So, the trip has finally happened. We’ve been planning a tour of Scandinavia in a campervan for around 15 years and, well, WE’RE HERE! This was a long planning 25th wedding anniversary trip, though we celebrated our 26th a few weeks ago, so we appear to have missed a little. When we first talked about the idea it seemed like something that was miles off, so it seems a bit strange to be actually doing it.
We set off on Monday from the Island, stopping off on Monday night at the Canterbury Park and Ride car park. While it’s not the most exciting stopover, it is handy because it a) has toilets (albeit they close in the evening, and well before the specified time of 7.30) b) They specifically permit overnight stays c) It is cheap (£4-6 for an overnight, including free bus travel into town) and d) it is handy for the port at Dover. Canterbury feels like a properly English town, so was perhaps a good place to wander round in our last day here.
Day 2 involved a P&O ferry then the obligatory stop at Carrefour for wine, raspberry tarts and a few more worthy looking things so it doesn’t look like we are only buying wine and tarts, We then headed off through Belgium (with the obligatory traffic-jam round Antwerp) and into the Netherlands, stopping overnight in Zwolle. We’d never been here before, but found a nice looking Camperplaats (motorhome site) at the Jachthaven de Hanze. We arrived having followed some excellent signs to the site and were slightly confused about what to do, but eventually worked out we could just pitch up and wait for someone to collect the 9 Euro fee for the night. It was a great spot, overlooking the Marina, close to town (weather and time meant we didn’t manage a trip in) and a short walk/cycle to a nearby Jumbo supermarket and Lidl. We always like this combo because Lidl is cheap and Jumbo stocks some of our key Netherlands-specific needs, like Hertog Jan beer, Stroop, and Wilhelmina Mints. It was a great site with nice facilities and we’d definitely stop here again in the future.
The next morning we made a slow start and then headed off into Germany, using some slightly odd routes the satnav appeared quite set on, and headed towards Denmark. The Autobahn was largely easy going, but some care needed to avoid pulling out in front of vehicles travelling at 140MPH+. Our arrival in Denmark was via a border control checkpoint, slightly odd within the Schengen countries but a “temporary” measure which has now been in place for some time.
We arrived at the Camperstop Aabenraa, in the south of the country late in the afternoon, parked up and then went off to fathom the automated payment system. Instructions in English helped greatly, and we were soon set up for two nights budget camping – our first nights in Scandinavia! We managed to dodge showers and get a quick bike ride in, cycling into town and having a quick nose around, finding the tourist information centre still open at 5.30 in the evening and able to fulfil Susan’s need to collect leaflets wherever she goes. Meanwhile, Martin did his typical cycle-infrastructure-geek thing and started taking notes and photographs about hist first sighting of Danish cycle infrastructure. The summary is, much better than the UK, not a patch on similar places in the Netherlands. He’s looking forward to cycling in Copenhagen and Odense on our return through Denmark later in the trip.