Monday 28th May
We started the day early at our hostel Zinkensdamm. We caught a taxi to the rail station, to then catch our bus to Bromma Airport to pick up our rental car from Avis. Tony wanted to save money by hauling all our bags by foot to the underground, get on the train to the rail station can then catch the bus to the airport, but we made him see we didn't need to save a couple of dollars and this would be a more appropriate and comfortable trip. He likes saving every penny! He has more Scottish in him than his sister, I think. It was colder and cloudy today for our 4 1/2 hourdrive to Ruda. Tony was quite sick with a heavy cold so he chose to sit in the back with Des, while Kristen drove and I did the map reading. All the while, Tony map read from the back, checking I was not leading us astray!!!! That was actually fairly infuriating just quitely (Tony, I wonder if you are reading this?) Sweden is very easy to travel through by road and the maps were simple to understand. Much easier than travelling in England we discovered, when we later, went on to there. The only problem we encountered during the drive south, was trying to find the actual cottage we were to stay at for the next 5 nights. Tony was in contact with the owner and there were definitely some communication problems, where we drove straight past him and later turned around and drove back to see him waving to us from the side of the road. That same man had been doing that when we past him the first time but the communication problem was the discription of him and where he would be. Finally, we met him and he showed us to the cottage was just on the main road, up from his house. It was still on his very huge property. As he walked us in, and before we got inside, he said how glad he was that none of us were too tall. Tony is almost 6 ft and is the tallest of the 4 of us. We took no notice of that comment until we got inside the 1850's cottage. All doors where about 5 ft 10 high I suppose, so Tony had to bend down or hit his head, when he wasn't thinking. This dear wee cottage was on the road to Ruda and about half way between Hogsby and our Grandfather's ancestral home of Botterum. Each village being about 10 minutes drive away from the cottage. This was a great place for us to stay to soak up the area where our Grandfather Carl was born and lived in his early years. This was before he decided to get work on a ship at the age of 15 that eventually, took him to New Zealand. He was 18 when he jumped ship in Wellington in the late 1800s where he became an illegal alien.
It was getting cold when we decided to head into Ruda to get some dinner that night. Only 1 shop was open in this tiny village so we stupidly thought there would be somewhere else further on to get food. Tony had stayed behind due to feeling ill so Kris, Des and I had driven into the unknown by ourselves. We should have gone into that shop really but it was just part of the service station so thats why we kept going. They must have a supermarket nearby. NO - WRONG! This area is very isolated and it is not Stockholm OK. We should have headed the other way and gone back to Hogsby, which we had passed through before. There was a supermarket there, we discovered the next day. Meanwhile, Tony had gone to bed sick. We went on further and then decided we would head back to Hogsby and as Des turned around in a gravel drive and got back on the road, with me sitting in the front, I told him the car, on my side felt strange and there was a weird noise to which he said "No it felt OK to him", so he kept driving until he and Kristen both felt it. By this stage, we were in the woods and it was darker in there. Des pulled over on to a parking area to discover I was actually right, (yes a woman! )... and the car had had a tyre blow out. This is a hire car of course which already had a huge crack in the windscreen that Avis had told us was absolutely fine and not to worry about it.
It only was completely over the passenger side of the window - right through the middle at eyelevel and heading towards the driver's side. So now this pathetic car has had a blow out - in the middle of no where! Des looked for the spare tyre. Easily changed - no problem. No spare tyre! Just a tyre repair kit would you believe. How can you repair a huge hole like that? You can't. Luckily Kris had her cell phone and all the Avis documentation was in the car so she called the 0800 number to get help. This was about 7pm by this stage. Of course they told us to fix it with the tyre repair kit. NO WE TOLD THEM IT IS A HOLE THAT CANT JUST BE FIXED LIKE THAT (you morons). Oh well, we will have to send a tow truck to you and that will be about an hour away. Yep, it was. We are in the forest, its darker here and getting darker and my thought was there may be Bears out there who will have had us for their dinner by the time the tow truck came and I was scared. Kris thought this a real hoot and reminded me of it "occassionally" after that. I had seen those bears creating new bears at Skansen the day before. I knew how big these guys were! It was cold and we got back into the car to wait hopefully safe from the Bears. Maybe this is where we could have sung the bloody ABBA songs Tony wanted us to sing! No thanks this was not that much fun out here. 1 hour later the tow truck arrived and thank goodness, he spoke English well. He piled Des and I in the front with him and Kristen got to sit in the car on the back of the truck. We took her home to Tony and Des and I went with the towie in to Oskasham a 1/2 hour drive away to get a new tyre fitted. Meanwhile Avis had closed for the night and had only OKed the cost of the tow truck but not the cost of the new tyre. Luckily, we had our Visa card with us to pay for it. Over a month later, we have not been reimbursed, so we hope they come to the party there, It cost over 2,000.00 SEK (about $400 NZ) to us. The very friendly and helpful towie escorted us back to Hogsby and we drove the rest of the way back to our cottage in Ruda in pitch dark and driving on the other side of the road too, at about 9.30pm. Interesting it was completely dark by this time further south. Still no dinner and Kris and Tony asleep by the time we got home. Kris jumped up and made us some dinner out of what we had taken down from Stockholm so that was really kind of her. It had been a 3 hour trip all up that evening and it was cold and we were tired. Our narrow single beds were warm and comfy in our traditional little wooden, red cottage with its white windows. These houses look so beautiful in the green countryside and just about every house is this colour. The colour has a preservative in it for the wood in the harsh winter snowy climate. Even our Grandfather's house was the same and it has been standing for centuries now.