Days 83 – 87: In search of warm and sun

83 – Friday in Frederikstad

More running, followed by packing up and using the emptying and refilling station on the campsite.  We are hammered on toll roads as we are over 3.5 tons … somewhere around 3 times a car toll, so we set Sally Sat Nav for toll free.  No idea how much she saved us, but the views were prettier than the main road and motorway, if slower and bendier.

We had been ‘collecting’ Norwegian beer and cider cans.  You pay a ‘Pant’ (deposit) on them and then post the empties into a machine that prints a credit note for use in the supermarket.  The machines cleverly spot fakes … it rejected a Finnish Fosters can.  K went in with two bags full and came out with the tinies value in milk and cheese spread.  We did well leaving Finland with only about 50p in local currency; K had looked for something for 6 NOK, but could not find anything that cheap!

We stopped off at Frederikstad.  K thinks it vaguely familiar .. Must ask Mutt if we visited this … she WILL know.  It is incredibly twee and pretty, but worth the stop.  It was a fort for over 300 years.  Cafes and craft shops now;  see the crochet bench below.  K had to explain to James that there is always room for an ice cream or cheese as they go into a different stomach.  He was eventually persuaded to have an ice cream so K could … too embarrassed to pay for only one using a card!

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And so to Sweden, once more.

We have parked up off the main roads in an archipelago overlooking the Tjorn bridge, which opened in 1960.  A disaster in the 1980s when it was destroyed by a ship in mist, who could not alert anyone for 45 mins that the bridge was down.  8 people died in cars that drove onto the bridge … and off.

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84 – Saturday: Another Archie Pelago

We decided to stay on the island and explore a bit.  The plan had been to go onto Gothenburg, which is the 2nd city of Sweden and had 4 pages in the guide book to denote its importance.  However, we were feeling a little citied out after our two days in Oslo.  And the weather looked fair … time to enjoy being outside.  We drove to the the tourist information in the main town on the island and picked up a cycling map and were told there was the annual harbour festival going on.  We had a wee dander down there and an ice cream (separate stomach, remember!).  What was really lovely to see was there was not a booze bar in sight.  Lots of coffee and cake, music (including the diesel engine for the country and western railroad sound), local produce and arts and crafts stalls, old wooden sailing ships with joyful bunting.  People were having a really good time without the need to get off their faces.

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The whole of the Swedish Ford Mustang Club had convened and James was finally towed away.

 

 

 

Lunch back in Chardonnay and call it a reaction to warm weather, but we both went for a nanny nap.  The bike ride became a distant non-reality.  We drove to the sculptures / ancient burial mounds and then decided not to go in as it was £8 each.  Just as well we had not cycled after all!!!

Back to our pitch of last night and the view of the Tjorn Bridge.  A BBQ at the picnic tables – lovely.

85 – Sunday: Driving to Denmark and Hamlet castle

Little to report … we drove, passing Gothenburg …. this will be another trip.  Arrived at the dock for the boat to Helsingor DK… paid £72 and boarded almost immediately.  Castle in view on arrival so we followed our noses and parked up between it and a marina.  We had a leg stretch around the very pretty town and fair gawped at what seemed really cheap prices.

Another motorhome had checked it out with locals… yes it was free.  The toilets were free.  The chemical toilet disposal was free.  And the water was free.  And yet, the castle car park next door was fee paying and packed!   We did laundry and both showered … it makes such a difference knowing you can replenish water supplies the next day really easily.

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86 – Monday: Ferry Unexpected Ferry

We wandered into the town to replace part of James’ e cigarette and by the time we had done this it was properly raining (again).  Our urge to visit the castle was washed away.  Something about the rain as we feel we should use the day as a driving day … so we did.  Replenished water and set the sat nav for fastest route to Bordeaux, near our destination for 12 days time to meet up with K’s family.

It was not until the symbol of a ferry came up, that we became aware that Sally Sat Nav was taking us down to Rodby for the ferry to Germany … we had expected to go across the Storbaelt and Little Baelt – island hoping through Denmark.  A quick phone call to Scandlines and J discovered that the 45 min crossing was less than we had thought  it might be … £85.  Given the Storbaelt bridge was £36 we decided to go for it.  Unfortunately, we had a 2.5 hrs delay as one of the boats had broken down, fortunately we could see it gaping hull in the dock, so no one was stranded at sea.  We took a  thrown together salad up onto the boat and, as it was 9.00 p.m. when we alighted, we headed almost immediately to a Stellplatz in Burg auf Fehmarn.  Stellplatz are motorhome parkings in Germany.  Sometimes they charge and often have sanitary services and electricity.  We had to do a wander and get coins for the parking ticket of EUR10 …  does this count as a campsite?  We have stayed in campsites for only 22 nights and in a fee charging marina for 2 nights. Pretty good going.

 

87 – Tuesday: Shorts and Driving

Exercised and K spotted really cheap shorts and trousers in the centre of Burg – she was definitely not moving fast enough!   Given she is using string to hold some up, it really was time to replace some items in her wardrobe.  After breaky we set off and returned with 3 pairs of shorts and one pair 3/4 length trousers – all for a grand total of £32.  We do like Germany and its prices.  The town offered multiple choices of lunch for around EUR10.  We also stopped at Lidl and bought fuel on the way.  As we departed, the queues to get into the town were humungous.  Mostly S and some DK plates all on a much cheaper than home shopping spree.

A driving day and the rain came and went and returned and left again.  Was K too optimistic in buying shorts?

Having decided to stop by 7.00 p.m., we found a free Parking … with free, if slow, wifi, at a place called Neuss (nice and free) Ski Hallen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Days 18-19 Stockholm and Aged Ps

Wednesday

Drove in completly the wrong direction (west) to fill up LPG which we is we use for the habitation (cooking, heating and fridge) for 40 mins to find a small one man band who was not even in residence.  Ho hum.

Drove east to the airport to collect the Aged Ps.  Slight detour to SE Stockholm to a garage that did sell LPG (apparently only 35 LPG stations in Sweden) and could not work out which Autogas attachment to use and how to make the pump actually deliver the gas … 30 mins later with a little help we were on our way again.  Another learning curve, but a vital one.  We’ll know for next time.

Visited the Vasa Museum.  Bit of a drive through the city centre … cast London from your mind as nothing like that, traffic wise.  Parked and lunched in the large tourist bus parking.  Went to check with Vasa Museum staff if we could stay there … ticket man left his post, walked out with me, spoke to tourist bus driver and came to the conclusion that whilst the bus drivers did not mind as it is not high season and not busy, there was no guarantee we would not get a parking ticket.  Such helpfulness you would never encounter at home.  K wrote a windscreen note that we had asked about parking, and had a lame 78 year old with us (K’s Dad – fit as a flea!) with us.  No parking fine, but not busy 🙂

The Aged P’s and K had all visited the Vasa previously, but happy to revisit – truely amazing.  It went down in 1628 on its maiden voyage as too top heavy by far and ressurected in 1959 BUT what is so amazing is the cold and lack of salt mean it is 98% intact.  The details on the carvings etc are stunning.  Really impressive.

Incredible ornate carvings

Incredible ornate carvings

98% intact from 1600s

98% intact from 1600s

Very top heavy to keeled over on maiden voyage

Very top heavy to keeled over on maiden voyage

Campsite fine if a little faded – Aged P’s cabin basic but has necessaries.  Can park Chardonnay adjacent.  BBQ.

Thursday

Tunnelbahn into Stockholm City centre.  Wide open streets, government buildings and water, water everywhere.  Did a walk around the main parts of the city to see where some palaces which are now largely Gov buildings.  Crossed into Gamla Stan, the old city island. Hoped to join a walking tour, but no show on tour guide so used guide book and did our own tour.  More former palaces now Gov buildings and narrow charismatic streets.  Charming and attractive.  BBQ.

Water aand views at every turn

Water aand views at every turn

Buildings are painted red tp look like brick or yellow like stone

Buildings are painted red tp look like brick or yellow like stone

Not so distant shores

Not so distant shores

The Aged Ps

The Aged Ps

Typical corner

Typical corner

Wrought iron church steeple

Wrought iron church steeple

We knw what you were doing - Dad vacating public toilet

We knw what you were doing – Dad vacating public toilet

James' turn - told to "Pisoir Off"

James’ turn – told to “Pisoir Off”

Centre of Gamla Stan - the old town

Centre of Gamla Stan – the old town

Back of the Opera House

Back of the Opera House

Day 17: Up the coast

Tuesday

Stayed at Kalmar last night, left at 0800 hours and motored north towards Stockholm, stopped to see the spectacular Gota Canal with its seven locks, through central Stockholm rush hour traffic, and on to Skokloster Castle for a gin and tonic and minor Martini… now parked at the lakeshore and K preparing haute cuisine from a tin and gonic, sorry, tinonjonic, Swedish for food….. tomorrow we will meet Katherine’s parents who will stay for six days and bring food parcels and their excellent company…. then next week on to N Sweden and Findland….
Gota Canal / Bergs Slussar: series of locks

Gota Canal / Bergs Slussar: series of locks

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Days 14-17 Copenhagen by foot and bike and into Sweden

14 – Saturday

Easy bike to the city centre and it really is easy.  Every street, and I mean every single one, has a double width cycle track in both directions.  You follow the dedicated cycle traffic lights at junctions and stop to let people cross over the cycle track to get on and off busses.  Incrediably easy and safe.

Joined a free (tip what you think at the end) walking tour with Maria, a 6 foot red head from Yorkshire, quite a Viking look.  She focussed on the central part of Copenhagen and explained a lot about several fires flattening parts of the city, the Royals and stories from WW2.  All most excellent.

Indecisive gold lady barometer: comes out on a bike if fair and with an umbrella if not

Indecisive gold lady barometer: comes out on a bike if fair and with an umbrella if not

Walking tour coffee break

Walking tour coffee break

Bishop Absalon should have been on a pony, but the scultpr thought it did not look impressive enough

Bishop Absalon should have been on a pony, but the sculptor thought it did not look impressive enough and gave him a big’un

At NyHaven

At NyHaven

Nyhavn used to be the red light ditrict, but now a humming cafe and bar area

Nyhavn used to be the red light ditrict, but now a humming cafe and bar area

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

After a Burger King lunch for J (missing his chips!) we cycled back to Chardonnay with the intention of spending the rest of the afternon in the Carlsberg factory. Slight change of plan …. we’d been robbed !!!  The buggers had got in through prising open and breaking the three fastenings on a window, broken into the laptop store and pulled loads out of cupboards.  So instead of sippling beer, we spent the afternoon in the Central Police station!  The very efficient police officer said on hearing our story, ‘thats a real bag of shit!’ They were very supportive and efficient. Thankfully it is only ‘stuff’ they have taken and we were not here, but it is inconveneint.  They left all the booze :).   We have now bought a Chromebook so we have USB to upload images and play DVDs, but it is  a poor exchange for the Mac Book Air, Ipod, Ipad, James camera, small cash… but they left our passports and our external hard drive with all our photos and our mifi internal wifi router…

For you Latin scholars, non illigitimi carborundam…..

We eventually found a lovely campsite just east of Copenhagen to hole up in until we could get the window fixed.

15 – Sunday

A profitable day – two loads of laundry, showered ourselves and did an exterior (much needed) wash of Chardonnay.  A walk to local shops and we bought:

  1. a six pack of Carlsberg, as we still needed to drink some
  2. meat for a BBQ – our first of this trip
  3. a wine box for £14, just to top up our supplies.

The really helpful young man at the desk also identified no less than 4 caravan repair / service companies for us to try.

Closed the day playing with the camera tripod, a BBQ and fire log.

Using the tipod for a selfie

Using the tipod for a selfie

Proud of our clean Chardonnay, and then it bloody rained and a tree dropped crap on her

Proud of our clean Chardonnay, and then it bloody rained and a tree dropped crap on her

15 – Monday

Early start and drove to the outskirts of Roskilde where the really lovely workshop chap only charged a tenner to replace the three window catches.  And then we were on our way …. off to Sweden as we have to be in Stockholm on Weds to meet the Aged P’s.

Despite the break in, we still really like Denmark and the Danes and will be back!

The Oresund crossing was a first for my very own bridge master.  First tunnel and then bridge.

Denmark and into the tunnel

Denmark and into the tunnel

Crossing into Sweden in the middle of the Sea

Crossing into Sweden in the middle of the Baltic Sea

Cable stay part of the bridge

Cable stay part of the bridge

Rather than bomb up the motorway, we hugged the coast as much as we could.  Changing scenery … flat and the best aggricultural land in Sweden ….  rolling hills and rocky outcrops … can tell is is damp here as the mosses and lichens are amazing colours … forests of pines and silver birches carpetted with spring flowers … beaches and holiday resorts / small fishing ports.

Sweden has a right to roam and you seem to be able to park up pretty much anywhere.  There are also a LOT of motorhomes around, predominently Swedish and German.  We spent the night in Kalmar, right on the sea, next to a beautifully maintained graveyard and fortress castle.