As we Campervanners are basically grounded at the moment I am seeing a lot of ‘favorite trip’ type posts on various forums, so I thought I may as well join the party.
It would be far too difficult to choose a favorite trip as they are all pretty special……so I thought I would start by reflecting on the ‘most epic’
Many UK campervanners take a trip up to the beautiful Scandanvian countries there is nothing really epic about that per say……but, perhaps if I set out from the off that I work full time, so this particular adventure was all done within my allowed 2 week holiday. Yup that changes it a bit doesn’t it? It was a very long round trip in only 2 weeks.
The reason for this trip was to cheer on ‘team Guernsey’ in the 2017 Island Games, (for those not familiar it is a sporting competition for smaller islands, that takes place every 2 years). I had family and friends competing and, it seemed like an adventure, I didn’t go this one alone though, I have a crazy friend who was also up for a challenge.
The only French ferry route open to Guernsey, is St Malo, a mere 2 hours from port to port. There is only one ferry a day (at most) and, the timings are not great so we decided to kick our heels a bit and spend the first night at the site I affectionately call my 2nd home, Camping La Hallerais in Dinan…..it was a chance to catch up with friends before the adventure really began.
The first day of driving was our longest day, we set off from Dinan headed for Bruges. Unfortunately my ability to get lost in Caen didn’t let me down (the sat nav tried to take us up a non existent road, just as we were exiting) & we lost about 2 hours trying to get ourselves back onto our route……not helpful. The route though, as with any route in France, was very scenic, as we trundled through Normandy, through the Somme and onto the Belgian border. It was a great relief to see our site Camping Membling in Bruges. http://www.brugescamping.be/en/home/ & get the gin open.
The campsite was great and within easy walking/cycling distance of the main town. We had a couple of nights here to enable us to explore. Bruges itself is absolutely stunning, obviously one day was no where near long enough and I definitely have it in mind to return again one day.
The next days’ driving took us through 3 countries (I did think we were going to dip into Luxembourg too but, the sat nav must’ve taken us along the border). We set off in Belgium, went through Holland and, emerged into Germany. For those that haven’t experienced driving in Germany it is truly something else. A continuous line of trucks in their own lane and, no speed limit on the autobahn. The dots in your rear view mirror approach and leave you standing at an alarming rate.
We were only doing an overnight stop so hadn’t spent too long researching the site but, Camping Munster https://www.campingplatz-muenster.de/der-campingplatz/wohnmobilstellplatz.html was a lovely site and, with a bar/restaurant….so we did what any visitor to Germany really should do and, sampled the beer.
The second of our ferry trips followed as we travelled on to Denmark and headed for Copenhagen, where it was great to meet up with family making the same trek……..I think we agreed there and then (whilst enjoying probably the most expensive curry we are ever likely to have) that we had seriously underestimated the amount of driving. Our campsite for the 2 nights in Copenhagen was Charlottenlund Fort http://campingcopenhagen.dk, which did not disappoint. The views across towards Sweden were simply stunning and, it was easy cycle or bus access to the main parts of Copenhagen. We spent the next day exploring and, again it wasn’t long enough but, nice to get a taster. Another one on the ‘must go back’ list.
Our 3rd ferry took us from Denmark to Sweden. We had fully intended to use the Oresund Bridge however, it is incredibly costly and the ferry took us slightly further North, which is the direction we were traveling so it made sense to do that…..I would say it is perhaps one regret I have, as it is not everyday you get to use a bridge that goes under the sea.
Sweden, as expected was simply stunning. I was incredibly fortunate in that by now T had become comfortable driving ‘Nelly’ and, was very happy to do the whole drive, so I got to sit back and enjoy the scenery…..it certainly didn’t disappoint. We were headed towards Vastervik where we would get the ferry to Gotland. We had a lovely little stopover in Vastervik with a very rural campsite right on the side of a lake. The really make something of mid-summers day in Sweden, so we arrived at our site in the middle of a small carnival.
There was barely any driving the following day, a 10minute drive to the ‘Destination Gotland’ ferry and, about the same once we had docked in Visby. Finally, we could set up the van for a four night stop (hard to believe we had travelled all that way for four nights). Our site in Visby was Visby camping strandby visby camping strandby. It was right by the gates to Visby (a walled city) and, was in the heart of the Island Games action, infact when we watched the tri-athlon we literally just put our Guernsey flag over the fence at the back of our pitch, as we were right on the cycle route. Across from our pitch was the Baltic Sea….perhaps another little regret, despite being a keen (seasonal) sea swimmer, I didn’t venture in.
Gotland itself was as beautiful as expected, we saw some cracking sunsets from our pitch and, explored Visby, as well as heading further afield for some of the cycling events. Would I go back, probably not, though only because I can’t think of a reason that I would need to but never say never……at least I would know to look out for the non-alcoholic wine which unfortunately took me rather by surprise!!
On the way back we took the overnight ferry from Sweden directly to Germany which psychologically was a good call as we were able to sleep through a big chunk of the journey and, were fresh to tackle the autobahn. We did just 1 overnight stop (Belgium) on the way back to Dinan arriving a night earlier than we had planned, meaning we managed a cheeky moules frites at my favorite cafe down in the Port de Dinan.
I would definitely like to travel more of the Scandinavian Countries, as the few bits that I saw were incredible but, I will wait until I can really take my time. It made me realize that my preference is shorter drives and longer stays. These days I tend to stick to about 4-5 hours per day driving & usually like at least 2-3 nights in each stop off…..after all it is the journey not the destination that is important.