The Long And Winding Road: Boddbo to Uppsala - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

August 31, 2013

The Long And Winding Road: Boddbo to Uppsala

Waking-up I thought the drumming on the tent was rain. But a little later when it stopped and I got out of the tent, it hadn't been raining at all: the tent was dry except for blotches of water that had dripped from the trees-branches.

The morning was overcast and still damp from rain late yesterday as I cycled back out along the forest track to the road. I met a man with two big Husky dogs on leads, and a woman was picking Blueberries at the side.

I continued to follow the green "Sverigeleden" cycle-signs. They now had the city of Uppsala printed on them. But first the signs led to the more modest sibling "Sala", though with seven kilometre to this town where I hoped to stock-up on food for the day, the green sign pointed right, onto a small side road leading away from the main road into town; which, would've been fine if the signs led me along a route of similar distance. Instead, it led me up through wooded hillsides, along the back gardens of houses, through municipal housing estates et cetra. For a while I saw no green signs but was still on a cycle-path somewhere I didn't know where. Then after much time cycling along confused I saw a green sign again: it sent me on a path along a divided highway. I was wondering which way it was to the centre, then as the path skirted a big roundabout, I looked over the barrier at the blue directional sign, it pointed ahead to Uppsala. There was a wide shoulder on this road, so the next gap in the barrier separating the road from the path Is on, I cycled through and turned back whence I'd come. Back at the roundabout, the sign facing the other way had a circle with a bar pointing to "Centrum".

On the other side of the next traffic-lights, there was a big ICA supermarket. Because it was Saturday there were a lot of people. I had decided to use the last can of sardines which have been in the bag since Iceland, so I only bought bread and fruit, then stood undecided over what flavour of chocolate bar I'd have. In the end I decide not to bother and went on to the bakery section where I lifted with tongs three vanilla pastries into a paper-bag.

Beyond the checkout, there was a shop and café, where people were filling in betting-slips for the horses which were running on the TV screen. In a glass cabinet behind the counter were round boxes of snus. I bought a coffee. It was filled from a machine but it was cheap and didn't taste too bad. I took a seat at the counter by the window. Outside two old men were sat enjoying a smoke and chatting jollily, one with jets of smoke flowing from his nostril after each drag on the cigarette. Then a woman came out the door, put a cigarette from a box in her mouth and lit-up; said something and they looked at each other and laughed.

I couldn't resist opening the paper-bag and having a pastry meant for lunch, and after two refills of coffee, I'd eaten the other two, so before leaving I went and bought three more pastries.

Leaving town on the main road to Uppsala, the green cycle-sign pointed right and sent me off on a quiet country road towards a curtain of rain to the side. I had the feeling of having eaten a lot and still wasn't hungry a bit later when it came round to the time I usually stop for lunch. Then about two o'clock when I was beginning to feel hungry, the road reached the dark cloud and it started raining. It rained and rained and the water ran down off my rain-jacket onto my legs and soon my tights clung wet and cold to my legs. And the slight rut in the road left by vehicles became a channel of water which splashed up and into my shoes; soon my feet were wet too.

There didn't seem any end to the shower. Meanwhile I could see a break in the clouds over to the left where it wasn't raining, back by the main road I'd left, and then the sun shone brightly but it was still raining. I thought then it would soon fair. But at the next crossroads, the green sign sent me on to another dark blue curtain of rain moving across.

There was no bus-route on this small road so I couldn't rely on a bus-shelter to stop and take lunch in. Nor would there be a rest-place with picnic tables inside rain-shelters. Not on a back road. The sky then turned from dark clouds to lighter grey, so I thought maybe it'd soon be over.

Then, after cresting a small rise, I saw an old wooden tower in on the right where the local municipal had cut the grass in front and there was a wooden barn downhill from it with a wide overhanging roof.

I remained there until nearly four o'clock, reading a few chapters of the book and writing notes for the day, by which time the rain was over and the sun shone occasionally through broken clouds.

The green signs onwards sent me on long country lanes and all of the small places I passed through were not on the map. It would've been handy I thought if the sign gave how many kilometres there was to Uppsala, instead of just the arrow ahead. I was getting anxious because I wanted to reach town before nightfall. Then at quarter past six, I descended to a big road with the swish of cars in both directions and over a metre shoulder on both sides. The blue sign had Uppsala 16km and Enkoping 28km in the opposite direction, while the green Sverigeleden sign pointed straight across.

I reached the city-centre shortly after seven. Then I'd to find a hostel. I asked a group of women that told me there was a hostel near the railway station. When I got there, in the large plaza in front, there was a big board with a city-plan on which there were three hostel simbols in streets not faraway.

No. No soreback. But thanks all the same for the thought, and letting me lean my bike here.
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Bales. I was trying to find a pattern in this picture. Beautiful colour and shape all the same.
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By a farm gate with a pedigree dairy herd indicated on the sign.
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Where I sheltered under the eaves.
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The wooden tower.
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Old combine harvester.
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Golden wheat.
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The main road between Enkoping and Uppsala.
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Today's ride: 87 km (54 miles)
Total: 5,409 km (3,359 miles)

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