I reach Arlanda Airport and there is no sign of entry controls due to Corona. Officially, you should only be able to enter Germany for professional reasons and I had already created a nice background story as a nature photographer.
Christian writes to me that he can’t pick me up, but is still wrong in Stockholm in outdoor shops looking for his order. It marks a place on the map near the airport where I should pitch my tent.
I walk lonely in the periphery of the area, where nobody would be traveling without a car. I find the place, but because of the nearby road and the runway, it is very uncomfortable there and I decide to hitchhike to the next place, where there is an inviting lake. It takes about twenty minutes for a lady to take me. It turns out that she was from Russia, from Rostov-on-Don, because despite a lack of English language skills she responds to the Russian sticker on my backpack.
With hands and feet I let her know where I want to be let out and say goodbye with my heartfelt thanks in my poor Russian.
The city is on my left, the lake on my right. I have no supplies except the plane sandwich and some water. But I don’t want to go into town because the luggage weighs heavily on my shoulders.
On the lake and between fields, I find a suitable place for the tent and have enough firewood to keep me going through the fire all night. Christian doesn’t come and I go to sleep.
The next morning I receive his message with the position in Knivsta. “Come and find me” it says. I hike into town, take the chance to withdraw money and visit the supermarket where it is supposed to be. The live location has expired, it cannot be found and I cannot reach it on the phone. I swallow my anger in a breakfast. I tell him my position. Then I suddenly get a message with a different position and a request that I come to him – which I don’t do. After a while Christian comes to me, annoyed that I have not fulfilled his wish, since he has been through the whole night. He doesn’t seem to be impressed by the fact that I have no idea what he’s talking about.
Ultimately, he explains to me that he was still with a couch surfer named Steve and sorted out his things. When planning with Steve, he lost a lot of time and did not set off until around midnight to get to Knivsta by early buses. He ran part of the way and only reached the place in the early morning. The start was not a good one for us, but the day should be nice. We set out on the Upplandsleden, a long-distance hiking trail in the country around the city of Uppsala (Uppsala län).
There we would run for two weeks, switch to the Gästrikeleden hiking trail and ultimately take the route north until our paths split, I return home and Christian sets off on foot to the North Cape.
Christian and I met on couch surfing. He was on his way from Waldshut to the Olympic Games in Tokyo and made it to Almaty in Kazakhstan until Corona caught up with him and the blocked borders made it impossible to travel on. He chose a new route and decided to end his walk in a special finale across the North Cape to southern Germany.
Unfortunately, I should only find out later that we neither understand each other and that he is even a criminal.
We cannot complain about the weather. It is very warm and the sun shines in full strength from the sky.
In addition to all my camera and drone equipment, my luggage is so heavy because I mainly packed warm clothes. From all sides it was said “it is cold in Sweden, it is still early in the year”, “the wind is extremely cold”.
Instead, I get a sunburn. The t-shirt softens the warmth a bit, but there is no alternative for my lined trekking pants.
In the evening, after only 12 kilometers, but a late start and a long break for a nap, we reach a small place called Huderby, on the edge of which we want to set up our tent. Our water has been used up, so we ask at a nearby house. A couple is having dinner on the veranda and is of course ready to give us water. We also explain our background and receive confirmation that camping in the wilderness is a fundamental Swedish right and that the meadow behind the house, which is not private, can of course be used by us.
So we pitch our tents there and I let the drone circle. Then I light a fire again while Christian wants to talk the couple off two more beers. He is also successful in this. After we sit briefly by the fire, the couple come by themselves with chilled gin and tonic and keep us company. It turns out that she is Australian with a great love for Germany and he is a Swede from the north. Both work in nearby Uppsala. We enjoy the warm evening and the bright night and go to bed late.