After travelling to the very top of Norway and back down again through Finland, it was time for the next leg of our tour to begin. We had an 11 hour mini-cruise to get us to Stockholm in Sweden, with the added luxury of our own cabin (albeit a very cheap one under the car deck), but the most exciting thing about this trip was the lunchtime all you can eat buffet!!! With all the scrimping on budget pasta meals in Norway and Finland, we ate until our hearts were content and we could no longer button up our trousers, with cold and hot starters, carvery meats and ice cream desserts and even a cheeky little Rose wine for me it was a perfect finish to Finland.
Arriving in Stockholm, disaster struck, our Co-Pilot sat-nav decided to malfunction and no longer gave us our directions. After a short panic, Google maps came to the rescue and we were soon back on track heading to our first stop in Nykopping where we spent our first 2 nights.
The day was finally here, the one that Piper had been looking forward to since we set off. It was time to go to Bamse World at Kolmarden Zoo! For those that don’t know who Bamse is, he’s the most famous Swedish children’s character that TUI also use as one of their mascots at their Family Life resorts. With a super excited Piper in tow, we made our way into the park and after paying the £110 entry fee we sure hoped it would be worth it. Between the theme park rides, meeting Bamse, watching the Bamse show, seeing the animals, taking a cable car safari and watching a spectacular dolphin show, it turned out to be one of our BEST days yet! In a way, it kind of felt like a day off from travelling. It was without a doubt the best zoo we have ever been to, there was a big focus on conservation and the enclosures were massive, so much so that a ride on the cable car safari takes 30 minutes.
We tend to avoid the cities, mostly because we don’t like people all that much (just kidding, we like people… just not crowds of them)! With this being said, we did end up in the city of Kalmar and we were rather pleased when we realised that we had timed our stop with a free music festival that was happening all over the city. We found a place to park up on the coast with just a 15-minute walk into the city. It did have a sign saying no overnight parking, but with around 10 other motorhomes parked up we thought we’d risk it and stay the night. We kept the kids up late and enjoyed the music event in the city, watching some break-dancing competitions and having a walk through the crowded streets towards the main stage.
From Kalmar, we drove over the bridge to the island of Oland, a long thin stretch of land with a rich history. It was absolutely pouring it down when we arrived at our first destination; Sandyborg fort, but after getting all our outdoor gear on we were ready to tackle the wind and the rain. Jack was definitely not most impressed with the weather and tried his best to keep his hood up to shelter from the rain, but it didn’t take him long before he began to run away from us, a trick he ALWAYS likes to play! There wasn’t much remaining of the ring fort, but an info sign told us all we needed to know, so 10 minutes later we jumped back into the motorhome, stripped off our wet gear and put the kettle on for a nice, cosy cup of tea overlooking the stormy sea. The second destination of the day was yet another Viking ring fort; Ismantrop. Luckily enough the rain had cleared and the sun had started to come out, so after a bit of lunch we set off through the woods to the fort spotting a deer along the way. There was much more to see at this fort as the outer walls and inner foundations were still intact, meaning we could really get a good impression of what it might have looked like all those years ago.
We moved on to the far north of the island parking up for the night in a layby overlooking the Baltic Sea where we spent the evening doing arts and crafts with the kids before getting them to bed.
Whilst we were here, we noticed a single bird on a large rock no more than 50m away from where we were parked and as crazy as it sounds, we were both absolutely convinced it was a penguin! Upon closer inspection and a look into our bird book, it turned out to be a Razorbill.
Before leaving the island, we visited a nature reserve called Trollskogen, following a 4.5km walk through woodland and along the coast. On the way we came across a shipwreck from 1926, a 900-year-old oak tree and some really gnarly windswept pines. We also came across a large group of beautiful butterflies, I tried my best to get a good photo, but quickly moved on when I spotted a giant hornet hovering overhead! The kids did super well on this walk, Jack can be a little reluctant when it comes to walking but Piper is an absolute trooper and we managed to distract her and keep her entertained most of the time, with only a small whinge here and there. Arriving back at the visitor centre we treated ourselves to an ice cream and took advantage of the free wi-fi to plan out the next leg of our tour.
We decided to head back to mainland Europe via the Oresund Bridge to Copenhagen, Denmark. This bridge is an impressive 7.8km long and after seeing photos of the bridge on Google we thought it was going to be an awesome drive. However, it didn’t live up to expectations and it was a pretty boring affair, not to mention it cost us over £100! Plus an additional £47 for the Storebaelt bridge.
So, we arrived back in Denmark, the country where we started our Scandinavian adventure all those weeks ago! We found another great parking spot in the town of Ringsted, another Danish town that just felt quite perfect. It was here too that we got to indulge in a little bit of retail therapy with a large shopping centre situated on the outskirts. True to our habits, we also ended up at another Viking attraction whilst in Denmark. The museum and fort were free to enter, but also true to fashion when it comes to visiting Viking forts, it was pouring it down with rain! Again, adamant that the rain wouldn’t stop us in our tracks we carried on and enjoyed the attraction and the rain in all its glory (at least it wasn’t cold).
Our final day in Denmark, we spent at a Marina in the town of Haderslev. It had electricity and wi-fi, so we all enjoyed a rather lazy technology fuelled day. The kids glued themselves to the tablet watching everything from The Wiggles, to Peppa Pig and Bing, whilst Richard and I listened to podcasts, music, did some more trip planning and indulged in a good bit of British TV brought to us by the wonderful YouTube. It was such a novelty that we stayed up until 1am, something I haven’t done since before the kids were born!
Scandinavia is a place of awe-inspiring landscapes and outstanding natural beauty. It has been an absolute dream achieving adventure and one that will remain engraved in our hearts for a very long time.
Scandinavia in Numbers
- 4 countries
- 50 nights
- 5,230 miles travelled
- £3,192.32 spent
- 5 ferry’s
- 1 moose spotted
- Too many reindeer to count
- 1,000’s of smiles