Once a year we go on holiday with good friends. After two relaxing cruises we have stepped our goal for 2014 up a notch: Let’s travel in a camper to the North Cape! Said and done! We work out a route that leads us through Sweden, Finland to the northernmost point of Norway and Europe. The route back leads us through Norway – over Lofoten – and Southern Sweden. In January 2014, we reserve our campers in Dresden for mid-May, with this we just made it. We are lucky and on 16 May, 2014 can pick up two brand new campers, for our 4-week tour. After loading we also first drive to do some shopping. We stock up with enough food and then it’s already onto the highway: 2 campers, 4 adults, 1 baby and loads of canned ravioli.
Our goal for this day is Rostock; there we will be camping for the first time in the harbor and take the 7:30 ferry to Trelleborg (Sweden) the next morning. The ferry ride, we have already booked in advance. This is advisable, as the prices are much cheaper when booking in advance. The Rostock-Trelleborg ferry was incidentally also the cheapest crossing between Germany and Sweden. We only reach Rostock at about 22:00 and then still pack away our things in the camper. It is amazing how much storage space is actually available. Drinks, empty suitcases etc. we could easily store in a rear storage compartment, which is actually intended for taking along a moped. Then we already go to bed, because at 6 am it will be time to get up; Check-in begins one hour before departure.
Since we camped right at the ferry terminal, the next morning we need only get up and can directly sit behind the wheel to drive to the check-in counter. Already practical being in a camper. While waiting to be able to drive onto the ferry, we shower and have breakfast. During the crossing, we have to leave the campers. Oh and let’s not forget the cake, because on the ferry we celebrate a birthday!
Around 14:00 we arrive in Trelleborg. Our first route leads us to the next ICA supermarket, to very easily recharge our existing Swedish prepaid data card. As even during this holiday we will still have to work, for which Internet is imperative. The employee speaks good English and is very helpful. We are online! The journey can continue. Our goal for the day is Gränna on Lake Vättern (the second largest lake in Sweden). For the 360 km drive we need a good 4 hours, but stop in between for a burger break. As long as there is civilization, we have to use it. The “good” times will most like be over soon. The camping spots we reserved in advance at Grännastrandens Camping in Gränna. Waiting for us is a beautiful spot directly on the lake. We sit on a bench and enjoy a dreamlike sunset. The holiday can begin!
18 May, 2014 – In the morning we have breakfast with fresh rolls and a lake view and are tempted to stay longer. But there will still be so many beautiful places, so we decide to save a day and continue on our tour. We also still take a brief look at the center of Gränna. The small town is mainly famous because of the red and white candy canes that are supposed to have been invented here.
Let’s go to Uppsala! To the student town we drive again for about 4 hours, we do not go over Stockholm – we know it already! 🙂 – instead we drive along lake Vättern and take the E18. passing canola fields and some typical Swedish houses.
In Uppsala we opt for a campsite in town. From there we walk about 20 minutes until we reach the famous cathedral. Unfortunately, we are too late and the Cathedral is closed in front of us. We stroll pass Gustavianum and the library up to the castle. There we enjoy the view of the city. On the way back we follow the river Fyrisån which takes us back to the campsite. Along the river students sit comfortably on boardwalks, cafes and restaurants invite you to linger. But we leave them behind us, because today we will have a barbecue.
19 May, 2014 – Driving, driving, driving. We follow the E4 north bound. The weather is rainy. We make a small detour to the “disused” Älvkarleby waterfalls. Not a must on the route. On this day we drive around 550 km and head into the campsite at Nordmaling on the highway in the evening.
20 May, 2014 – We take a detour inland to visit the moose farm, Älgens Hus. Moose are definitely part of a Sweden-visit. Here we feel for the first time that we are travelling during the pre-season, as the internet reveals that the moose farm is still closed. We try anyway and are rewarded. We get moose in front of the lens.
Then we head back to the E4 north bound. By the way, in Ånäset you drive pass the largest cheese slicer in the world. 😉
Today’s destination is the church town in Gammelstad (Gammelstads Kyrkstad) and a camping site in Luleå. Gammelstad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the best preserved church town. The church is surrounded by 400 wooden houses, where earlier churchgoers stayed. Although the place is an ordinary community today and families live in most of the wooden houses, we don’t see anyone and the town appears as though it’s been deserted. It is a very special atmosphere here.
Then we go to the First Camp Luleå camping site. Again beautifully situated on the water with a sauna, beach and boardwalk. We let our last night in Sweden end with a cozy barbecue and evening stroll.
The next morning, in the sister cities Haparanda / Tornio, we will cross the border into Finland. Our onward journey through Finland and the final route up to the North Cape can be found in part 2.
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