Today we left Scandinavia behind, to start a slow trek home through Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and France. We’re spending longer on this part of the trip than planned due to the problems with the van, though we had always planned a few days in The Netherlands on our way back. Today we headed to Rødby to catch the Scandlines ferry to Puttgarden in Germany. On the way the van died again, and didn’t seem keen to restart, but after a few minutes on the hard shoulder we managed to get it going again. Shortly after we had to make a quick call on whether to pull in to a rest stop or keep going, so I made the decision to put my foot down as we approached and see what happened. What happened was the engine management light came back on so I pulled off and made it into the caravan parking area. No stall this time, but the engine management light wouldn’t go out, so we switched off and waited for about 15 mins, before heading off again, a little slower this time (max of 80kph rather than 90). We made it to the ferry without further failure (bit lumpy at points though) and then had issues with the automatic check in (eventually they realised we shouldn’t have done auto check in with a motorhome, but the helpful lady who came to our rescue got us sorted and onto the ferry, which left as soon as we had loaded. By this time I was quite stressed and needed the whole 45 minute crossing and a coffee and pastry to recover! We then headed to Ikea in Lubeck, which turned up on my Camper Stopover app. Sure enough, 5 motorhome spaces here, so we have spent the afternoon in the IKEA cafe eating Scnitzel and Strudle. Van managed the run here without significant event. Tomorrow we head on to Groningen, our longest single-day drive of the rest of the trip, fingers and toes crossed.
We took the van into an approved Citreon repairer in the hopes that a specialist might be able to more accurately identify the problem but unfortunately with it being an intermittent fault with a host of likely causes we all agreed our best bet was to continue slowly homewards, hope for the best and get it looked at at home. The mechanics were all lovely, helpful and spoke fantastic English.
We had planned to spend the next couple of nights at Charlottenlund fort campsite, but despite being mid week and not the school holidays here they were fully booked for most of this week. This was annoying as we had waited about for a couple of hours in IKEA, the only compensation being that we enjoyed a Swedish IKEA breakfast buffet and I was delighted that my UK family card got me a discount and a free coffee 🙂
We used Martin’s brilliant Camperplaats app to help us find alternative accommodation – squeezed ourselves in rather tightly at a Marina (more tightly than it appears in this pic!) and headed off on our bikes determined to get something more positive out of the day than just a breakfast at IKEA.
Cycling off along the coast we headed past Chatlottenlund and tried not to get jealous of the people staying in the fort surrounded by greenery, sea and sand not to mention a few cannons! We headed towards the deer-park, Dyrehaven where you can see 2000 deer of various breeds and The Hermitage Palace.
A cycle back through some housing areas is always interesting and led us to a bakery for yet more pastries. We discovered that on the otherside of the marina there was yet another swimming platform and we sat and ate our chilli watching the last few swimmers of the day, sailing boats coming home at dusk and the odd paddle-boarder.
Obviously as I love murder mysteries and we are going to Sweden we will be going to Ystad as we travel around the west and s [Read more…]
This morning we drove to Aarhus. We had planned to park out of town and cycle in but the weather forecast for the afternoon was for heavy rain so instead we got there early and parked in the small car park at ARoS. Parking the van in town centres in Europe can be tricky as multi-story car parks tend to dominate and we’re too high to fit in!
We had been recommended a visit to the library at the docks and so we thought we’d wander down there while the weather was still ok. It was simply amazing. It was a huge public space, full of interesting design, fun things for kids, cosy spaces to read, and even some books!
We had spotted Aarhus Street Food on our way to the library so stopped there for an early lunch on the way back to ARoS. Good variety of food and drink on offer, and we even managed to secure some cheesecake to go with our coffee later on (no pastries today!)
Then into ARoS, an Art Museum (which claims to be one of Europe’s largest, and who am I to argue?) with a series of galleries topped off by the rather fabulous “panorama rainbow” – a walkway ring glazed with different coloured glass. The museum occupied us for longer than we expected (we’re lightweights when it comes to museums and galleries) with some interesting, inspiring, thought provoking and fun pieces.
It definitely looked like we could have occupied more time here but it was pouring with rain so we headed off to our overnight stop, a car-park by a lighthouse, Sletterhage Fyr. The drive there started on the motorway then onto country lanes which got fairly narrow by the end – slightly entertaining in a right-hand drive van! The Fyr is another fabulous stop, we’re parked overlooking the beach with the lighthouse, a trailer-cafe and a toilet. The rain eventually stopped (though it’s still pretty breezy) so we managed a walk along the beach.
This was a completely unexpected art exhibition in the Harbour and it was a gem of a find. These boats were full of joy and sorrow, life and death. This installation really struck me as being the type of multi-skilled, creative, interactive, life-affirming sculptures that were reminiscent of Martin’s days at Island 2000. The exhibit is travelling around Denmark.
These were three boats built from concrete,merging art and culture and focusing on universal womanhood and letting the figurehead take over the entire boat, allowing her to become the boat. “Each boat has it’s own identity and narrative. The three individual titles are My ship is filled with Longing, Life, and Memories” focusing on the three stages of life.
My ship is loaded with longing – the young one entering the world:
This boat had a treasure chest inside where we were invited to post letters about our hopes, dreams and longings, which would be added to at each stop, but the chest is sealed and will never be opened so the most secret of desires and intimate of longings can be placed inside.
My ship is loaded with life – in the middle of life and fertilised:
My Ship Is Loaded With Memories – the ageing or the dead:
This was the most moving ship with representations of many women and their memories standing erect from the boat.
One of the women had a number on her side, the figure is titled Arlette Anderson, Auschwitz Prisoner Number 74853 – more moving to me personally because I once shared her surname. Another I loved who was titled June Boyce-Tilman, Outsider, Feminist and Religious Preacher of Diversity – because this reminded me of both my lovely girls!
You could add your own memories to those memories of amazing women already here.