When I heard about the island in Sweden known as the “Island of Windmills” I was like SIGN ME UP for that! There are about 400 of them on Oland, and they’re such an important part of the island landscape and culture that they’re protected monuments. To be honest, I didn’t actually see all that many of them, but I saw enough to feel satisfied.
Getting to the island was a little stressful. I needed to get on a bus in Kalmar and take it across the bridge to Oland. I had no idea which stop I needed to get off at to get to my hostel, and I was on the bus for 2 hours. It’s hard to relax when you don’t know if your stop is early on or late in the ride. I lucked out and got an English speaking bus driver who was very helpful and told me exactly where my stop was.
Oland is a fabulous island to cycle because it’s nice and flat. I hate hills. Yeah, I was always that kid walking her bike up the hills. I have to be honest here… I like it when things are easier than harder. I’ve never been one to challenge myself physically. I don’t care if I’m the first one at the top of the hill, or on the winning team. I’m just extremely un-competitive. And I like to go slow, so it’s probably better that I do these things alone. Well, unless you are someone who likes to go slow too, then you’re more than welcome to join me!
So I set off on my ride, map in hand. The sun was shining and I swear, the birds and butterflies were following along with as I rode along. I was cycling alongside farms with cows and sheep and windmills in the fields, when the road finally opened up and there was the ocean.
These are the limestone columns at Byrums Raukar. These are formed from the oceans constant eroding of the soft limestone, and the harder stone columns are what is left. There are about 120 of them right here in this spot, and this area of Oland is the only place you’ll find them. Large numbers of fossils are also found in this area as well, but I didn’t find any. Boo. I LOVE fossils!
I spent the rest of the day cycling making my way back home through some forest, then back inland through what I would have to call a wind tunnel. There is a GOOD reason why there are so many windmills on the island! It prompted the question, would I rather be able to go faster but be sweltering because there was no wind, or be cooler and have the wind slow me down? I decided to make my peace with the wind because cool wins over speed. But man, I was going slow. This was also at about hour 4 of my ride, and I was getting tired. I just wanted to get home, but according to the signs I was still 12 km away. Plus, my lady parts were really starting to smart from the bicycle seat. I toughed it out though and made it into town and had the BEST slurpee I’ve ever had in my entire life!
After that long ride I found a nice chair on the beach and dipped my toes into the Baltic Sea. Oland is paradise found.