Just keep swimming
Today we have left Denmark. We obviously have not seen everything this pretty country has to offer, but we’re on a tight schedule! We now know that 200 miles a day is the maximum that Abby can bear. Our goal was therefore to take the Ferry to Sweden from Grenå in the direction of Varberg.
We all crossed our fingers that we could get through border control with only Abby’s identity certificate (see article “Day 1 & 2”)… When we arrived at the ticket counter I put all the papers that we had together, we were very friendly with the officer, and… Done! We had our ticket to Sweden! YES!
After a short wait time, we finally embarked in the huge ferry for a 4 hour cruise across the strait of Kattegat! Abby was a little frightened by this giant boat, like a floating building, and didn’t want to go up. Josephine also had a little apprehension, but when the boat started she could see that we were going rather slowly, and she was immediately reassured.
Off Grenå we crossed a “forest” of windmills. An unusual landscape, but quite pleasant. In the ferry, all the comforts were there. Free wifi (time for Nick and I to work a bit), children’s play area, deck bar, duty free shop, restaurant, and even a small slot machine area (not for us obviously).
Half way through the hostesses announced that we could return to our vehicles over a short window to put our purchases in. At this time we saw (almost) all the travelers (who were certainly accustomed to taking the shuttle) rushing to the shop, buying alcohol in large quantities (alcohol is very expensive in Denmark) and heading for their cars, to put everything in it. We did not take advantage of the Duty free but did use our access to the vehicle’s bridge to take a nap in our camper, braving thus the prohibition to remain at this level during the crossing (decidedly this trip has made us true delinquents).
We wanted to go up on the deck to see the arrival on Varberg, but the doors leading to the upper levels were blocked … Luckily, we finally found an open door at the end of the bridge. Just in time to take some pictures of our arrival in Varberg and back to the camper van.
Overall, the crossing was quite fast, and after arriving at Varberg, where many old rigs were moored, we started our ascent to Fjällbacka. It was already time to find a place for the night, after a fair amount of time looking around, we opted for a small campsite by the sea.
The Åsa campsite is not close to the kind of campsite we would have liked for this first stop in Sweden, but it does quite well for the night. It is a succession of alleys filled with caravans, camping cars and some tents, without trees, but the sanitary blocks were very well made, very clean, and had a clear view of the sea. At this stage of the journey, we need no more to be pleased.
Frustration and enchantment
This morning the girls took a walk to the beach with Nick, while I took that time to clean the van. The water was very fresh so they came back quickly, but the holidays would not be holidays if there wasn’t at least a small sea bath. :p
Then we took the road to Fjällbacka via Göteborg. I am a fan of the Swedish author Camilla Lackberg, who writes mystery novels featuring a protagonist named Erik Falck, who lives in Fjällbacka. In the books, a few descriptions of the landscape make it possible to get an idea of this part of Sweden, the Bohuslan essentially; I had a fairly clear mental picture of the surroundings and I expected to find this image along the way, but it was not.
Until Göteborg the road was rather ordinary and without much interest… In fact, I was a bit frustrated to not find what I had expected. And then we did a little tour in Goteborg (with the van), and I started to glimpse the scenery of the book.
We did not have time to visit Göteborg, but the view we had from our windows was very pleasant. It looks a bit like Rotterdam but more green. A large half riverport, half seaport, with its cranes and containers, a home port where a large and old 4 mast ship sat, a historic center is surrounded by a large “Dutch canal”, and from the Highway you can even see a large amusement park in the city with an old wooden roller coaster! Oof… Scary!
After Goteborg the landscape began to change. We left the great plain, to find more atypical landscapes, composed of high plains and big fat rocks. You can drive forever thinking you’ve never left sea level before suddenly coming across a long bridge suspended over a river about 75 yards under your feet… Beautiful. Then come the fields, and their PINK bales of hay! Well, it’s not fantastic itself, but so far I’ve never seen anything else but white or tied bales; These pink rolls set in the fields seemed like giants marshmallows.
Finally, we reached Fjällbackain the late afternoon. We wanted to be closer to the town, so we went to the Fjällbacka camp site. Located on the hill, it allow a nice 180° panoramic view of the sea and direct access to the town center. We had not booked a spot at any campground, but had high hopes of being able to find a place for us at least for the night. So we went straight, and we parked at the entrance of the campsite (there was no place on the tiny park in the front). I had scarcely set foot out of the camper, when a man on bicycle yelled at me in Swedish. I made him understand that I do not speak Swedish. He looked annoyed and shouted me “GO OUT,” while pointing to the exit … I saw from his t-shirt that he was camping team member, so I apologized that we parked at this place, explained that there was no place in front, and that he should not worry about us. We went directly to reception to check in. The man, somewhat red with annoyance, grumbled some words in Swedish, and told me: “no place, go out … NOW!”
Slightly cooled by the welcome, we turned back, heading for the other campground, which was more inland. Retrospectively, I think this gentleman must have been completely exhausted by shooing people off his campground, and had a bit of a breakdown … so it was probably best that we left anyway.
So we stopped at the Äsleröd Caravan Club. An association campsite run by charming senior campers speaking english with a big accent but full of good will and care. This campsite is much quieter than the one in Fjällbacka, and super green… Impeccably shorn, as with their Danish cousins ??- we spotted campers mowing the lawn on their place… in fact there is even a lawnmower set up and available to Campers! Love it!
The Äsleröd Caravan Club is not attached to the city, but after a short walk … sorry: a little “adventure” (see Article 2 – Mc Adam Family), you get a great view of Fjällbacka and its hundreds of Islets on the sea. A beautiful promise for tomorrow …