After a morning walking around Mariefred and even a short biking around town, we got on a coal-powered steamboat for a 3-hour trip back to Stockholm. The whistle felt like we were in an old Hitchcock film, as did the ambiance of the dining car. We went down to the engine room where a young soot-smeared man was actually shoveling coal into the furnace to power the boat. The inevitable people buried in their i-Phones broke a bit of the old-world charm, but here was a family of Turkish-Swedes playing a rock-paper-scissors game and I jumped in and taught them a new version. That was fun!
We met a delightful Australia couple who had just completed a similar ride with the same company (Nordic Trails for those of you taking notes!) and exchanged all our stories. They had done bike trips in Italy, Portugal, New Zealand, Croatia and a variety of other places and we were scribbling down notes for future possibilities.
On either side of the lake were the woods like the ones we had biked through and it was a nice switch of view to be gliding over the waters looking out to them instead of bumping over gravel paths looking out at the lake. Made more pleasurable by having done the latter.
We met Carmen, our host, at the dock, packed the bikes into her trailer, drove to our hotel and bid farewell to our trusty Trek bikes (well, the non-electric ones) with affection. Dinner at the hotel, where there were two pianos side by side and I got to play a bit just to see if I still could. (I could.) Nice to see people again and feel the urban vibe, to ride past restaurants and food stores after the countryside scarcity.
Tomorrow is an unplanned day in Stockholm before we take the train to the countryside to visit some friends. To all friends far away, this a little postcard with the cliché:
“Having a good time. Wish you were here.”