Terii’s Cycling Babble

And So It Began!
October 4, 2014, 9:11 am
Filed under: Misc

Written September 28th

We packed most everything the night before with the exception of electronics and whatever we were going to be using the night/morning before the drive. We were on the road by 7:13. Pretty good. Generally we are an hour or more late than when we intended for trips like this.

Well, the drive down wasn’t much of a problem. A little harrowing at times, but not because of traffic or such. Wind. Crazy, crazy wind. Driving along with trees whipping around and then a particularly strong gust would blast across the road making the car buck. It was causing enough problems that they gave frequent traffic warnings on the radio.

In spite of the frolicsome car, I didn’t really get a clear idea of the wind until walking Loke while Jens fueled the car. It actually shoved me and the fuzzy around. At one point, I ended up in a whirl of air which I suppose would have been a dust devil in other locations. It shoved me me to and fro and then suddenly most of my hair was something close to straight up. I must have looked like one of those troll dolls for a few seconds.

Brahe Manor From Across Highway

Brahe Manor From Across Highway – June 2014

Around 11 am or so, the shift changed when we made another stop at Brahe Manor ruin. My, but we’ve seen a lot of that place this year what with the drives to and from Borås a couple times and what not. It’s a major stopping point for travellers and tourists, which unfortunately means a lot of discarded food. When I ran into the restaurant/shop/gas-station for a call of nature, Loke managed to find a bun while strolling around with Jens.

Lake Vättern on a mostly sunny day!

Lake Vättern on a mostly sunny day!

We made a brief detour into Malmö where there’s an Apple Store. My iPhone is giving warning that it won’t be lasting much longer. So, I wanted to get a look at the iPhone 6 to see if I might be going another route. The mall is new, called the Emporium. The largest mall I’ve ever been in is the Woodfield Mall outside of Chicago, which if not the largest in the world, it is up there among them. This mall, I’m pretty sure is the 2nd largest I’ve ever stepped foot in.

It was crazy. First, it was packed with people like sardines in a can. Second of all, it was a maze. Not just the tangle of corridors with the confusion of lights and swirling masses of humanity, but a 3 dimensional maze. It took a few moments for me to be sure, but yes, one had to go up to the third floor and to get to the second. There was no escalator exclusively to the middle layer of the building. The elevator was not an option with the even greater press of humans tight around it.

I sighed in relief at the sight of the bright, glowing Apple ahead when I finally made my way through the complex. That lasted for only a moment. It wasn’t a shop in a mall, it was a popular nightclub. They had three guys wearing minimal headsets for communication holding back a line of people surrounded by velvet rope to dole them in a few at a time as others left. Bouncers. 100 or more were in that line and others adding to it even as a couple of Apple employees brought out yet more of the posts and velvet rope to accommodate the line. I estimated a wait of an hour or more given the slow shift of people in and out.

I turned on my heel, sending Jens a text to tell him no way and why. He was shocked. It’s been a few days since the release of the new iPhone. He thought the rush would be over somewhat. At least enough for me to get in and get my hands on a display model for an idea of the size, weight and feel. Reading the dimensions of something only goes so far.

I was a little disappointed when we took another way out of the mall area than we had into it. Coming in, we’d passed the most bizarre fountain I’d ever seen in my life. It looked to be bronze mask or front half of a head, looking skyward with an open mouth and a huge gush of water leaping past the lips. Not just 5 or 6 feet long. No. I’m talking 20+ feet from chin to pate. Turn the water off and 5 or more people probably could have fit in the mouth. We’d come up to it and been forced on by the flow of traffic through the round-about too quickly for me to dig out my iPhone to snap it then didn’t go close enough to it on our way out.

We arrived in Ystad around 4 pm. Our hotel for the night sits in the lovely old heart of the town. It is very much a part of that heart. The building has a plaster and beam and is clearly old. 1793 is proudly proclaimed on their website and outside. Built right against it is another old building which is used as a pub/restaurant with a gorgeous old courtyard behind the street face. It claims to have been constantly in service since the 1400’s. ‘Oldest still working brewery in the world’.

We took a walk to the church a stone’s throw away, by more of the wood and plaster/brick faced buildings which most date from the 1700-1800’s. Here and there, something from the later 1800’s has wedged its way in between the older ones. The most jarring are those clearly from the mid-1900’s.

And here’s my usual complaint about the views of the beautiful cobble streets with their utterly charming 1700’s buildings ruined by a wall of cars, almost always parked on the prettiest side. Yes, I know people live in them and need places to park, but I still can’t help but lament at the ruined photos.

The Bitter Flavoring for Beer!

The Bitter Flavoring for Beer!

We took a short wander through the town. Found the restaurant we decided we’d eat at a little later as we headed for the church and then onward toward the old cloister and its pond. While photographing another of the old houses with lovely wood accents painted blue with red accents, I stopped to take a closer look at an odd plant near one of the doors. It was carefully trained up a support.

I laughed and called Jens over, “You know what this is.”

Jens only frowned at it. “Grapes?” He took a closer look and then shook his head. “No. What is it?”

That surprised me. How can an avid beer drinker not know hops when they see it? And here’s me, who avoids beer like plague, able to identify them straight away. I absolutely can’t stand the bitter taste of beer which is all thanks to hops. Actually, I avoid most alcohol. Wine, champagne, vodka, tequila… Rum is about the only thing I’ll touch and then only well mixed with various fruits and ice into daiquiris. I only have that about twice a year. Three times a year if I’m feeling particularly naughty.

Pretty building across from where we ate.

Pretty building across from where we ate.

We finished the evening with wonderful plank steaks at the restaurant. For those who don’t know, plank steak is served… well, on a plank! You take mashed potatoes, squeezing them out onto the edges of a ‘plate’ size slab of wood and nestle the meat cooked a little short of what it was requested and half of a tomato in the center. Then you put it in a hot oven to roast it all together (finishing the meat) until the edges of the potato mash begins to crisp and brown. Serve hot, plank and all often with béarnaise sauce drizzled over.

After that, we flipped through bad TV and I fell asleep around 8 am. Not surprising as I was awake before 3 am yesterday to make sure of the last bit of packing. I still managed to forget my tripod! Annoying.

This morning, I woke around 4:30. Soon, I’ll get ready for a short ride. Just 7 miles or so. I’ll leave from the hotel, heading through the old parts of the town toward a castle less than 2 miles outside the modern edges of Ystad. Then I’ll come back into the town, pedalling by the cloister and it’s pond, the church and on toward the ferry point. I should be able to make that before our 12:20 ferry check in!

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