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Finland and Sweden

June 13 to June 30

Lake Inari

 

 

We leave Norway and cross into Finland leaving the fjords, mountain passes and snow behind us. Now we were riding through pine forests and past lakes.  While it is flat it is so beautiful.

 

 

 

 

A reindeer hiding in the forest

 

 

 

 

 

We cross the Arctic Circle again, but there’s no snow here in Finland, but there is a Santa Village with the Arctic Circle running right through the centre. It is a photo opportunity but nowhere near as much fun as wading through knee deep snow to get to the monument marking 66°33 in Norway.

 

 

 

 

Brian and Dave with Eleonor

 

After a couple of days of riding south we cross into Sweden. The midsummer festival is coming up on the 21st and we’ve been told Sweden’s the place to be to celebrate. We attract attention pretty much everywhere we go and the supermarket carpark in Boden is no different. Here we meet Eleonor Norgren from Sweden’s national broadcaster. She does an impromptu interview with us all right there and then.

 

 

One of the husky

 

 

We spend a night at a husky farm on the way south. The 70 plus dogs all have great personalities – except when they decide 4.00 am is a good time for a howl!

 

 

 

 

Our cabin was right on the lake

 

 

The Swedish countryside is addictive. We spend another night in a cabin on a beautiful lake and then take some back roads heading towards Lake Siljan, which is meant to be the home of the midsummer festival.

 

 

 

 

Reindeer take off when we come along

 

 

As well as getting a chance to see some fantastic scenery we have to dodge reindeer that wander across the road.

 

 

 

 

 

Froson Kyrke

 

 

 

We visit the most popular church for weddings in all of Sweden at Froson. The scenery is a knockout – but it is the church that is enchanting.

 

 

 

Music for angels

 

 

Inside the guide is filling in time playing some classical guitar. The road can wait while we sit, listen and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Mother and son celebrating Midsummer

 

 

 

Midsummer isn’t quite what we expected. It’s all about family, May poles and folk dancing not partying under the midnight sun. It’s still good to be a part of such a tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic church boat racing

 

 

 

Like the racing of the church boats on the lake.

 

 

 

 

 

The three of us at the summer palace

 

 

Our time with Dave Hand is coming to an end. We spend a couple of days together in Stockholm riding out to the Royal family’s summer palace.

 

 

 

 

 

The Stockholm old city

 

 

 

And we wander the streets of the old city – a delightful maze of narrow streets, cafes and incredible architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Dave - safe travels

 

We’ve been travelling with our American friend Dave Hand since Germany. We’ve had some incredible experiences together – crossing the Arctic Circle and making it to Europe’s most northern point – Nordkapp.

There are a few tears shed when we say goodbye. Dave is heading to Eastern Europe and we’re off to Russia on July 1.

 

 

 

Oskarshamn

 

 

 

For our last few days we ride south and spend some time at Oskarshamn wandering along the little bays.

 

 

 

 

The view from the ferry to Finland

 

 

An overnight ferry from Stockholm to Finland gives us the chance to see some of the archipelago before three days in Helsinki.

 

 

 

 

 

Helsinki Cathedral and their new 'wheel'

 

 

 

We have to get new tyres for the bike in preparation for our ride through Central Asia but that still leaves time to enjoy the city.

 

 

 

 

The Sebilius Monument

 

Now we’re off to Russia…

 

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