After a ten and a half hour ride from Turku, Finland, across the Baltic Sea our boat entered the Stockholm archipelago. The largest archipelago in Sweden, it’s a beautiful coastline speckled with islands of all sizes. The area has been shaped, and is still being shaped, by post-glacial rebound. Every year the islands rise about 3 millimeters. The land was depressed by the massive weight of ice sheets during the last ice age. Artists and Authors have been influenced and drawn to the enchanting landscape for a long time. ABBA wrote most of their songs in a cabin on the archipelago.
It’s a gorgeous area full of perfect little beaches and rocky shores for wild camping. Allmansträtten, or “Every Man’s Right”, is a part of Swedish cultural heritage, a special freedom of access to Sweden’s wild places and countryside. It’s one of the great things about Sweden. Wild (freedom) camping is everyone’s right.
After slipping between the scattered islands, we arrived into Sweden as the sun melted into the horizon. From the port I crossed a long bridge out to Lidingö island. After riding my motorcycle half way around the world I’ve gotten pretty good at looking at the map and knowing where good wild camping spots will be. On the north side of the island I found the perfect spot nestled in some pine trees on the edge of the sea. A small beach looked directly out at the sunsets and wildlife that drifted by.
Being a short ride into Stockholm, I could easily go in to spend my days in the city. Such a fun place and a beautiful old town to explore. The forest floor around my camp was covered in wild blueberries and strawberries. I had to stay more than one night.
After daydreaming and looking at my map, I decided to venture off east into the archipelago. This led me to the southeast corner of Ingarö, which has a few hidden beaches. It’s such an amazing area full of raw beauty. Besides the few beaches, it’s a rocky coastline with all types of shapes and angles. You can spend hours roaming the shores.
Lilla Sand (‘Small Beach’) sits in a small cove like setting with pine forest right to the beaches edge. The water is shallow for a long way out and reflects the clouds and colors of the sky.
A couple clusters of trees make for the perfect camping spots. Perfectly flat and thick with pine-needles for a soft ground, with the gentle lapping of the sea at your doorstep. It’s a little strange camping here in mid summer because it never totally gets dark. There isn’t midnight sun like farther north, but it’s never dark. From about 11:30pm-3:ooam the sun barely disappears below the horizon, and leaves you with a dusk like setting of pale pinks.
Beautiful Gustavsburg is close by.
Atervallstrasket, a freshwater lake, is a place to swim and wash off all the saltwater and grime. After days without a shower it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Around a rocky point from Lilla Sand is Stora Sand (‘Large Beach’), which stretches out in an arc, like a long sliver moon. Similar to Lilla Sand, you can find a flat soft home for the night tucked into some trees along the sand.
The rocky point looking back over Stora Sand.
I filled up my jar with wild blueberries everyday in the archipelago. They’re small and take some time, but well worth it.
My tenants of three years in my house that I rent back in Oregon were moving out so I had to find a place to store my bike for a while. Randomly, I had met a Swedish girl in Albania a few months before and her dad was kind enough to take me in and store my motorcycle.
Her dad, Ragnar was amazing and took me in like family. I made it to him and his wife’s cute home in the countryside next to Enköping the day before my flight. He took me out to lunch and then drove me all around the area in his late-model convertible. We walked through a beautiful lush green old estate until his wife, Pia, called us home for dinner. Her daughter joined us and it was a great evening filled with all types of traditional Swedish foods. Of course she had to make real traditional Swedish meatballs, and they were delicious, and just as good for breakfast. We stayed up late drinking wine and laughing. The next day he drove me almost all the way back to Stockholm to a train station where I could catch a ride to the airport. If Ragnar hadn’t done enough, he loaded up a public transport card for me with money for the train and bus, which I could also use when I returned. I said goodbye to my new Swedish family, and got on a plane to go half way around the world to my family.
It wasn’t the best trip home. My dad found out he has some health issues so I basically headed back to Sweden to ride to London and ship the motorcycle and myself back to North America. It wouldn’t feel right to keep going indefinitely. My mind would be elsewhere. So I flew back to Sweden, and after some more really nice time with Ragnar, I set of on the final leg of my adventure. I had one big endeavor left before going south and returning to mainland Europe. I aimed my front-tire northwest and set off for Norway. In the very beginning of my trip, when I began in Australia, Norway was one of the places I most looked forward to seeing. I had one long 500km day to get myself into Norway, but Ragnar helped me with a nice pit-stop along the way. He hooked me up with one of his friends, Anders, in a small town with a pier that extended way out to a tiny island in a lake. His friend was just as kind as him. He bought us ice cream and then took us out for lunch at a pizza place. I had something I’d never tried in my life, bananas on pizza. Not bad. It was pretty amazing to have a total stranger take the time out of his day to do what he did for me.
The ride north through Sweden was gorgeous. Empty curvy roads pass blue lakes surrounded by pine-forests.
Old wooden churches sit next to peaceful lake shores.
Sweden was everything and more than what I expected. I feel like I just got a taste of it and only scratched the surface. I will be returning one day, but Norway was calling loud and clear. Bye-Bye Sverige