A Travellerspoint blog

17. Conclusion and Statistics

A round up of the trip and some statistics from the adventure.

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Now we’re home we have taken the time to reflect on our trip - it all seems a bit surreal how far we travelled, the things we saw and experienced. We all have so many memories, Lola regularly comes out with “do you remember…” followed by a memory of our trip which Is really special as we wanted to do this trip at a time when she would appreciate and remember it.

When Covid hit in March we weren’t sure what we were going to do – would we be able to travel? Would it be sensible to travel? Would it affect our experience too much? Although we had a ferry booked for months and had been planning this for a while we didn’t totally commit to going away until June/July time. There were some doubts, but we decided that we would regret it if we didn’t go as the timing for us as a family was perfect and we didn’t know when we would next have the opportunity.

The original plan was to cover most of Europe – Scandinavia first during Summer then head south to the Mediterranean when it got colder later in the year. We changed our plan once we were quite a way up in Norway, looking at the Covid situation in Southern Europe – numbers rising, tourist attractions closing, borders closing we decided it wouldn’t really work and we loved the space and scenery in Scandinavia. Instead of a whistle stop tour of Europe we did a thorough tour of Scandinavia. If we’d have known this, we wouldn’t have taken so many pairs of shorts - our deck chairs and canoe didn’t get as much use as we thought either!

Some tourist attractions, shops, cafes were closed which was disappointing at times but on the whole it didn’t affect anything major – the natural wonders we wanted to see were always there and mostly everywhere was very quiet, we saw one British vehicle in those three months which was on Lofoten, Norway.

The constant opening/closing of borders was a challenge at times, I likened it to a giant game of chess. First, we were caught out by Finland closing their border and from then on we regularly checked the situation everywhere so that didn’t happen again! This worked very well when we spotted Finland opened their border to Norway for just a week. We were close enough to make a run for it and were so pleased we did – that week we spent in Lapland for Lola’s birthday will live long in the memory for all of us.

It was also a nice feeling that we were part of an exclusive club – barely anyone was able to holiday or travel, yet we were doing it. There were plenty of campervans about but probably 90% of them were locals on staycations, any others were like us – had been travelling for a while. It was always a talking point where we had come from, where we had been, why we were in a library lorry etc. We rarely stopped anywhere without someone coming to talk to us and ask questions which we enjoyed as some of the best information we got was from locals who started conversations with us – best places to visit, roads to avoid, apps to use etc.

In the end, we came back having had an amazing time – you don’t get many opportunities like this in life and we’re so pleased we did it, such special family time we’ve shared, incredible things we have all experienced and memories that will stay with us. In a year when we have all had to stay home, we made our home in a library lorry and travelled. Health wise we felt very safe – we are not city or people people and generally stayed away from those things in our own, perfect bubble.


We have compiled a small list of things we will and won’t miss –

We will miss…
• Freedom
• Going and doing whatever we like
• The scenery
• Unlimited family time
• Space around us – not being surrounded by people, vehicles and buildings.
• Having forests, playgrounds, fjords and mountains as our garden.
• Winding roads, tunnels and ferries

We won’t miss…
• Emptying the toilet
• Cold walks to the shower blocks
• Timed showers - 3mins of hot water is not enough to shower me and Lola!
• The cost of filling Arran up each time
• Constant washing up
• Narrow Norwegian roads
• Translating everything in supermarkets

Trip in Numbers

• Miles travelled – 6000


• Liters of Diesel used – 2100


• Number of nights away – 100


• Campsites stayed at – 25


• Wild camping spots – 37


• Number of ferries – 12


• Animals seen on roads – Moose, reindeer, deer, red squirrel


• Highest altitude – 1430m


• Highest/Lowest temp – 36/-9 °C


• Number of countries deported from – 1


• Number of countries visited – 6


• Longest time in a country – Norway - 33 nights


• Shortest time in a country – Netherlands – 3 nights


• Northern Lights sightings – 3


• Breakdowns – 1


• Most useful App – Park4Night


• Trips to Doctor – 0


• Trips to Vet – 3


Posted by NapierFamily 20:37 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

16. The Journey Home

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We had to make a very efficient start to the day on Saturday 21st November as the ferry from Trelleborg to Rostock was at 9.55am. We made it and boarded ‘Peter Pan’ for the 5-hour crossing to Germany, there were not many vehicles on there at all, mainly freight so the seating areas were very quiet. We based ourselves in a window seat and a bonus on this ferry was that Roger could be with us, not in a kennel or Arran which he and Lola found quite novel. We arrived around 3.30pm into Germany.


The next few days were travelling days as we transited through Germany and the Netherlands. We always had good long lunch stops to give everyone chance for a leg stretch and found overnight stops around 4pm, we wild camped for the 3 nights in remote places. We also made a stop so Roger could be wormed by a vet as that is an entry requirement when returning to the UK.


We arrived at the Hook of Holland (Rotterdam) mid-morning on 24th November and parked overlooking the port, it was a strange feeling seeing the ferry that would take us back to the UK and we had very mixed emotions. Although we were looking forward to being back and seeing family (if restrictions allow!) we had all become very happy and comfortable with life on the road and were sad our adventure had come to an end. We played on the grass, watched all the activity in the port and had lunch before going to check in.


We thought the ferry must be quiet as there are limited people who can enter the UK at the moment and that proved to be correct – there were no more than 10 vehicles at general check in and most of those looked like work vans, we were the only campervan and only family on board! All the spare car deck space is being filled with freight - a crew member told us they are currently taking three times as many lorries on every crossing at the moment.

The Stena Line crew were lovely – when they saw Lola they were very apologetic that the children’s room was closed and there was no entertainment, two crew members came to chat and check on us during the crossing and when we went to go back to Arran they reserved a lift for us and wouldn’t let anyone else in – we were treated like royalty! It was just over six hours back to Harwich, again we had a window seat and made ourselves at home. Roger was in a kennel, but we could go and see him whenever we wanted.

Once we arrived in Harwich around 8pm we went through Border Control and sorted our details for 14 day quarantine then found a camping spot in Harwich Town for the night, we got Lola in bed and watched the Bake Off Final – the only TV programme we have kept up with whilst away!


We are now in Norfolk for our quarantine and the festive period – plenty of time to sort Arran out and give him a good clean inside and out! Now we’re back it all seems a bit surreal what we have achieved and experienced in the last three months - such special family time and memories that will last forever.

Now we can’t leave the house for two weeks we plan to collate all the data from our trip such as mileage, ferries, altitudes, temperature etc. so look out for a final blog post – our trip in numbers!

Posted by NapierFamily 11:56 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (3)

15. Last week in Sweden

Husqvarna, Moose, National Park and Falsterbo.

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Before leaving Jönköping, we visited the Husqvarna Museum which sounded interesting as they’re a company that make everything from sewing machines to motorbikes to chainsaws. It had a large range of exhibits showing the early days up to the present day, there wasn’t a huge amount of interactivity for Lola though - the highlight for her was watching a robot lawnmower! She has been fascinated by them ever since we saw several operating around Denmark.


On Tuesday 17th November we visited a Moose Farm. We have seen a few wild moose at a distance (luckily!) whilst driving in Norway but nothing can prepare you for the size of them up close. At this farm you’re given a bundle of twigs to feed them, all the animals are very friendly and keen to be fed. It was a lovely experience and fantastic to see ‘The Kings of the Forest’ so close.


After the moose visit, we made an overnight stop at another National Park – Soderasen. We have really enjoyed the National Parks in Sweden, such beautiful forests and well-marked walking routes. We spent the night in Röstånga, when we arrived we went for a quick walk to a lake but got caught in a torrential downpour! The following morning our boots were just about dry, and so we set off on a slightly longer route, this time on a ridge looking down over the lake. Again, gorgeous views and nature.


Sadly, we then arrived at our final campsite of the trip - Falsterbo Camping - which is on a peninsular just below Malmö. We spent three nights there and had a lovely relaxing time before the trip home. The sand dunes and beach were walking distance, although it was incredibly windy whilst we were there! Gorgeous white beaches going on for miles. We also cycled along the seafront, Lola alternating between the trailer and her balance bike and Roger ran with us – we covered 7 miles in total and still when we were nearly back at the campsite someone suggested Roger had so much energy and must be ready for his walk! We didn’t see much of him the rest of the day though. The mini golf and playground at our campsite also provided lots of entertainment.


After Falsterbo, on Saturday 21st November our journey home begins. This starts with a ferry from Trelleborg to Rostock (Germany), we chose this way to avoid Denmark as at the moment that is a very high-risk country. From Rostock we are just transiting through Germany and the Netherlands back to the ferry from Rotterdam to Harwich. Neither of these countries allow tourism at the moment so we will just wild camp and have odd leg stretches and fuel stops on the way. All being well, we should be back in the UK late on Tuesday 24th November after spending 100 days living on the road.

Posted by NapierFamily 11:50 Archived in Sweden Comments (2)

14. Stockholm to Jönköping

Gysinge, Trosa, Linköping, Motala, Lake Tåkern, Jönköping

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After our walk in Gysinge we spent two nights in Sala at some motorhome parking with electric, a bonus was the pay machine was out of order and said to just use the facilities for free! We had a nice relaxing couple of days here before skirting round the outside of Stockholm, just stopping off at the largest and oldest IKEA in the world for some meatballs – we couldn’t miss that opportunity!


After the IKEA trip we spent a night in Trosa which turned out to be a lovely little town – cobbled streets, unique shops and riverside walks.


On 10th November we arrived at First Camp Glyttinge on the outskirts of Linköping and spent 3 nights here. We picked prime spot next to the playground and had a great few days walking, cycling, exploring the town and visited another outdoor museum which showed town life in Sweden’s past, there were a few little craft shops open. Covid is starting to catch up with Sweden now, they were one of very few European countries who decided not to impose a strict lockdown back in April and everything has remained open throughout the pandemic but there are now more regional restrictions – some of southern Sweden is currently in a two week ‘fire break’ which means some attractions have closed.


We left Linköping on Friday 13th November and went via Berg to see the Carl Johan staircase; this is part of the Göta Canal which has a series of seven locks lifting boats nearly 19m over less than 300m. From there we went to Motala which is on the banks of a huge lake - Lake Vättern. On Friday afternoon we visited a small aquarium and Saturday a Motor Museum. The Motor Museum was excellent, so much bigger than we expected. Alongside cars, bikes, motorbikes etc they had a huge collection of old technology – cameras, TVs, radios, mobile phones, record players which Lola found interesting, although she struggled to understand the concepts of having a phone that you couldn’t take around with you and having to wait until photos are developed to see them!


The next stop was Lake Tåkern which is home to a huge number of birds and ducks. We had a good walk with the binoculars and up to a viewing tower.


We then visited Jönköping which is at the southern edge of the lake Motala is also on – Vättern (the sixth biggest in Europe). At the waters edge there is a beach and promenade, so we had a great walk/scoot along there with stops for digging and swimming (for those who don’t care what temperature the water is!)


Posted by NapierFamily 11:45 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

13. East Coast of Sweden

Plenty of walking, caving and museums.

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We left Umeå on Monday 2nd November in torrential rain and gale force winds. On the journey we saw flooded roads, two fallen trees that had brought down phone lines, 4 buckets blowing about in the road we had to avoid and several people fighting with umbrellas (including myself).
We spent the night in the car park of the south entrance of Skuleskogens National Park ready for a hike in the morning when the weather was meant to be much better.

We set off soon after 9.30am in sun and blue skies aiming to get to Slåttdalsskrevan which is a rock crevice about 30/40m deep formed by mountain uplift millions of years ago. It was another great walk made more exciting by trees across the path and floods caused by the weather the previous day. We reached the crevice which was really impressive and had our picnic at a viewpoint looking out to sea. We returned on a different route, via Slåttdalsberget rather than through the valley which was easier terrain. In total we were out about 5 hours and walked almost 5 miles – we were all ready to get back to Arran for a rest!


From there we headed to Sundsvall and Norra Berget – an outdoor museum. We spent the night in their car park and explored the site on Wednesday 4th November. The large site has many historic buildings to show what life in Sweden used to be like along with a few shops, cafes, animals and a playground. There was also a viewing tower where you can see all the way across the town. It was a lovely place, we especially enjoyed a stop in a cosy café with woodburner. In the afternoon we explored the town of Sundsvall.


Thursday 5th November we explored a nature reserve – Bodagrottorna which was a short walk through the woods to a bedrock cave system. These caves are one of Sweden’s longest networks and also formed by mountain uplift and earthquakes. I am not a fan of caves at all so opted to walk Roger in the woods whilst Dadda and Lola ventured in (Lola was very keen to use her headtorch properly). The entrance was quite steep and a rope is provided to get in, they made it in to the first chamber and had a look round which was far enough for Lola – she very much enjoyed her first proper caving experience.


As we continued our journey down the coast we visited an aircraft museum in Söderhamn which was a great morning, many interactive exhibits and things to explore. As is often the case at these things – we were the only visitors the whole time we were there! We then stayed the night in Gysinge at the edge of the Färnebofjärden National Park, where we were treated to a gorgeous sunset.


Saturday 7th we set off with a picnic again for a walk, it started off through the forest then we returned next to a river. We stopped for our picnic on a tree that had been felled by beavers – they had clearly been very busy along the banks! The problem after lunch was the river had burst its banks in several places which flooded the paths so meant we had to find alternative routes around then when we were nearly back to Arran the flooding became more severe and there seemed to be no way round but it would be too far to go back so we picked Lola up and just waded through the freezing cold water! We were pleased to get back to Arran to get changed and then went to a nearby café for warm drinks and cake – a lovely ending to the day where again, we had covered about 5 miles.


Posted by NapierFamily 10:57 Archived in Sweden Comments (2)

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