Day 142

Start:  Stenungsund 

Finish:  Uddevalla

Distance:  23

Total:  2155

Today I had a long, hot, but productive 23 mile walk through the countryside to the beautiful  seaport of Uddevalla, population 31,000+. 

I started the day early due to the distance I needed to walk. So I ate an early breakfast and was on the road at 7:15. The skies were clear and the air cool, but that didn’t last long. By noon, it was 80 and no breeze. My route today took me through some beautiful backroads.  Today also took me a short distance away from the coastline and in doing so,I was going up and down hills all day. None were higher than 250 feet, but I would no sooner get up a hill than I’d go right back down. This lasted all day. Once I got within a couple of miles of my hotel, there was one more hill in front of me. Google Maps gave me two choices; use the walking trail and go over the top of the hill and down the other side into town, or walk an extra 15 minutes and follow the road around the hill. After 21 miles I was tired of climbing, so I took the long way around. 

Tonight I’m in Uddevalla. It is a small port city that sits on one of the hundreds of inlets from the North Sea. There’s a vibrant city center with lots of sidewalk cafes, etc. I’ll be here for two nights because tomorrow’s destination doesn’t have a hotel. I’ll be walking 21 miles, then take the train back here to spend the night. 

That about wraps up Day 142. I’ve got nine more days, but who’s counting?  JB. 

Beautiful Uddevalla, Sweden.

I saw 23 miles of backroad farmland today.

Looking out across the inlet towards Uddevalla.

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Day 141

Start:  Kungalv

Finish:  Stenungsund

Distance:  18

Total:  2132

My walk today continued to take me north along the Swedish Coast.  It was a beautiful day with the temperature in the mid-70s and not a cloud in the sky. 

I got started this morning at 8:00 after a very good breakfast at the hotel. There was hardly any traffic on the roads and only a few bicyclist and walkers out on the bike trail. All along my route today were small lakes and inlets from the North Sea. 

I made it to my destination at about 2:00. Stenungsund is a small town of 9,000. It sits a few miles from the North Sea on an inlet. There are several marinas in town and also some very large homes built along the shoreline. One in particular is built on a bluff and has a very large yacht anchored at the dock below the home. Impressive!  

Tomorrow is a long day; 23 miles with some climbing as I get a little farther inland.  It’s suppose to be another nice day for walking. 

That’s all for now. I hope your Sunday was a good one. JB. 

Downtown Kungalv as I left town this morning.

Small lakes and inlets are everywhere along the Swedish Coast.

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Day 140

Start:  Gothenburg 

Finish:  Kungalv

Distance:  12

Total:  2114

If you ever decide to go on a long walk, I hope you have many days like I had today. It was short, with a late beginning, some off road adventure in the middle, and an early ending in a neat little town with a cool hotel. 

Today I left the last big city before I finish 11 days from today in Oslo. Gothenburg was a large, vibrant, but friendly town. I left out of Gothenburg this morning at 9:00 with only 12 miles to walk. My route was interrupted several times by construction as I maneuvered along the walking/bike trails getting out of the city. I don’t like seeing detour signs. In a car, going out of your way because of a detour is not a big deal.  But a two mile detour while walking can put you in a foul mood for the rest of the day. Luckily, the detours were not that much out of the way. 

As I was walking along the bike path, paralleling the freeway, headed north out of town, there was a large construction zone that eliminated the bike path. The construction site was a little muddy and had barriers all around, but nothing that I couldn’t climb over. There was no one working there, so I climbed over the barricades, cut through the construction, dodged the mud, and got back on the trail after a few hundred yards. After that, I had the trail to myself, probably because it was blocked off from both directions. So I was walking along for about a mile, with the trail to myself, when I saw a lady on a bike coming towards me going in the opposite direction. She had obviously gone around the detour up ahead, wherever that was, and wanted to go where I’d just come from. She stopped and asked me if she could continue straight ahead, or should she turn around. I told her there were barricades and a little mud.  However, I really didn’t know how energetic she wanted to get because she would have to lift her bike over the barricades and walk it through the construction. So I gave her a noncommittal “maybe” answer to her question about whether she could get through. So she kept going, and I kept walking.  After about 10 minutes, the bicycle lady rode back by me going in my direction. As she passed me, she gave me a dirty look. I guess she didn’t want to deal with the construction zone after all. 

For the first six miles or so, I was paralleling the freeway on a paved trail. Then, out of the blue, the nice trail turned to gravel. That lasted for a couple of miles.  Then I saw a gate up ahead blocking the gravel road. There were no posted signs on the gate, and it wasn’t locked, so I went through the gate and pressed on. However, the gravel ended and the road was now dirt with plenty of puddles to dodge after all the recent rains. There were cows in the pasture I was now walking in. Up ahead, I saw a couple of guys in rubber boots coming out of a tree line.  I walked up to them and asked if this was their property. They didn’t speak English, but just held out a plastic bag one of them was holding and said something in Swedish to me. I looked in the bag and it was half full of wild mushrooms. These two guys were out walking around the woods picking mushrooms, I presume on someone else’s property. After a couple of miles, I came to the gate that let me back out of the cow pasture. From there on to town was uneventful. 

Tonight I’m in the town of Kungalv. The town is over 1000 years old and is guarded by Bohus Fortress, built in 1308. This area of Sweden was once part of Norway and the fortress was built by the Norwegians to guard against a Swedish invasion. Over the years, it was attacked or besieged 14 times, but never captured. In 1566, the Swedes successfully stormed one of the guard towers. The Norwegian commander inside the fortress asked for a volunteer to go into the tower and blow it up by igniting the ammunition stored there. A volunteer came forward, went into the tower and blew it up, killing himself and 250 Swedish troops. The volunteer’s family was given property in the area to recognize his sacrifice. The same family still owns the property to this day. 

I think that’s enough of a history lesson for today. Tomorrow, it’s on down the road 18 more miles in Sweden.  I hope your Saturday was as good as mine. But I bet you didn’t meet two Swedish dudes in rubber boots picking wild mushrooms in a cow pasture. JB. 

It doesn’t say POSTED; KEEP OUT. So I guess it’s OK to go in??

My route through the cow pasture. The two mushroom pickers came out of those trees up ahead.

Bohus Fortress keeps watch over the town of Kungalv, Sweden.

My hotel in Kungalv; Hotell Fars Hatt (Fathers Hat).
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Day 139

Start:  Kungsbacka 

Finish:  Gothenburg 

Distance:  18

Total:  2102

Today got off to a slow start, but I knocked out another 18 miles and made it to Gothenburg, the last large city before I finish in Oslo. 

When I got up this morning, it was raining right down. The weather forecast said it would stop around 10:00 and be cloudy the rest of the day. With that info, I ate some breakfast, checked out of the hotel at 9:00, walked to the train station, and caught the 9:15 train south to Kungsbacka where I stopped walking on Wednesday. The train got there at 9:45, and unfortunately, it was still raining. I decided to sit around at the station until 10:00 and if it didn’t stop raining by then, I’d cover up my pack, put on my parka, and start walking. 10:00 came with no signs of a letup, so I covered up and off I went. 

The route to Gothenburg followed a bike trail for the most part, with a couple of miles actually on the shoulders of the road.  At about 12:00, it finally stopped raining so I stopped at a bus stop and took the parka off. The rest of the day stayed cloudy and cool, but no more rain. 

I made it to my hotel at 4:00.  It’s about a mile northeast of the city center, so I’ve knocked a mile off of tomorrow’s walking distance.  Finally I have a favorable weather forecast after 10 days of intermittent rain everyday. It’s suppose to be partly cloudy and in the upper 60s for the next five days. 

I can’t believe it’s already the weekend again. The days just fly by.  So with that, I hope everyone had a great week and enjoy the weekend ahead. JB. 

Gothenburg’s Ullevi Stadium, the site of major concerts and sporting events.
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Day 138

Start:  Kungsbacka

Finish:  Kungsbacka 

Distance:  0

Total:  2084

Today I decided to take a day off.  

Because of some difficulties with hotel arrangements that are too complicated to explain here, I took a day off today while I was staying in a Gothenburg hotel and will continue my walk on Friday. So today I slept in, had an awesome breakfast at the hotel, and then ventured out to see some sites in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city behind the countries capital, Stockholm. The weather was overcast and breezy, but the rain held off until I’d finished with my site seeing.

Gothenburg is the largest port in Scandinavian. Canals run through the middle of town, but the main shipping port is outside the city. Like all the large cities I’ve visited in Europe, there is a heavy dose of public transportation. However, Gothenburg does not have a subway system due to the costs involved in building an underground system this close to the ocean. But they make up for it with thousands of trains, trolleys, busses, and taxis. And it appears the cool temperatures don’t keep people from dining outside because the sidewalk cafes were numerous and packed, even on a Thursday.  I walked around the city center, checked out some busy shopping areas, and took a few pictures as I went. 

I spent the remainder of my day planning ahead. After today’s day off, I’m one day ahead of schedule with 13 days left. I have several 20+ mile days left to walk so I’m working on what to do with my extra day; take one more day off somewhere down the line, or take a 20+ mile day and break it up into two days. I’ll come up with something soon. 

That’s it for today. It’s back on the train to Kungsbacka tomorrow so I can actually walk here to Gothenburg.  The weather is forecast to be rainy until lunchtime, so I may be getting a late start. JB. 

One of the canals that run through Gothenburg.

Gothenburg does not lack for public transportation; a trolly near the train station.

A typical Gothenburg city street.

One of many shopping streets in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Day 137

Start:  Frillesberg 

Finish:  Kungsbacka

Distance:  15

Total:  2084

Today’s walk got off to a chilly start. It was 57 outside when I got started at 8:00 and only warmed up to 63. In addition, there was a 20 mph west wind blowing off the North Sea. I started the day wearing a jacket until I got into some forested areas to block the wind and the sun broke through the clouds and made it seem a little warmer. 

Most of the day was spent walking on the shoulder of the road. There was a bike trail but it kept going out of the way through small towns off my walking route so I decided to stick with the highway shoulder. The traffic was reasonably light so there were no problems. 

After I got to my destination of Kungsbacka, I caught the train into Gothenburg, a 20 minute ride, where I’ll be staying for the next three nights. Tomorrow’s weather is forecast to stay dry until mid-afternoon so my plan is to catch the train back to Kungsbacka tomorrow morning and walk the 18 miles from their train station where I stopped walking today to my Gothenburg hotel. Then I’ll take Friday off, also in Gothenburg. 

That’s all I can think of to tell you today.  It was an uneventful, yet chilly day in central Sweden. Thanks for reading. JB. 

Catching the train from Kungsbacka to Gothenburg at the end of the day.
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Day 136

Start:  Varberg

Finish:  Frillesberg

Distance:  17

Total:  2069

I had a nice little 17 mile stroll up the Swedish coastline to the very small town of Frillesberg today. 

The day got started with a great breakfast (fried bacon)!  The hotel I stayed in last night in Varberg was interesting, but I think the owners have a slightly inflated opinion about the value they’re providing their customers. However, the entire city of Varberg was a bit of a tourist stop, so I guess that’s the reason for the inflated prices. Anyway, it was clean and the breakfast was good, so I’ll get over it. 

I headed out the door at 8:30 and got right on the bike trail. That lasted for about 12 of my 17 miles. Just a couple of miles out of town there was a goose refuge right along the coastline. I could see flocks of geese flying into the refuge from the east and because the bike trail was very near the edge of the water, the geese were quite low as they came over my head. I stopped in a good spot and made a video. You can watch it by clicking on the video tab on my website. 

Today’s weather was very nice with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 60s. I got to my hotel in Frillesberg at 2:00. There was a sign on the door that said check in is from 4:00-11:00. There was a call box at the door but no one answered.  So here I sit at a picnic table outside this tiny hotel waiting for the owner to show up. I made this reservation through a reservation website, not with the hotel itself. I hope they got the word that I’m staying here tonight. Otherwise, I’ll be walking to the train station to ride to the next town. 

Break-Break:  Good News. The owner just opened the door at 3:00. I have a room and don’t need to catch the train. That’s all for today. Have a great Tuesday. I did!  JB. 

P.S.  Don’t forget the video. 

Walking the bike trail on Day 136.

Tonight’s hotel in Frillesberg, Sweden.

Another nice home near the coast of Sweden.
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Day 135

Start:  Falkenberg 

Finish:  Varberg

Distance:  18

Total:  2052

Today I walked 18 miles in about as straight of a line as you can get. There were no towns, no stores or gas stations; nothing but a lot of farms and the shoulder of the road. 

The day got started with a good breakfast at the hotel and me trying to book a hotel room for tonight. I had put getting a reservation off until I could see what the weather was going to do. It was sunny this morning so I got on the phone to get a place to stay tonight. I got out the door at 8:00 with six hours of walking to do. 

Like I said, there was not a place to stop and rest or get lunch today so I procured a sandwich from the breakfast buffet this morning and ate it on the move. I made it to my hotel in downtown Varberg by 2:00 and luckily my room was ready.  Varberg is a coastal city of about 20,000 and I would describe it as a lot like Fredericksburg, Texas. There are shops and restaurants along a Main Street and many people are out walking around downtown, even though it’s a weekday.   

I have about 50 more miles to get to Gothenburg, the most significant and interesting town I’ll visit in Sweden. I’ll divide the 50 miles into three days of walking and probably take a day off when I get there. 

That’s all for today. I have 16 days and 262 miles left on this journey.  It doesn’t seem possible I’m almost finished. JB. 

One of the nice buildings in Varberg.

There are a lot of nice homes like this one in Varberg, Sweden.

The Hotel Gastis; my hotel in Varberg on Day 135.

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Day 134

Start:  Steninge

Finish:  Falkenberg

Distance:  15

Total:  2034

Today’s journey farther north up the coast of Sweden was most enjoyable. No rain, no traffic; just a bunch of crazy horseflies that are persistent and won’t leave me alone. Sometimes I have to swat them away with my hat. 

After a restful stay and good breakfast at the Steninge Kuststation, I hit the road at 8:30. The skies were cloudy but the rain was forecast to hold off until 1:00 at my destination. It being Sunday morning, there were absolutely no cars on the road.  So it was just me, some folks out walking their dogs, and some occasional bicyclists.  My route took me right along the coastline for the first few miles, then I was a mile or two inland for the remainder of the day. I took the bike route instead of the walking route today.  It was an extra mile but more scenic.  

Falkenberg is a nice little seaside city of 20,000. Because it was Sunday afternoon when I arrived, there was very little activity in town. I found a restaurant across the street from the hotel and had a late lunch, then checked into The Grand Hotel, located on the Atran River which flows through town. 

Tomorrow I continue another 18 miles north along the Swedish Coast to Varberg.  The weather is forecast to be a bit rainy and windy from the south.  Another tailwind; works for me. I had a great Sunday. I hope you did too.  JB. 

Looking west at the North Sea.

Interesting little creek along my route south of Falkenberg.

Someone built a bicyclist and backpacker rest stop beside the bike route. The sign says self serve.

The Atran River bridge in front of my hotel in Falkenberg.

The Grand Hotel; my resting place in Falkenberg, Sweden.

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Day 133

Start:  Halmstad

Finish:  Steninge

Distance:  12

Total:  2019

I never know what I’m getting myself into from one day to the next. My walking today was pretty straight forward, though it was in the rain, but my lodging experience tonight is one for the record books. 

As I mentioned yesterday, I was suppose to walk 25 miles to Falkenberg today, but because of the weather and the fact that I’m two days ahead, I found a place to stay about halfway between Halmstad and Falkenberg so I wouldn’t have to be in the rain longer than need be. 

I got out the door at 9:30 after waiting as long as I could stand it for the rain to let up. There was a brief lull in the downpour, but I didn’t make it 10 minutes down the road before it started raining steady again. That’s how the day went, off and on downpours followed by short breaks.  Luckily, it only takes me four hours to walk 12 miles so it wasn’t too bad. When I got within an hour of my destination, there was a small town with a supermarket, so I went in and had some lunch and got out of the weather for a little while. I made it to Steninge, which is right on the North Sea Coast at 2:00. I really had no idea what to expect regarding where I’m staying tonight, but it’s quite interesting, to say the least. 

Tonight’s accommodations are at the Steninge Kuststation. In English Kuststation means coastal station. It’s directly across the road from the “beach.”  When I arrived, I was met by Catarina Arvidsson, the owner and operator. Her business card says “Upplevelser, Mat, & Boende Vid Havet”; translated “Experience food and living by the sea.”  So this is somewhat of a bed & breakfast, Swedish style. Catarina does all the cooking with one helper.  She’ll cook dinner tonight for the guests who want to eat here, and breakfast tomorrow. There looks to be 10-12 bedrooms, but the water closets (bathrooms and showers) are down the hall and shared. There are several common areas where you can sit around with the other guests and drink coffee or tea and talk. Of particular interest to me was something I’d never seen before; as you come in the door from outside, there is a vacuum looking contraption on the wall that is actually a shoe dryer. There’s also a glove and socks dryer right beside it. Needless to say, my soaking wet shoes are on the dryer right now. Catarina tried to describe what’s for dinner tonight, but she totally lost me when she started talking about cabbage, beets, roasted artichokes and vegetarian burritos. Anyway, it’s an awesome experience and quite a change from your standard downtown hotel. 

Tomorrow it’s suppose to rain all day, just like today. But that won’t keep me from my appointed mission; walk 14 miles up the coast to Falkenberg.  I hope everyone’s weekend is going well. Mine is. JB. 

Did I make a wrong turn somewhere and go to The Netherlands?

Tonights lodging; Steninge Kuststation.

The North Sea coastline across from the Kuststation.

Catarina Arvidsson; operator of the Steninge Kuststation.

My wet shoes being worked over by the shoe dryer.

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