Day 3-1. Vilshäred to Kärradal
Distance 88.5km Average 18km/h Max. 51.8km/h Time 4:54 hrs.
The day started early. Although the campsite itself was quiet, the road next to it had a surprising amount of traffic. Added to this there was someone racing around in the middle of the night on a moped without a silencer. Ho hum we could have enjoyed that disturbance at home. At around seven our neighbours decided to start rooting around their car for something vitally important ('oh my God where is my Thermarest inflatable dialysis machine I need it right now' or something similarly life threatening) and by quarter past, it was clear neither of us was going to get any more sleep. To add to our poor night's sleep we'd pitched our tent on a very gentle slope and had spent the night sliding down towards each other and the low spot.
'Oh well' we thought, 'there is always a shower to look forward to'.....Which in retrospect was another of those things you shouldn't say on cycling holidays. This campsite introduced us to peaceful and neutral Sweden's secret weapon: a variation of Chinese water torture known as 'the one kroner shower'. There are ten Swedish Kroner to a Euro, and nowhere do you get much of a shower for ten eurocents. For one Swedish kroner you get at best around thirty seconds for your money. So you need to put at least six of them into the slot during your short three minute shower. Note you can't put six in at the start of the shower and let it run, oh no, that would just be too easy.
At Villshärad they had a dastardly refinement to the one kroner shower concept. After fumbling for your kroner, dropping it in the shower tray, retrieving it, blowing off the most of the water and shower tray detritus and finally pushing it into the coin slot, you then had to press a button on the pipe below the shower head. This was the final act that got you the water you had just paid for. But just to add some extra excitement each push of the button gave you less time than the kroner gave you. So for each kroner you had to press the button at least twice, inevitably losing part of your hot water if you forgot to press the button a second time.
For those cycle tourists like us who rely on a nice muscle relaxing hot shower at the end of the day, or first thing in the morning, and for whom a Norwegian twenty kroner shower is the ultimate luxury, it was clear that the Swedes had (at some point in the past) declared war on cycle tourists of all nations who dared to enter their territory. Once finally clean and dry, the irritation was a thing of the past and the one kroner shower a figure of fun (that is until we encountered the next one). Although there can be no logical explanation for the one kroner shower we decided to assume the best: that it was all in the name of saving energy and the environment. Damn fine people those Swedes!
There always has to be something positive, and I found it in the form of a nice Chevrolet from the late thirties in immaculate condition on the site and in our field a nice German 2CV6. In addition as a result of our neighbours' early bird impression, we breakfasted early and by half past nine were on the road, a little earlier than usual. Oh, and did I mention it was sunny?
Much of the day would consist of cycling through wheat covered farmland, the terrain differing mostly in the amount of hillyness. This morning started with flat and wheaty, and as if to remind us of the cultural links between nations of Northern Europe, we passed a Dutch style windmill. Although the route started flat, with Damae setting a good pace, the undulating countryside meant that there was some climbing this morning. After three quarters of an hour setting the pace, Damae got a bit wobbly and slowed down. Normally we stop after an hour or so, so maybe the long day yesterday, and the poor night's sleep had hit her harder. Being short of good stopping places we crossed the road and took the first turning. This residential road was quiet enough and there we stopped to eat and drink.