Day 9-1. Strömstad to Sarpsborg
Distance 66km Average 16 Max 48.1km/hr Time 4:08hrs.
Stan wrote "A wet and windy night followed. We were very glad of the wing which finally got some use. It makes getting in and out of the tent easier and means that (if not cold) cooking can be done half outside and the inner tent put up. It was terribly damp that evening and at the lowest spot of our tent just under my Thermarest a small wet spot appeared. Not sure what the cause was."
Damae mentioned that "We had rain + thunder + lightening last night. The underside of the tent was very wet in the morning but at least the weather was dry."
The thunder and lightening woke us both up. If we had been Vikings we would probably think that it was a portent of things to come, which given what lay ahead of us might well have been a correct supposition. Although the rain had stopped the morning was still very damp. We packed up the tent, noting how wet the groundsheet was and I wondered if we had a hole somewhere. So much water had fallen on the ground the day before that even a pinhole would have been enough to cause a small puddle. (We actually just found a pinhole the other day late March 2008, having finally got round to checking the groundsheet).
It was supposed to be an early start today. It was mostly but we missed our self imposed deadline, and then the Chronicler and his Navigator made an error leaving town so we got to go through the centre again. Well Damae claimed in her diary that Stan had caused the morning's 'Jongkind diversion' but as with contentious issues of historical fact the 'truth' may never be agreed upon. Ho hum. Still it allowed us to take photos again in front of our favourite information board in the centre of town. Funnily enough the weather was overcast the last time we were here.
When finally we got under way we headed out towards the border and Norway. On the way out of town we noticed some rather significant roadworks which hopefully will make the road out of town and the E6 more accessible for cyclists. Unlike the last time we were here in 2005, we decided to stop and have a look at the museum and ring of standing stones at Blomsholm. We had a quick look round the area of the building set up as a house. On discovering that we would have to wait until eleven for a coffee and some waffles we decided to wander up to the burial ship of standing stones a little further up the road. Leaving our bikes behind we walked the short distance to the field in question dodging the coach loads of tourists who had just arrived.
I find it interesting that may places that are inhabited or farmed now, have often been so for thousands of years. Modern man sometimes needs reminding just how good ancient man was at doing things. As with Tanumhede, a place once a Viking settlement, this artefact of long ago was once of great importance; now reduced merely to a tourist attraction hordes of invading holidaymakers and sightseers of batallions of coaches from all over Europe descending on a place to conquer it for their nation state.
We returned to the museum to wait for the waffles and coffee, and had another look round. I was taken by the recipes for egg-cheese. Here are a couple, I must try them sometime. We'd almost got ready to go when a little old lady came out to find us and mentioned the words coffee and waffles. Despite the cool weather, it was good to sit outside and eat the fresh warm calorie rich food. We were going to need it today. The last time we had done this section we had only one pannier and had just enjoyed two rest days ambling round Fredrikstad. Carrying full luggage and having done three demanding days cycling we were to notice just how steep the inclines were up to Svinesund. Food consumed we signed the guest book and headed off; so much for the early start. Still we were now completely ready to go.
As with the day before much of the landscape was familiar and in the overcast weather relatively uninteresting. We'd also forgotten about the climbs and Damae quickly dropped behind. Not that it isn't nice to cycle through, just that we needed some variation to keep things interesting. We've often talked about cycling from BC to Newfoundland, and began to understand just how boring Alberta (with its flat plains and square fields) would be. If two days of lovely Swedish countryside were enough, how would we cope with a couple of weeks of Alberta?