Yes, we have arrived! And man did we need a drink after a 36 hours and 2500km drive over 5 days.
Thanks to our friend Ivo we’re having a wonderful gin with homemade rhubarb juice (yes, we managed to keep the surprise box closed till we got here as promised!).
Can we start at the beginning? Because this wasn’t your usual journey. I mean, if it was just the 2 of us with a car, we’d have been here in 2 days, but now we have a cat and a baby that wanted to come along, demanding little creatures that they are. Or at least, we thought they’d be the stress factor on our trip. How wrong were we!
First day, after getting all the final things packed, we were ready to go. Last thing to do, attach car to caravan and drive away. We didn’t get very far though. In fact we didn’t get further than the grass field of our friends (sorry again Gil and Ivo) that we were staying with. As we are fans of silliness, we decided that it was best to get stuck in the muddy grass with the car and caravan attached… 2 hours later (!!!) we finally managed to manoeuvre the car and caravan out of there. You read that right, it took us 2 hours to move 3 metres!
But all that swearing and drama wasn’t going to stop us from leaving. No, we got on the road to the north and... wait a sec… forgot to mention that Vince had an upset stomach all morning, so at the end of the driveway (100m) Vince had to walk back to the house to go to the toilet once again.
Alright, so we got on the road to the north, got stuck in traffic here and there, especially around Köln and managed to get past Münster where we decided we’d had enough and needed a campsite to get a decent night’s sleep. Found one last minute and stayed on a grass field connected to electricity. Next day our plan was to stay at the border before Denmark and then take it to Malmö the next day.
Now we have to mention here that several friends and family members have asked us to take things easy and slowly, so as not to take any risks on this trip. We will now apologize to those people, as of course we did no such thing. However, you know us and we don’t take things easy or slowly. So what did we do? We drove 10 hours from Münster to Malmö. Several factors pushed to take this ‘desperate’ measure, but we agreed with each other that this wouldn’t be a political blog and have therefore censored ourselves accordingly. We will tell you however that Amber and Fraggle were the most relaxed beings in that car throughout Germany and Denmark. And that didn’t change for the rest of the trip!
On with our ridiculousness.
We arrived at Malmö First Camping at 22.45. The campsite closes at 23.00 we were told by the man on the phone at the booking agency (we’re off-season, so agencies do the booking after certain hours so the owners can have a break as well). We were told that we were to type a code at a box that would then give us a card which would grant us access to the campsite. Except that when we got there… there was no box. Frantically we both got out of the car, started running around looking for clues like people that are in the Amazing Race. When we finally found this ‘box’, we realized that we hadn’t received any code! At least, not one that worked. So we called another number for after, after hours and this guy got us the code, which opened one of the boxes, which gave us a temporary card which gave us access to the campsite! By this time it was 22.57. We had 3 minutes left to get through the barrier with our convoy. Vince sprinted back to the car, while Caroline swiped the card so he could get in. It didn’t work. 22.58. Swipe the card again. It didn’t work. Realized that maybe the barrier next to it might work instead (why?, but let’s try anyway) and of course, it bloody worked! So with 1 minute to spare, we made it into the campsite.
This might all sound very desperate and strange to some, as we could’ve easily parked outside the campsite on a big parking, but you have to know that inside the camping we can connect to electricity, which means our underfloor heating works as well as the lights and chargers. Having baby and cat with us, this was quite important especially after 10 hours of driving.
So we’re finally in and stop at the map to look for our spot. We were allocated 155, but there is no 155 on the map! We were both looking and there was no 155!! So Vince went looking for the best spot where we’d disturb the least people with our rattling car (yes, something came loose while getting it out of the mud) chucked it on there, connected to electric and hit the sack!
This was our first experience with a Swedish campsite (the last trip we took we stayed in hotels and hostels) and we have to say, the facilities are absolutely amazing. We have been camping in many places over the years and Vince and his parents have seen it all, but this is something to write home about.
After a terrible night’s sleep for several reasons, Vince decided he wanted to move on. ‘Too close to the seagulls’ as a Swede in the mountains once put it (the man was referring to city folk who just make noise and no sense). We left for the scenic route up north past Göteborg, towards Karlstad and stopped at a beautiful campsite on the edge of one of the countless lakes of Sweden. Absolutely incredible location and even better facilities than the last one! We took Amber to her first ‘beach’ ever (“It had sand and there was water!” to quote Caroline).
Even though this place was amazing, we had our eye on the prize. And now that we were on a roll, why stop? So next day we left again when waking up (waking up when you feel like it on a daily basis is absolutely amazing by the way, you should try it) and set off like every day, not knowing how far we’d make it. Now we got the hang of planning a little in advance, so Caroline had chosen 3 campsites we’d be able to book on the way, depending how far we’d make it. The destination chose itself, Sveg…
There is not much to be said about Sveg. It’s Swedish, it’s a town and it was a Friday night. We parked the caravan away from all the other caravans (there were 2) so we’d know we’d get a good night’s sleep. By 10pm however, that dream was over. Banging music started and the caravan was vibrating. We were parked right next to a building which was hosting a wedding party. It was inside, but of course the windows were open (it must’ve been boiling for these frosty Swedes). Around 2am we managed to get a bit of sleep between the music and the cat trying to scratch the door in order to get out. At this point Fraggle is starting to get a bit fed up of being stuck inside. Just to explain, while travelling we stopped every 2 hours, migrated Amber and Fraggle to the caravan for a feeding and toilet break, put them back in the car. Amber seemed to actually enjoy it more and more, while Fraggle went the opposite way.
Anyway, it was “time to leave that Sveghole” as Vince put it. After paying a ridiculous SEK 340 for not sleeping, we rattled off again. We didn’t really care about not sleeping. We knew that today was the day we’d make it Storuman, our final destination (we can no longer drive behind any lorry carrying giant logs thanks to that film).
During the trip the scenery got more wild and rugged as we went. The weather, funnily enough, had stayed the same from our departure in Germany till we hit a town called Strömsund. From here on out things started to get colder and halfway through our trip we started to see some snow piled up here and there. Before we knew it, there was snow all around us on the ground. It is still too warm for it to hang in the trees, but apparently cold enough to freeze part of the lakes.
We eventually made it through mist, snow and rain and were helped very kindly by the brother of the owner (who was on holiday) and showed us our spot. After a bit of skidding and sliding (and rattling) the caravan is standing where it will remain for the winter months.
We need a week to recover, but knowing us, tomorrow we’ll be at it again. Once you’re excited about something, laziness doesn’t exist…
Love to you all,
Caroline, Vince, little Amber and Fraggle
P.S. To the ‘seagulls’ in Hoting, Caroline left you half a salami and gouda sandwich with mayonnaise which flew off the roof of the car after she’d left it there while putting Amber in the car seat. Enjoy!
P.P.S. Caroline found out there was a spot 155 on the map inside the reception when paying the next morning. She checked the map outside again and there definitely was no spot 155!