Utö and Ålö
The next morning we have breakfast outdoors and then make use of the bike tour we won last Christmas. We get a couple of sturdy bikes with balloon tires, buy us lunch in the local shop and then strike out to explore the map with secret bathing places we have been supplied with.
go on the left side of the road. We travel on wheel-track roads past green meadows with cows and sheep, the sun is warm without being hot (though I’ve taken the precaution of slathering myself with the usual SPF 50+) and it feels as if all the road is downhill. (We did start at sea level, but since we are moving southwards this must obviously be due to the curvature of the Earth…)
Eventually we cross a little bridge to Ålö, separated from Utö by the narrowest of sounds. Here is our first stop, we sit on a rock, looking on the sea and eating our lunch and then we just sit there and enjoy the day.
Soon we find ourselves by the centre piece of the firing range, a long rail track on which I surmise targets are pulled during exercises. A seriously shot-up skip stands by the track.
Now it is time to return to the harbour and get home. Rather tired by now, we pedal along sedately when I see something brownish moving out of the corner of my eye. Another squirrel, no, a dog, no, AN ELK! The elk jumps up on the road behind me and I, flustered, pedal away as fast as I can, wishing I had a ten-speed. Luckily the elk drops the chase after just a few steps and returns in among the trees without showing much interest in Honeybuns, so she soon rejoins me. We return along the side of the shooting range and while we have seen very few people all day, now returning bikers appear on all tributary roads, heading for the harbour. Soon we are a convoy, heading north.
Luckily the Earth has revolved enough that it’s still mostly downhill, because by now we are really tired. We return the bikes and sit down for a breather. We have dinner in the restaurant on the main street and then get on the boat.