Feet are dancing on New Year’s Day

Since I moved to Lund, it’s always been very easy for me to visit my parents. The comfort of Regional Bus no. 5 makes the distance in a little less than an hour. But when seeking more than comfort, the opportunity is always there to exchange the bus for a 9-hour walk.

I think both me and Katrin were quite excited, packing our rucksacks with leftovers from the gourmet dinner we had had last eve. We departed from my parents home a little after noon and trotted off on a narrow forest trail, headed for Lund.

Arriving at the east side of Sjöbo, we walked through an around-the-year camp site and we were amazed that some people were still living there at this time of year. For some it might have been a home away from home. But to some of the caravan owners this was probably their real home.

Taking the scenic route, we navigated our way into a military training area that belongs to the Southern Scanian Regiment P7. Katrin got a bit freaked out about the signs warning us not to touch any unexploded ordnance we might stumble upon. I reassured her that the odds were in our favour in this matter, and on we went.

For an hour we walked a long service road while talking like mad about everything and anything. About 15 kilometres into the walk we took a short break, watching the fog move over the water of Vombsjön. After some more kilometres we traded the sheltered forest for a breezy grey heath were the clouds lay low and the fog was quite thick. We had arrived at the edge of Revingehed.

Having walked deep into the heath, a sound was building up in the distance, coming closer and becoming stronger. What was that? A little later we realized that it was flocks of geese resting in the fields on both sides of the road. Quite big flocks of them judging by the level of noise. The fog was so thick that we couldn’t see them.

Katrin had stopped to take some stones out of her shoe. They came at us from the left.  It was a coordinated attack that took us by surprise. Splat-splat-splat-splat. It sounded like hard rain but we realized that a flock of geese had just flown over us while shitting collectively. We were so relieved that neither of us got hit. That would have been a demoraliser with about 20 kilometres left to go. We went on, leaving the geese be. Obviously we were not welcome in their neck of the heath.

By now the walk had grown tough for both of us, but for my part I really enjoy that kind of challenge and discomfort. Being a bit frozen. Cold raindrops on my face. Tired legs. Passing into and later through the mental low points. Due to the company,  my mood was quite high all through, but usually I go through many phases and moods, highs and lows, during a continuous long distance venture.

The only thing bothering me at times was my achy feet. I think they were quite filled with blood, due to both gravity and muscular activity that was going on down there. There were times when I felt the need to stop and flick my ankles, stretching them slightly before I could continue.

After a long patch of dirt roads through Revingehed,  we arrived in Södra Sandby with only 10 kilometres left to walk. The last part that went along the cycle path to Lund felt like forever. My feet were aching, but still going strong and letting me move forward. Last time I walked such distance in FiveFingers my feet got very tired and quite swollen. This time they felt fine.

We arrived at the east of Lund, we had already planned to take a city bus from here – the same one that we just missed by a minute. Luckily we caught another one in no time. Back home I walked into the shower, cold and stiff, but with a strong sense of satisfaction and happiness in my mind.

Thanks to Katrin for this shared experience.

new-years-walk(approx. 40 kilometres in 9 hours.)

Halcyon

I had just taken my shoes of and was now running barefoot on a narrow trail through a forest in Saaremaa, an island outside the west coast of Estonia. I was seriously lacking my motivation points at the beginning of the run, but now – I was feeling great.

Increasing my cadence, suddenly I felt light and as if my legs effortlessly was carrying me forrward. A sounds caught my ear that wasn’t coming from any inhabitant of the forest – but from a human. As I was running, the sound came closer and closer.

Then I could make out what it was. An engine of some sort – a chainsaw I though. I hit a crossroad and my curiosity steered my towards the origin of the sound. Through the trees I could see a man wearing an orange helmet – working a brushcutter in the distance. As I watched him, he suddenly stopped his power tool and I walked towards him.

Just then, a heavy roar of thunder came from above. I greeted him in Estonian, then switching to English, asking him what he was doing. He answered me in fluent English that he was clearing the grass under an electric fence, because the grass would work as a ground when wet – disturbing the electric wire.

On the other side of the fence roamed fifteen Highland Cattle in an forested area – so big that he hadn’t seen any of them on his two kilometre walk inside their pen. He was from Finland, working in Saaremaa. And he had about two more kilometres of grass to cut that day. Leaving him to his work, I shook his hand and said goodbye.

I approached the beach of Triigi , which was my turn-around point, when the sky really opened up above me. The sea lay completely clear before me. It was only disturbed by the thousands of rain-droplets and some blows of wind that was gently stroking the surface. It looked like and endless, flat desert of water with the rain bouncing of its surface. The eastern wind moved a bank of clouds across the ocean, covering the horizon in a haze of low rain clouds.

After dipping my toes in the sea I turned around, heading for home. It was as if I was running through a shower, the water soaking my clothes almost instantly. I took my shirt of several times on the way home, squeezing the water from it to keep me from getting to cold. Running home was a play with nature. Pulling my feet through puddles of water and landing them in thick mud that massaged my bare soles.

I stopped for milk and eggs at the local grocery-store and the cashier-lady just smiled when I handed her the soaking five-Euro note that I had carried in my pocket.

Joostes üle Saaremaa

The car came to a stop at the side of the road and I jumped out, saying goodbye to the father of my girlfriend, and he drove away. I sat myself down at the side of the road, looking over the food-supply that I was carrying with me in my rucksack.

food-supply
I had hitched a ride to Kuressaare, a town on the south coast of the island Saaremaa. Strapping the rucksack to my back, I began trotting in the direction where we had driven from. I was feeling a bit stiff and did a quick warm-up followed by some light stretching. I continued running about a kilometre, to get in the right mode, until I stopped again and ate my first package of yoghurt outside a roadside B&B.

Running on the shoulder of the big asphalt road leading North from Kuressaare, I felt fresh, although my destination was far away. I was passing golden fields, little patches of thick forest, and occasional remnants of the Soviet Union’s grasp of Estonia.

sovjet-ommissions
Every time a car gave me extra room on the road, I would wave my hand to show my gratitude. I think about half of the people waved back to me, and it felt great every time.

I had stopped, reaching for a bottle of milk inside my rucksack, only finding that something wasn’t right. I pulled it out, it was covered in mango yoghurt. I guess I can’t blame the producers for not making the tin-foil lid resistant to bouncing around my backpack for hours. I drank the remainders and moved on. Soon after, my stomach started to complain about the stupendous yoghurt intake.

stomach
Running wasn’t as easy as I remembered it. Maybe my pace was to high. The warm weather had left the back of my tank top soaked through and my forehead was dripping with salty sweat. I was hurting in many places, my feet especially. Still, I needed to get home.

I had gone out hard, leaving me with fewer resources in the second half of my run. This was when things got really hard. The road signs showing me how long I had to go seemed to be playing tricks on me. The distance between the signs saying thirteen and ten kilometres felt more like seven. While relieving myself in a ditch alongside the road, I did find some motivation in the form of blackberries.

blackberries
Suddenly I saw that there was something blocking the road ahead. Cows. Some farmers were moving cows from one pasture to another. I heard a car coming from far behind us and I realized the speed limit was probably ninety kilometres-per-hour here.

As there were cows standing motionless in the middle of the road, I turned around, making the sign for slowing down with my arms. It took a while, but eventually the approaching Chrysler showed signs of slowing down  to a complete halt. The farmers rushed their cows to cross and the car could eventually pass.

I walked up to the guy standing closest to me and asked him in English if they had moved all of the cows now. Silence. I tried with some hand gestures. He just shook his head at me. Too tired to keep trying, I decided to run along. Either he didn’t speak English, or he just didn’t care for mingling with strangers like me.

cows
“Now it’s starting to feel quite tough,” I spoke towards the camera that was bobbing in my hand. “Blisters on the insides of my feet, a slight pain in the left footpad, stiff calves and knees, nothing in the hips, some tension in my torso and back. I’m tired, very tired. But I don’t think I have very far to go, hopefully about three kilometres, but it’s going slow.”

running-tired
My posture was bad, my body was hurting and often my stride would turn into a walk. I would set my sight on the patch of road turning out of my view in the far distance, hoping that the gas station right outside of the village would be just behind it. For many curves, it never was. There was just another one in the far distance.

Until finally, it was. And when I saw the gas station, I knew that I was very close, and some of the pain in my tight muscles disappeared. Now that the end was close, the fatigue I felt was joined by another feeling. Drunkenness. I had reached Leisi, a village on the North coast of Saaremaa that I rode away from in the morning. My destination was the village store, and when it suddenly and finally appeared behind a bush  well, I’ll tell you it was a good feeling and a sight for sore legs. I did some shopping, and jogged the last bit home.

map-of-saaremaa
It was not until the day after, that I realized I actually had run across the whole island in a South-to-North direction. I measured the distance to 39,5 kilometres. Standing outside the little village shop, the clock on my cell phone had displayed 17:05. Taking the starting time of 12:06 in perspective, it took me 4 hours and 59 minutes.

Sense of achievement!

Hitches full of stitches

Me and my friend Kristoffer were going out for a run, starting from the centre of Lund and bound eastward towards Skrylle. He was wearing Fivefingers while I went barefoot.

We ran, talking with high spirits as we flew over Lund’s cobblestone-streets. We were running south on Tornavägen, next the botanical garden heading south, when suddenly, Kristoffer started to jump on one leg followed by an outburst of pain.

“I think this is the end of our run my friend”, he said to me.

Assuming that he’d sprained his foot I turned around, expecting to see a big root or something. That’s when I spotted a broken glass-bottle sticking out of the ground.
Broken side up.

Taking his shoe off, blood in different colours dripped onto the pavement. I cleaned out the wound with water from my Camelback – spraying it in the wound – and started to lay down a protective bandage.

Conveniently – and much appreciated – this is when two women stopped their car and offered us a lift to the hospital.

kristoffer-bleeding

While waiting to see the orthopaedist, Kristoffer decided to stick the remainder of a sparerib in between his bandages to imitate a bone sticking out.

When we finally got admitted, the nurse asked what kind of injury he suffered from.

- “Well, I have this loose piece of bone here and it sort of hurts when I pull on it”, Kristoffer said. Grabbing the “bone” and pulling it out.

The initial confusion the nurse must have felt soon turned into laughter, and the mood for the whole visit was set.

After a number of questions and a general check up we were left to wait for the doctor. We hanged out in the examination room until Kristoffer hopped away to take a leak. Instead of doing so, he spotted a young female whom he suspected was a medical student.

- “You look like you want to become a doctor!”, he yelled and pointed at the young girl.

He wasn’t wrong. Assisted by a nurse the medical student started to feel out Kristoffer’s damaged goods. After a couple of – according to Kris, very painful – shots of anaesthesia and some minor poking, the doctor arrived and took over the scene.

Laying down more anaesthesia the doctor shoved his finger up the cut (actually passing the skin where all the nerve endings are present) and felt around after shards of glass. He didn’t find anything.

The medical student was left to sew up the cut and then the nurse put a new bandage on. We said goodbye and left the building.

stiched-up

As I had suspected, the process of getting home wasn’t going to be easy. Kris was limited to jumping short distances on one foot – a little longer if I was supporting him.

I went back to get him a crutch. Now, neither one of us had ever used crutches before and we made the mistake of only bringing one crutch. In the meanwhile Kristoffer had found a car willing to take us along. The two guys in the car were friendly and chatty. We dropped Kris off and since they were headed west, I tagged along for the ride.

The two guys were painters, just returning from having hung their paintings in a new wing of the hospital. They dropped me off half way home and I ran the last stretch.

Then I went dumpster-diving. But that’s another adventure all in itself.

Pushing the limits

During this adventure I discovered something very exciting about running which completely changed the way I look at it. I discovered that it’s not all about the legs or the feet, but that there are other aspects that can aid you in almost a magical way.

One evening in the spring of 2013 I was skyping with my good friend Kristoffer, when we slided onto the subject of endurance and at one point he asked me, “What’s the furthest that you have ever run?”.

I had to the furthest run a distance of 30 kilometres, and to break that we decided that tomorrow, we are going to run 31 kilometres. After we’d hung up I thought, “damned, that is going to be tough”.

My doubts had settled the next day and I was up early, frying pancakes to bring with on the run. The weather was sunny but not to warm. We packed and divided in our backpacks, nuts, pancakes and 3 litres of water. Before leaving I filled up my stomach with oatmeal, sour-milk, bread, half a sausage and some tea.

We set off around noon and navigated ourselves eastward out of Lund. The running was easy and the golden rape fields gave us a spectacular background for our odyssey. We swung our legs left and away from the highway onto a smaller tarmac road that meandered through the landscape. High spirits drove us forward as we with guesswork navigated to Skrylle (forest east of Lund). When we got there we took a break, jamming down some pancakes and drinking plenty of water.

kristoffer-running

Before leaving Lund we had made up a route and estimated that it would be just over 38 kilometres. A little more then planned but not enough to discourage either one of us. At this point we estimated that we had run 14 kilometres and were now about to take on the 10 kilometre trail throughout the Skrylle forest.

The trail which our feet trod upon were smooth, rocky and often moist. Sometimes our path took shape of a wider gravel road but for the most part we ran on narrow single-track trails. The later part of the trail turned out to be quite hilly and challenging for the lungs. We came out of the forest and arrived back at the recreational centre which was filled with school-kids having a field trip. We took a 15 minute break, filling our stomachs and emptying our bladders.

skrylleskogen

With 24 kilometres behind us and 14 to go we took of for the end show. But I wasn’t tired. It felt strange since I was struggling with finishing a half marathon just the other day. But there I were, running alongside my friend and everything just worked. We kept a steady pace and our routines for food and water had been solid. I remember I was pondering this and I think it struck me then. I was still running because Kristoffer was still running besides me.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but I had imagined it to be harder. At one point Kristoffer felt his knee a bit and we slowed down and did some walking. When it felt better again we returned to our jogging pace. Then there were micro pauses of goofing around, taking pictures, which probably helped a lot.

dan-running

Entering Lund we were still struggling with both our legs and the mental game because there was still one or two kilometres left to go. But the last kilometre we ran quite fast, pushing away the pain and fatigue. Arriving back at down-town Lund after 4 hours and 56 minutes.

Maybe you’ve guessed it. But what I discovered that day was to which extent the mental game played a role. More specific it was a social factor. We were strong as a unit and helped each other along the way. Both directly with verbal motivation but more to it indirectly. I didn’t want to fail him, and I didn’t want him to fail. That made me stronger.

kristoffer

You would think that there is a linear equation for running controlled by our bodies physical performance capacity, determining how far we can run. But with running I claim that there is this big X-factor which is the brain, not only being able to produce a plenitude of hormones into your bloodstream, but also determining spirit and very much influenced by surrounding factors.

This was me pushing the limits. Next time I’ll push it some more.

rape-field

Hangover mountain

We left from our apartment at nine o’clock with rucksacks strapped to our backs and with headlamps on our foreheads. We were dressed to withstand any weather the mountain would throw at us and had slimmed down our gear to bare minimum.

Since we were a little behind schedule we had to run flat out to catch the bus that was going to take us to the foot of Mount Ulriken, the highest of the seven mountains that surround the city of Bergen. With hearts pounding we made it on to the bus and due to the hangover we both had acquired from last nights social interactions it was a delight sinking down in the seats of the bus after the sprint.

It was the last day of December and New Year’s Eve was upon us. This year I wanted something different from the last couple of celebrations I had attended and after pitching the idea to my friend Kristoffer we decided to see the fireworks from above for a change.

The bus arrived at the university hospital, from where we continued on foot to the base of the aerial tramway leading to the top. It was already dark and we struggled with finding our way. At last we found a sign with a big map of all the trails on the mountain. We studied the map for a while, mapping our route before leaving the street-lit road and heading onwards (and upwards) on dark trails  unsuspecting of the fact that we were actually walking down the wrong road.

We soon decided to leave the trail and instead follow the big deforested path under the tramway. That path appeared to be filled with debris and this in combination with the steep slope made me gasp hard for air with each step I took into the darkness. We decided to abandon this path as well.

After hiking sideways we ran into a trail that we then followed upwards as we were listening to the banging sounds from below echoing from the mountain-sides. If I hadn’t known that it was New Year’s Eve, I would have more likely thought that central Bergen had turned in to a war-zone being bombarded with heavy artillery.

As we followed the new trail we soon realized that we were losing altitude  quite the opposite of what we wanted to achieve. After studying our map and triangulating our position with the help of the power lines above, we made the decision to backtrack until we encounter the correct trail that actually would lead us towards the top.

Eventually we still ended up following the deforested path under the tram cable (not the path we intended). The terrain was now more easy and we gained meter after meter in vertical distance. When coming across the track designated for downhill cyclists (which I knew started close to the top) we once again changed our plans in the light of what we encountered in the now. We had now reached an altitude where the ice still lay thick on the ground and we had to keep our balance not to fall risking sliding off the face of the mountain.

The landscape changed and we left the forest for bare rock. The big radio tower that from the foot of the mountain had looked very tiny and distant was now tall and proud, shining upon us with a strong red spotlight. We spotted the last of the poles connected to the tramway and went off the track to walk straight towards it. We walked through thick vegetation where the ground beneath it had spots of ice which made it very difficult to walk at a good pace without falling.

Although we were very close to the top, we were far from finished. We walked over a small crest and by then the wind had increased in force and in front of us was a section of thick ice over bare rock. We had to shift our weight and keep a low centre of mass in relation to the wall, almost crawling upwards. The foot-grips and handholds were few and I was very scared having the steep slope of the mountain behind my back. We slowly moved forwards. Step by step. Grip by grip.

We prevailed the climbing and now a stairway appeared above us, leading to the top-station. We walked it, careful not to trip and fall on this last segment of the ascent. Once we reached the top we walked out on the platform overlooking the city. While looking over the city lights below, I spotted from the corner of my eye a shape moving towards us. A man appeared and suddenly we were accompanied by a Norwegian named Arne who had also decided to spend New Year’s Eve on the mountain.

Our view was concealed by the rain-clouds moving in and we walked downwards a bit to clear the clouds and get a better view of the fireworks. When we got down our watches showed five minutes to twelve and soon the fireworks increased in strength. Suddenly the sky was covered in lightning bolts and colourful explosions. The three of us remained standing for a while before descending the mountain together.

fireworks-bergen

Running log #20052013

I did a 4 kilometres barefoot run in the morning. Encountered a swan who wouldn’t let us pass. When I approached it with lifted arms to try to scare it off it just hizzed and lifted its wings in return. We chose a detour through the nettles.

In the afternoon I went out for a long run which turned out to be 18 kilometres whereof 13 where done barefoot. I experimented with chalk to keep my feet from cracking. It worked well.

At kilometre 13 my soles where quite tender and I was glad to have packed my Fivefingers in my rucksack. It was a great comeback and the runs were great.

In the middle of night

It was an evening in the early summer of 2012 when I decided to go for a walk. I first finished my chemistry homework and then I put on the soundtrack from Rambo III. Maybe I was harbouring hope that I in my own adventure would reflect the tough and strong Rambo.

I started packing my rucksack with a sleeping bag, a change of clothes and a rain shelter. I also brought sandwiches, blueberry soup, chocolate, water and some parmesan cheese (apparently fat and salt are good for going long distances).

At 22:00 I walked out the door wearing light clothing and with Fivefingers on my feet. I was heading to the home of Kristoffer’s father, Peter, whom I had planned to visit for some time. I didn’t know if he would be home. I didn’t know how far it was to his house. But I knew down which road I had to walk.

I walked easy across the city and reached the countryside where I walked past city-limits of Lund marked with and old stone besides the road. It was a dark evening but the sky in the horizon was lit by cities far away. I tried to guess which ones. I hadn’t really figured out my route but I hoped that I’d find signs leading to Genarp, which is a small town along my route.

street-lights

I tried to run for a bit, but instantly felt a taste of blood in my mouth. So instead I stopped for some chocolate and a sandwich. In case my motivation would suffer I had my iPod resting in my pocket. But for the time being I was just listening to the absence of the city sounds that usually are so hard to get away from.

I stopped right in my tracks when a run over rabbit appeared at the roadside, or maybe I should say run apart. Half the bunny was gone and all that was left was the internal organs and a bloody mess. I stood there examining the corpse, having a hard time imagining that it once was a living, feeling and hopping animal.

walking

I continue towards Genarp and when I reached there it felt like a victory. I was on the right track and now entering the Häckeberga forest, which turned out to be filled with animals roaming in the night. Every now and then I spotted a roe deer in the weak light from my headlamp.

After a long time of walking both the forest and the sky opened up in front of me. Dawn was rising and I refueled in a wobbly old hunting tower. Fields of grain sprawled across the land, shining like gold in the light from the rising sun. I didn’t feel tired any more, the doubts I had in the beginning had been obliterated and the fact that I was going the reach my destination was as certain to me as that the sun was would continue rising. By now I had walked for six hours. The time was 04:30.

golden-fields

For a while I felt a small stiffness in my left foot and now it had developed into a strain that delivered a sharp pain from the inside of the foot. Heavy clouds approach from the west and I was really hoping to avoid being rained on. Asphalt turns into gravel and I felt happy that the end was near. The last kilometres of my journey I do with a limp. I consider putting up my hammock at the side of the road and sleep, but I chose to push on.

From over the top of the last hill Peter’s house appeared and from the looks of his car he seemed to be home. I took out my sleeping bag and laid down in a sunny spot on the east side of his garden. The time was 06:45 and I fell asleep immediately.

At 09:00 I woke up to the sound of raindrops hitting my sleeping bag. I crawled into my rain cover and stayed there for another half an hour before I walked around the house and knocked on the front door.

“Come in!”, a rough voice shouts from inside the kitchen.

I enter and Peter cracked up in a big smile when he recognized me. We took a walk in his garden, he showed me the guest house that he was renovating and he treated me to a nice (and well needed) breakfast. We talked for a couple of hours before I decided it was time for me to head home.

I was going to walk to Skurup and take the train from there. I soon realized that wasn’t going to be very easy since I had trashed my left foot leaving it completely useless. So I stuck my thumb out trying to hitch a ride. None of the passing cars stopped. Until Peter drives by that is, and picked me up. His neighbour had cleaned out his petrol supply and he was going to town for more. Or maybe he just wanted to give me a ride.

From Skurup I took a train all the way back to Lund.

Lund-slimminge

Adventure: Check!
Distance: 40k
Time: 8 hours 30 minutes

Next time I think I would like some company. Let me know if you’re up for something like this.

fishing-rod

There’s plenty of fish in the sea

I wanted to go fishing and made the estimation that it wasn’t that far to cycle to a good spot along the west coast. I packed minimal gear in my rucksack, warm clothes, a package of yoghurt (at this point my stomach was not in the most balanced condition) and I was off.

The eastern wind was pushing me and my bike westward towards the ocean with such speed that it felt like flying. The asphalt road beneath me was lined with rape fields that seduced me with their sweet smell, birds were chirping all around and the blue sky seemed never-ending.

After some borrowed smartphone magic, exploration (read wrong turns) and some more helpful people I shifted my direction towards Vikhög, an old fishing village in the middle between Malmö and Landskrona. I doubt there are many fishermen living there in these days though. The fancy houses speak of the social change that has swept throughout many (if not most) of the smaller fishing communities along the Swedish coasts.

I started exploring the coastline and discovered the ruins of and old pier which consisted of six concrete pillars standing in the ocean. Standing on top of these would not only give me the advantage of fishing in the deeper water, but also this side of the cove was sheltered from the wind. I waded out.

deserted-pier

After a short walk in the surprisingly “warm” water I climbed on to the fourth pillar and started casting. It was still very windy but again I had it in my back which actually created perfect casting conditions. There was a special fish that I was after. The Garfish (Belone belone), which migrates past the west coast every year around May. It didn’t take long for me to fall into a trance of casting and philosophizing. I had nothing with me to keep the time, and I think that made all the difference.

While the wind was beating my back, the sun warmed me from above. Once every know and then I heard the cry of a male pheasant, reminding me of the solid land that still lied behind me. After an hour of casting I still hadn’t seen any signs of fish and I started to get more interested in the windsurfers who cruised the cove than the fly I was retrieving.
Then it striked!

It’s silver-coloured body was dancing across the surface of the water and I did my best not to let my line slack. After a short but intensive fight I threw my rod in the ocean and grabbed the line with my hands and started pulling it toward me. Soon I held it in my hands and I killed it with a swift breaking of its neck. I filled a plastic bag with seawater and put the fish there to keep cold. I so eagerly continued fishing that I forgot to take a picture of it. This is what they look like.

fishing-rod

This strong wish to get another fish left me fishless from that moment and on. I did spot some fish spawning (it looks as if a small spot of the surface of the water is boiling) which helped me with my motivation. I don’t know for how long I stood there. Hours. I had some fish that bit my fly but unhooked themselves quickly. At one point I felt so hungry and then decided to go home. I had kept my eye on the windsurfers and was hoping I might be able to score a ride home with them. I was tired and wasn’t to thrilled about biking home twenty kilometres against the wind. When I turned to jump down from the pillar I saw them leave in their van. “Oh well”, I thought.

I made peace with the idea of cycling and I told myself that if I took it slow and steady It surely wouldn’t be to hard. I was packing up my fishing gear next to my bike when I was approached by a young man with a cap, Ray Ban’s and a thick, well kept red beard.

“Did you get anything?”, he asked me.

I told him about my day and where I had stood fishing. He had been on the other side of the cape and hadn’t caught anything. We spoke for a while and when he was leaving I asked him where he lived.

“In Lund”, he answered.
“Do you have room for a bike?”
“That should be possible”.

We loaded up my bike and made sure that my fish bag wouldn’t leak any smelly water in his car, and then we took off. We spoke about our day, about myths about the Garfish, about fishing in general. Although I’m not a fishing nut I really enjoyed the conversation. Sooner than I knew it we were back in Lund where I told him how grateful I was for the ride. I asked him for his name, and he told me it was Joakim. Then we went separate ways.

When home I stumbled in to a barbecue and after having a hamburger I proceeded to prepare the fish. With the help from my girlfriend, and after almost setting our wooden deck on fire, I had the fish gutted and cut in my small smoke-box and cooking. It tasted excellent.

smokersmoked-garfish