EARTH CYCLE EP 5
My name is Simon Parker and as a travel writer in journalists that reported from some of the most extreme corners of the planet. I've sailed across ferocious oceans and Trek from some of the highest mountain ranges in an effort to document the power of Mother Nature been absolutely destroyed by a landslide but now I'm embarking on my next epic journey at the gentle pace of a bicycle from high above the Arctic Circle at the summit of Norway to the foot of the Scandinavian Peninsula in Sweden Wow over the course of my 2,000 mile adventure I'll be learning about the natural cycles of the region as a green and fertile summer slides into the frozen grips of winter I'll be searching for seasonal foods and elusive wild animals with the people that call this place their home I'm passing through at a time of harvest and splendor and I'm seeing it all on two wheels. This is earth cycle. My 2,000-mile adventure, from one end of the Scandinavian Peninsula to the other, is almost nearing its conclusion – and now I’m exploring Sweden’s wild, south western coastline. On this final stage of my epic ride I’ll never veer too far from the ocean, and the seafood that’s abundant at this time of year.
I’ll weave around craggy inlets and through sleepy fishing villages, where I’ll sample the brief, but delicious flavours or autumn. I’ll then continue onto Sweden’s southernmost tip in the county of Skane. Hopefully under clear skies, and a few final rays of warm sunshine. It certainly feels like I’ve come up against againstall that Mother Nature could throw at me on this journey. From the icy sleet
sleet and snow storms of the Arctic, to inclement rain showers and frozen, sub-zero nights. It’s been a challenge to experience this corner of Northern Europe Europe at its harshest. But now that I’m getting tantalizingly close to the end, it would be nice to stay dry until the finish line. With Sweden’s winter only just around the corner, the people that live here are gearing up for the cold and dark days ahead of them. Many locals take pride in harvesting and foraging for the produce that grows naturally here and they’re keen to take advantage while the weather is still relatively agreeable. Farmer and fisherman fisherman Lars is one such man who cherishes the subtle, but glorious shift of seasons – and I’m hoping he can help me taste some of western Sweden’s world famous flavours. “Good morning, you must be lars…”
Its a beautiful morning. yes very beautiful yes.. What do you love most about living here? next to the ocean? next to the fields? next to your cows? that ocean I love the sea and they mush on the sea fishing oases and so I like it very much well I'm hoping you're the man who's also going to be able to help me go and get some of these very sought-after mussels yes and where are we going to do that go to our boat now I know we can go out and see our mussel farms and yeah maybe we can boil some mussels and eat oysters that sounds absolutely delicious With a rumble in my stomach, and the offer to see this magnificent coastline from the perspective of the ocean, I certainly don’t need a lot of persuading. It’s experiences like these that have made this adventure so incredibly special, special and once again I’m reminded of the affinity swedes really do have with tthe great outdoors. It’s an existence I find impossible not to to adore. “What’s so special about these waters for fish and shellfish especially?''
because this is this is essentially the capital of shellfish in Europe maybe, the world. ''Here is very cold water and and shellfish low error grown very very slowly so it's a very good quality and clean water too. Lars is probably one of the most relaxed and laid-back people I think I've ever met not only on this trip but also in my entire life, look at this life and this lifestyle that he's leading close to the land close to the water and all the shellfish any man could ever need. Just half an hour from the fishing village of leey-se-sheel, ,Lars has found his very own isolated island bolthole. It’s from here where he can access the delicious seasonal tastes of the sea, flourishing just a couple of metres below the surface. Where are they? Just here we pick
it up and on from the sea so you keep some of them yes close to home yes to the pot yes this is as fresh as you get yes yes yes yeah so which ones we're looking for ones which are close though yeah yes knows it beats the pasta and pesto and grated cheese that I've been eating on the road lunch today will be fresh mussels and apparently we're even going to start with some fresh oysters here we go hmm intense salty there's a lot of seawater in there a little bit of sand but at the same time meaty and quite tender not too chewy With their summer spawning now over, Sweden’s mussels are, once again, ideal for eating. And with a lifetime of experience, and a glug of dry white wine – Lars is certainly a man who knows how to cook them to perfection. Freshly cooked mussels plucked straight from the ocean under blue skies and a pretty lovely breeze I'm not sure if it gets much better than this. For the majority of my journey I’ve been trying to give large towns and cities a wide berth. This adventure has been more about the wild side of this region, and cycling through traffic is never particularly fun. However to get a
definitive sense of what fishing means to Scandinavia, it would have been impossible to ignore Gothenburg – arguably the seafood capital of Europe. A man who knows the Swedish fishing industry as good as anyone is Roger – the CEO of Gothenburg’s fish market. It’s a busy job that starts each day in the very early hours of the morning – but thankfully he’s got just enough time to show me around. So from 6:30 until approximately nine o'clock we have an auction eat every day Monday to Friday and as you can see here we have crabs and crab claws we have a lot of fish and the crayfish and the shrimps from twenty to hundred and twenty buyers every day and from two to four auction. It's our staff for personnel. Is everything coming from Swedish waters? No we have fish from from Denmark and a warrior as well but most of the fish here is from Swedish waters and and caught by Swedish fishermen. And how does
that change with the season so we're here at the end of summer beginning our Autumn what would be the most popular and plentiful fish species in here? right now I say cod crayfish shrimps and next week week have the lobster and that must be a big event it is a big events the first lobster sold on that auction can go between 10,000 and hundred thousand Swedish kronor so it's it's a big event we're gonna have TV and other media here covering it. How much more expensive would a first Lobster be as opposed to I Lobster at market price a couple of months later you can buy lobster today from not from Sweden but from Denmark or Norway for like five or six hundred crores per kilo okay so a lobster weighing between 500 grams and thousand grams goes for like 15,000 or 25,000 it's it's you can't compare it that's about 200 pounds Wow and then in the restaurant that would be significant yeah yeah well I've certainly eaten some strange things for breakfast over the years but I don't think I've ever had a shrimps and you haven't had a shrimp this fresh this is this is the this is from yesterday it's boiled on the boat in salted water and they are cooled down put in boxes and delivered here yes Cheers thank you considering the time of day this place really is a hive of activity and on some mornings up to 25 or 30 tons of fish a bought and sold here and it really is just this warren of activity. That was really fascinating start to the day to see how a place like this operates very much under the radar at the beginning of the day but now my fishy journey continues and I've got to make up some ground and travel further south. From its coastline rich in seafood,
to the wheat and barley fields that are almost ready for harvest, Sweden’s fertile south is building up to its annual crescendo. I feel lucky to be be cycling through this rural heartland at a time of autumnal splendour. One minute I’m weaving through vast expanses of agricultural land, and the next I’m discovering sleepy seaside villages that I have almost entirely to myself. Coming up… my journey heads into the counties of Halland and Skane, where I’m helping mighty salmon migrate up river. I’ll then pick and bottle one of
late summer’s sweetest crops, before ending my 2,000-mile adventure at the southernmost point of the Scandinavian Peninsula. On this final stage of my adventure, I’ve been savouring the seasonal tastes of the ocean and finding out why Sweden’s west coast produces some of the best seafood on the planet. the planet. I’ve been exploring a corner of Europe
where life on land is closely linked to what happens out at sea. And I’m now on a mission to find a species that bridges the gap between the two. An iconic and powerful fish that’s embarking on an epic journey of its own.
Every autumn, thousands of salmon migrate from the Atlantic ocean and swim up the Au-tran river. It’s there that they can spawn in the relative safety of lakes and streams – as far away from predators as possible. But before they make it, there a couple of tricky obstacles to navigate and local fishermen like Jesper are keen to catch one of these prize river monsters during this brief seasonal window. On a morning like this I really can understand the attraction of fishing this place is absolutely stunning. hey-oh I'm Simon today nice to me what is it about this time of year and this river that makes this so perfect for salmon in the autumn the water-level rice and water temperature drops and the fish get a bit more aggressive so it's easier to take them out and and to speak about the river an old power station has been torn down and it's a free passage for didn't sell most so we have a lot more salmon coming up and a lot bigger tunnels if there was ever a good time for a total novice like me to catch a fish yep it's right now it's right this is my best job yes this is really a bit just at this time of the year. With some frozen shrimp and a quick crash course
I’m left to cast my line into the dark water. This is another one of those staggeringly serene places that I’ve had the privilege of finding throughout this journey. throughout this journey. When it comes to the fishing, though, I must admit, my heart’s not really in it – I’m perfectly happy to simply breathe in this wild setting, and let the salmon continue on their migration up stream. Sven and his wife Berit are two people that certainly share my admiration for these creatures – and despite their riverside homes standing in the Salmons way, they’ve been giving them a helping hand for more than half a century. Every summer and autumn, thousands of fish get
stuck on the wrong side of their house – and without their help they’d not be able reach the spawning grounds up river, where instinct is urging them to go. So with a few large nets, and a specially designed salmon elevator, they’re moved from one side to the other. It’s novel, but effective and it ensures the survival of their species. I've never seen anything quite like this the salmon are trying to move up the river on their annual migration but this meal has been in the way for almost 200 years and these kind Souls are lifting them up and taking them to the other side Despite a few wriggles and splashes* – and no doubt a whole lot of confusion, hopefully these salmon appreciate that Sven and Berit are giving them, and their future offspring, the gift of life. Beneath salmon this is the moment of
truth they began their life in rivers just upstream and now they've been out to the Atlantic and now they're on their way back with a little help from us okay here we go you got to be you got to be tough with them come on With one final flick of their tails, and a not so graceful flop into the water, they’re now free to continue on their journey. In areas the last one going upstream goodbye mate in you go. The salmon, like me, are nearing the climax of a long and tiring adventure – while this has certainly been an endurance challenge in its own right, moving at the gentle speed of a bicycle has allowed me to experience Scandinavia at a wonderfully relaxed pace. I've watched this country change from the very north all the way here to the very south and this marks a very important milestone in my adventure I'm crossing into the southernmost county of Scorner Known as the bread basket of Sweden, Skane is famed for its rolling agricultural land and its ever so slightly warmer climate, in contrast to the frozen counties further north. The country’s southern tip usually clings onto good weather for a few weeks longer - making it perfect for growing fruit and vegetables that would otherwise struggle in the cold. And right now, as summer
begins to fade away, one particularly sweet and tasty fruit is just ripe for picking. Autumn is really starting to hang in the air and now I've entered Apple Country. For apple farmers like Helena, this is the moment of truth for the precious crop she’s been nurturing since spring. Her fruits are now at their most succulent – and they’re perfect for making apple juice.
Helena has 55,000 trees to look after, spread across 60 acres of orchards. Every autumn they produce a staggering 350 tonnes of fruit – and every single apple must be hand picked, with soft hands and a gentle touch. Ensuring they stay riper and tastier for longer. How many apples are needed for a glass of apple juice for 1 liter we normally say 2 kilo of apples if you have a good press and if you're strong enough to press it now in with the apples that we've picked into this horrible looking drum which is going to churn them all up and cut them all up next step is to twist the wheel yes exactly so this machine is just churning up all the apples and making a mult yes to make them impressible so you can press all the juice out of it and it's getting harder and harder to turn which means we're getting closer to that moment of truth where we'll see that first trickle of apple juice running into the glass. It’s certainly not easy work, but the sight and sound of that juice is making me thirsty – and I’m excited to finally get a taste. ha ha ha now I've been looking forward to this moment apples that we picked from an orchard just a few hundred meters away and now they've been mulched in here squeezed in here and it comes out the other end as this well I presume delicious sweet apple juice thank you so much that is so good. For people living
in southern Sweden, harvest is a time to be savoured and celebrated. And the apple market in chivik has become a highlight of the year. How many people come here because this seems like more the music festival than it does an apple market every year around 20 25,000 people and what is it about this time of year that this market really taps into what does this say about autumn in scorner and in civic when the time for the Apple market is just when we start pick the apples we it so it's a kickoff of the picking season for the fruit growers it's also makes this area stick on a little bit to the summer season because this is a joy hysteria and on in the summer is very crowded with people then it comes down a bit but when the Apple market is it's crowded again so it means a lot April Kluber it's the Apple stick and it's a special variety the names Katya Katya has the perfect texture to bite in when you have chocolate around well I love apples and I love chocolate. As my 2,000-mile adventure reaches its conclusion, my mind is naturally starting to drift back to the memories I’ve made on this epic ride. Hour after hour, day after gruelling day, I’ve been amazed at how isolated this wild corner of of Northern Europe really is. From pulling in king crabs from the frigid Arctic ocean – to searching for moose and beavers, I’ve watched on as Scandinavia’s wildlife hurriedly prepares for the long and frozen winter ahead. It’s been
physically tough – but also undeniably tasty at times, too. There’s been seasonal berries and some of the freshest fish on the planet. And while there’s also been a food or two that’s certainly needed an acquired taste – it has, on the whole, been food or two that’s certainly needed an acquired taste – it has, on the whole, been But most of all, I think I’ll remember this journey best for the people I’ve met along the way and the insight I’ve been given into rural Scandinavian life.
This is a corner of the planet where the boundaries between the wilderness and home life are blurred. It’s a place where living close to nature, eating locally, and embracing seasonal change is deeply rooted in the cultural psyche. oh this is it this is the end of my adventure from one end of the Scandinavian Peninsula to the other this is being truly one of the best adventures of my life and I've done it all on a humble bicycle.