Trelleborg to Ystad was mostly smooth sailing. We had a tailwind most of the way. We followed the Sverige Cyckelstigen (I think that’s what it’s called) bike route, which made some odd turns from time to time. Tim was getting frustrated at the whole ‘bike path is on the left side of the road… no, we’re going to cross the road and put the bike path on the right side of the road’ spiel and just decided to take the E9 after a certain point. My dad and I stuck to the paths, partly because both of us saw signs saying no bikes on the E9 (but oddly didn’t see anything like that for the E65, which was more highway-like). I think Tim got beeped at only once.
Very early in the ride, Tim and my dad saw a sign that said that Ystad was only 11 km away, so my dad was a bit disappointed that things were taking a little longer. Tim was convinced we had missed it at a certain point (despite the fact that we were hugging the coast). This section was beautiful, but I was starting to tire when coming into Ystad. I’m unfortunately not in shape for a 500+ mile bike ride across Denmark.
We found a cafe at Stortorget (the main square), unnecessarily locked up our bikes and went to eat at the cafe directly next to where we locked up the bikes. Dad and Tim had hickory bagels and I had a chicken and mozzarella sandwich that wasn’t that great (their bagels looked much better) as well as coffee and a “mudcake” with whipped cream. I realized my thighs were pretty sore once we were getting up to leave. I felt bad that I didn’t get to show my dad more of Ystad – there’s at least one residential area, one other town square and the police station (you know, the one from Wallender) that I really wanted to show my dad. If I had been in better shape, I probably would have insisted, but I was somewhat relieved we were cutting things a bit short. I knew we were going to have a headwind heading to Malmoe, and it was going to be quite a hike as well. Did you guys know they have Wallender-themed walking tours? In English, they’re held at 6:00 p.m. in the summer.
We initially picked the quickest path to Malmoe via E65; it’s basically a highway. Google Maps gave it to me as an option for bike directions, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad. It started out okay (we were still pretty far from the city and it was Sunday morning traffic), but after about 5 miles (10? between 5 and 10), we started getting honked at and things just felt dicey. I thought I saw a bike path and pulled on it, but it turned into a gravel road that went in another direction. We initially decided to jump a ditch and get back on E65, but then just decided to see where that road took us, so we crossed over the ditch again. This is when I started navigating by phone. It took us up and down lots of windy, rolling gravel paths – both a map and printed directions would have done us no good and even navigating has proven difficult (“Turn Left” doesn’t mean much when there are multiple lefts, but when the road has no name, how can it be more specific?). I started getting dropped on these rolling hills (when they were paved at least – the gravel was slowing the guys down) and there were a few times when the guys were out of sight. Oh well. I’m at least 10 pounds overweight – maybe this trip will get me back on track?
I did recognize a few roads heading into Malmoe from my last biking tour of Sweden/Denmark. Two years ago, I did a three-day solo trip of Trelleborg – Malmoe – Landskrona – Helsingborg – Helsingoer – Copenhagen – Koege – Gedser. Overall, I feel like there’s no good way to bike into Malmoe from either Trelleborg or Ystad. The only direct road is a highway and everything else is an unnamed backroad.
There had been some sun, some clouds, and a few minor showers for our ride, but as we were approaching the city limit, it started really pouring down. We were getting soaked, my phone was on my bike’s stem and getting soaked, my shoes were getting drenched and I was feeling pretty cold. We took a few breaks under trees and a bridge, but mostly just continued on our winding path until my phone’s battery died basically as we were entering the center of town. At this point though, we had a good idea of where our hotel was. I flagged down some security guy to ask for directions for the last step and he radioed someone for the answer. He was able to just about get us there (he only had us turning left onto our street instead of right).
The hotel room was gigantic. We were able to set up a drying station behind the desk in the corner. I went to work on my shoes with the hair dryer since my biking shoes are the only shoes I have and I didn’t want to have to go out to dinner with wet shoes. Unfortunately, although my phone was the one exposed to the rain, it was my dad’s phone that bit the dust. He had served as official photographer up to this point, so those pictures of Ystad and before and one random stop in the middle of nowhere between Ystad and Malmoe are probably lost to eternity.
I was able to talk to Antje and set up a time to meet up with my friend Maja before taking a much-needed nap.
Back when I lived in Brooklyn, I met Maja while looking for a way to keep up my conversational Swedish. Maja and I rarely spoke Swedish to each other (and my Swedish is totally awful these days – THANKS, MAJA), but she has been one of my best friends ever since. Although she’s a native of Gothenburg, she’s been living in Malmoe for the past three years, which has been awesome: we realized last night that I’ve been able to visit her every year since she’s been living in Malmoe thanks to the Rostock-Trelleborg ferry connection. I’m in that area of Germany 1-2 times a year, so I’ll likely continue to take that ferry once a year for the foreseeable future.
Maja took us to a boules-themed French restaurant (it may have even been called “Boules”). I actually used to play boules regularly with a couple of coworkers when I was working in Manhattan, but I was way too exhausted yesterday to stand long enough to play a round. I think we were all exhausted (Maja included). Dinner was excellent and we took Maja back to our hotel for another round of drinks afterwards. It was a blast spending time with her. I don’t remember when we called it a night (I think I called it a night) – it was probably around 9:30 p.m., but for me, it felt like 3:00 a.m. I just wanted to go to bed, but then I realized I had a ton of clothes that were still wet that I needed to wear the next day. So I spent another hour with the iron, the hair dryer and figuring out the best way to lay out clothes along the towel warmer so that they would dry. I’m not sure all my efforts were needed, but everything was dry the following morning, so either way: mission accomplished. My dad’s snoring did not keep me up.