14th July 2016. En route to Norway. Stopover at Köpmanholmen, Sweden.

We had breakfast and the man in his van waved to me as he drove off, which I thought was very nice.  It’s lovely we discovered that most motorhomers wave to each other as they drive past so we’ve been doing the same, Darren said he’s in danger of getting ‘Motorhomers Arm’ with all this driving, it’s also been fun when we’ve been following behind a couple of other motorhomes, the driver of the van coming towards us has had to do a ‘Mexican Wave’!

Darren worked out a scenic route which was great (we saw Cranes pecking at the ground in one field we passed) but eventually we joined the E4 to speed the journey up a bit.  After we’d travelled along the E4 for quite a while we saw a sign saying ‘E4 is boring, drive the Marine Route’ but we dithered and missed the turn off so when I saw a sign for a café called Café Skäret near Gryttje a bit further up the E4 I suggested we go and find it.

We followed the sign thinking it would be just around the corner but it was actually quite a few miles down the road but we were committed to finding it by that time.  We eventually arrived at the café, which was by the sea, only to find it was closed until the evening!  Whoops!  Sorry Darren!   However it turned out to be a great find.  It was in a little fishing village which was gorgeous.

It was a beautifully sunny day so we made coffee and got some chocolate bars out and started to walk down to a bench that we’d seen by the sea when a Swedish family turned up looking for the café (a few other people turned up later when we were leaving, I think the café need to put the opening times in larger writing on the sign posts!).

We had a short chat with the Swedish family.  The dad said they live in Stockholm but had been visiting his mother who lived in a similar fishing village and that the weather had been so good that they’d been swimming in the sea the previous day in water that was 18ºc, that’s keen!  The mum was very keen too, keen to shut her husband up and go and find a café that WAS open for coffee, she eventually managed to drag him back to the car.

We continued down to the water with our cups of coffee (it has since occurred to us that taking the flask and two empty cups is a better option) when two elderly Swedish men started chatting to us (possibly about the posters that were on the wall of the cabin next to us) unfortunately we don’t speak any Swedish other than “Hej! Hej!” and they didn’t speak English so we all talked but it’s anyone’s guess as to what we were all talking about. When we got down to the waters edge one of the men pointed to the boats and said “fisk” (he kindly spent some time trying to teach me how to say fish) then mimed that there were bigger fish underneath the boat and mimed casting a fishing line.

My mum has always done very well using the ‘miming method’  to overcome the language barrier during the years she and my step-father Bri lived abroad.  When she was in China she wanted to take us to a see the local goat statue, she went to a booth in the park and explained what she was looking for by doing a mime of a goat pawing the ground and making horns on her head with her hands.  She obviously did a good job because she received instructions on how to get there with the ‘pointing method’ .  We did draw the line at one of her ‘methods’ however.  She suggested we took a bus trip to a Chinese monument, walked us to the huge bus station in Guangzhou, stood with a piece of paper that had Chinese characters written on it and tried to match it up with the writing on the boards above the buses……….you do not get rid of us THAT easily mother!  Anyway, I digress.

When we’d finished ‘chatting’, Darren and I sat on the bench and drank our coffee then he went off to fill the water tank and I had a paddle.

It was great, our diving friends Bryony and Yvette had told us that if you stay in one place the fish will come to you and that’s just what they did, as I stood in the shallow water lots of inquisitive little fish came over and started nibbling at my feet.  I was surprised to see how many different types there were, the little one with the blue stripe was the cutest but he was a bit shy.

We returned to the E4 and continued our journey.  One of the websites I looked at suggested coming off the E4 just after the bridge at Härnösand and explore the coastline there so we drove on to a small island where we stopped at a restaurant for a meal.  We’d driven past the restaurant and Darren had to reverse downhill on a narrow (empty) road and then try to turn the van into a narrow track that went steeply up a hill into a field behind the restaurant to park.

The owner was very outspoken about his views on the UK and the EU once he realised we were British.  He told us he wasn’t at all happy that the U.K had voted to leave the E.U, he though it was a ridiculous thing to do.  He was quite chatty after he’d got that off his chest.  It was an unusual restaurant with an area set up as a museum devoted to a Swedish musician, I can’t remember the musician’s name.  The view from the dining room was lovely, it overlooked a small bay.

My meal wasn’t very exciting, Quorn hot dogs and crinkle cut french fries (my fault for choosing to be vegetarian) but Darren had a very tasty fish dish that the owner had recommended.  The fields on the island were separated by wide strips of wild flowers instead of hedges. We drove round the island then carried on to the place we were hoping to stay at overnight.

Yet again my camera had turned itself off just as we drove past an enormous silver fish at the side of the road near Bjästa, there seem to be a lot of giant creatures in Europe and my camera has been turned off for most of them.

We had chosen two sites to visit at Köpmanholmen.  The first one we went to was a cheap ställplats, it was one that I’d found but it turned out to be beside the ferry terminal.  If there had been space to park overlooking the water as one motorhome had done it might have been OK but the only empty space was in the top car park which overlooked the scrap yard!

We drove five minutes round the corner to Darren’s ‘find’ which was a marina.  It was lovely, pretty and quiet, with only two other vans for company.


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