It’s A Gathering

By Stephen Ewashkiw | August 11, 2013

5154 km so far.

I love spending time with people. New people, old friends, people who I have things in common with, and people who I don’t. Every interaction is an opportunity to grow, to learn, to discover. This, in part, is what our current journey is about.

What Was That Bang?

I was awoken at 6:30 this morning by the sound of another cyclist coming by. His bike rattled over the tree roots and rocks as he made his way to the lake front.

ducks on the shore

Ducks at the lakefront, Vallentuna.

From the sounds of it (I was still in the tent), he then had a drink, a moment of reflection, and started back on his way. As he was coming back past the tent I popped my head out to say hi.

Håkan had just finished his route delivering newspapers and was making his morning pilgrimage to the lakeside for a moment of peace. He said he sometimes finds a tent here when he comes by each morning, so wasn’t surprised by our presence.

He too has done some cycle touring, around the north of Sweden, and we had a nice early morning chat about our bikes, the essentials of a trip like this, plus we talked about the Viking history of the area.

Jane’s note: I am all for meeting people, but not so much at 6:30 in the morning. As I lay in the tent listening to the conversation which had awoken me, I found myself wishing for a minute that Stephen wasn’t such a people person.

Arkil’s Assize

One thousand years ago, a few feet from our tent, the local council would gather and make important decisions. The Vikings were an organised bunch, hence their ability to conquer far and wide. Here, next to our tent, are two standing stones with runic carvings on them, plus a large square area outlined in stones which made up the council area, or assize.

standing stone vallentuna sweden

The 1,000 year old assize in Vallentuna.

We saw similar stones a few times during yesterday’s ride, but this was the first time we had read the accompanying plaque.

On these two rune stones, the sons of Ulf from Skålhamra tells how they raised the stones, made a large staff, and built an assize in memory of their father.

We followed Vikingsvägen (Vikings Way) for the first part of our trip south to Stockholm this morning, which included a ride over a 1,100 year old causeway, where original standing stones still stand.

viking church in sweden

Viking church, Vallentuna.


We realised today that Stockholm is the first city we are visiting in this trip, since Rome, that we have been to previously. It was also the last city we visited before moving to LA. We both love Stockholm, and are very happy to be back.

We are staying at the yoga studio I am teaching at in town, YogaShakti. This is our first time staying in a yoga studio on this trip, and we are privileged that Helena made this offer. I feel honoured to stay in two places in two nights filled with energy, power, and history.

YogaShakti is a beautiful studio. We really couldn’t be staying anywhere better in Stockholm. Two beautiful studios, a treatment room (where we are sleeping), changing rooms, a shower, a kitchen area where you can make tea before or after class, and your choice of indoor or outdoor seating to sit and relax and enjoy the space. Our clothes are even spinning around in the dryer after having just been washed.

Jane’s note: On the way into town, we had been jokingly making a wish list of all the things we hoped the studio would have, knowing there was no way it would. This studio has every single one of our wish list items. We couldn’t be luckier.

Staying at the studio offers us a chance to meet the local community, students and teachers alike, and it gives us the opportunity to easily take a few yoga classes while we are here. We already have in fact. We went to Rikard’s class tonight, and even though it was in Swedish, we both got a lot from it.

Jane’s note: About three-quarters of the way through class, Rikard said something to me in Swedish, and I told him I only spoke English. From that point on, he taught the class in English. It seems almost all Swedes are fluent in English, and can flip back and forth between languages without a second thought.

We almost didn’t go to class today; we were very tired. I am so glad we did. We came out renewed and refreshed.

I teach here tomorrow, and as with every class I am excited to see who will come, who I will meet, and what experiences will come out of class. A huge thank you to Helena for welcoming us so wholeheartedly. Namaste.  

Did you like this post? Please share it!

Go top
Share via