Sweden (4): Found

A1

One of the few things I had planned for my Sweden holiday was: stay at least one night in pure nature, just wild and free. Now, after the Hällevik Jazz Festival with music and dancing and all the fun, I feel the need for some tranquillity. First try goes to Bolmen where I end up on a little camp site. Yes, it is calm, but still it is a camp site next to a small harbour.

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Bolmen

On Monday I start fresh like the cold morning, motivated by sunny jogging routine and a chat with Thomas from Berlin. He stays with his family in a house that is almost, but not entirely off-the-lake and sympathizes with the idea of a flexible camper van. Let’s give him a good reason for it.

A3

Hector goes into the wild

My map indicates a “badplats” that is just a bit south of Torpa. First we reach a little beach accompanied by shady parking among the trees. Then I see that 350m down the dirt road is a landing place for small boats, coming along with a rusty barbecue, a round table and perfect space for Hector!

D3

Found! Our Spot for the Night

We settle down and I spend a lazy day with a swim in the lake, barbecue and sunbathing. Once in a while tourists (and once: Swedish inhabitants & boat owners) pass by, but most of the time it is exactly what I was looking for: calm.

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I enjoy grilled steaks, cold beer and good books. In fact, most of the time passes by with no action at all and that is what I came here for. I feel comfortable but wonder how this will develop around nightfall. Will I be a Sissy with nervous reaction on every natural sound (true for mosquito noise, by the way)? Or will I pass a wonderful night, all cosy inside my Super-Hector?

F2

Inside Out

Tomorrow we will see…

H2

 

Sweden (3): Desperately Seeking…

After two days in Eringsboda, it is time to move on. In Hällevik happens a jazz festival. With Swing Jazz. They even mention Lindy Hop on their website! The case is clear: we know where to go.

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Hällevik

Being the direct opposite to the Côte d’Azur, Sweden is not even overcrowded in time of events. Consequently, I find a nice spot at the local camp site with no difficulty at all. It only takes 1.000 meters to walk to the festival, but as I rather use my new fantastic folded bicycle, it takes me 2.500m each time (based on short cuts or hidden passages).

A2

Distracted by Landscape. Or Seascape?

Even though 10°C plus would be nice, the weather remains stable throughout the festival weekend. And although 35 years less would be nice, I am surrounded by friendly people that smile politely at my Swedish language approaches.

The first evening brings disillusion: although filled with people and good music, nobody moves. They all sit and listen, full stop. Being a prominent dancing chick, this behaviour irritates me quite a bit. After 4 or 5 different bands in different locations, I finally manage to find the dance floor that has been built next to the stage of the festival tent. With relief I spot a handful people dancing, finally! No Lindy Hop or Boogie, but still. I push my way through walking frames and perms and roll up the dance floor.

C1

Great Music by “Jazz Five”

Saturday is even better: during daytime I stroll around, sit here and there, eat and drink and listen to a couple of finest jazz bands. In the evening, I choose “Gunhild Carling”, not being aware of them being sort of famous in here. Fact is that they know how to bring up a great atmosphere and within seconds the little dance floor is populated with the right kind of people. Just minutes after I posted “Desperately Seeking Lindy Hoppers” on the festival’s Instagram site, I finally found Sweden’s dancing scene. The universe knows how to grant wishes and how to make a party!

D2d

Thanks for Playing!

After two days at the festival, I know a bit more about the world beyond my borders:

  • The prices of Swedish camp sites are in reverse proportion to their sanitary rooms.
  • I really should learn how to dance more extroverted. Perhaps some tattoos would help…
D6b

Underdressed and mostly harmless – still having so much fun!

 

Sweden (2): Relaxation

C1a

Hector’s Swimming Class

Six hours on the ocean and Hector proudly announces that he knows how to swim open waters. I see the need for some discussions coming up, but for today I drop it and rather look for our first Swedish home base.

D1

I choose Simrishamn with a sea side camping. Catching the pitch closest to the beach (with grass, low pines and a mini golf course in between), Hector is probably the most South-Eastern point of entire Sweden these days.

E7

The first hours seem to confirm pessimistic Scandinavian insect predictions: thousands and millions of tiny bugs fly around, covering 1/3 of my shirt, falling in my neckline and in my drinks and they ANNOY ME!!

E2

Simrishamn (center)

After a quick impression of Simrishamn down-town, I learn two things:
a) Sirimshamn is quiet. Very quiet. Boring might be even more true.
b) The black mini bugs do not like the beach (and the sand flies are less obtrusive).

E4

Simrishamn Beach

The next day is fine for bug-free jogging, as long as you are done by 8:00am that is. Afterwards, I am queen of the beach, having it – in spite of the well-populated camp site – all on my own for hours.

E6

Starring at the Sea

After the sports-beach-relaxation day at Simrishamn, Hector is keen on seeing more of the country. We head off to Ronneby and easily find parking slots at the Brunnsparken. It is described as “the most beatiful of parks” and offers a tourist train, cafés and beds of roses as well as pure nature with endless forest, lakes and hilly grounds.

The area is huge and I am glad that today is not Sunday: due to a short & successful stop at a small antique shop along the way, my vacation fund would not take further shopping excesses at the flea market that occurs weekly in the pillared meeting place of Brunshallarna.

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Brunshallarna

In the afternoon we arrive at Eringsboda and Hector settles down in front of my uncle’s holiday house.

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Accompanied by my cousin we use the fantastic weather for a swim in one of the lakes close by. The water temperature had been measured with 19°C while the more you jump in the warmer it feels.

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I spend two nights in my uncle’s garden with seasoned prunes falling directly from the tree into my muesli and with touristic impressions that are above all: relaxing.

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Eringsboda

H1d

Björkenäs

H2

Torhamn

H5

Sandhamn

H7

Starring at the Sea (continued)

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Family Residence

Sweden (1): Travelling to an unexpected Evening

It is Saturday evening when Hector is finally over-equipped and ready to go North. The batteries are fully charged, the water tank is filled with 40 l of best Munich water and the refrigerator with prepared food, summer beer and whatever it takes to survive in the wilderness.

A1

Around nightfall we reach the Parkschloss in the South of Leipzig: although filled with campers and regular cars, the friendly groundkeeper offers me a nice spot at the edge. With no service (no toilets, no showers, no electricity nor water) Hector is the star of the day, offering all luxury I could ask for.

A1a

Parkschloss Leipzig, Agra Park Dölitz

Mornings start best with fresh coffee, but my gas cooker in the kitchen remains silent. No typical sound from running gas, no flame, no spark, just: silence. When I turn round, I see the fridge’s light blink. On, off, on, off, on, off… Obviously, my refrigerator’s gas consumption does not meet my expectations – the 1st gas bottle is empty after 2x heating (Dolomites) + 3x cooling. With three weeks yet to come Hector and I agree on gas-cooling only in case of emergency, for instance when the volume of white whine exceeds the maximum of daily consumption.

Being the most flexible camper girl, I prepare coffee on the outdoor cooker before jogging through the agra Park of Dölitz. Good that I have had my portion of daily movement, keeping me at ease through the upcoming traffic jams. Note to myself: Remember to travel German highways between 18:00 and 7:00 only.

A2

The afternoon welcomes me with blue sky at Warnemünde and Hector finds a nice pitch in front of a super mega incredible cruise ship.

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Hector looks tiny and slim, depending on the surrounding

Facilities are repeating yesterday’s theme: nothing. It only takes 20 seconds to relocate the folded bicycle beside the couch and free my way into my private bath room. As long as you call 45 square centimetres a room…

B2

Evening at Warnemünde

I stroll around the harbour, the restaurants and thousands of tourists before I finally reach the beach. The plan is to toe-test the water temperature and then go for some coffee and prepare the following travel day. The facts are different and they are called Christian and Nico.

B3a

Hi guys

Shyly I ask them to take a picture and five minutes later I have a beer in my hand and we share decent conversations about the measurement of the world. Later, the sea is irresistible – who needs a shower when you can jump into the ocean? The water is wonderful and with the beach being half empty, no one cares about missing bathing suits or social conventions.

B4

Around the third beer, the idea of spontaneous travelling brings up the suggestion of extended travel groups (Hector, me + 1 further), just for the fun of it. Although I am not aware of it by now, I will smile the next day when I find out that the ticket-traveller-controls at the ferry are hilarious: nobody would have noticed additional persons hidden in the bathroom. Let’s think it through: a tall man hiding inside Hectors tiny bathroom, sharing the few cubic centimetres with the bicycle… in fact, the risk of hidden passengers is limited to Houdini.

Back home, Hector and I watch the cruisers coast into the ocean, wondering why anyone might need a 4-spiral-toboggan on top of a ship. After a short night, our day starts at 5:15 with bright sun, calm sea and the ferry to Sweden (without toboggan).

C1

The next morning…

As soon as Hector has Swedish ground under his tires, we learn more about our equipment: my tomtom Navi does not contain Swedish maps. If not for beer and swimming and dinner invitation, I would have checked out some destinations just the other day, but as things have developed in their own (best) way, I am fine with improvisation. The offline-on-paper-maps I had bought in March offer reliable information and I find today’s campsite without difficulties.

C4

Leaving Rostock/Warnemünde. Hector pushed all others out of the way for free view

For today, I am done with travelling – tired, happy and perfect dinner to local mosquitoes.

 

Up to Sweden

“I want to be the star of the show! And I want it to be a big show!” See what happens when the last serious holidays are long gone and the van becomes impatient.

Loungesofa

The couch is ready to roll

Yes, we have been to the dolomites. Yes, there have been hiking short trips to the Alps. But a real tour, let me think, the last one ended in June 2016 after surfing France’s west coast. By now, we are desperately counting down the remaining days until we head off to Sweden. The house sitters are organized (great to have home-seeking friends), we bought a travel book and a map for south Sweden and the ferries are booked since March. Now it is time to pack and leave.

HectorEmpty

Hector, empty

Due to a lack of time the preparation so far has been limited to the facts above. Now I start thinking about: What will I do there? Where will I go? I have a vague idea of “beautiful nature” and thousands of blue shimmering lakes. Oh, and I ordered a mosquito net the other day, just in case… Hector, sure enough, does not care too much about details. He is more the “tiger in the tank” type and takes off without clear destination basically following the sun. Thus, I will let loose and see later about the where and the how and the holiday action.

HectorPacked

Hector, packed

The packing includes long & short + warm & cold clothing, the skateboard, jogging shoes and two and a half bikinis. Fresh water, pasta, potatoes and a pound of coffee will follow right before leaving. I think this will do for most spontaneous ideas that might come up…