10 June 2020
Confronted by a very fast road without a cycle path, I abandon my plan to cycle to Ekeby, a small village that has kept its mediaeval structure and not moved all the farms out of the old village in connection with the eighteenth and nineteenth century land reforms, the so-called partitions.
I see from my map that I am close to Hässelby Park, which is also on my list. The guidebook is lyrical about its oak and other deciduous trees and I go there instead in the hope of walking through something like an English wood. But it’s rather a disappointment as there are too many sombre, acidic spruce and pine trees among the fresh green. Either I have not found the right place or it’s only lyrical to a Swedish eye, more accepting of the conifer as a fact of life. I’ll have to sit and dream in the English Park at Drottningholm instead.
I return by a roundabout route past Ulva kvarn, an old mill which has been there in various forms since the fourteenth century. The café is open and there’s hardly anyone around so I decide to risk an outdoor coffee, my first commercial coffee since I started my self-isolation (pics on my Facebook page).
I’m tempted to make a detour to Ärentuna again to see if I can get into the church but a headwind is dampening my euphoria. But I can cope with it and notice that I don’t feel I always need to get off and push my bike uphill. I’m getting used to riding a bike again and I even overtake a lady cyclist as I near home. I resist the temptation to shout at her as I overtake “you make me feel like Achilles”, which could be misunderstood (I have learnt not to make jokes in situations when I don’t have an explanatory leaflet (with footnotes). She would probably not have been quick enough to answer “surely, only like his vulnerable part.”
15-20 kilometres is enough for me and I’m glad to be back to start working on planning a summer trip around Uppland.