This trip was in a way a milestone, as it was the first trip after quitting my job, to work freelance and to spend more time on adventuring on my motorcycle. Öland is a fascinating place with great roads, lots sites to see, and thousands of years of history, and was an obvious choice for a short weekend trip.
7 years ago, shortly I lost my father to cancer, I went on a 2-day trip to Öland with my mother on the pillion seat. Now it was time to go again, but this time a lot more gravel, something that isn’t always too comfortable as a pillion rider.
So, the intention had been clear from the beginning and I had been doing research of what to see along the way, and what to say.
The short weekend trip – actually, it was a 3-day trip – started out Saturday early morning going to the Lund Cathedral.
Lund is slang for penis in Hindi
It’s a Romanesque, Lutheran cathedral built of sandstone, and completed in 1145, that on the outside has changed numerous times and have today only little resemblance to the original church. Inside, however, little has changed, and the crypt and the aspe are unchanged.
Unfortunately, I did not get to see the cathedral, as I simply could find my way there. You’d think it is easy with GPS and what not, but when all the roads that leads somewhere are blocked, and the rest are dead ends, getting there is not that easy.
After visiting Lund, I had to meet Thonny outside a town called Höör. And as I spend a little too much time eating breakfast with the family and a little extra on making bad road choices, I was running out of time. So the cathedral would have to wait. It has been there since 1145, so it will probably be there for a visit another time.
Off I went, to meet Thonny. I have been riding with Thonny for longer trips the last couple of years, and our riding preferences are very compatible. I was looking forward to riding with him again.
We hooked up, and started the ride towards Öland, on backroads. Those are not the fastest, and most often not the shortest either. But they are a lot more fun.
It was great getting to ride with Thonny again. He hadn’t been able to ride over most of the summer after breaking his leg in the Romanian mountains.
Off we went, on the Swedish gravel roads. They are very smooth and have, for the most part, a quite firm surface, so it was not a problem both covering good distance, and riding through forests.
First stop was a the Hovdala Castle, which dates back 500 years to 1511. It was strategically important during the war between Sweden and Denmark in 17th century. It took some heavy damage in the Scania wars 1675-1679, but was restored by a Jens Mikkelsen, who was knighted by King Karl XI to the name Ehrenborg. For 9 generations, until 1980, the Ehrenborg family resided at the castle. Today, it is government owned and serves as historical site and is open to the public.
The castle has a café, restaurant, and gardens, and is worth a short detour. Check out more on the Hovdala Castle on the official home page. The tower is supposed to have proof of battles between the Swedes and the Danes, but we failed to find those.
It had been raining a little with scattered showers, and it didn’t take long before we had some really heavy rain. Fortunately we were still having coffee, and could take shelter.
As always, on the trips, it is nice to take a break, but we’re always eager to move on, so we did. Wet roads and occasional rain showers. We’re not bothered too much by riding in the wet. We ride with good water and wind resistant gear that keeps us dry. And as long as you’re not freezing, you’re OK. As soon as you freeze, everything kinda sucks.
Next stop was the Brio toy museum in the town of Osby. It is called Brio as an abbreviation of “Bröderna Ivarsson Osby” (The Iversson brothers of Osby). It was originally founded by their father in a different town, but had its headquarter for a long time in Osby. Today, the headquarter is in Malmö.
Although not having the waypoint correctly marked, we found the museum. It wasn’t our intention to go in, just seeing it from the outside as it was pretty much on the route. Not much to see from the outside, I’m sure it was cozy inside. It had the feeling to it, that this is a place stop by if it’s on the route, and you have small kids, but it’s not the destination.
Withing just a few minutes, we continued our journey towards Öland. But first, the birth place of Vilhelm Moberg. He is one of the more important writers of Sweden and wrote a series of novels, of which – The Immigrants – is the most known. The novel tells the story of a Swedish family who immigrated to America in the late 19th century. A movie based on the novels was made in 1971, by Jan Troell and starring Max von Sudow, and Liv Ullman.
The place is really just a stone with inscription, but the story and history behind Moberg, the novels he wrote, is really interesting. About 1.2 million Swedes immigrated to America in the during the second half of the 19th century. All these cool facts, and that the backroads to the stone is a great ride, makes it all worth the detour.
After a little while we headed on, towards Kalmar, and its castle. The Kalmar Castle has an important place in the Scandinavian history as it was the place Queen Margrethe I of Denmark lead the unification of the nordic kingdoms, the Kalmar Union, in 1397. The union was dissolved in 1523 after Sweden rebelled and became independent.
The castle is really nice, very accessible and is worth a longer detour. If you’re going to Öland, it’s a must-see. There is a lot to read about Kalmar, and the Kalmar Union. Go and take a look at the wikipedia page to learn more about the fascinating nordic history of vikings, kings, and queens.
Off towards Öland. It was getting late in the afternoon, and we had to start looking for accommodation. There is a bridge to Öland, so no need to get on a ferry – unless you’re hiking or bicycling. The bridge only takes cars, lorries, busses, etc. You know, the kind of street legal vehicles, that have tires and an engine. But Öland has its fair share of bicycle, and hiking paths.
Öland is definitely ideal for hikers and bicyclist who don’t want uphill paths. It is flat as a pancake with a highest point of 58 meters.
The highest point on Öland is 58 meters.
We had booked a couple of single rooms at the hotel in the town of Borgholm, just a half hour from the bridge. Just outside Borgholm, sits the Borgholm Castle ruins which was probably originally built by King Canute I, who reigned 1167-1195. Throughout time, the castle had taken a lot of beating during the numerous conflicts with Danes. Today, it houses a museum and is open to the public.
The museum was closed, so we only go to see it from the outside and from the drone. Had it been open, we probably wouldn’t have visited anyway. The trips are motorcycle trips, not visit-museum trips. The town was just a couple of minutes away. We had booked the hotel 30 minutes earlier, so no chasing hotel rooms, that we sometimes end up doing.
Nice hotel, not too expensive (Swedish level), checking in. The hotel restaurant was surprisingly busy compared to the streets of the town, but we didn’t take much notice. A quick shower, change of clothes and down to the bar to get a beer.
I was there first, they had one of my favourite beers, the Paulaner wheat beer. I had almost finished it (5 minutes later) when Thonny came down and joined me. We had a couple more beers and asked to be seated. We had to wait an hour, they were too busy. They had free tables, but the kitchen had to keep up as well, I guess. The waiter talked about Karin, as if we should know the head chef. We just nodded and went along with it. At 21.30-ish we were seated. It was a set menu, 3, 5, or 7 dishes starting at 765 swedish pesos. Wow, that was a bit steep, and definitely more than we normally pay for a meal on these kinds of trips. But as it was late, maybe one too many beers, Thonny’s not fully recovered broken leg, we went along.
And oh my God, was that delicious. I honestly don’t recall having anything so delicious. I’m not a food geek, I’d like to think of myself as easy going and eat almost everything. And I can’t tell which spices are in what I eat (except the obvious), but I do know when I like the taste of something. They say – and I can relate to that – the emotional range quadruples when you have your own children. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. I had that same experience, but with food. I did now know that food could taste like this.
The next morning I found out why it was so busy, by the tell-tale sign outside. I did not see that the day before. It is the first – and probably the last – time that I have eaten on a Michelin restaurant on a motorcycle trip.
The trip I took with my mother 7 years earlier was a 2-day trip, where we didn’t have time to see much. This time, we had one more day,