Terii’s Cycling Babble


Off We Go!
September 17, 2013, 5:33 am
Filed under: Misc

Begun September 15th

Nothing to say really about trike riding about yesterday. We drove through Sweden. That is to say, I drove through Sweden. Jens awoke with a nasty cold that simply sucked his will to live. He kept apologizing for the fact that he didn’t have the energy to show any enthusiasm as we frantically ran around to finish the last of the packing. Even so, we still had a couple of hiccups. Leaving without the map-books for one thing. Had to rush back to the apartment for almost 8 miles to fetch them.

With Jens feeling so poorly, I took the first driving shift which stretched on to the ferry port in Trelleborg. I sang softly along with music I liked wired into the radio via an iPhone while Jens managed to snooze.

Coming through the southern part of Sweden felt strange. We were just here in July and I remember things distinctly. Yet it was so different with the significant shift in light angles and quality between then and now. Throw in a lack of glowing yellow-green wheat, it almost looked like a whole different world.

When Jens roused to consciousness again, he apologized for ‘making’ me drive the whole distance, that it wasn’t a great way to start a vacation. I answered that our vacation hadn’t started yet in my eyes. Probably not so much tomorrow either. It’s just ‘hammer down, flying like the wind to reach where we need to be so we can start our vacation’ days. When we arrive in Bruges, take a deep breath and act like humans instead of frantically migrating animals, then our vacation starts.

Kind of a pity to treat Germany so dismissively, but being uncertain where the prettiest places are to ride and no way to look at the streets via Google’s Street View sort of killed it.

Reconstructed Palisade At Trelleborg

Reconstructed Palisade At Trelleborg

Trelleborg Palisade Gate

Trelleborg Palisade Gate

Trelleborg is a mix of unappealing industry with just a small hint of ‘old’ hiding in its heart. The industry isn’t too surprising. It IS a port after all and sits at the edge of the Baltic. A fair chunk of the port area is devoted to the ferries. Ferries to several places in Germany, Poland and I forget where else.

We found a large grocery shop in the town to pick up a few liters of bottled water. I looked at the fruit, but it wasn’t very tasty looking. Still we found a little something for munching and drinking. Then we still had 5 hours to kill before the ferry left.

As we drove off to explore the town, Jens pointed to a band of grassy sward running between the cycle/foot path and the unloading bays behind the grocery. A rabbit. A real, true rabbit!

Smithy Hut - Interior

Smithy Hut – Interior

I haven’t seen a wild(ish) rabbit since the colony of cast-off bunnies were finally removed from Stockholm.

What colony? On an acre or so of earth mounded between one very busy road running along one of the channels separating Stockholm’s islands and another road ramping up to an elevated one above, as many as 100 rabbits used to eek out a living. They never would have all survived if not for people who came buy to drop hay, vegetables and food pellets. That tiny strip of ground was stripped of just about every bit of vegetation and riddled with their warren holes. Every one of them was once someone’s pet, discarded or a descendent of unwanted pets.

They’d been there for years. Jens told me about them even before we were married. Then sometime, a few years ago, they were just gone. No clue.

Neat tower constructed sometime in the late 1800's

Neat tower constructed sometime in the late 1800’s

Yet, munching on that bit of grass was a rabbit. Barely two breaths later, FIVE rabbits making the best of the evening light for a meal. Then more and more. The sheer number of them wedged between a shopping center and busy road/sidewalk was boggling. It reminded me a lot of one area back in the states called the ‘Causeway’. Essentially a dike of earth running across the wetlands between two arms of the Pascagoula River with Pascagoula on one side and Gautier (pronounced Go-shay) on the other. Sometimes I could see dozens of rabbits along that several miles. Quite a few hawks too.

Once we found the entrance to the ferries, we explored a bit. First we went to the site of ‘Trelleborg’. Not much to see there that wasn’t recreated, but since Viking forts were built mostly of wood which doesn’t tend to last 1000 years without constant care, not surprising. Still the mock up of a portion of the palisade wall with a gate was interesting. So were a couple smaller buildings to one side.

Jens and I both had been catching glimpses of a tall structure while driving around. After a bit of searching, we found parking near it. It turned out to be a park with a tower at its heart. As we strolled toward the brick edifice, approaching a modernistic twist of a sculpture, Jens said, “Is that a turkey?”

I'll be! A turkey!

I’ll be! A turkey!

With eyes only for the tower at first, I glanced at the dark mound lit only by the beginnings of twilight. “Turkey? What would a turkey be doing in a city park in Sweden?” I wasn’t even sure the blob was alive until I saw it move slightly. “A dog probably.”

Then we got closer and I stared in astonishment. It really was a turkey! A rather impressive sized tom. He was snoozing happily with his beak tucked into the feathers of his back. He opened his eyes as I closed to about 15 feet. When I got even closer, he turned his head to watch me, not particularly wary.

One of the roosters bullying the hen

One of the roosters bullying the hen

Actually, the entire park was thick with domestic birds. We only saw the one turkey, but there were chickens as well. What sounded like about a dozen roosters of which we saw about five. Those five were harassing the one poor, harried looking hen who was running around to avoid the roosters I couldn’t get a shot of her. Also spotted a cluster of half-grown chicks. A bit beyond them, was a peacock as well. Poor thing only had a few tattered, broken off quills for a tail feather. Completely unexpected find in a park in the heart of town/tiny city.

Then we went in search of a stretch of beach that wasn’t hogged by the port and rail yards. We found it, but Jens decided he wasn’t interested enough in wavy water to go look. I rather agreed. My new shoes which had felt so great when I tried them on and the couple of times I wore them were killing my feet!

On the way back into Trelleborg proper, I spotted a group of pheasant of all things. They were searching for food in the grass at the road side. About a dozen of them, all in juvenile plumage. Made me forget my feet and aggravation at my new shoes that had felt so comfortable at the shop.

Then we found a place to eat that wasn’t burgers at a british pub sort of establishment. The food was okay.

While waiting for our food, I noticed Jens was stressing. He was sitting bolt up-right in his chair with eyes open wide. It was disconcerting. If a car had backfired, Jens probably would have leapt through the ceiling.

I’ve seen him somewhat like this before, but not this bad. Even he admitted that he’s gotten worse over the years. He’s considering this trip as something huge and otherwise, I’ve not been in the position to see him in this state.

We finished eating and hurried to the ferry dock for a 2 hour wait in line, not even the first people in line. Once the ferry arrived, the car was parked and we were dropping things in our cabin, my tightly-wound hubby drew a deep breath, probably the first of the evening.

The ferry departed at 10:45 pm, so I started getting ready for bed right away.

The bunks were HELLISH. They didn’t look so bad upon first sight. Once I laid down on the pad and my head hit the huge, puffy pillow, it became a nightmare. I expected the pad to be a bit thin and uncomfortable, but that doesn’t even come close to description. It might have been more tolerable if the 2.5 ft x 2.5 ft x 1 ft pillow had been as wonderful as it looked. No, it had been fluffed within an inch of its life. As soon as my head hit it, instant compression to half an inch thick.

So, I spent the night trying to find a position that didn’t leave some body part hurting or falling asleep while continually rebundling the pillow into some kind of shape that offered support for my head and neck. I felt like I barely slept. I had this sense that I was simply waiting for the alarm to go off so I could do something more productive than futile attempts at sleep.

A rough night for Jens and I both

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