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Day 20. Strömstad to Fredrikstad.

Distance 73.2. Average 17.5km/h.

The following morning we were up bright and early, to catch what appeared to be the 'booze and fags' boat to Strömstad. A strange cross-section of Fredrikstad assembled by the boat for the 10am departure.It seemed fairly obvious that some were going on the cruise for the low prices and the chance to stock up in Sweden for cheap alcohol. Others seemingly off for a nice day out.

There was only one ticket sort available, a return, but we were not charged for the bikes and in any case it was not that expensive.

The route down to Strömstad stays close into the coast, islands on either side for a lot of the way. Whilst the weather turned cloudy for just that day the coastline was still beautiful. The first part ran out through the estuary of the Glomma past industrial sites as well as more beautiful shoreside houses. Again reminiscent of the coastal inlet areas of British Columbia.

We sailed between the islands a gentle swell giving no discomfort. For the nerds amongst you here is a picture of a standing wave formed in my cup of tea by the vibrations from the boat's engine.

We thought we could make a good sailing trip in the area and we saw a couple of larger sailing boats, making good time in the breeze. as well as some motor launches. Towards the end of the trip we saw the bridges at the border between Sweden and Norway one of which we would later cross on the way back.

We arrived in Strömstad disembarking with the other passengers. A particularly merry gentleman made friendly and mostly incoherent conversation as we got ready to go. The place reminded me of one of the west coast resorts in England and Wales. In fact a sort of lively Barmouth or a mini Blackpool. We didn't stay that long, a quick visit to the tourist information for directions to the NSCR was sufficient. We found it quite quickly and headed out into the countryside and up to the Norwegian border.

Although we had not travelled that far, the landscape in Sweden seemed very different to that we had experienced in Norway. We cycled in a gently populated rolling green landscape, every now and again a small hamlet would appear. At other times we cycled through dense pine forest. With the cooler weather and no bags on the bikes it was easy cycling, in fact quite strange to have light bikes. It looks like it would be a lovely short trip to do the Swedish section sometime in the future.

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