I arrived in Stockholm from Turku, in the Viking Line ship, a cruise with many Finnish people and a big party. My cabin was one of the cheapest, shared with other 3 people, two Finnish guys and a Russian.
When we arrived to Stockholm, it was a.m. 6.30 and it was sprinkling, but I felt that the climate there wasn’t colder than Finland. So, under rain I went to the old town and I waited the rain stop in a coffee shop.
Stockholm was founded in the 1250, in a small island of the channel of Strömmen, between the Baltic Sea and the lake Mälarem. Today the Swedish capital occupies 14 islands, and its 750 years of history have produced a singular architecture that transform it in an admirable city.
On the noon, after check some prices of bicycle pieces, I came back to the old town: “the Gamla Stan Island” and I sold my dolls during some hours in the main street Stora Nygatan. And it was ok, there weren’t too much tourist, but local people bought me some of them.
In more than an occasion, they asked me if I had some place to stay. They seem kindly but sometimes I didn’t understand them. Like in Munich, or later in Copenhagen after talking a long while with some persons, they offered me to lodge in their houses, but they said to me: “You can stay there only one night”.
So I called to Camilla, a Swedish girl, who I met in Mozambique. At that time she worked in an ONG with some programs for the prevention of the AIDS. Camilla received me very well and she still remembered when we met each other in Marrupa, a small village inlands Mozambique.
I stayed in Stockholm few days, but it was enough to check the bike with Ragnar, a Swedish-Uruguayan guy who works in a bicycle shop. We changed the tyres, the chain and other spare-parts. And I knew about the other pieces that I should change shortly.
In the capital city, I also met Vicente, a Mexican traveller and Theodora, a girl from Iceland who presented me a couple of tyres for my bike.
Way to the south
Finally I left Stockholm to Nynäshamn, the south direction, but an hour later a police car stopped me and they ordered me to abandon the motorway and to cycle for the cycleway. The officials were kindly, I had to pay a fine, but the flags of my bicycle helped me to acquit it.
I arrived to Nynäshamn later, and I lost the ship which would carry me to Gotland, so I had to wait five hours in the town, and I tried to sell some dolls there. But I didn’t have a good day.
I still remember the Brazilian guy who I met. He told me that he has been living for many years in the north of Sweden, he is married and he has a daughter. But he didn’t have any friend there.
I arrived to Visby at night, the wind was very strong and it was very cloudy. I looked for a backpackers, but it was closed because we were in low season. So I went to the centre and I bought my dinner in a bar whose owner was from Yemen and when he knew about my trip he called to Freddy, a friend from Chile, who looked for a place to me.
After some calls we went to Evert´s home, another Chilean who had left his country in the military time, 16 years ago. He told me that he was sick and that the Sweden government gave him a pension by his psychic state, brought about four women who he had been felt in love along those years. I still remember his stories, he said to me that he was very romantic but the Swedish women were too many cold and not very sentimental.
Gotland is the biggest island in the Baltic Sea and in the Viking times it was an important commercial port. Today its capital city: “Visby” has one of the walls better conserved of the world, being for the Swedish one of the favourite places to enjoy their vacations.
Finally I stayed in Gotland two nights, but it was nice, because I could to share with Evert his birthday.
My sales in the island were the poorest that I had in all Europe, people said to me that they didn’t have money, but after talking, they went to a supermarket of alcoholics drinks to buy the enough bottles for the whole weekend. It was very funny to see them go out with two big bags with different kinds of bottles. Some of them told me: “for us, it is a tradition, to spend the weekend at home drinking alcohol“.
I surprised myself when I knew the high statistic of alcoholics that are payed by the government by their illness, or about that couple who pensioned they enjoyed the summer months to live in the street and to drink everyday. “This is the way which like to spend the last years of their lives“, a man told me about this kind of people, who I met in more than a city; “rebellious and in the street in the summers, and calmer and in their houses during the winters.”
In route to Malmö – Km 35,048
I disembarked at Oskarshamn at 20, and the sky was clean, so I camped in the square of the cathedral. According to the Swedish legislations, it is admitted to camp at least one night in any green space and public.
The way to Vaxjö was one of the worst that I had in my European journey, because I cycled under a strong rain per more than three hours and to very slow speed. My speedometer at the end of the afternoon showed me 141 km in 8,5 hours. I arrived very tired and feeling that I would get sick; my foot were frozen and my slippers soaked, as if they were submerged in a great puddle.
But May received me, a girl who I had known in Barcelona. And it was wonderful, because she offered me an immersion bathroom and a good plate of food. Sometimes I believe that it is the only thing that I need, like medicine; a good bed and food; and then I am like new to return to the route.
Way to Hässleholm I also had a long day and with a strong storm. I couldn’t believe, the last days of the European summer were with too much rains and temperatures that didn’t overcome the 10º during the day.
When I arrived to Hässleholm, on the end of the afternoon I had to find a place to sleep, and as the hotels are expensive and the climate was not good, I asked to an African guy who walked in the street. He was from Eritrea and he contacts me with his friends from China who allowed me to stay in their home. It is the first time that Chinese people welcome me and it was very strange, because we didn’t understand each other, neither a word.
Finally I arrived to Malmö, after three days of trip from Oskarshamn, crossing an area of dense forests and lakes. There, while I sold in the street I met Marie, a Swedish girl who received me like a friend of all the life.
And the following day from Mälmo I crossed by ship to Denmark, my next country.
Gotëborg, some days later
I arrived by ship to Gotëborg, from Norway and through Denmark, it was very cold, the autumn had already begun.
Gotëborg, is the second country city, it possesses a beautiful architecture, big avenues with many bars, a great port and a very dynamic cultural life. I found their people very open. I knew a lot of people who lived in others countries or who had already travelled a lot, and that was reflected in my sales.
There I stayed in Marcela’s house, a Colombian girl who was writing a thesis on the politics of substitution of the coca in Colombia. We had known each other in Geneva. That was nice; to meet a Latina so far from house. And that well that Marcela cooked!!!
Finally, I left Gotëborg by DFDS ship. Their marketing department offered me a courtesy ticket to Newcastle, England, from where I would begin to visit United Kingdom.