Various things put me in a grumpy mood this morning. The internet still wasn’t working (campsite or 3G), I was looking at at a half hour wait for the campsite reception to open so that could pay, and once I did set off there was an annoying ticking coming from the rear cassette. I can blame my early start – I had packed by around 7.45 – on the crows in the field (occupied by only one tent: mine). They were making such a racket that had I had any pebbles to hand, I would have stoned them. Things started to look up when the guy on reception duty opened early (perhaps he had spotted me waiting, looking at my watch and tutting…). We chatted a little about my direction of travel and he asked if I was planning to follow the ‘Kattegattleden’. ‘Patrick’ had mentioned this in a comment in response to yesterday’s post but I hadn’t had the opportunity to follow it up because of the Internet issues. The ‘Kattegattleden’ is a newly-signposted route that starts in Helsingborg and finishes in Gothenburg (see the map below). The Kattegatte is the name for the sea off the west coast of Sweden. The chap on reception explained how to find it (it wasn’t difficult) so things were looking a little more rosy. The Internet and cassette issues continued… I paused at a small supermarket where I phoned Vodafone (despite an annoying dog barking continuously only a few metres away) to try sort out the issue. I was eventually (3rd phone call after two where I was lead down blind alleys of recorded information) connected to a call centre in Asia (groan…) and was asked the usual ‘lets-assume-this-customer-is-an-idiot’ questions (Is mobile data switched one? Is roaming switched on? Is the phone switched on? etc…) before I was told to change the ‘APN’ settings. The woman explained that the new settings were the ones required to access the Internet in EU countries.
“So why could I access the Internet without problems in the six countries I’ve so far visited?” I queried.
Queue repetition of previous legalistic EU information…
‘The important thing is that it works…’. Which it did. The woman called me back later in the morning;
“Is everything now working fine?”
“Well, that clicking noise from the rear cassette has now disappeared after I added a little oil to the chain and following this Kattegatt route is working a treat.”
Which it was.
The area north of Båstad was predominantly built up but in a nice way with pretty holiday homes interspersed between patches of wood. The sea itself could be seen from time to time but the track was usually at least 100 metres inland. It was, as noted, a good quality one. I discovered later at the tourist office in Halmstad that it had only been inaugurated on June 6th which explained why no one had yet had an opportunity to turn the signs or remove any of them. Much of the track had been recently tarmaced and it was 90% either off road or well segregated. Later in the day as I approached my final destination there was a longer stretch of on-road cycling but the traffic was low level and the drivers accommodating. The last driver to act in the least bit aggressively to me, incidentally, was way back in Germany. All credit to the Danish and, so far, the Swedish drivers for being sensible, accommodating road users.
Halstead was OK but, just as Helsingborg had been yesterday, very quiet with most shops closed due to the midsummer holiday. On the subject of which… Despite midsummer being tomorrow, the main focus of celebrations seems to have been last night. The Rough Guide talks about ‘the nearest weekend to the 23rd June’ as the one where everyone gets festive. I think tomorrow it will just be me and the Druids at Stone Henge marking the summer equinox. It’s a good job I remembered to pack that long cloak, staff and fake beard. I’ll come back to midsummer in a moment.
The only point where the Kattegatt was in the least bit problematic was where a sign had been covered by a taped up plastic bag. No alternative route was given so I ignored the plastic bag and cycled on. By some miracle I did manage to refind the route by using my offline Komoot maps but it wasn’t a great inconvenience to do so.
The weather has also been significantly better today. Plenty of blue sky between the clouds and only very short spells of rain. This is what the sky currently looks like above the tent as I type:
Not bad, eh?
There were a few other touring cyclists today, some who I spoke to, some who I didn’t. Amongst those that I did were a German couple who had paused at the same supermarket as me mid afternoon. I asked where they had stayed last night and the man talked about a site where they had been asked to pay 350 SK (£28) and stay for a minimum of two nights. They had cycled on… This made me a little cautious about my own accommodation options.
My plan was to cycle 75 km (the average is currently 75.2 km by the way) and then look for a site. The plan worked well and at 80 km I had found a nice place by the sea.
“Yes, we have spaces for tents…”.
“It’s 350 SK per night.”
Not so good. Was this the place the German couple had refused to stay at? I asked to see the tent area before committing; it was very good and set slightly away from the mass of caravans and mobile homes. But was it worth 350 SK? Before returning to the reception I checked online to see if there were other sites nearby. There was one about 45 minutes away. I clicked on ‘prices’ on their website and found this:
Now I’m not 100% sure about the Swedish here but you can clearly see how the prices over the midsummer are more than quadruple what they normally are! Perhaps by paying 350 SK I was getting away lightly.
I returned to the reception to give them the good news. The boss – at least I assume he was – was there and he started chatting about the cycle and the Kattegattleden. After a few moments he turned to the receptionist and said:
“Just charge him 200 SK”.
Result! Was it admiration? Was it pity? Who knows but it saved me £12.
It’s a good site, very good, near the sea and there are no loud midsummer festivities taking place (yet). However, there are ants. I originally put up the tent two pitches away from where it now stands before coming to the conclusion that there might be an ants best underneath it. In a move that must have left the old couple who were watching me somewhat bemused, I unpegged the whole thing and, contents still inside, dragged the tent to its current pitch. I’m not sure the ant issue has been completely addressed. Expect a detailed report tomorrow…