June 13 to June 30
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
As well as getting a chance to see some fantastic scenery we have to dodge reindeer that wander across the road.
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.
Inside the guide is filling in time playing some classical guitar. The road can wait while we sit, listen and enjoy.
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.
Like the racing of the church boats on the lake.
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.
And we wander the streets of the old city – a delightful maze of narrow streets, cafes and incredible architecture.
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.
For our last few days we ride south and spend some time at Oskarshamn wandering along the little bays.
An overnight ferry from Stockholm to Finland gives us the chance to see some of the archipelago before three days in Helsinki.
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.
Now we’re off to Russia…