Back on the road! Part 2 of our Europe road trip… Week 1 Harwich – Holland – Germany – Denmark – Sweden 20th August – 27th August 2017

Due to a change in the laws regarding “roaming” we hope for our blog posts to be a little more regular!

20th August

With the van all packed up we woke up early on Sunday in preparation of our Ferry crossing from Harwich to The Hook of Holland at 10am, Zo doesn’t live too far from Harwich so even at T25 speeds we were there within an hour arriving just before 9am.

A very speedy check in saw us into the “lanes” within minutes, greeted by a fellow T25 who has subsequently added us on instagram, the ferry went smoothly (considerably more so than our last outbound ferry from the UK out to Santander, Spain) we hadn’t realised until booking quite how long this particular ferry to Holland would take! A whole 7 hours! (8 if you take into account the time difference). However the time flew by and before we knew it we were making our way back down to the car deck to find the van.

 

After passing through customs, where they checked the passports, asking whether we liked to drink Jägermeister? (Prompted by one of the many stickers on the van) we were away! We hadn’t docked until 6.30pm so we didn’t have much light to get too much mileage under our belts (we know we have headlights but they hardly illuminate the landscape around which we’d come to see!)

So anyway, we knocked off our first 50 miles or so, heading out on the 15 through Maasluis, Vlaardingen, both near Rotterdam before heading in the direction of Utrecht on the E25. We turned off onto the A2 to find Vianen, our stop for the night (found in the Camperstop app).

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21st August
The next day, after having a chat with our “neighbours” who invited us to visit their pub, The Steiperstones Inn, up in Shropshire, we carried on East, joining the A27, A28, shortly before jumping onto the A1/E30 in the direction of Amersfoort.

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The plan was always to rush through Holland, as much as we like it we’d both seen a fair amount of it in the past, Zo had even worked there for a short time! We made a stop in Apeldoorn in search of a CampingGaz supplier to refill 2 of our 3 bottles, we found it without too much trouble but were shocked at the prices, at almost €40 a bottle (compared to the €23 we paid down in France only a few months before) we made the decision to hold on until Germany! When we stopped for petrol it became clear that fuel prices across the board in the Netherlands weren’t cheap!

After our little excursion, we picked up the A1/E30 again, crossing the border into Germany, before joining the E37 near Osnabruck which we drove on in the direction of Bremen, using the Camperstop app once more, we exited the E37, stopping at our home for the night in a place called Groben kneten.

It seemed that the stop was some sort of communal car park, a couple of other vans were parked up so we followed suit, that night we decided to sample one of our most recent purchases; tinned Tesco Value Chilli con Carne, which in fairness really wasn’t that bad! A pinch of cayenne powder to add a bit of zing and it went down a treat!

22nd August
We found in the morning that the car park we’d stayed in was actually for the adjoining primary school as we were woken up to the sound of lots of car doors, I don’t remember starting school that early?! With my failed attempt at porridge out of the way (which Zo ate with a smirk) we rejoiced or even rejoined the E37 towards Bremen where we stopped at a Hornbach store where we managed to get gas at just €26 a bottle! We then picked up the E22 in the direction of Hamburg, skirting around the edge of which we took the 23 and headed North towards Heide, stopping for the night by an estuary in Lunden. After cheese and beans on toast we were treated with a pretty stunning sunset!

 

23rd August
We woke in the morning to a thick blanket of fog, our surroundings completely hidden, with no signs of it lifting, we set off again in search of the Danish border, as we reached higher ground, the fog soon began to clear.

 

We first joined the 5 towards Husum where we then took the 200 to Flensburg, just outside the border, crossing into Denmark on the E45. We carried on past Kolding stopping at Trelde Noes where we sent a message to our friend Newman, who only a month before had moved from the UK to Denmark, not long after graduating, where he’d been offered a job (well done again dude!) to see if he was free that evening (a little bit short notice but we never know where we’ll be from day to day!)

We decided to take a walk whilst we waited for a reply, not a bad spot to kill some time!

 

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After getting in contact with the old boy and finding out where he actually lived (I knew it was near Aarhus!) we carried on the E45 to Skanderborg, we found him pretty quickly and went for the grand tour of his accommodation before taking a walk around the town, finishing up at an awesome hotdog/burger bar in the woods called Rasses Skovpølser ( http://www.rasses.dk ) for some seriously tasty burgers! If you’re in the area you must go and eat there oh and if you know Newman, you should probably look him up too..

 

24th August

After taking Newman to work in the best bus he’ll ever go to work in, we said goodbye to him and Skanderborg as we headed back from once we’d come, down the E45 joining the E20 on which we crossed the “middle island” arriving at the Storebaeltsbroen Bridge which carried us across to the next island on which Copenhagen (Kobenhavn) is situated for the sum of 240 DKr. which sounds expensive but is equivalent to roughly £30.

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We carried on the E20 driving across the island to Copenhagen, we planned to visit and like we always do when we visit big cities we referred to the Camperstop app to find a place to park, usually there is a 24hr parking facility in most of the larger cities, offering the basic campervan service facilities, sometimes with showers but most importantly a little bit of peace of mind that your van is safe whilst you’re off exploring, our argument as well is that we’d have to pay to park in the city anyhow, that’s if we found a car park without a height restriction barrier! Plus if you find a cool bar, you don’t have to worry about who the “designated driver” will be!

This particular stop did indeed have showers, all included in the price (£30 not the cheapest but cheaper than parking and a hotel in Copenhagen for a night!)

After paying up, being given a map which the really helpful chap on the desk pointed out places of interest on for us, we parked up and set off on foot!

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We were lucky with the weather and after a short walk along the river and an array of modern office/accommodation buildings we came across the centre along with Tivoli theme park!

 

The screams and thrills from the visitors echoed throughout the city as we carried on past the City Hall round to ‘City Hall Square’ which was bustling with people watching various performers and queueing for the food stalls! Found ourselves a Danish sticker for the van as well as some postcards on one of the main shopping streets before seeing the ‘Round Tower’ (Rundetaarn) – 17th century tower which is Europes oldest functioning astronomy observatory!

 

Made our way through a large park with bright flowering borders (both of us admired them due to our work!) before coming across the marble church as the sun was starting to set.

 

As we headed towards the harbour; we walked through the Amalienborg museum courtyard watching the guards near their posts before going past the illuminated fountain.

 

The Opera House (Operaen) stood proudly from the other side of the the river as we made our way towards Nyhavn – 17th century waterfront which is now one of Copenhagens main nightlife districts.

 

The man at the Camperstop reception had recommended we check out ‘Paper Island’ and said it was a good place to eat. Not really knowing what we were in for, we decided we might as well give it a try- we’re glad we did! Turns out it’s a warehouse which has been converted into an indoor street food market- buzzing atmosphere, packed full of people and all the food you can dream of!

 

 

After at least two laps round; drooling over everything, we decided to go for something traditionally Danish and settled for Smørrebrød – dense rye bread with various toppings. We went for one of each they were offering and as they were closing for the night they kindly done us a deal and gave us a huge portion of the cooked pork one! Also had a herring and boiled egg topped piece of rye along with a vegetarian option.

 

 

All really tasty and we left stuffed! Not unreasonably priced either – the whole market is definitely worth a visit whilst you’re in the city!

We made a point of walking past Tivoli on our way back to the van to see it illuminated at night!

 

 

 

 

25th August
Early start the next day meant we could make use of our time as we had until 6pm at the Camperstop! Used a “boatbus” to make our way to ‘The Little Mermaid’ sculpture. Was cool to see the city from the water and made us appreciate how vast and spread out the different areas were!

 

 

Took the “obligatory tourist” photos of the sculpture (in all fairness it is pretty but the amount of people crowding around it means you have to wait ages to get a close up view!) before seeing the ‘Gefion’ fountain, St.Alban church(also known as the “English church”) and walking around ‘Kastellet’ – a well preserved star-shaped fortress built in 1662.

 

 

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We bought a Danish pastry and a can of Carlsberg for lunch (“when in Rome” and all!) and took them to a spot by a river on our way towards the Christianshavn district.

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After soaking up some sun and refuelling ourselves we entered the famous ‘Freetown Christiana’. Our photos are limited as we had been pre-warned that although the whole place has a bit of a hippie ethos going, certain individuals aren’t fond of being caught on camera (as effectively their activities are still considered illegal in Denmark even if they are tolerated!) After a wander around we agreed it made Amsterdam look tame – we had heard rumours of a “certain plant” being widely available! It definitely had a “free” atmosphere- music in the streets, people expressing themselves through sense of dress, dance and style and everyone just got along and done what they wanted! Clothes markets and food stalls were dotted about and graffiti was a way of painting your house! We’d never experienced anywhere like the town before and definitely opened our eyes!

 

 

Unfortunately time was slipping away so we made our way back to the van and took advantage of the shower and van facilities and left just before 6pm.

Made our way over the sea and into Sweden along the famous 16km long Øresund bridge – this cost us roughly 54 euros. What an awesome bit of engineering though!

 

 

Once into Sweden we got onto the E6, eventually finding somewhere to park up in a place called Barsebäckshamn. The sunset whilst we were trying to find somewhere was beautiful!

 

 

26th August

After a more successful bowl of porridge (made by Zo this time 😉 ) we made our way towards Gothenberg on the E20. Drove for most of the day, briefly stopped for some lunch at a pull off before arriving in the city late afternoon. Had a bit of a nightmare to park but eventually found somewhere near the marina. This was in easy walking distance of the centre and not too expensive either!

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Walked into the ‘Haga’ district which was the older part of the city- cobbled streets lined with small cages, quirky boutiques and craft shops.

 

 

We took on an insane flight of steps to get to the ‘Skansen Kronan’ – an old fortress completed in 1697. The hill which it sits on offers a  great view of the whole city!

 

 

We were hoping to get Gothenbergs own take on the Swedish (Kanelbullar) cinnamon bun – Hagabullar, unfortunately the bakers were sold out so if you visit Gothenberg please try one on our behalf! The rest of the city was the usual shopping centre and a few older buildings but wasn’t a city we would rush back too. Maybe there are other places we should’ve visited there-but we only had 2 hours on the carpark!

 

 

Left the city behind on the E20 and found a great little spot for the night next to Lake Mjörn.

 

 

27th August

The next city to visit on our list was Stockholm so we spent the majority of the day driving again taking the E20 all the way to Örebro then on the E18, back on the E20 before going south of Stickholm on the 225 to find somewhere to park for the eve! We took a really cool track through some woodland and found a pull over – completely silent and amongst the wilderness!

 

 

Planned to drive into the city the next day but first no visit to Sweden would be complete without visiting an IKEA!

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