21st June 2016. Långe Erik, Northern Öland, Sweden.

I went out for a short walk along the shingle beach the next morning while Darren got ready and took loads of photographs of the seabirds that were sitting on the rocks.

I decided to walk back to the van via the road because two gulls were getting very excited by my presence so I assume they were nesting nearby.  As I walked nearer to the van a little rabbit hopped out of the undergrowth and then shot behind a bush.  This beautiful area is full of wildlife, it’s such a great place to visit.

Darren was ready by the time I got back so we drove to the right hand tip of the island, Trollskogen (The Enchanted Forest), where they have a nature reserve.  It was good timing, we got there when the car park was virtually empty which made it very easy to park.

On our walk through the woods we found a tree with drawing pin ‘eyes’, we have a number of items in the van that have googly eyes on them since our son Gethan bought a pack.  We’ve been finding them everywhere so it was fun to see someone else is at it too.

We followed the footpath route up to the wreck of an old schooner which had been washed up on the beach, just before we got there I heard lots of tiny birds chirping away in the trees but they were so elusive.  I eventually managed to get a photo of a couple of them when suddenly a jet from the Swedish Air Force shot past the tree tops and across the water, it was too quick for me to get a photo unfortunately which was extremely frustrating but the event was still very exciting.

The schooner was a great photo opportunity, yet again Darren had to hang around and wait for me while I took photos of the wreck.

When I’d finished we walked back through the forest stopping along the way to look at the trees covered with ivy that were mentioned in the information leaflet for the area.   We also chatted to a lady who was walking a very friendly Boxer dog puppy which had HUGE feet, we were all intrigued as to whether he would eventually grow into them!

We were just having coffee in the van when it suddenly pelted down with rain.  The poor couple in the van opposite us had been trying to get their young children ready to go out for a walk, it was like herding cats (been there, seen it, done it, it’s so much more entertaining when you’re watching someone else go through it though!).  They’d been struggling to get the children into their wellingtons and raincoats and just as they closed the door to the van they were all rained on!

Our next stop was at a beach in Byrum called Byrums Raukar where the cliffs had been eroded into stacks, we were expecting something like Old Harry Rocks in Dorset or The Needles on the Isle of Wight but they weren’t quite that big, in fact when we first walked down to the beach we couldn’t even see them!  However as we walked further along the limestone, looking in the rock pools we came across some stacks which were a metre taller than me.

It was very interesting walking through the pathways in the rock, however it was starting to spit with rain so we rushed back to the van.

Our next destination on the way back to Lindby Boden was a tiny old fishing village called Alvedsjö Bodar and of course the SAT NAV decided to that the best route to take would be down a very long but narrow track.

We were very surprised to see a huge American car driving towards us at one point, luckily it was just as we came to a passing place.

We only stayed long enough to take some photos and have a quick look at the fishing village, in between showers of rain.

We then continued along the track to the main road and took a turning to the harbour at Sandvik.

At the entrance to Sandvik there is a very big windmill and as we drove past ‘eagle eyed’ Darren noticed a sign for ice cream so we parked in the harbour car park which was also a ställplats (there were a lot of other vans already parked there plugged into the electric hook-ups).  We weren’t staying and there didn’t seem to be an option to pay for half an hour so we chanced it and walked to the windmill (hoping the very steep hill we were struggling up would negate the calories in the ice cream when we finally got it!).

The windmill was a strange place, I think it was a restaurant.  The ice cream was in a little shop round the back of the windmill where we stood patiently waiting by the counter for 10 minutes hoping someone would appear (the ability to queue is in our blood, we Brits do it so well!  It did help that there was the promise of ice cream to come!).  Eventually a man sauntered over from the other building, we think they’d noticed the other customers leaving and were hoping we’d go too but Darren was determined to have his ice cream.

It was worth the wait and we rushed back down the hill to the van hoping that this wasn’t going to become an extremely expensive ice cream if we’d received a ticket.  I’m pleased to say we hadn’t so we drove off to the next place we wanted to visit…… the bird sanctuary.

With hindsight we should have saved ourselves the effort, again Darren had to drive the van down a very narrow lane and a jogger kindly moved over to let us pass but unfortunately there were big rocks hidden in the undergrowth at the side of the road and one of them took a chunk out of the edge of our step!  The noise it made was ear splitting!

When we eventually got to Knisa Mosse bird sanctuary and walked down to the lake we discovered that all the interesting birds were away on their holidays somewhere else!  The only birds we could faintly see in the distance were on the far side of the very large lake and they were ‘ten a penny’ seagulls so, disappointed, we trudged back through the mud to the van where things improved hugely when two of the bullocks in the field next to the van started having a mock fight, which gave me something to photograph.

They were so cute, one minute they looked as though butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths and the next minute the little white one was winding the other one up and starting a fight.

I also managed to find a single bird who wasn’t on his holidays, I think he might have been a Shrike, he was chattering away in a tree beside the van so it seems we could have saved ourselves the trouble of wading through all that mud and just enjoyed taking photos in the car park.

From the bird sanctuary we went looking for the field of camels that we’d passed the day before but when we got there we were disappointed to find the field was empty so we detoured to another village which was picturesque and had two windmills.  Unfortunately there was nowhere to pull over so Darren carried on up the road in the hopes of finding somewhere to turn around.  We came to a grassy area marked out for parking that had been taken over by a herd of cows.  There was one very strange looking cow in the herd, she looked like someone had sneaked up to her during the night and drawn black eyebrows on her!

We seem to be doing a lot of whistle stop tours on our journey and this was another, Darren turned the van round, dodging the cows and drove back through the very quiet village, it was so quiet that Darren suggested he’d stop the van in the road so I could take a photograph of the windmills and as soon as I got out of the van he drove off along the road!

I suppose I should be thankful that he eventually stopped but I looked a right twit running past the two ladies sitting outside their cottage.  It was so good of Darren to ensure that I had my daily exercise!

We drove back to the main road and when we looked across the road, low and behold, there was a camel in the field so Darren drove across the road and parked beside the field.  It was great, there were three camels in the field then a larger one wandered in followed by an entourage who were accompanied by a group of mischievious little babies.   They raced across to their mums, they all had such gangly legs.  The adult camels looked rather manky because their coats were moulting but it was fantastic to see them.

When we arrived back at Lindby Boden another caravan had arrived while we were away, the car had Norwegian number plates.  They had parked right up the far end of the massive field so we parked up the other end so we didn’t disturb them.


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