Michael Barnes part 3 “A ride to the MZ Club of Finland 2006 rally”

Here is Part 3.....

Day five since leaving the UK. I’d now ridden about 850km with Klaus, Detlef and Thom. They spoke English fairly well as do most of the folk I met in six countries with the exception of France. This day we rode 240km east to a campground on the Baltic Sea coast south of Grisslehamn and the ferry port to Finland . We avoided the capital Stockholm by riding minor roads around it in a big loop through Koping, Tillberga, Skokloster and Vaddo. The countryside in a large part of Scandinavia is mostly flat having been ground down by the weight of a couple of kilometres of ice in ages past. The Baltic Sea is shallow for the same reason. It’s still very attractive with its neat towns, green fields, distinctive rust red coloured farm buildings and distinctive stick fences.

Highway 26 Central Sweden.

The guys took me to the Skokloster Motor Museum set in parkland and part of Skokloster Castle, the biggest private castle in Sweden. The exhibits are displayed in an old building with 1637 carved over the entrance but inside the style and fittings are all modern Scandinavian. There were only six motorcycles on display, among them a beautiful BMW 250 single racer and a large capacity Swedish Monarch. The entrance fee is 50 Swedish Kroner (AU$9). A feature of the Skokloster Motor Museum are the tableaux of mannequins in uniforms arranged inside and around every vehicle. A lot of work has gone into putting together the uniforms, accessories and period ephemera so that they complement each vehicle realistically. In particular the red 1961 Lancia sports sedan with an airline pilot and air hostess as driver and passenger, their baggage, hats, flight documents and magazines on the back seat and window shelf, all wonderfully authentic. Skokloster Castle is accessible by boat, a beautiful white wooden motor cruiser, from Stockholm Town Hall. www.skokloster.se/page.php?id=21

We rode on east another 100km and took a hut in a campground located in a clearing in a pine forest at Vaddo right on a sandy beach on the Baltic Sea . Stopping at a supermarket for food the range and quality of the stock was impressive but pricey of course.

We were now only 50km from the ferry port of Grisslehamn and arrived there the next day by a small road that followed the coast winding around bays and headlands through forest. Traffic was minimal but there was a good crowd of people and assorted vehicles waiting at the port terminal to take the Aland Island ferry.

The Aland Islands group are Finnish territory and lie 100km east off the Swedish coast. The 3 hour ferry trip over sparkling smooth waters with a big Scandinavian buffet laid on was great. We were hungry having camped for days and tucked into all sorts of delicacies at a table by a sunny window. The ferry fare was 990 Swedish Krona (AU$180) including lunch.

Sign at Wargata, the Aland Islands, Baltic Sea.

The Aland Islands are very green and attractive with lovely small roads. We took huts for one night at a campground near Vardo again right on the Baltic Sea shore. Over a 2 day period we caught a total of four ferries, two big and two small to get us across all the islands. We landed in Turku, on Finland’s south-western coast having travelled 317km but actually rode only 110km. We were still on the same lattitude as central Sweden , the weather continued to stay pretty well ideal for motorcycling. Riding north-east 270km on a highway we reached the city of Ikaalinen and our destination the campground on one of the lakes surrounding the city at 7.30pm Friday evening. I can’t say night because it doesn’t’t get properly dark until 11pm.

Part 4. The only Aussie at the Rally. I wonder why? ;-) Should be up tomorrow night.