The morning has started wonderfully with jogging and sunrise on Malö, not knowing yet that this will be the last of the really-beautiful-pitches oft this trip.
It is Monday morning, 9:30 am when Hector looks out for legal parkings in Hällevikstrand on the isle of Orust. It is there that we start learning about parking restrictions and rules-above-reason attitudes. Hällevikstrand in the Skagerrak of the North Sea has nothing to do with Hällevik at the Baltic Sea, both being nice small harbour villages. Hällevikstrand contains one museum (closed) and one café (closed on Mondays) and nice houses and a nice harbour.
Next stop is Mollösund, recommended by my travel books. Indeed it is more touristic in here: a café (currently closed), a restaurant (opening only in the evening) and a small supermarket (closed, ignoring the opening hours presented outside).
The islands close to Gothenburg may be beautiful, but they are sort of closed up. Without a summer residence and friends among your neighbours, you are not welcome and there is nothing to do and no place to go. The latter being true also for the huge parking with about 70 pitches. With 2 small cars + 1 small Hector, it is far from being crowded. But, oh, I ignored some of the signs that seem to indicate (in Swedish) that even automobiles that fit into the parking slots must not use them unless classified as “Klass I”. For whatever that means. Anyway, the pensioner and his Swedish verboseness is no fan of our journey and is not willing to stop his tirades until I turn the engine and start to move. I would have made a wheely while Hector, being more decent, only honks the horn and off we go.
Thanks to the fantastic kitchen of Café Borgen with its friendly chef, this episode will not impact today’s mood seriously. Whenever you are between Orust and Tjörn, make sure that you drop in here for breakfast, Lunch or any other meal – you will not be disappointed.
Next island I try is Tjörn with a camp site close to Skärhamn. Despite the mid class sanitary facilities and neatly cut meadows, it does not feel appealing. The access to the sea is adventurous, the distance to the small village of Skärhamn is 2 km and my folded bicycle is out of order (flat rear tyre, reserve tyres do not hop-on automatically and my toolbox misses the one crucial wrench that might do it when put in professional hands). In fact, this part of Sweden is too little too strange and I decide to go for one last try and then (if required) skip the sea and turn inland.
Finally, after six hours of driving and some loop ways around Kungälv, Hector finds a camper parking at Marstrand. Gravel, the back side of some industrial building and reclusive van neighbours are one facet, the other one is the free view out on the skerries while on the peninsula in front of Hector graze wild sheep.
Marstrand with its islands Koön and Klȧverön is more vivid than the places I have seen on Orust or Tjörn. It must have been important once, proved by the Carlsten Fortress and the imposing houses around.
Today is the first (and only) day of the entire Sweden tour that I feel exhausted. Usually I like strolling around and find unforeseen beauty on my way, but sometimes the search for a sleeping place takes its told. It is more by routine than by enthusiasm that I take some pictures of the fortress until I settle down for dinner in the sole open restaurant in town. Food & sleep fixes everything!
Electricity and sanitary facilities would have been nice for the night, but I rather go for a simple parking with an agile town and a view than for a soulless camp site. And, lucky me, Hector agrees.