16th June 2016. Karlskrona, Sweden.

The next morning we sat in the van eating breakfast watching a pretty bird hopping around, I’ve no idea what it was but it was a bit of a poser!

After the birdy photoshoot we drove to the next island along (Hasslö) before we went to visit Karlskrona.  Half way around the island we found a cafe which looked a bit ropy from outside but we assumed their coffee would be fine and to seal the deal there was a Coop opposite which we badly needed to re-stock our supplies.

Darren wasn’t sure how to get into the car park and ended up driving along, what we decided afterwards, was actually the path.  We wondered why we got some strange looks!

Once we got inside the cafe we were really surprised at how pretty it was, they had cabinets full of lots of different individual homemade cakes all calling to me to buy them!  The lady behind the counter helped us with the menu (this is becoming a bit of a habit) and told us the coffee was over on the counter.  The price included refills (a lot of the places we’ve been to in Sweden include re-fills in the price and they don’t even charge as much as we do for one cup in the UK) and we were told to help ourselves to the salad that was on the central cabinet, it was pickled cabbage to have as a starter, it was a lovely way to start our meal.  The food they made us looked beautiful on the plate and tasted just as good as it looked!

Once we’d finished eating we went food shopping and realised that we’d left the bags in the car, as I left the shop to go and get them Darren reminded me that he’d put the alarm on when he’d locked the van……..10 seconds later I opened the van door and the alarm cut through the silence!  It’s worrying that I’ve got the attention span of a gnat!  I was hoping that Darren might not have heard it in the shop but he informed me he had and couldn’t believe that I’d forgotten what he’d said in such a short space of time.  You’d better believe it Darren, and it’s downhill from here on in!

We had great ‘fun’ trying to find somewhere to park at Karlskrona (what a surprise!) we saw lots of places but we couldn’t read the signs so we weren’t sure whether vans were allowed to park there or not.  We eventually parked at the marina but they wanted 180 Kr (over £15) to park there because it was used as an overnight stopover, we’d already been into enough car parks and left because there was nowhere for us to park so out of desperation we paid for 3 hours car parking and hoped that we wouldn’t come back to find a ‘Denver Boot’ on the wheel.  We’ve spent a lot of this European journey worrying about that so far, I wonder if this trend is likely to continue, I have a feeling that the answer may be yes!

We got the bikes out and started following four other motorhomers who left the car park on their bikes at the same time as us, we assumed that they were going into the town, it seems we were wrong, we stopped following them when they cycled on to the ferry to a neighbouring island.

We found our way into the town all by ourselves after our unwitting ‘tour guides’ left us.  We followed the cycle path along by the water, past the island with the Naval Museum on it.  We thought we’d go in there on the way back, our journey was punctuated by stops and starts every time I saw a photo opportunity.  Poor Darren had to keep hanging around while I spent an age taking photos, most of which will probably be deleted.

We had a nice cycle round the town, it’s got some beautiful buildings and I’d have loved to have visited the museum but we didn’t have time and as it was just beginning to rain we decided to get back to the van and began our drive to Öland which is when I realised we forgot to go on to the Naval Museum because we cycled back to the van a different way!  D’oh!

One thing I’ve noticed since we’ve been in Europe is that there are so many wild flowers everywhere, it’s beautiful, there are fields full of poppies and cornflowers, although it would be quite hard to see that at the moment seeing as it’s HEAVING it down outside!

I offered to do some driving as we had a long way to go, it’s the first time I’ve driven the van over here.  Darren had been driving up a dual carriageway for ages and I thought that would be the perfect time for me to take over but from the very first time I drove Van D in Falmouth I seem to have developed a knack of choosing the wrong moment to get some practice in.  No sooner had I started driving up the dual carriageway than it returned to a normal road with lots of bends and huge lorries seemingly hurtling towards us. and true to form the heavens opened.  It poured so hard that the windscreen wipers were having trouble keeping the windscreen clear no matter how fast they went, I could barely see the road!

I was rather stressed as the dual carriageway took us closer and closer to Kalmar particularly when I entered roadworks coming up to a roundabout and had to go the wrong (right?) way round the roundabout.  I was desperate not to have to drive into the city and then, joy of joys, I saw a rastplats so I chickened out and pulled in.

I had to concentrate extremely hard during that journey, so hard I’m sure my brain was in danger of overheating.  I gratefully swapped seats with Darren,  I’m not sure who was the happiest when I stopped driving, me or him!

I’ve added this part at the end of our adventure: Darren has been amazing driving our van, he’s really got the hang of the size of it and he’s managed to do a number of three point turns in very tight roads without even breaking into a sweat, I’m full of admiration for him. 🙂

To get to Öland we had to drive across the very long bridge that connects it to the mainland.  I LOVE bridges and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.  I’m not sure I’ve ever travelled across such a long bridge.  It was superb.

We weren’t really sure what to expect when we turned up at the ställplats, in the book it says it’s isolated.  If isolated means the same as beautiful then I hope we find a lot of ‘isolated’ places to stay at during our trip.

The name of the ställplats is Lindby Boden, we drove down a long unmade up road past a few very pretty houses and at the end of the lane saw a little stall with ställplats written on it and arrows pointing into mown fields on  either side.

We chose to park in the huge field which overlooked fields of crops and had woodland running along either side, we were so worried that we would be too late to find a pitch but we’re the only van here, it’s wonderfully quiet. all I can hear is bird song.

Each time we leave a stopover I think we can’t possibly find anywhere as pretty but then we do, I’m amazed each time and it has happened again!

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