Strawberry Fields Forever........Hum that tune!
Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
86Trip End Ongoing
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But before we get onto the strawberries (so very yummy), a cautionary tale about travelling with bicycles.
We arrived in Sweden a little ruffled, transporting our new bikes proved to be a bit harder than we had envisaged......just getting on the train proved to be either crazy expensive or not allowed
Now back to the strawberries......have you ever picked a strawberry straight from the vine and put it in your mouth? If you haven't....then I suggest you do, slightly warmed from the sun, a rich dark red and bursting with sweet strawberry juice, there is really nothing like it.....two weeks of one for the bucket and one for me and we are still not sick of them. Strawberries on our cereal for breakfast, strawberries all day for snacks, strawberry daquiris for the midsummer party, strawberries and cream, strawberries and chocolate cake, or just strawberries for dessert.......YUM!!
If you haven't already guessed we have been working on a strawberry farm for the last two weeks. We arranged it through a website called help exchange - we work for 5 hours a day, they feed us and give us a bed for night, and we get the afternoons and weekends off to explore the local area....a pretty fair deal, and a good way to spend some time in an expensive country like Sweden. With about 20 hours of daylight, after a few hours of work there's plenty of time for other things. At this time of year the sun sets about 11pm, then we have dusk for abour 4 hours before the next sunrise.....pretty special and a little hard to get used to. It's difficult to imagine the opposite.....only 4 hours of light......a metre or so of snow and minus 30, for 5 or 6 months. Not one Swede told us they liked the winter.
Well, I guess it's a lucky thing the strawberries tasted so good, they became a very important reward for all the work that had to be done. Strawberries aren't the only thing growing in the strawberry fields.....that's right weeds grow there too, a lot of weeds and it was our job in the mornings to remove them and make space for the strawberry vines, as well as make the fields more accessible for the self pickers who came to the farm
After a few days of weeding and the peak of the strawberry picking done it was time to celebrate the longest day of the year.......Midsummer. It reminded us a little of Christmas in Australia. A long hot summer day, all the family and friends around, and an abundance of food and alcohol. However there were a few key differences, namely the pickled herring, the schnapps and the karaoke.....! We tried the herring in all its many forms but I don't think it's going to become a favourite of ours, unlike the schnapps which was rather tasty but also rather dangerous....which leads us to the karaoke
On our days off, we decided to hit the road.....yes on bikes, and we decided to pedal them this time, and not try to put them onto some other mode of transport. It would be a test ride, to see if we liked travelling this way (yes, a bit late now) and check that we had everything we needed. We decided to explore a few of the nearby towns and headed to a very beautiful little town called Mariefred, about 45km away. Sweden was kind to us, we had cycle paths, pretty green countryside, mostly flat roads and very courteous Volvo drivers giving us plenty of room when they passed.
As well as testing our legs, we tested out a very curious Swedish law, "allemansrätten", which is the right of everyone to public access. Apparently you can camp anywhere for one night without permission as long as you don't disturb and don't destroy
After our first successful cycling adventure we returned to our farm (Murraro), for a little more weeding, a lot more strawberies, a few swims in the lake, some more good times with our hosts and fellow help-xers before saying a sad goodbye and heading towards Stockholm. Surprisingly we didn't get sick of strawberries at all. In fact our two weeks on a strawberry farm made us even more passionate about them....seriously yummy!