We left the UK at the end of March, and for the first time in a camper used the channel tunnel to get to France, this was quite a weird feeling driving a 3 metre plus high vehicle onto a train that normally feels like its going to take your head off when boarding on a motorbike. It proved to be a good choice, being only about £20 more than the ferry but also much faster and flexible (we actually got on two trains earlier than planned).
Our original plan was to meet some friends from Germany that we met over a year ago in South Africa in the Belgium town of Brugge, but they felt that it was still too cold for them to camp with their 2 year old daughter Elizabeth. They are planning to spend a few months in Turkey, Iran, then north and back into northern Europe later this year, they wanted to borrow our Satellite Phone for this trip. We decided to go to Brugge anyway, and we were very glad we did.
We found a campsite within walking distance (about 5km) from the old town, and were wowed by the place, really stunning. I know that a lot of you will have visited this famous town before, but for me (not Jac) it was a first.
Along with the rivers, huge churches and medieval buildings, there is a great cafe culture, this was obviously helped by the glorious weather that greeted us that weekend.
We spent 2 days in Brugge, but it was now time to head south through Belgium, Luxembourg, and France before turning east across into Germany to see Tim, Sarah and little Elizabeth in their home town of Bad Durkheim.
We had a lovely few days in this beautiful town, and were taken out and about by Tim and Sarah, unfortunately the weather wasn’t very kind to us and it rained most of the time, we went wine tasting in a local vineyard, had a pizza in a very german style restaurant, ate the biggest brunch known to man, flew drones, consumed mountains of ice cream, and generally had a fantastic time catching up with great friends.
Satellite Phone exchanged, hugs and best wishes for travels passed on, and it was time to leave Bad Durkheim and head north to Scandinavia, this is after all the main destination for this trip. Tim suggested we stay in Lubeck, which is a city in Northern Germany on the coast, on the way to Denmark. This is another great find, and well worth a stop off.
Lubeck is known for its Marzipan, its every where! There are streets selling virtually nothing but marzipan, I even had a marzipan latte. We walked for miles that day, from the campsite, around the city and then back to the campsite, and as you can see from the photo’s the weather was seriously hot.
Jac even met another little devil.
Next it was north once more into Denmark, and for the first time for a long time we were actually stopped at an EU land “border” by a customs official on the Danish side wanting to see our passports. All very pleasant and civilised but it did seem strange. Not sure if it was because we have GB plates on Zorro, or maybe they are practicing for post Brexit.
Our first night in Denmark was spent parked in the rear garden of a small farm over looking a small bay on the western side of the country about half way up (north sea side), it was cheap (for Denmark) and the owner was very welcoming, though a little surprised to see a British camper looking for somewhere to park.
The drive up this western coast is stunning in places, with some beautiful homes in the sand dunes.
One of the highlights for us up this coast line was the small town of Lemvig, we found a nice free camp in the marina area just outside the town and walked in for a coffee, its a lovely place with a great feel.
As you can see from the photos we were blessed with mostly cloudless blue skies, but it was cool, actually out of the sun it was quite cold, but at night the temperature tumbled. At this point, I have to say the insulation on the new camper and coupled with the gas heater makes us very happy with our purchase. Our old camper Colonel K, would definitely not have been as comfortable in these freezing conditions. The gas/electric Truma boiler fitted to the Hymer is much more efficient than our diesel heater/hotwater boiler from our old Daf truck (more on this comparison in a later post).
One place I really wanted to visit was the Sea Warfare Museum at Thyboren, this is located right on the tip of a long peninsula, and whilst it covers sea warfare from the whole of the First World War, its main exhibits are to raise awareness of the Battle of Jutland where the largest sea battle of all time took place over a couple of days just off the Danish coast not far from Thyboren. We didn’t have great expectations for this privately owned museum, but it was extremely interesting, and we were there for about two and half hours in the end.
There was a tremendous loss of life from both the British and the German navy’s (almost 10,000), and there is an area outside on the beach set in the dunes, where there are memorial stones set out with each ships name that went down during the Battle of Jutland, together with a representation of the amount of souls lost on that particular battleship. Its a very poignant place that really goes to show how many men lost their lives.
After leaving the museum we got on our first ferry of the trip, a short ride from Thyboron to Agger. We didn’t realise that the old ferry terminal wasn’t being used anymore, there were no signs to say so, and we sat there for about 30 minutes before another camper pulled up behind us and knocked on our door and told us that the ferries no longer leave from here they now depart about 2 km further down the road!
Next stop was “Cold Hawaii”, Klitmoller, apparently its very popular with surfers in the summer, there were none here in April!!!!!
They do have very luxurious sauna’s though.
Eventually we got to Skagen which is the tip of Denmark (actually its not quite, this is at Grenen and we drove up there the next morning). Looking on the map Skagen looks a bleak place, but it was actually a nice surprise. It is absolutely full of high end boutique type shops, this is because its very popular with Danish people in the summer, and also massive cruise ships now dock here and temporarily flood the town with tourists. We managed to get parked for free in the harbour area taking the last of 6 available spaces.
Grenen (the most northerly point), is a lovely beach and full of German bunkers, sunk into the sand, that were built during the Second World War, this was a massive defensive position.
From here it was a 550km drive to Copenhagen, not a particularly notable journey apart from the massive shock of paying £71.00 toll to cross the bridge from Kolding to Odense, we were expecting a high charge but blimey!!! And that was for a camper up to 3,500kg.
We spent a nice day in Copenhagen, getting the train in from near the campsite, but to be honest we aren’t city people really, and after Brugge and Lubeck we were a bit “city tired” if that makes sense. It was also extremely expensive with a pint of Guinness at nearly £8.00. We worked it out that for the price of one G&T and a Guinness in Copenhagen we could have had 2.5 G&T’s and 2.5 pints of Guinness in Cornwall. It was the first time ever that I refused to buy a drink in a restaurant while we ate a meal, with a small glass of house wine at about £10.00, so we just had fish and chips, much to the waiters horror.
It is a lovely city though, especially the harbour area’s with its famous multicoloured terraces with (expensive) restaurants below. It was busy there in April, god knows what its like in the summer!
And of course there’s the famous mermaid (along with 100’s of snapping tourists, like me).
Next we cross into Sweden, and another bridge toll, this time we have prepaid it at £84.00, thats a total of £155.00 to cross two bridges from Denmark to Sweden (gulp)!!! But I have to say both of them are very impressive and total almost 40km of bridges.
We loved Denmark, especially the rural west coast, if your in a camper and don’t eat or drink out, its possible to tour very cheaply, mostly we wild camped, though in the summer some of these free camps do actually have a fee charged.
We are looking forward to seeing what Sweden has to offer………
Thanks for reading