Terii’s Cycling Babble


The Local Places
 
View of Uppsala

View of Uppsala

While I feel best about the new places I explore, there are sights and places close to home that are very much a part of my cycling.  They are the basis of my established routes.  Churches, rune stones, places that hold some form of the culture and/or history of Sweden.  Often, when I cycle out to new places, these ‘old friends’ are still very linked since often I am simply adding too or exploring beyond the established rides.  This page is mostly to show off a few of those places along my regular rides as I thread my way around Uppsala.  I’ll get galleries set up for a larger scope of the scenery soon.

Picture 052 Grave Mound Path

Mounds Path in Autumn

I have two routes that I call my ‘short routes’.  They’re the ones I take when I want to cycle but either don’t feel up to or have the time for a 4+ hour ride.  Both of them are right around 14 miles.  My favourite is what I call the ‘Ulva/Gamla Uppsala Loop.  It heads off along a nearby cycle path, across a busy road before winding out through the country side.  I love the Swedish countryside, particularly on early mornings.  Autumn, spring,  and summer all add thier own beauty to this country.  Winter too, but once the paths and roads are covered with ice and snow, I don’t ride since it risks damaging my derailleur. I do love those in between moments though.  Right when the snow and ice has gone enough that I can ride, but it still blankets the fields and drapes the stones hidden among the trees of the wooded places.

Ulva Mill

Ulva Mill

My favourite short route is named after an old water mill that sits roughly in the middle of the ride.  Ulva Kvarn (Ulva Mill) is a pleasant place to stop and take a rest.  Places in the shade, two small cafe’s (one in the old mill itself and the other in a collection of shops in old wooden buildings on the hill above), clean restrooms, small shops and on Sundays during the warm months a flea market in one of the nearby fields.   Going down behind the mill is also nice.  There’s a small foot bridge that goes to a small island between the mill streams.  It’s shaded by graceful birch trees with pinic tables and a grill.  Loke especially loves it there because he can get down to the shallow rapids and try to catch the moving water.  A perfect place to rest and enjoy the day before heading toward Gamla Uppsala and home.

My second short route, while pleasant is fairly unremarkable except for one church I haven’t yet gotten the chance to take pictures of.  It’s pleasant as it winds past fields of grain and pastures with horses, but nothing that has forced me to stop and snap pictures.  An extention of it I rode did show me a few things I would love to get pictures of.  Sadly, my camera was in Detroit, Michigan when I discovered them and I haven’t yet gone back over that area.

Börje Kyrka

Börje Kyrka

My next solid route I’ve named the Börje/Gamla Uppsala Loop.  It’s about 20 miles long and fun.  I’ve named it after the church I found when I first started exploring the area several years ago.  My rides when I first got my trike were quite short and comprised mostly of riding out along an interesting road until I felt tired and then coming back the same way.  I was thrilled when my stamina increased enough to allow me to start doing loops as I’ve discovered that I’m not fond of cycling over an area and then going right back over it an hour or two later.   The church is typical of the many country churches that are scattered all over Sweden.  Most of them were built in the Middle Ages ranging from the 1100’s to 1300’s.  Most of the time, they have no steeple, but rather a bell tower built some distance away.  The churches that do have steeples often had them added at a later period on their history.  It’s a nice place to stop for a quick water break and breather for Loke and in the autumn there are apple trees for a quick snack. 

Börje Rune Stone

Börje Rune Stone

It’s also at this church that I discovered my first rune stone.  The stones are generally memory markers for journeys or people who have passed on.  I have pictures of dozens of them, but this was the first I found on my own.  They’ve often been incoporporated into churches, either in the walls around the church or even into the wall of the church itself.  Börje’s stone is fairly crude and simple compared to some stones.  Some just seem to be in the middle of no-where.  Pedalling along and suddenly, a stone or two sitting on the side of the road.  Most of the stones have been identified by one of the Swedish authorities and given a number.  Börje’s is 912.  It is from roughly 1000 AD and was commissioned by Sigfröd for his father, Borgger.

Gamla Gård in Spring

Gamla Gård in Spring

Also along the Börje/Gamla Uppsala Loop is a place called simply ‘Gamla Gård’ (Old Farm).  It’s definitely another of my favourite places.  It’s roughly 8 miles from home and a good place to stop as it has a clean and odorless outhouse and a fresh source of water to top off my water bottles on a hot day.  The place is a collection of old country buildings including a house from the early 1700’s and several farmstead out buildings from various centuries as well.  One even has an old fashioned sod roof.  It’s all surrounded by the old style wood fence made with the trunks of small trees.  The home owners in the area work to maintain the site.  A couple times when I’ve stopped for water or the bathroom, I’ve met some of the people who maintain it, generally older men who are quite happy to share the history of thier collection and curious about my trips on the trike and impressed with Loke for covering so much ground.

P1000598

Gamla Gård House

I’ve even been in the house a couple times.  One room in the center has been converted into a modern kitchen since there is a church group that often uses the grounds for picnics and celebrations, but the other two side rooms are as they were when it was built.  Such a house was typically a home for two families, one living to each end with a storage room between.  There is old furniture in them still, the box style beds and tiny plastered hearths where meals were cooked.  A tiny, steep staircase leads up to the attic area and is full of old farmstead items.  Spinning wheels, plows, butter churns, saws, axes.

Hammarskog's Manor House

Hammarskog's Manor House

Although not on any one of my firmly established and well traveled (or even named) cycle loops, there are two other places I view important simply because getting to them was a major accomplishment to me.  The first of the two is Hammarskogs Herrgård which I guess would roughly translate into Hammarskog’s Estate.  It was built around 1655.  My husband first took me here back in August of 2004 when I visited Sweden the first time to come marry my husband.  As soon as I arrived in the country, the sheer ‘cycle friendly’ atmosphere of it stirred my desire to ride more than almost any other time in my life.  This country is just made for people to get out and move under their own power.  As soon as I saw this place and the area around it, I was determined to one day ride to it.  It took me 3 years to find a route that didn’t involve a major road, but it was so worth the sense of accomplishment even though it was a straight out and back ride, not the loops I so love.

P1000577The other place I view with a sense of accomplishment is one that my husband and I go to frequently (via car) for walks with the dog.  It’s called Wiks Slott or Wik’s Castle in English.  I love this place simply because it is one of the more interesting ‘castles’ in Sweden to my eyes.  Certainly in this area, as most of the castles look more like manor houses to me rather like the house at Hammarskog.  The structure was started around 1450 and renovated in the French style sometime in the 1600’s.  This would make it one of the older castle structures I’ve discovered.  Many of them seem to date around the mid-1600’s to 1700’s.  It sits along the shores of a lake with a beautiful parkland around it and a footpath about 2 miles long looping around and through it.  We’ve seen countless deer, hares, and hawks the times we’ve been there and there’s also a badger set tucked up in some rocks along one section of the trail.  This one also had an added challenge in that it was a loop, some 48 miles total.  It was also rather fun as it took me by Hammarskog as well on the way home.

This is just a short glimpse into the areas go over the most or are among my favourites (so far).  Hopefully, I’ll get a few albums settled and linked soon.


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