After Aland we stay a little longer in Stockholm with Couchsurfer Steve and a few outdoor shops. We won’t spend the night at his home again. Instead, he takes us to a nice spot by a lake where we can grill and spend the night.
It turns out, however, that the tensions between Christian Adeler and me are intensifying and I can no longer accept his tendency to shy away from crime.
We already had a lot of arguments and after another escalation I am leaving Stockholm on the next train. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last time I hear from him. After my return he should try to blackmail my employer with “legal means” and blackmail the video material of the Åland trip. In all the trips I have made so far, this is the first negative experience with a person.
I am drawn back to nature, so I take the train north and use Google to find a pretty little town called Marma, which is right on a lake and promises good opportunities to pitch the tent on the shore.
On the way there I still have time for the beautiful university town of Uppsala. The sun shines and shows the city full of joie de vivre.
Once in Marma, the place keeps its promise; the lake invites you to take a cool dip and there is hardly anyone there so that I can really set up my tent right by the water.
The sun doesn’t really set until just before midnight;
It doesn’t get really dark. During the long golden hour, I watch a group of wild geese swimming on the lake, which is actually a river, and talk to my friends back home on the phone.
The next morning I pack my things again and run the last stage of the Upplandsleden, which leads along here. The path here is fantastic, it leads over plains, soft forest floor and often right along the water. The river is full of islands and you have to cross small bridges again and again. The trail ends in Älvkarleby. The river is dammed at the Läxon. The river bed is impressive, once the water must have lashed over large rocks and tight curves.
The place is still impressive and a historic village at the foot of the river invites tourists. I skip the march on the road and take the bus to Skutskar; I found a fantastic sandy beach in this place on Google where I want to stay.
When I want to stock up on supplies in the supermarket, there are two interesting encounters. I try to choose a pack of liquorice from the variety on offer. The man next to me speaks to me and offers me his help. I am surprised and reply that I am struck by the selection and describe my taste. We are talking about the big world of liquorice, when an employee tugs excitedly at my shirt and asks about the Iranian sticker on my backpack if I have been there.
I reply to an introduction in Persian and the woman can no longer be held and asks me about it. Mina puts her phone in my hand and asks me to look up my name on Instagram and follow it while she rushes back to the cash register. In between, she explained to the man in Swedish how unbelievable it was to meet someone who had been in her home country.
When the man hears that I want to run to the beach, he offers me to drive me because it is far. Not because of the distance, but because of the prospect of making friends further, I agree. He introduces himself as Rolf and jokes about his German name. While we are loading his large purchases into the Volvo, the pensioner tells me that he is now driving groceries and medicines to other old people who stay at home to protect against Corona. He admires that I am not afraid of illness and that I am enthusiastic about traveling. When we arrive at the beach, we take a selfie together and exchange Facebook contacts.
The sandy beach attracts some people, but it is not crowded. The water is cold, but you get used to it quickly. However, you have to walk into the water for a long time before it gets deeper. To my surprise, the water isn’t salty. I am already at the Botten Sea. Again I can pitch my tent right on the beach. The looks of the others tell me that they think it’s pretty unusual, but cool.
Lesson about Sweden: The sea doesn’t always have to be salty
The Gulf of Bothnia is the part of the Baltic Sea that is delimited by the Finnish archipelago and contains little salt due to the enormous influx of fresh water through the rivers of Finland and Sweden. When you drink it, it just has a fine salty taste, otherwise you have the impression of standing on the shore of a huge lake (see more infos here).