BJÖRNÖN

Bernhard Kauntz, 1999


Björnön, in the southeastern parts of Västerås, is a beautiful area close to nature, beaches, camping, cottages for rent and sporting activities. On a warm Sunday in July I decide to flee the concrete of the city, trying to find a cooler place.
Already before arriving, on the bike-path along Lake Mälaren, I have two unusual experiences. First I find a bay full of yellow waterplants - botanics never having been among my favourits, so I don't know what they are - they seem to be too small for being water-lilies, but they must be something of that sort... From this little bay you can look right over to the western end of Lake Mälaren's coast-line with the silhouette of the power plant.
Just some meters later my zoological knowledge is being tested, when a little, grey lizard hurries across the path.
It isn't more than three or four inches long, including its tail, which is said to be so easily broken. But it is indeed the first lizard I have seen in this town....
The bridge spanning from the mainland to the island isn't big enough to manage traffic in both directions, this is why traffic-lights handle the crossing. Arriving by bike, that doesn't concern me, the bike lane is open in both directions.
My first visit is to Björnögården, which is the administrative center. You can rent cottages here or canoes or even book in a time for testing your physical condition. And if you forgot your towel at home, you can rent one here as well.
But the most exiting thing I find here is the mini-miniature golf, where you are supposed to play the ball with a billiards' cue. New experiences are always fun and I make a mental note to come back and give it a try.
All around there are exercise-tracks of various length, from 1250 meters to 10 kilometers, with markings in different colours as shown on a sign.
After a well-needed drink, the temperature being about 30 degrees (the higher eighties in Fahrenheit), I return to the bridge to the bike-track near the water, instead of competing on the road with the cars, arriving in an endless stream.
I have barely turned onto the track, when I find myself surrounded by nature, in the middle of a forest. It is much cooler down here and I am surprised not to find more people around. On my way to the center of the island, about one kilometer away, I pass two girls taking a walk and meet two bikers, nobody else.
A little further on the island the slalom slope tells about winter-activities being held here as well, even if I am not impressed by neither its length nor its steepness. The ski-jumping hill is slightly more impressive, still another hundred meters afterwards. But because of the temporarily absence of snow, some campers have taken over the lower parts of the hill.
Shortly afterwards my biking-track meets the road again and I ascend to the parking lot near the beach. It is almost unbelievable to see all those metal monsters after the short while of isolation in the forest. The police chopper, suddenly beating the air above, makes its own contribution to destroy the harmony, recently felt.
On the beach there is a continuous offering of sweat to the Sun-God, in exchange for a little tanning of the skin. The shallow water, stretching far out, makes this beach probably the best bathing-place for families, though.
After a short while I decide to drive to the southern end of the island, having come that far already, but the view of the beach there doesn't differ too much from that already seen.
On my way back, though, suddenly I find myself eye to eye with a roe deer, maybe at ten meters distance only. It is hard to tell, which one of us is more surprised. But I have no chance to get my camera ready in time and following Bambi into the woods doesn't seem to make much sense.
With this last surprise as an extra bonus I return home to Bäckby and discover that I have had a trip of thirtyfive kilometers today.

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