Week 3: Skagen to Bua, Sweden

This week, we left Skagen and travelled south down the main island to Aarlborg, mainly in search of the curry!

Aarlborg is a beautiful town on a river and another excellent place to cycle. We did a lovely long bike ride but forgot to turn on Strava so couldn’t post it!

The cycle ride did involve a small crash (the dog trailer clipped a kerb and the dog was rolled out)! He did just stand there with a look as if to say what have you done! While Ric’s pride took a knock – it had to have happened on a path at lights on a busy road!) The dog was fine. We also found the curry house! Not the same as we were used to but it stopped the craving.

The weather was so hot there. Just outside the campsite was a free swimming pool /lake in the fjord. Danish fjords are different to Norwegian ones.

From Aarlborg we headed south to the island of Fyn and a lovely campsite in Faaberg. Here, there was some grass for Albi to play on. The village is a short distance away and we had a quick look before finding another harbour to have lunch at. Also needed to find postcards and a phone charger before crossing into Sweden.

The plan was simple, two toll bridges and the tunnel and we’d be at the campsite in Malmo. Five years ago on our first visit we’d stopped just under the Bridge at a slightly run-down campsite and felt it only fitting to return. So, over the bridge a quick trip to the supermarket (quick note if you’re planning a visit supermarkets don’t sell any alcohol over 3.5% – you need to go to a Systembolaget. They are very easy to find and fairly reasonable in price – not UK prices but not Norway prices!).

We arrived at the campsite to find the longest queue and Motorhome u-turns! The once rundown campsite had been revamped and was FULL! We later found out there was a big horse show in town too!

A quick check on the map and apps and we found a campsite just up the road. It would do! On the coast – lovely but there was no real strategy regarding pitches and it was midge city! The toilet facilities weren’t the best but we have all we need in the Motorhome- we’d got lazy and not been using what we had, even paying for the privilege! Time for a review!

Our shower is so much better than most of the campsite ones, and you have everything to hand – it’s an en-suite facility! No more wet seats and clothes, cramped cubicles and wet walls, token boxes and smells!

After this campsite, we went to our first wild campsite (almost)! We were in the town of Halmstad at the Motorhome city camp, without electricity but for less than half the price of the site the night before. It had a good location on the river, a short walk to the town centre and a sculpture trail. We even spotted a Picasso!

We decided to try our luck at another Stellplatz (overnight camper stop) the next night. As it was Saturday we thought we’d get there as early as we could, so we stocked up with groceries and set off – the previous night we’d got the last decent spot.

We arrived at Bua in time for a late lunch, pulled up into a parking space each has an area to the side where you can sit and cook. We went and bought our ticket 240 Swedish Krone for a night with Motorhome service point (about £20). On the way back a space had become free on the harbour side! I stood in the space and Ric rushed to get the Motorhome into the space. As it happens people were in and out most of the day – your time starts when you get there!

We settled in nicely, met a lovely group of Swedish campers who had arrived to meet up and chatted for a long time. They also informed us that the Stellplatz had been voted the best in Sweden last year and we could see why! Just by the Stellplatz was a restaurant selling Chinese and European food. It would have been rude not to try it.

After a fantastic sunny day and a wait for the sunset, the heavens opened. We both awoke and checked the skylights just in case.

Sunday, after a showery night the morning was clear and sunny. Then the rain moved in again. It stayed dry enough to walk to the local supermarket. The weather looked promising so we walked around the point and saw a nice swimming point, Ganets drying their wings and the lighthouse. The weather so good, we decided to give the Motorhome a quick wash. We’d just finished and in true British Sunday car wash tradition it rained!

The rain cleared and was followed by storm force winds, all night, causing another check outside to ensure all was secure. The metal plate we have on the bike cover was hitting the bikes by our heads, so nothing serious but another sleepless night!

Week 4 nears with a vet visit and Norway. We’re planning the next stage as I write, we have memories from before and places we couldn’t get to as we had to go back to work!

Now there’s a thing we haven’t thought of recently – work. Apologies to all of you who have to return to work soon, but we’re loving our new lifestyle.

Week 2: Amsterdam to Skagen

Perfect lunch stop Esbjerg

We left Amsterdam and moved on towards Denmark, staying at a small campsite in Witmarsum. We’d crossed the large dams on the motorway and even had to wait for the bridges to open after the ships had been let out towards the Wadden Islands and off to the North Sea. We’d decided to see parts of the Netherlands which we wouldn’t normally as we were always too desperate to get to where we needed to be.

After, the Netherlands we wanted to get to Denmark to begin our tour of Scandinavia. We decided to sprint across Germany and after a short ferry crossing (with a long wait and driver who kept pushing in the queue) from Wischhafen to Glückstadt we set off in search of the campsite, knowing that one I had looked at shut at 18:00 and we were very close to the time! Luckily, it wasn’t the one we were in search of, as the road had been closed for roadworks and there was a diversion in place!

We arrived at the campsite – Elbdeich Camping in Kollmar, Germany – where the owner asked what flag we wanted to have raised for our stay. We opted for the English Flag and watched as it was raised in our honour. To be honest, there was a very large basket and it had every flag I could think of! He was very proud to have bought the New Zealand flag for visitors soon to arrive.

Border Number 5 – Denmark

From here we turned north and headed across the German / Danish border and stopped at a lovely village called Tønder. The pavements had roses growing through them up the walls of the houses.

From Tønder, we moved further north to Søndervig, in the rain, The views were amazing still and the sides of the roads were sand dunes. On this trip we completed our 2000 mile milestone.

From Søndervig we moved further north to Vesløs and the Bygholm Camping Thy. Vesløs is not far from a Fjord and about 11km from the beach, so off we headed with our bikes but the weather looked a little doubtful and we lost our way so we returned after a bout 13 miles! The campsite was a little quirky but friendly. They seem to have their own way of doing things!

Next we set off for Skagen, the most northerly point on mainland Denmark. On the way, we had read about the Osterlid Test Center for Vindmøller – the Test Centre for Wind Turbines. Were able to climb up part of a tower, look at a blade and know why they have three blades and not two or four! They also research the best type of turbine for the area with prototypes being installed in various countries around the world. All the statistics are available to view! There are a lot of wind turbines in Denmark.

The campsite in Skagen was just a short walk (or cycle) away and we dutifully cycled there on the two days we were there. It is a cruise liner stop too and the population increases with each boat that arrives. We set off on our own little trip and got to Grenen, which is a little like the danish equivilent of John O’Groats and very touristy. We saw the many different ships on the horizon heading for the North Sea (or returning). We went to a little church which was closed for services after being covered by sand – each week the parisionners would dig back the sand for Sunday Service, Now, the main part of the church is buried and only the church tower remains visible.

So we have have had a great week, Nortia, the Etrusco T7400 QBC is a perfect touring vehicle. She is so comfortable that travelling at a slower pace than we are used to has been a blessing. That said, we have had to tell ourselves to slow down too – the past sometimes catches up with us and we feel we have to get to somewhere but we don’t! We have no schedule, no big plans – just thoughts and ideas on paper and in our heads.

I can not let this week pass without a potato masher tale (Phil – this is for you), I lost it! I’d traded the one we used to have in our kitchen gadget box in the old camper for the decent one we’d had at home – a much easier to use implement, but had forgotten where I had stowed it. The potatoes were cooked and the butter and milk added but…. I did find it still in the box in the large garage we have. Maybe next week we need to look at what we’ve got and put it in places which are easier to use? We’ll let you know more.

For now, though we are making the most of the sunshine in Denmark and planning the next weeks’ adventures. I think a curry may be involved as there are a few murmurs of needing one!

Thank you as ever for reading this. I’m off back to the sunshine in Denmark… planning to be done!

Week 1: The Tunnel to Amsterdam…

On Tuesday 2nd July we made our way to the Tunnel to begin our first adventure in Nortia, our Etrusco T7400QBC Motorhome. On arrival at the tunnel, there appeared to be a large volume of lorry traffic. After check-in we discovered there was an hour delay. Still, this time we had a motorhome where we could move around and make our lunch rather than having to be reliant on the services provided. Also, an hour delay can provide a nice time to shop!

Waiting to board, a couple of lanes over from us, was a zoo vehicle and trailer – our curiosity was too much and we had to ask what was in it, after all it would be nice to know what we were sharing a train with! It was two antelopes being transported to a zoo in Germany. They looked lovely but the horns looked severe!

Finally, we were called to board but, the train was full, so we were taken around again and boarded the next available train.

Over the weekend whilst we had been sort of wild camping (a car park with electricity), we discovered a leak from the bathroom sink. It wasn’t life threatening and didn’t leak into the Motorhome but would still be annoying and could cause us issues when wild camping or using Aires. A phone call to Rachel at Erwin Hymer, had us booked into an Etrusco Dealership in Geel, Belgium – Dicar Motorhomes http://www.dicar.be on Wednesday morning at 09:00. We changed our planned route and have chosen to add them to the return journey. We hastily tried to find a campsite close to Geel – having assumed (first error) the one in Geel would have vacancies! Our search took us to a small campsite just over the Dutch Border – Camping Buitenlust near Chaam, NL. From here it was an hour to Geel and Dicar Motorhomes. We had been in four countries in one day!

On arrival at Dicar, we were impressed it was enormous – a vast two storey showroom with an outside area similar to a two storey car park in England. The signage was great and we were directed to the Service Centre. They have a ticket system, like we used to have in the supermarket for the Deli Counter (if you’re old enough to remember!). After a short wait, we explained the issue and within 3 hours we were on our way again. We were even given coffee (from a vending machine but so much better than an English machine).

Next stop was a small campsite in Belgium, Camping Fort Bedmar in De Klinge. There is a statue here to the De Loor brothers one of whom won the Tour of Spain Cycle Race – now La Veulta.

From here we made our way back to the route we had wanted to travel and we drove up the coast of The Netherlands passing Middelburg and on to Ouddorp. Where we stayed at Vakantiepark De Klepperstee. A short distance from the sand dunes and a cycle path around the peninsula. Driving there had been over a number of dams holding back the North Sea. We chose to stay here two days and went on a bike ride around the area stopping to eat lunch overlooking the dunes and with a spectacular view across the North Sea to Den Haag and Rotterdam.

Leaving here , we had decided to go up the coast to Delft before heading to a campsite we’d booked outside Utrecht (second error, as I’ll reveal!) We checked into the campsite found our pitch, placed our washing in a machine, sorted out our stuff and took the dog for a stroll to check out the restaurant and facilities. We’d taken about ten steps, when people started staring at us and we felt really uncomfortable. We looked at each other and realised we hadn’t seen any dogs at all – really rare for the campsites we’ve been on. A quick check on the website and there we saw it NO DOGS ALLOWED! We have never decamped so quickly – including remembering the washing!

Back on the road, we chose a campsite we had already discussed and it was perfect. Camperplaats Het Groene Hart in Abbenes, NL. Its a simple stop over with amazing views in the middle of an arable farm on a lovely quiet road. All the instructions are there for you with a shower and toilet block (2 showers & 2 toilets). Perfect – Time to reflect our mistake, from the comfort of the Motorhome.

Final stop for the week and a journey of less than an hour – Gaasper Camping Amsterdam. As the name suggests it’s in Amsterdam. Its about 30 minutes on the Metro to Centraal Station. Having set up our camp and checked out the facilities we thought we’d go to the city the next day and go for a bike ride in the afternoon. We cycled out to the Muiderslot Castle. The route took us through pretty villages, over a lock for the Amsterdam Canal, alongside the motorway and through a lovely big park, back to the campsite.

On Monday – Day Seven, we’ve been to Amsterdam, walked the locks, had lunch, visited shops and seen the views. It is truely stunning and the campsite is an ideal base to visit the city and its environs.

Now as I write this, we are contemplating our next week of adventure. We have an idea, but… How many mistakes will we make in this coming week? I’ll be sure to let you know! For now here’s a quick round up of facts: 4 major Dams crossed; 1 Toll Tunnel; 4 country borders crossed: England – France, France – Belgium, Belgium – the Netherlands (and the Netherlands – Belgium and back again!) 2 Bike rides; 1 city visited; and 2 errors made!

Thank you again for reading. We’ll have another update next week – have a great week and stay safe.

End of the Pre-Adventure Tour a.k.a Getting to know Nortia

Having picked up Nortia, our Etrusco T7400 QBC on what started off as an incredibly wet Wednesday in June, but ended in perfect sunshine we set off to our first overnight stop at the Caravan and Motorhome Club Site Richmond Hargill House, overlooking the North York Moors.

We were greeted by the welcoming wardens and helped to pick a lovely pitch. Time to unload the hire car and see what would go where. First we tried to sort the bed out so we were ready to go – the bed linen we brought was too small – the bed in Nortia is a king size, our duvet fitted but the sheets were way to small. We took a short drive to Catterick and bought what we needed.

Next stop dinner, we bought a quick and simple dinner we could reheat in the oven – Nortia has a Gaslow system fitted which we can refill with LPG. Another stupid error ensued – we hadn’t checked we had gas. So while we sat waiting for the dinner to cook – there had been no heat. It was easily rectified the next day – we had previously downloaded the LPG app – as recommended by Vanda and Andy https://truckingandlooking.blogspot.com/.

After two nights at Richmond we went to the Caravan and Motorhome Club North Yorkshire Moor, we’d been searching for a campsite to go to and it looked lovely. Another error there were no facilities at the site BUT that was no longer a problem we have a shower and toilet on board – both are lovely and big with a walkway between which makes the biggest en-suite we have ever had truth be told we haven’t had an en=suite before!)

From North Yorkshire Moors we spent the weekend at York Rowntree Caravan Club Site. Here we discovered lovely little street with cafes, restaurants and shops just within walking distance. In the other direction the City Centre was about half a mile away. In true tradition we had a curry on Saturday night.

Next stop Maplethope, Lincolnshire a traditional seaside town, with a big sandy beach but no dogs are allowed at this time of year.

From here we went to Thetford Forest Club Site, complete with Desert Rats Memorial and Trail – there is also a Museum open on request.

Heading further south we went to the Ashridge Farm site just outside Ashwell, Hertfordshire. Ashwell is a quintessential English Village, with a butcher and baker (don’t know about candlestick maker) couple of pubs and a village green with cricket pitch. We actually washed Nortia to make her look smart!

Last stop before home was Henley-on-Thames. The sun came out as did the awning and chairs and we relaxed in the sun.

We stopped over at home and collected the belongings we hadn’t had the room to take with us and placed the bikes on the fitted bike rack, before heading further south to the coast – Littlehampton Club Site was the next stop over. We worked out an issue with the fridge – it has a three-way switch over but needed resetting – simple when you read the instructions!

One last stop over at Chichester Marina, before we headed off on the adventure we were planning.

Thank you again for reading to the end.. we’ll update you with more from the Big Adventure soon.