I see red!

by

Osby to Alvesta by train; Alvesta to Vaxjo

If you are Swedish and wondering what colour to paint your house, go for red!

Europe is experiencing a heat wave and drought, having had little or no rain for over a month. Here in Sweden it is hot and dry – I reckon mid-30s temperature again today and more to come. We have seen withered crops of beet and corn and brown lawns everywhere. The heat might be good for drying off grain, some of which is now being harvested.

After a rather punishing day on the road yesterday, we changed the parameters. All advice had been that it was not possible to take bikes on Swedish trains, but we had seen evidence that this was not true. Therefore a train ride (hot & stuffy but fast at over 150kph) from Osby to Alvesta gave our legs a break for which they are thanking us. It is so hot that any patch of shade on the road and any brief cloud cover provides welcome relief.

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Proof – you can take your bike on a Swedish train!

Alvesta has a lake (shallow) so we had a swim. I impressed a Swedish grandma walking with her toddler grandson by playing my ukulele in the shade of a tree. We patronised Cafe St Clair in the main street – I gave it a high hygge rating (Danish for stylish and cosy), great for winter but not the right feel for a heat wave.

We mooched along to Vaxjo, stopping for more rest at Harlov and then for a second swim in another lake, this one almost neck deep!

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We met our WarmShowers host, Pieter, in the main pedestrian street of Vaxjo. He is a physics lecturer at the Linnaeus University (Linnéuniversitetet) and a recumbent rider.

Pieter took us to a free outdoor pop concert featuring a Swedish band with lead singer made up Tim Minchin-style and wearing sheer black stockings and sequinned mini-skirt. Then delicious dinner at cool Kafe de Luxe and ride home in the deepening twilight beside the lake, through the university campus and past the Växjö Echo Tower.

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