The biggest thing to hit Luleå this week!

Hi all, thanks first for all your messages – keep ’em coming.  It’s good to know you’re thinking of us.  We are in Luleå now, just a litle way down the Baltic coast from Haparanda/Tornio from where we last wrote. 

We’ve made the local press – a reporter and cameraman came to the Hostel last night to interview us and you can see the pic and report here but don’t expect me to translate for you! .  It must have been a quiet day in Luleå!

We’re having a couple of days’ rest which gave us the chance to look at Gammelstadt – an old village made up entirely of wooden huts where people from outlying farms used to gather at weekends so they could go to church.  It’s the first stone-built church we’ve seen in over 1200km!  It also had a little outdoor museum a bit like a mini-Beamish.

The Baltic proved elusive – we didn’t actually see it until Tuesday when we found a little harbour at a place called Tore where the sea comes the furthest North.  It was such a sheltered little harbour it looked like a lake.  Since then the cycle path has been trying to avoid the busy E4 road which means the 80km trip from Kalix to Luleå actually ended up as 125km, the cycle path weaving drunkenly up one track and down another.
Just after we left camp at Kukkulafors , there was a loud report like a gun being fired behind us.  It was the unwelcome sound of our back tyre exploding.  Neil had packed a cut-up toothpaste tube to use in just such an emergency and it managed to get us 50km to Kalix where we found a bike repair shop.  We only just made it as the inner had torn a hole in the toothpaste tube and was bulging out again!  The next night we were trying to find a wild campsite but everywhere was waterlogged after 3 days of rain.  In desparation we knocked on the door of a little holiday hut near a lake we had found and asked the owners if they could help.  They put us up in a spare hut, brought us water, cake and ice cream, lit a big camp fire for us and let us use their sauna!  This is typical of the kindness we’ve had from the Swedish people.
Back on the road tomorrow…..
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