It is in fact, Finland, Sweden’s neighbour, that boasts to be the “Land of A Thousand Lakes” and yet it is here that we have really been awed by beautiful bodies of water as we cycle past lake after lake.
The weather, much to my delight, is warming up; Spring has arrived in full bloom. Every roadside has delicate purply-blue flowers springing up in star or bell shapes depending on the variety. Snowdrops can be glimpsed on brown earth through silver birch trunks and the sun is making an appearance on an almost daily basis.
With this new warmth beaming down on us, we are cycling in fewer and fewer layers as we struggle and sweat our way up and down Sweden’s many hillocks and against some wild headwinds. We are no longer afraid of our sweat freezing and are happy to push ourselves a little further and a little harder up those neverending hills.
The lakes, then, that we pass so often become ferociously appealing. The crystal clear water is clean enough to drink and satisfies our thirst along the ride and tempts us to dive in. Finally, giving in, we decided to take the plunge one evening after a hot and sweaty day of cycling and go for a dip.
It was beautiful.
It was also bitterly cold!
Arron barely made it over his knees before retreating, shouting “Sorry Laura, today, you are on your own!” as he headed back to the fire smouldering on the shoreside. It took me some minutes more standing thigh deep with tingling legs before I could summon the courage to dive in. I eventually did, and as always with such cold water was rewarded with a warming sensation throughout my body as my skin reacted to the freezing temperatures I was subjecting it to. Having said that, I didn’t last long either, managing only a few quick strokes through the water before hurrying back to join Arron on warm, dry land.
Since Spring has come, we have often chatted about the joy that cycle touring brings. Not only is it an amazing way to travel, it allows us to live a life that we both desire. We are able to enjoy breakfast cooked on the fire and a chilling swim in a stunning lake. We can get up early and watch the sun rise over the water and go to be as the darkness creeps in around us. We can read and write and watch the fire flicker.
Though winter cycling was a challenge, and fun in its own (“Type 2“) way, spring cycling makes my heart (and Arron’s voice) sing.