Oland Sweden by bicycle

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.

012

Fishing hut.

014

One of the 400 Windmills on the island.

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!

018

Cute church near where I was staying.

For some reason I thought Oland was much smaller than it is. In fact it’s 16 km wide, and 136 km long! I covered a very small area today, and easily cycled 35-40 km. I was staying on the north end of the island, which I think is a bit more remote than the south end. There are so many nature parks here, with all sorts of different landscapes. Sandy beaches, rocky beaches, limestone formations, forests, cliffs and farm land. Oland is so beautiful, and despite the fact that it’s Sweden’s summer playground, not overly run amok with tourists, just lots of beautiful blonde people.
022

Rocky beaches

I didn’t hear English being spoken once in 2 days, well except for by the hostel owner. This is where the Swedes come for their holidays, and what a lovely place it is. You could easily spend a week or two here on Oland exploring. It reminded me a bit of Savary Island (in British Columbia) only like, 100 times bigger!
It’s funny, the town before you head over to Savary Island by water taxi is called Lund, and I saw a sign for a town called Lund right in the area as well, so maybe it was Swedes who first settled that area of the Sunshine Coast because it reminded them of home. I’ll have to look into that, because Oland certainly reminded me of home!

025
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.

The pavement turned into a dirt road and for about an hour I was cycling along the shore. Is it possible to die of too much beauty? I felt like I was filling my vessel, just taking in as much as I could, stopping as much as I could and just taking it all in. I met a few of the Oland cows along the way.
033 2

Just one of the friendly beings you’ll meet on your ride.

033

037

049

053

058

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!

062

064

There’s an island off the coast of Oland called The Blue Maiden (see it FAR in the distance?)  Stefan, the owner of my hostel told me about the local myth regarding this island is that witches meet here right before Easter every year to party with the devil. Hmmm…

065

075

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!

086

088

092

How Swedish is this?

After that long ride I found a nice chair on the beach and dipped my toes into the Baltic Sea. Oland is paradise found.

105

 

Subscribe

For all the recipes, photo travel essays and ridiculously adorable photos of my dog subscribe so you won't miss a post.

,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Barefoot Reading: This Week’s Recommended Stories and Insights from Around the World - May 3, 2013

    [...] Bicycling around the isle of Oland, Sweden [...]

Leave a Reply

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On Linkedin