to the east coast

after packing, cleaning up a bit and hugging everybody goodbye, we hop into the car for the road east. today’s goal is to reach Öland, according to Google Maps a five hour drive and 389 km. seems slow, but there are very few highways in this area. we’ll have plenty of time to visit stuff on the way but decide to save it up for Öland itself. we stop in one of the small towns on the way for lunch and buy sandwiches and cookies at a bakery. we take them to the nearby park and eat our food on a bench by the lake. aside from that it’s just a long slow drive, the roads are mostly one lane in each direction with maximum speeds between 40 km/h in villages and 90 km/h in the forests.

it seems desolate, but there must be loads of deer and elk in here. this point is proven to us when we pass by a car that had just had a fatal encounter with a deer – fatal for the deer, at least – so we keep an eye out for crossing wildlife. we had noticed roadkill already: foxes, badgers, squirrels, hares. the elk are most dangerous, such an encounter would be fatal for the people in the car, while the elk would probably walk away. we often see fences by the road and when the fence stops there is a sign warning of moose crossing, so it seems this is a risk they’re trying to minimize.

after a long drive we cross the long bridge to Öland, an island more than 130 km long, laying snug up to the southeastern coast of Sweden. we’re sleeping in Borgholm, but first we want to stop in Gråborg. Swedish is pronounced quite differently from what you would expect as a Dutch or English speaker. the g is often pronounced as a y (as in year, not baby), so Borgholm sounds like Boaryolm and Gråborg as Graoborye. we had much fun with Stenkallegården, where the k is pronounced as a sh.

Gråborg is the biggest of 17 forts found on the island. we take the short walk to the site of the fort, first crossing the meadows where the sheep are grazing. we see a hare sprint away, I’m always amazed at the length of their ears! we can walk inside the fort at the end: only the big exterior walls and gatehouse are left, but the size is amazing. onwards to Borgholm, we’re pretty tired so we want to relax a bit. the hotel is in the center of the old town near the harbour and we’re really happy to find out we have airconditioning. a short walk to the waterfront, a tepid shower and then a nice dinner in the gastronomic restaurant of the hotel.

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