Terii’s Cycling Babble


Half a Loaf….
June 14, 2015, 10:15 am
Filed under: Day Rides

 

… is better than none. That phrase, oft echoed through my head, is becoming quite old and harder and harder to convince me of its truth.

My scarce posts have been due to increasing frustration and disgust at the current status of my ability to ride. I have been riding though not at the frequency before the soft tissue injury to my foot.

Skånela Church

Skånela Church – April 2015

It seemed at first to be recovering as I did a couple stretches whenever I thought about it. With the ache to remind me, it was frequent enough. Then on May 3rd (yes, days before my last post even – shows how behind I am on staying current), Jens all but tossed me, dog and trike into the car. I had him drive us to Skånela Church where he’d picked me up from the previous ‘Not Uppsala’ ride.

It’s been so long now, I can’t remember exactly how the weather was right when starting out. On the warm side, I believe, as a bit later, something came up to make me regret not wearing, or at least bringing, an extra layer.

I do recall that Loke was thrilled. He kangaroo-hopped at the end of the tether as I clipped in and we were off like a blast of wind. We whipped out onto the road and his tongue was flopping as he struggled to pull the trike faster than 12-ish mph. These silly restrictions I place on him because of arthritis. Aren’t I a silly woman?

Well, that goes without saying to any who has had the misfortune of seeing me in my full cycle get up.

Spectacular in spite of the threat of cold rain

Spectacular in spite of the threat of cold rain

Before we reached mile 2, I annoyed Loke by stopping for a photo. It must have been a little sunny to start with judging from the blue peeking from behind this threatening line of clouds. At the sight of it, I knew I’d be getting wet on this ride at some point.

Traffic was light on the bigger road and Loke was a furry powerhouse of joy at fresh places to run, offering plenty of help on the hills. Always nice. The wind was gusting rather than sustained around that dark clump of clouds so wasn’t too much of an annoyance except when it threatened to pull my flag out of the seat.

Beautiful barn with manor in background

Beautiful barn with Torsåker’s Manor in background

By mile 3, Loke had settled a tiny bit so the stop for the photo of a lovely little building at the edges of an old estate didn’t annoy him so much. He still refused the water I offered.

From the road, I could see most of the manor house sitting right at the lake side behind the barn. The whole area felt too private for me to go toodling down the drive for a closer look. No sign proudly declaring ‘Such-n-such Slott’ or a cafe or parking. Not even one of the twisty cornered squares that mark cultural heritage sites. If I had to guess though, I’d say the most recent portions of the manor house date from late 1700’s or early 1800’s? I’m less familiar with manor houses than churches though.

Cycle path up to Hammarby Church

Cycle path up to Hammarby Church

The clouds started to clear a bit once the manor was behind us. It turned out this was another ride where I discovered places we have been in years past. Recognition hit as we turned off the road to a graveled cycle path. It followed a fence line and then curved up a rather steep hill.

One reason it stuck so well in my memory is that it was one of the few hills I’ve had to walk up with the trike in the 9 years I’ve been riding them. Beyond was the church as I remembered, a field to one side of the modest parking lot where a hare had teased Loke horribly. I also recalled a sense of frustration when ending the ride at that church though it was so long ago I have no clue why. I’m honestly not sure when that past ride was.

Runestone U-Fv 1993;233

Runestone U-Fv 1993;233

I went to take a look at a runestone by the churchyard wall. It didn’t look terribly familiar, so I took a photo of it. Once I read the placard, it was an ‘Ooooh, yeah. Greece, I remember you’ moment.

Now that my Swedish skills are a bit stronger, I found this stone doesn’t actually mention Greece or even name the person in who’s memory it was raised, only that Häming raised it in memory of his good son. The unusual man’s name links this to another stone in another area that says ‘these stones were raised yada-yada’. It’s believed this one migrated from it’s original place in form of building materials for another building which was later demolished and finally arrived to be used in the churchyard wall where it was found in 1993. The other stone with the name ‘Häming’ says he raised it in memory of his son, Gunnar, who died among the Greeks. Most likely this stone and the other were raised as a paired memorial.

With the memory of so many little details of the place crowding my thoughts, I didn’t bother with a photo of the church itself, convinced there already was one lurking in the thousands of photos cluttering our external drive. Silly of me really. It would only have taken a few seconds and just a few megabytes.

Hammarby Church - May 2011

Hammarby Church – May 2011

I’ll have to remember that. Always take the photos. Doesn’t take long and in the greater scheme of things it’s very little space on today’s hard drives even if I have previous images.

While delving into the hard drive, I did find an photo of the church from a ride in May 2011 that I never blogged. There was a time frame where I just stopped blogging for the better part of a year. I can’t remember exactly why. It was the same year as my last semi-successful tour attempt. Semi-successful because I was only out for one night when I’d planned for 3 days.

Torsåker's Manor - May 26, 2011

Torsåker’s Manor – May 26, 2011

There was a little pang of disappointment when I discovered these photos about 15 minutes before typing these words. I had pretty much gone over the same ground, point for point as that May 26th, 2011 ride. Understandable I guess as it’s on part of the Sverigeleden and the most scenic route through that area. I even found a sunlit version of that pretty white barn, but I’ll leave that gloomy photo in place. Gives an air of drama befitting the ominous clouds I’d passed under. So strange that as well as I remembered being at Hammarby Church, I had no memory of Torsåker Manor.

Uppland Runestone #272

Uppland Runestone #272

At the time of this ride though, I was oblivious to the the fact I’d already ridden by Torsåker Manor and taken photos of it and the barn. Though I didn’t photograph the church this time, I did walk around it in search of runestones and rephotographed Uppsala Runestone #272.

Uppland Runestone #276

Uppland Runestone #276

Leaving the church I headed out in search of a nearby runestone. It took me through an area that had an air of abandonment. It was green and semi-well maintained as far as the landscape goes, but the buildings had a forlorn look though hadn’t yet started falling apart. The pavement of the street was starting to get cracks and shallow pot holes that cars would quickly deepen if there were enough traffic. The grounds were mostly used as a park land now with joggers and people walking dogs. Turns out it used to be a hospital though I didn’t really think it resembled one. The stone was easy to find, standing tall in the shade of some trees.

There were a few spits of rain while doubling back to head under the E4. I was a bit tickled to be on that stretch, anticipating finally getting to see Stora Wäsby castle. All the years criss-crossing through the area, passing signs for the place and I was finally going to see it.

Rain started coming more seriously as we headed down a tree-lined lane. Cold and wet. I was regretting the decision to forego at least my lightweight thermals. Then it started to hurt as it became sleet, each wet splat leaving a patch of ice as the water seeped into my tights right to the skin.

I was shivering when I came out from under the E4 only to stop and stare in frustration. The road continued on, but listed as private. I didn’t get to see the castle after all. I turned us to follow the cycle path running parallel to the E4.

Thankfully, the rain didn’t last long. After less than a mile from being thwarted from visiting Stora Wäsby, the clouds broke and the sun put in a solid appearance. The trike rolled along various cycle paths for several miles when I spotted the steeple of a church above the trees. I didn’t have it marked on my map, so curiosity tugged at me to look.

Fresta Church

Fresta Church

Fresta Church was a gold mine of runestones, though I clearly missed a few. A lot of pictures of them, but no where near the 15 mentioned in the information I found about the church for this post.

Researching about this church rather drove home how old it was. Sometimes the dates like ‘remodeled in the 1400’s’ just become numbers. Then one jumps out that comes a little closer to home. Or where home used to be. A major remodel in 1776. It reminded me that at the time of the Declaration of Independence, this church was already nearing 300 years old. It was built before Columbus even blundered into the Caribbean. Not quite a match for some of the churches in, say, England, but still.

I left Loke sitting in the shade with his water dish to wander around for runestones. They seemed to jump out at me everywhere.

Uppland Runestone #258

Uppland Runestone #258

I didn’t notice when I took the photo of runestone U #258 and its sign, but it is apparently unusual. The difference isn’t the children who raised the stone to their father who killed northmen on a ship, or where the stone was found or moved. It names the father as ‘Gerbjörn, son of Vitkarl’. It’s the grandfather’s name that caught the attention of scholars. Vitkarl is not found any where else. It’s believed the grandfather’s name was originally Karl. Vit is perhaps adapted from vitt, the word for white which refers to magical components or the like. So, perhaps the grandfather was believed to have supernatural knowledge so the prefix Vit was added to his name.

Cool! A stone that possibly mentions a ‘sorcerer’ even if just in passing.

Runestones U #256 & U-Fv1959;256

Runestones U #256 & U-Fv1959;256

Before going into a ride, I’m generally aware of interesting things in the area, yet I didn’t know there were 15 stones in the area of the church when I arrived there. Actually, I didn’t even know there was a church here before I spotted the steeple. Very careless of me.

Uppland Runestones #253, & #254

Uppland Runestones #253, & #254

Runestone U #255

Runestone U #255

No matter which way I turned, there was another runestone or two. It was enough to make a woman dizzy, whirling around and clicking a camera like mad.

Uppland Runestone #264 - Carved on 3 sides.

Uppland Runestone #264 – Carved on 3 sides.

There were two things that caught my attention in particular. First was the sizable fragment of a runestone with carvings on 3 sides.

Grave Sphere

Grave Sphere

The other item made me grin even wider. Not often I come across a grave sphere, even one as weathered as this one. Much faded, the carvings were still faintly visible. Still liked the discovery as I’ve found only 5 at most in all the years of chasing churches, runestones and burial grounds.

Uppland Runestones #252 (in wall), 259 & 260 (red granite)

Uppland Runestones #252 (in wall), 259 & 260 (red granite)

Uppland Runestone #261

Uppland Runestone #261

Loke looked bored and a little impatient as I returned to him with 1 grave sphere and 11 runestones in my camera. Not a bad haul for one church. Pity the church itself was closed. It’s always disappointing when I don’t get to see and photograph the inside of them.

Loke was well watered and a bit rested as we set out again. Not that he needed the rest. He was still frisky and strong with only 10 miles beneath his paws.

A Bridge Too Narrow

A Bridge Too Narrow

I was looking forward to the next church on the route. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I followed the cycle paths around to the cycle/foot bridge across train tracks and a busy road. It was narrower than I remembered from walking across it. My trike, alone without Loke’s running bar, might have made it with just a few inches to spare, but with the bar and Loke? Not happening.

So, no Sollentuna church which might have actually been open for me to take a peek. Ah well.

From there, I headed onto the foot paths through the old estate grounds of a small lake side manor. Loke and I have walked in the area before once when I drove to the shop to buy him reindeer meat dog food.

Sollentunaholms Manor - April 2011

Sollentunaholms Manor – April 2011

Loke just adores trails like this as do I.

Loke just adores trails like this as do I.

The paths were pretty with the vibrant shades of green all through the woods.

From there, the paths were mostly paved with a few stretches of residential districts thrown in. I would have followed the water’s edge more, but the cycle path ended at one point. Attempts to rejoin it were thwarted by lack of connections or streets with brutal hills. I do mean brutal. You know it’s a steep climb when the sidewalk becomes a long flight of stairs. Not the wide shallow kind where you step up, take a stride or two, step up, repeat. These stairs looked out of place outside a building.

I’ve honestly never seen that before. Tiered paths on hiking trails, yes, but not sidewalk stairs on a residential street. Must be hard even on cars to make that climb. No way I was going to try pushing the trike up that.

So off the mapped route we went.

For miles after leaving the manor ground, the ride went through some rather boring areas or the photos of water scenery were so badly exposed that they were unusable.

Just love spring colors

Just love spring colors

I was hungry as we came up onto Edsberg Castle sitting at the head of Edsviken which is an inlet of the Baltic. It was easy to tell it was the Baltic and not a lake. The air was rich with the saltiness of a sea, even if a diluted, brackish one like the Baltic. There was a cafe near the castle, but sadly, they were just closing as I arrived.

Hungry as I was and the fact it was after 5 pm, I called Jens to let him know where I was. The plan was to have him call again when he was closer to give him a more exact location. After all, he could go driving across the neatly trimmed grass and flower beds.

The back of Edsberg Castle

The back of Edsberg Castle

With the sun now out, people were sprawled everywhere across the grass between the back of the manor and the cycle path that ran right along the water’s edge.

Loke by the Baltic

Loke by the Baltic

Loke’s nose was busy as we followed that path, wavelets lapping at the stones less than 2 yards away. When the path split, I took the climb up away from the shore in search of a place with enough room to park the car and pack the trike.

I found it soon enough. There was a motorcycle museum at the top of the hill. Graveled space for cars to park, empty at the moment. Trees and grass where I could tether Loke and give him a softer spot to lay while we waited.

Loke wasn’t thrilled with stopping at first. He woofed and stomped his paws at me for almost 20 minutes before laying down and abruptly looking sleepy.

It was a good ride. I’ll end this post with that though it falls far short of getting everything caught up. More to come, sooner rather than later, I hope.

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