the field opposite have disappeared. I’m hoping to go for a walk along the ridge which leads from Copland Meadows tomorrow.
    The electricity was off for a couple of days almost. They dug up the main road at the bottom of Broomborough in the end. Mark was very droll about it. He has been looking after Pinto the dog for Rachel and Mike. I think they must be away.
    You are having such amazing adventures – may you find more pianos as you go along.
    Thinking of you lots
    Love Wendyxx

    • jennyquick says:

      Hi Wendy.
      Thank so much for your email… I have just arrived in the Lidköping Info centre where I can check my emails/blog etc….. after a couple of days of utter exhaustion and a much needed rest, I am feeling better, but was quite shocked at how debilitated I felt for a day or so… strangely (or maybe not) it coincided with the AWFUL Oslo tragedy…. I arrived by chance at a camphill-like community where I had guess what? an idyllic little yellow hut beside lake Vännern. Just what I needed.
      So news from home is especially comforting and lovely to receive. I can just imagine the mayhem at the bottom of the road, and I cannot imagine Mark looking after Pinto?!
      Well done to Andrew and funding in place… I meant to add that in Denmark, they thoughtfully make little slopes on and off the pavement whenever you need to switch… luxury!! Not so much space here in Sweden, with some very fast cars and less of a margin between white line and edge of tarmac… so far so good though and very good cycle routes from time to time. Just done the ist 1000km!! Lots of love Jenny xx

  3. Alexander says:

    Hello! I hope you having a great time on your journey. We did manage the last 20k of the walk, even if it was hard. I hope you succeed with your cycling aswell. I wish you the very best of luck! Take care and be careful on the roads! God bless.

    • jennyquick says:

      so glad you made it, both of you. Your friendship for each other and your good humour were an absolute delight! In fact i have been exhausted!!!! Now back on form and arrived in Lidköping which makes just over 1000km! I am hoping to find a massage for my little legs. Very best wishes to you both, and thank you so much for looking in on my blog.

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