If you look at a map of Sweden, it looks as though the east coast doesn’t end, so much as disintegrate, into the Baltic Sea. There are about 30,000 islands and an uncountable number of rocks and bumps peeking above the water, which was absolutely flat and calm for our entire stay. Many of the larger islands have small settlements of up to 300 year-round residents; these were originally mining towns that exploited deposits of iron ore, but now they just cater to tourists. (Iron ore. Remember that.) Some of the smaller islands are dotted with summer cabins, but most of the islands are too small to sustain more than a tent and a picnic. We saw sailboats everywhere, flocks and flotillas of them, and a much smaller number of private cabin cruisers and motorboats. The populated islands are served by a network of high-speed ferries.
For our bike trip, the hard work was all behind us—and a good thing, too. We couldn’t bear to get on the bikes. There was no place we had to go, except to meet our ferry for the next hop to another island, or to explore the pretty roads, beaches, and trails, which we could do on foot. We briefly contemplated renting bikes with cushy, fat seats on one island, but the damage was done; even that would be too painful until we healed. Oh, well. Except for that one issue, we were still having a great time exploring the islands of Omö and Utö.
Our last ferry trip deposited us right at Strömkajen, the dock at the edge of the old city center in Stockholm, in the late afternoon.This entry was posted in Vacation 2014: Europe