Day 6 C2C - 21.2 miles
We had breakfast at the hostel. So that you understand what ‘breakfast’ is in Sweden, it’s lots of cold meats (I can’t tell you more than that since I don’t eat any of it) and eggs. They say they are hard boiled, but to me they are not. The yoke is still very soft and mushy, and I can’t eat that. Oh, and they put caviar on their eggs. This is not the ‘normal’ caviar, it's a salty pinkish mush that comes in a tube (I did taste it). To me, it’s nasty. To the locals, you don’t eat eggs without it. There are also freshly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, OJ, ‘porridge’ (oatmeal), and breads with jam etc. And, of course, coffee. The Swedes must drink more coffee per capita than any other country!
Day 4 CDC - 18.6 miles
I woke as usual to the sounds of birds and broad daylight at 4am, but was actually able to go back to sleep till 5 when I got up and made coffee. It’s been raining since about midnight, but it is slowing down a bit. Its 6:30am now and Alie is stirring. Jorgen will be leaving us when we get to town. He has to work on his book but will meet back up with us in a week. (Jorgen, Jonas and Fransiska are the three ‘leaders’ of the hike). Alie and I hit the road at 8am and it was a road walk. The rain had basically stopped, but we were still in full rain gear. We got to Kosta at 9am, where we stopped at the co-op and bought some food and then to the hotel restaurant buffet. Kosta is one of the last vestiges of the Crystal Kingdom, with the second oldest glass factory in Sweden.
Day 2 CDC - 16.2 miles
We started our second day at about 7:45 am and finished about 4:15. I am an early riser – on the trail at home in America, I always wake up with the sun and birds (what ever that time is). In Sweden, the daybreak is about 3:30 am – the birds are singing in full force by 4am (and yes, Cuckoo birds will drive you cuckoo with their non-stop “Cuckoos”!). I try to sleep in till 5am and everyone else gets up around 7:30 or 8:00am. I’m of the school ‘10X10’ or ‘12X12’, aka twelve miles by noon. I also like to be finished hiking by 5 or 6 pm, but here they hike till 10pm – after all the sun doesn’t set till about that time. Not once did I have to use my headlamp. Even at midnight, there is an orange glow on the horizon.
5/16/17 - Other than a 1 hour delay, my luggage and I arrived in Sweden intact (even though I flew United Airlines!!!). I took the ‘important items’ such as my sleeping bag and tent as carry-on luggage – items that I could not replace if my checked baggage was lost. Having shifted my 'clock' the few days before I left (I woke up an hour earlier each day) I didn't feel jet lagged at all. Jonas (a fellow hiker) met me at the train station and together we went to Fransiska’s apartment (another hiker) to drop off my luggage. Then, it was back to town to meet up with Fransiska. We hung out in Stockholm and went to dinner at a lovely restaurant in a photography museum on the waterfront. Early Saturday morning, we took the train back into downtown, dropped my suitcase off at the hotel I stayed at after the trip, and caught yet another train for a 4 hour ride to Kalmar where the hike will start. It was here I was introduced to the Swedish national pastry: a cinnamon roll called, “Kanelbulle". The old town of Kalmar is quaint, full of little shops and cobblestone streets. The hostel we stayed at was also very nice and clean. We then met up with the rest of the hikers and had a few beers (not me though! I've been spoiled by craft brews in Asheville!).
This month, LightHeart Gear founder Judy Gross will be taking on the Coast2Coast hike across Sweden, and we can’t wait to hear all about the adventure. She will be trekking from the eastern coast of the Baltic in Kalmar to the western coast in Varberg, with the total distance around 248 miles. The event has been held annually since 2013, and attracts hikers from all over the globe. Coast2Coast Sweden was originally organized by Jörgen Johansson and Jonas Hållén, who continue to aid as guides for the event each year.