This was our first night at a hostel in the countryside, so I wasn't sure what to expect for breakfast, but it was quite good. I should have gotten up early and gone for a swim in the lake out back cuz the owner told me the water was quite warm and the setting looked quite inviting as we rode past it on the way out. We had to backtrack a bit to pickup the Cyklesparet signs which we followed again for most of the day.
Unfortunately, the signs immediately sent us off on an unpaved road. When I read the map, I also thought this was the best way to avoid the E22 and still get down to Blankaholm, but the map did not indicate that this was going to be such a small road. Anyway, the road was quite scenic and the gravel was much smoother than some of the ones we road in Poland and elsewhere.
It continued this way for almost 20km as we passed by some lakes and inlets south of Vastervik. We tried to enjoy the riding, but with the hills and the handling, this kind of riding an be very tiring. We realized that there weren't any villages out here with shops and we were almost completely out of food. We broke into the reserve Goo when we realized there was no shop in Misterhult.
We did see a lot of riders today. On the road to Figeholm we passed a couple headed the other way. They looked a little worn by the hills, but we could not worn them of the rough roads ahead. Unlike the luck we had in Poland and Estonia, none of the riders we have seen seem to speak English. There were a couple younger couples that looked like they were from Sweden, but they were going the other direction, so no time to talk.
We had a nice break at Figeholm watching people mill around the public dock as we snacked on chips and slurpies. Refueled, we took a strip of the E22 and made it down to Oskarshamn for lunch. This was a long 75km morning, but we only had a sandwich for lunch after filling up on chips earlier. Although the tourist bureau closed before we got there, I was able to find a brochure which listed a hotel down the way. I called and reserved a room for us before we walked around town a bit more. They were having a Carnival type festival complete with drum banging and half naked beauties. The parade gathered quite a following and we rode their wave of excitement out of town.
After a quick 15km to the next village, we stopped for an ice cream and a stroll around their marina. Then, it was on to the most beautiful cycling road I have ever seen. The stretch of road between Paskallovik and Monsteras, west of the E22 is just gorgeous. A slight drizzle had just ended and the sun was making its descent, so perhaps the coditions made it seem better than normal. It started with a meander through classic farmhouses and then climbed a bit into a sparse virgin forest. The road was small without a shoulder reminding me of the roads in some state and national parks back home. I am surprised that more cars or motorbikes don't come here just for the beauty, but we saw only one car throughout the 15km stretch. Toward the end there were some houses again and then some pasture with cows, pigs, and horses. Just perfect.
The small hotel on the main street in Monsteras was also perfect. We even share a balcony from which we can admire the sea. After some mediocre pizza and an evening without a single draft beer, we settle in for a good rest. Only three days left.
--Sweden's Southern Shoreline--
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