At this point in my journey, I’m in Junosuando Sweden heading out for Stage 4 that will take me to Stockholm Sweden, to get Stockholm I decide to cycle through Findland and to the city of Turku Finland to take the ferry from Turku to Stockholm. To get to Turku my plan was to follow the coast down through Finland to Turku, when I reached Kokkola (Karleby) I decide to take a trip down to Tampere. Here is my story.
Junosuando to Kemi
I had extended my stay in Junosuando by 2 days, on the last night before my departure, I went over to Thord’s place, he served up his special Summer Drink, we had a few and a good laugh during the perfect evening. When I woke up the morning of departure Junosuando, I had a slight hangover.
I had no more time to stay another day, and who knows what would transpire in the evening if I stayed another night. So I opted for the bus, which would take my bicycle
I got on the bus with destination Haparanda, and my new plan was to get off in Haparanda and look for a hotel. The bus trip was straightforward, and I got the time to rest on the bus.
The bus went down the 395 and we passed by Pajala and then the road follows the Torne river that flows southeast into the Gulf of Bothnia near Haparanda/Tornio. This part of Sweden is really beautiful, I hope more people get to visit. In the summer the midnight sun is fantastic around this area.
The bus arrived in Övertorneå, the bus’s driver announced that there would be 30 minutes stop. I got out of the bus and walked around, there is a very beautiful old wooden church in Övertorneå worth the visit.
South of Övertorneå and before Kukkolaforsen the bus is passing the Arctic Circle and I left the arctic area. Kukkolaforsen is part of the Torne River that flowing out into the Gulf of Bothnia.
During the bus ride, I booked a room in Haparanda with Booking.com, when I got to Haparanda it was 13:00 I felt better than in the morning and I decided to cancel the room and jump on my bicycle to cycle to Kemi, Finland about 1 hour 30 minutes bike ride from the Haparanda bus station. The Torne River from Övertorneå to Haparnada the border between Sweden and Finland and wear the Torne River runs out into the Gulf of Bothnia there are two twin cities Haparanda on the Swedish side and Tornio on the Finnish side.
From the Haparanda bus station, it takes you 5 minutes to cross the tone river and you are in Tornio Finland.
At the Haparanda bus station, I got my bike out of the bus, made sure everything was working correctly( gears and breaks) and then I crossed the Torne River into Tornio Finland, I biked through Tornio towards Kemi – the cycle paths in Tornio was excellent with good signage for directions.
I felt ok but I did some small mistakes like not eating enough, that morning I just had a light breakfast and I did not have enough supplies of food and water. The weather was really hot, around 30 celsius – I just went for it. I don’t know why I did not eat properly by this affected me the whole trip to Stockholm.
Eating even if you are not hungry is very important for a cyclist that is on a long tour.Totta
The ride to Kemi was easy, it was flat, not many hills, and when the hills came they were very small. There was almost a cyclepath all the way between Tornio and Kemi, just a small stretch I was cycling on the main road.
I bumped into some guys out on just regular bicycles. They started following me, so I speeded up and kept a tempo that they could not follow and within minutes I was on my own. I slowed down outside Kemi, as I was looking for a place to eat and drink, they caught up to me at that point they just went past me. I thought they were out to rob me, you can not be too careful.
In Kemi I had booked a hotel room, I got to the hotel and checked into the room, the hotel had a washing machine for hotel guests. So I washed all my dirty clothes and then I went out to a supermarket to by al the supplies I need for the next few days, I also made sure I had dinner in the restaurant before I tucked myself away in bed. I had some concerns about my bicycle as I had to leave it outside the hotel.
Kemi to Oulu
The next morning my bicycle was still there when I woke up, I was happy. Gather all my clothes, packed my bags and got the bicycle ready and headed out. I had eaten enough the night before and had a good breakfast, I felt a bit sluggish. This is what happens when I did not take care of my body, too much drinking days before in Jubosuando and not enough food the day before.
I got going, had a long day in front of me on the bicycle, the weather was still hot with a temperature around 30 celsius.
It was an easy ride to Oulu or Uleåborg as we say it in Swedish. Oulu is located at the mouth of the Oulu River on the Gulf of Bothnia. It has a really nice harbour front, it was a market when I arrived with lots of people out walking around. I made a decision to sit down as I thought I had some time before heading to the apartment that I had booked with Airbnb.
I enjoyed the time sitting on a bench at the Oulu harbour, I thought I had the time it turned up that I have miscalculated the time as Finnish time was one hour ahead of the Swedish and while in Kemi I had not noticed anything of that. Due to the mixup in time, I almost lost the opportunity to take possession of the apartment I booked. I arrive late to the building where the apartment was located, there were some people talking at the next entrance to the building, so I went over and one of the ladies said are you Torbjorn. yes, I’m.
She was the mother of the woman that owned the apartment I had rented for the night, she took me to the apartment and showed me around and left. I brought all my bags and bicycle inside, walked over to a nearby supermarket, bought what I needed for my dinner and for the next day as I had almost finished all the supplies I bought the day before that was going to last a while. I must have been very hungry on my way to Oulu.
I got back to the apartment, made my dinner and switch on the TV, the world cup was still on, don’t remember if it was the semifinal or the final that I was watching it did not take long before I was soundly sleeping.
Oulu to Kokkola
I woke up early, felt ok, had breakfast cleaned up the apartment packed my bags, and got my bike ready for a day of cycling. My goal for the day was Kokkola about 200 km, it would be a long day on the bike.
Kokkola in Swedish is Karleby, and this part of Finland has been influenced by Swedish history. When I got to Kokkola I was worried that I would not reach Turku to catch my ferry in time as I would need another 3 days to cycle to Turku following the coastline.
I only had two days to do it, I also learn that the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships was at the time held in Tampere and I love to watch athletics, my choice was easy to make.
I jumped on the next train to Tampere from Kokkola, I arrive in the evening in Tampere. While on the train I used the Airbnb app to book a room in an apartment outside of Tampere in the suburb of Peltolammi. After getting off the train it was a 20 minutes bicycle ride to the apartment, this apartment was a mother and son that rented out a room, I settle into the room and put my bike in the bicycle room in the apartment building.
As Ikea was not far from the apartment building I went over there to have my late dinner, I think that Ikea is a great option to eat on a budget, and Ikea has the cheapest nutritious food that I know of so I had a good meal before heading back to the apartment to sleep.
The next morning I woke up really early, I got ready packed and cleaned up the room I spent the night in and headed. I was going to watch a bit of the morning session of the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships, before heading to Turku. Before I got back into Tampere Stadion to watch the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships, I stopped at a lake and had a swim and ate my breakfast.
Tampere – Turku
I found Tampere to be a beautiful town between two lakes, lots of green areas and parks. I got to see a bit of the morning session of the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships at the Tampere Stadion. I was satisfied to have had that experience and headed out towards Turku.
The bicycle ride to Turku was fairly flat, with some small hills to climb, but it seemed to be more downhills run on the way. In Turku, I had booked a room in a house in the outskirt of the town. I found the house and had a brief chat with the owners a Finnish(male)/Chinese(female) couple.
After I had put my bags in the room, I headed to the town as I wanted to eat an Indian dinner that evening, I followed the instructions from the couple and biked through the town to the Indian restaurant. It was a beautiful evening, and lots of people out walking along the Aura river that flows across the city of Turku.
I had my dinner, headed back to my room when I got a flat tire, so I had to walk back with my bike as I had not taken any spares with me. During the walk I was passed by what I thought another bike packer when I walked through a park not far from the room that I had rented, I saw the person in the park young women and she did not notice me when I passed by her as she was busy injecting something into herself.
I did not interfere and moved on back to my room, before I went to bed I fixed my puncture, my second puncture on the trip after the first one I had in Denmark at the beginning of my trip.
Turku – Stockholm
My ferry to Sweden would depart at 7:30, I got up early did the same routine as on other stayovers, packed my bags, had breakfast got my bike ready and said goodbye and headed out. I rode down to the river ferry that would take me to the side of Turku that the ferry to Sweden goes from. The river ferry crosses the Aura River, this morning was so beautiful with the sunrise that was mirrored on the river water.
On the way to the Ferry station, I visit was a brief moment the Turku Castle. The ferry to Sweden is a regular ferry, it is not the first time I’m in Turku as I was growing up in Stockholm I have to visit Turku and Helsinki many times before.
I checked in to the Ferry, through the same gates as cars. I waited in line tills I was told were to go with my bike, so I took the bike and looked it up. Went into the Ferry and found a nice place to sit. As this was a morning ferry, there would not be many partying people, I was wrong there were a few that were drinking.
You may not know this, these ferries are a popular destination for a party of people to have fun, so if you take the evening ferry you would not arrive before the next morning in Sweden or Finland, onboard are bars, restaurants, nightclub you can have a great night on board. I was on the morning ferry, mostly older people that later in the day onboard were playing bingo or danced to Finish dance music.
On the way to Sweden the ferry stops in Mariehamn Aland, this is one of the first place I visit outside of Sweden as a child. Was a bit nostalgic to recognise the harbour in Mariehamn. After the offloading and loading of cars and trucks the ferry continue towards Stockholm.
From Mariehamn the ferry reaches the Stockholm Archipelago, Stockholms Archipelago is the largest archipelago in Sweden and the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea. The Stockholm archipelago is a cluster of some 30,000 islands, skerries and rocks and begins just a few minutes away from the city of Stockholm.
The day was very warm and sunny, so I went to the open deck and just enjoyed the cruise into Stockholm.
When I arrived in Stockholm, I cycled to my father’s place outside town, where my sister was living as my father had passed away the year before. I was going to stay 2 weeks before heading back towards Amsterdam.
During these two weeks, I would work as we had started remote work at the organization I am working for. The remote work was mainly done in the department I work in.