Terii’s Cycling Babble


Sverigeleden Part… I Forget!
September 14, 2009, 7:56 am
Filed under: Day Rides

 

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Actually, I think this is stage three of my trip on the Sverigeleden.  With my recent trike problems completely wrecking my confidence in my machine, I’d been sticking pretty close to home.  Simply using the trike to get home from various appointments (rides through Uppsala) or quick 3 to 5 mile river loop jaunts.

I felt pretty secure about the trike on Thursday and even debated on going for my Sverigeleden ride on Friday, which would have been a perfect day weather wise.  I decided instead to wait until Saturday since we didn’t have anything planned and my husband would be home in the event that Loke tired out after an hour or something went wrong.

Hagby Church

Hagby Church

I wasn’t planning too long a ride as Loke and I are building back up our stamina after the long hiatus.  So, I only took a few nuts and plenty of water.  It was around 11 am when my husband dropped me off at Hagby Kyrka.  Minutes after we pulled into the parking lot to let me unload and assemble the trike, it got quite busy.  But Loke and I started out smoothly enough, finding a break in the stream of cars coming in to park.  Loke did his usual ‘wild mile’, obviously quite happy to be out of the grind of the river loop.  It intensified when after about 100 meters or so, when Jens passed us and Loke really went nuts.  He was charging along flat out, ears back and stretching his stride as long as it would go as he tried to catch the car.

Autumn Hay Field

Autumn Hay Field

It was actually fairly clear as we started out and though it was around 11 am, it was still pleasantly cool.  Loke set a good pace for the first hour.  One of his best for the year, I think in all honesty.  He had that tongue lolling, happy husky grin as he loped and jogged along.

For me, this section of the route was nothing new.  It’s not exactly old ground in terms of my riding it since I’d only been over it twice before.  But the pleasant weather and the subtle shift of the seasons gave it a new glow and I was happy to be out and moving, doing my favourite activity.  The day was definitely one of those that has that distinctly autumn feel which I love.  Autumn and spring are my two favourite seasons I think.  Now that I live somewhere that actually HAS seasons.

After a few miles, I came to the 55 Highway that heads out from Uppsala to Enköping.  It was a bit of wait to get a break in traffic for Loke and to cross safely.  This section of the road I was very familar with as my husband and I often go to Wiks slot to walk with Loke along the very nice foot path that goes through its grounds.  Just down a bit of a slope and across a tiny bridge crossing something that resembles a ditch.

Uppland's Runestone #859

Uppland’s Runestone #859

I pulled off the road as much as I could for my first runestone of the day.  Even though we had only covered around 5 miles, Loke was thrilled with the sight of the tall weeds on the side of the road and down into the shallow (and thankfully dry) ditch.  He immediately flung himself down for a good wallow, legs flailing everywhich way as he thrashed happily around.  Maybe I should get hold of a video camera so I can share one of Loke’s happy thrashing frenzies.  Then I could share the giggles as he looks completely silly and undignified when he does it.

This runestone was carved in the early part of the 1000’s AD and stood on the head road that came out of Uppsala.  The ones who commissioned this stone also built a bridge in memory of the one the stone was carved for.   The runemaster who carved this one was even brass enough to mention himself in the actual runes rather than signing it off to the side somewhere.  At least, that’s the impression I have.  I can’t remember any other stones I’ve found where “So-n-So carved the runes” is mentioned in the actual rune translation of the little signs.  If you click the thumbnail, I typed out the translations.

The sun was still shining at this point, though the thin haze of clouds that had been lingering on the edge of the horizon was closing in.  In spite of the cool nip in the air that I was feeling, Loke seemed to be heating up rather quickly.  He still kept a good pace, though it looked like his tongue was bouncing down around his feet somewhere.

My Favourite Runestone! Upplands #855

My Favourite Runestone! Upplands #855

Just a short distance on we came to the runestone that is my favourite of all the ones I’ve discovered to date.  It’s one of the few stones I’ve found that actually shows a very specific scene.  Most of the time, the central carvings are knotwork with crosses (like the first stone in this post).  Occasionally, you’ll see some stylized represention of some kind of animal fitted into the knotwork that reminds me a bit of how the Celts combined knots with animals.

As you can see this stone has suffered some abuse.  It was broken at some time in the past and has been glued back together with cement.  We drove by this stone for years, but I’d never stopped to look at it as we wizzed by on our way to Wiks Castle.  It was only the first time that I cycled to Wiks that I stopped to collect it with my camera and it instantly became my favourite runestone, standing over 8 feet tall with its wonderful carving.  No mention of who carved it though like many runestones it dates from around 1000 AD.  Translations and other interesting info if you click the picture.

Autumn Fields In The Sun

Autumn Fields In The Sun

This section of the Sverigeleden was fairly open, surrounded mostly by hay and wheat fields.  Definitely the season of harvesting, it seemed like more tractors were passing me than cars.  Pedaling along, there were a lot of harvesters in the fields as well, sending up big plumes of dust across the open spaces.

So Close, Yet So Far

So Close, Yet So Far

Between my favourite runestone and Balingsta Kyrka, there are a number of stones set up that have no information.  Or, one that has information, but since it sits in someone’s yard behind a low hedge, I couldn’t get a decent picture of the information to tell me which stone it is or what it says.  It has the usual knotwork and cross with a few crude animal figures thrown in.

Just past this stone was Balingsta Kyrka.  Well, if this doesn’t prove how much I work on my blog on the fly, I just aggravated myself looking up the information for Balingsta Kyrka.  About 100 meters (give or take 20) from the turn off to the church, there’s a little car track lined by stately rows of old trees.  At the head of the track, there’s a weathered wooden sign that reads “Tegel Kyrkan” which translates to “The Brick Church.”  I’ve always been curious about it, but the track just looked so much like someone’s long driveway and the impression was reinforced by what looks like a flag pole in the distance.  Unwilling to end up in someone’s yard, I’ve never been brave enough to take the turn to go see what lays at the end.  According to what I just found, there are the ruins of one of the Balingsta churches there.

The New Balingsta Kyrka??

The New Balingsta Kyrka??

There are apparently two churches.  One is down the car track with little more remaining than a faint outline of its foundations.  The other one is the this one in the photo.  The Swedish Wikipidea mentions that construction was begun during the Romanesque period and the oldest parts date back to the 1100’s.  It also mentions abandoning to build a new one, decisions to restore the old medieval one… Needless to say, I’m completely baffled.  Is the current full church the old one restored with the brick church the ‘new one’ that was abandoned in favour of restoring this one!?  Granted, I’m sure that my difficulty with Swedish translation (syntax) does not help to clear up my bafflement.  One bit of information that I did work out is that the tower of the current church (be it the old or the new), is done in the style of a lantern with a hood.

Broken and Missing Runestone

Broken and Missing Runestone

A mile or so just past Balingsta Kyrka (both of them), I turned off the Sverigeleden for a few miles.  The road to Wiks is quite narrow.  In general, it’s barely wide enough that two cars can pass each other only if they each nudge a tire off the edge of the pavement.  It’s lined with a mix of young and old trees as they seem to replant new ones when the old ones die.  There are at least two runestones along the shady, uneven road though I could have sworn there were three.  They are rather pitiful things as far as runestones go.  They have no signs to tell their stories and time has not treated them kindly, leaving them broken in pieces.  Even if they have been repaired, there are still chunks missing, filled in with cement to hold the remenants together.

Wiks Slott & Trike

Wiks Slott & Trike

At the end of this road with its trees and runestones, flanked by fields and pastures, lays Wiks Castle and its environs.  The castle in its original form was built in the 1400’s and was intended for defense.  At some point in the 1600’s, it was fully renovated in French style.

Scenic Lake At Wiks

Scenic Lake At Wiks

The castle sits on a large crag of rock at what seems to be the highest point in the area along the shores of a lake.  There’s a folkskol on the grounds as well.  My favourite part is the wooded foot path that winds around in a large loop, following along the lake for a bit before cutting through old green trees and pastures.

I debated trying to ride the path on my trike, but there are a few steeper sections of loose sand and gravel that I wasn’t sure my trike could climb since I have road slicks on the wheels.  I settled for going down part of the path to the boat ramp.  There’s a bit of lawn around it, well shaded by old trees.  It was a good place to park the trike and let Loke play in the water at the ramp.  I settled down and nibbled some of my nuts as I watched someone try to get an RC sea plane model to fly.  He finally managed it, though for only 10 or 15 yards before it bounced back down and stalled.  He then had to take a little row boat out to reclaim it.

Wiks Other Broken Stone

Wiks Other Broken Stone

Once Loke was done with the lake, had quit panting and came back up to stand near the trike and wag his tail, we moved on.  With no way to make a loop, it was another trip back down the narrow, tree-lined road, past the broken old stones.

There was also a bit of a harrowing moment as a huge semi-truck decided to come up the road in the opposite direction I was going.  I pulled off as much as I could, sitting at an uncomfortable angle, half in the ditch with Loke standing in the bottom of said ditch.  Even so, the tires crept past me less than a foot away from my front wheel.  Ah, the joy of those narrow country roads.  I think I would have prefered a bus over that semi.

The short rest at the lake shore seemed to revive Loke and he ripped me along at around 15 mph for the first mile back down the Wiks road.  Though I did feel as rested as he obviously did, I still pedaled so that he wasn’t dragging me along.  We zipped along the two or so miles back to where we had turned off the Sverigeleden to continue on our way.

Unknown Boulder Runestone

Unknown Boulder Runestone

There were was a sign for the next turn on the Sverigeleden, though I didn’t need since I’d covered this ground twice before.  I stopped  next to the turn though to walk a bit down the road I didn’t need to get a picture of another runestone.

This stone was fairly unusual in that it was what I’ve come to call a ‘boulder’ runestone.  Generally, the runes are carved on stones that have been chiseled into thin slabs (a foot or less thick).  I’ve seen about three that are done more like this one.  It’s on a large boulder about the size of an old VW Bug.  One face has been chiseled flat to carve the rune one.  One runestone of this sort that I found when my father was visiting was carved on the side of a huge slab of stone that vanished back under the landscape with no way to know how big it was, though the carving itself was only some 4 foot by 3 feet in size.  Sort of lost the picture of that one.

Västeråkers Kyrka

Västeråkers Kyrka

I made the turn and continued.  Loke was still running quite well.  I think the fact his legs were still wet from wading around in the lake helped keep his temperature down a bit as well as the sun vanishing behind a thicker curtain of cloud that had moved in as we left Wiks.  About a mile down the turn, I discovered Västeråkers Kyrka.

It’s your traditional looking country church dating from the 1300’s.  I think I found more information on this church than most of the others that I’ve taken pictures of.  There are documents that talk of an earlier church in the area (early 1300’s).   There’s a stone slab in this one that actually lists when this church was built (1331) and who had it built (Mrs. Ramborg of Wiks).  It is apparently the only medieval church that has such information within itself.  More info if you click on the picture.

Also while doing my research I discovered that there’s a particular family burial plot here (von Essen) and that one of the men buried here actaully played a significant role in Swedish history in the latter part of the 1700’s and early 1800’s.  Given that he was born further south, and the significant nature of his accomplishments as a Swedish officer and Statesman, I’m surprised he was buried in such a remote and obscure location.

Upplands Runestone #846

Upplands Runestone #846

Upplands Runestone #847

Upplands Runestone #847

Flanking either side of the gate into Västeråker’s churchyard are two rather large runestones.  They aren’t quite as large as the hunt scene stone, but bigger than most of the ones I’ve found.   One was used as a threshold in the outer door of the vapenshuset and the other was used between the vapenhuset and church door.  One of the stones is apparently special because of the nature of its decoration and the fact it may have never been intended as a standing stone.  Tranlations and such if you click the pictures.

The weather had gone from mostly clear to a sort of dull gray that looked like it was building up for rain.  Off in the distance along some sections of the road, I could see a faint shimmer of water from the lake.  I think even the same lake that Wiks overlooks.  Loke was starting to slow down a bit more.  Not entirely surprising since it was his longest run since our thwarted tour attempt.  Off in the distance I could see the little village of Dalby as a tiny collection of a a few buildings as well as the church and the peak of the church’s belltower above the trees.

Stay! Good Boy! Dalby Bell Tower

Stay! Good Boy! Dalby Bell Tower

Dalby Kyrka

Dalby Kyrka

Loke was tired enough that I thought it was worth the risk to get a picture of him with the trike.  He did just fine.  Just sort of stood there and stared after me a bit anxiously as I moved a few yards off to get as much of the bell tower in as I could while keeping the cars parked there out of it.  As with Hagby kyrka, it seemed to be a time for some sort of services.  Quite a few people even smiled and waved at me as I fiddled around.  I heard comments about what a beautiful dog Loke was as well.

I found out while doing my research for this church that there’s another church called Dalby as well, but it lays further south.  This one was built in the 1300’s and also has the tomb for the lord of the Hammarskog manor house, Knut Posse.  There’s also a rune stone imbedded in the outer wall up near the roof eave between the windows.  I also like this church because it’s roof is different from the majority of churches.  Instead of terracotta tiles or wooden shingles, it looks like it might be slate with lighter slabs laying out a herringbone pattern.

Hammarskog Across the Way

Hammarskog Across the Way

The road took a sharp left curve here, making its way off the penninsula the church sits on.  Across a wet reed filled strip and a little further on, a boggy grassy stretch, I could see Hammarskog slott.  I think at some point in the past the marshy bog between Dalby and Hammarskog was water from the lake, but time has silted it up and turned it into wetland.

Though it was only around 15 miles since we left Hagby, Loke was slowing down quite a bit and I was starting to feel the familiar ache in my legs.  As I crept up a hill overlooking the marsh between Hammarskog and Dalby, I decided that I would end the trip at the manor house.  Originally, I had planned to leave the Sverigeleden at Hammarskog to take the backway around the evil border collie for three miles or so before rejoining the Sverigeleden for another two miles to turn off again and head to a little park for my husband to pick us up.  Loke and I were a bit too worn to crank out another 8 to 10 miles.

Hammarskog's Manor House

Hammarskog’s Manor House

It was only about 20 minutes before Jens came to pick us up.  Tired as he was, Loke couldn’t really settle down to rest at Hammarskog.  Too many people coming and going, many of them with dogs as the grounds are a pleasant place to walk.  The back way even leads to a nice section of forest as well as that area with the pond and little nature reserve where I took the picture with Loke and the trike that frames the title of my blog.  Swedish people are very outdoor oriented, so it is quite a busy place.  (Yes, the picture was taken at an earlier time than this ride.  The lighting was just too poor for a good picture on Saturday, Sept 12)

As wound up as he was by all the activity going on around him, once we had the car loaded and Loke jumped in, he was flat out on the seat and sound asleep before we even had our seatbelts fastened.  He was a pooped puppy.    I count that as a good day.

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