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J248 - Monday, June 21: Borg - Trödje

74.5km – 9H54’
Altitude : 15m
The first day of summer (the summer solstice) and 18,000 km in 246 days, 23 hours and 49 minutes
To celebrate the event on this beautiful, sunny day, a bottle of sparkling wine is called for.  We were able to buy one in Gävle to drink a toast in the sunshine, which has returned on the first day of summer and to mark 18,000 km.  Buying alcoholic beverages in Sweden is not easy: supermarkets do not sell drinks with more than 3.5% alcohol content.  The system is the same as in Finland, where the alcohol content is limited to 4.5% in supermarkets.  There is a distinct difference between the two countries: in Finland the shops which sell spirits, called “Alko,” are always near a supermarket, even in small towns.  In Sweden, these stores, called “System Bolaget,” are only found in large cities and since June 8, when we entered Sweden, I had not seen one.  When we stopped in the small city of Delsbo, I saw a Bolaget catalog in the supermarket, which is also the post office.  I asked where the shop was located and I was told that you had to order what you wanted and wait for delivery until June 26.  The alternative was to go to the nearest city, 30 km from there!  So, if you forget to buy wine the day you have invited guests it’s not very easy!
In these two countries, like in the USA, identification is requested to prove you are older than 18 or 20 years old.
To return to today’s race, Serge gave himself a nice present:  a stage of less than 10 hours.  He had not done that since May 6, the day he crossed the border between Lithuania and Latvia, when he ran 76 km in 9H44’.  It’s true that for the first time in quite a while the terrain is flat.
This evening there is lots of conversation and the hot subject of the day is the World Cup, because we are aware of the escapades which have taken place.  Even the Swedish newspapers talk about the French team’s outbursts and suddenly, we are only mildly happy to be French.  As Serge says, we are going to change the license plates on our vehicles!!!

Town : Trödje (Gävleborg)

GPS : N 60.48’97.5° E 017.12’69 .1°