4th June 2016. Höllviken, Sweden.

The following day we were alone at the site for most of the day.

In the afternoon we went for a bike ride down to the nature reserve which would have been great for bird watching except the gate was locked when we got there because the ground birds were nesting  so we took some photos of the long Danish/Swedish connecting bridge and decided to cycle into town to the shopping centre to look for a cash point.

We headed in the general direction of the shopping centre, cycling past a little lane on the way but it seemed to be going away from where we wanted to go so we carried on following the road until we came to a roundabout.  As we cycled along we were shouting to each other about how disappointed we were with the lack of cycle paths in Sweden and how surprised we were that they didn’t have a good cycle path network like the Dutch and Germans appeared to have.  At that moment we saw a petrol station over the road and decided they might have a cash point so we didn’t have to attempt to find one in town.

It was almost impossible to get across the road due to a constant stream of cars racing past us.  Darren managed to get across but it took me ages because I’m a wuss, then we discovered that we couldn’t see the entrance to the garage, however we felt that the sooner we got off the busy road the better, so hung on to our bikes and scrabbled down a grassy bank on to the petrol station forecourt (Darren says he didn’t ‘scrabble’ he free wheeled down so it seems it was just me who was ‘slip sliding away’, thanks for those lyrics Paul Simon).  It was a huge disappointment to discover there wasn’t a cash point there (which is probably why the man at the site told us to go to the shopping centre!) and rather than risk our lives on the road again I suggested following the path beside the garage which a jogger was using.  It turns out it was a cycle path to the shopping centre.

When we finally got to the Mall Darren withdrew some money from the cash point and we went inside to get out of the baking sun and find somewhere to buy a cold drink.  The only place open was the Swedish equivalent of Costa and the young girl serving there was SO helpful.  Yet again we couldn’t understand anything on the vast menu, we guessed at some of the ingredients in the smoothies but the list was overwhelming so we asked which smoothies she liked the best.

Instead of taking the easy way out and giving us any old thing she told us what was in each smoothie and when she couldn’t remember the translation for something she tried giving us clues such as “it’s good for you but has a strong taste”.  I never was very good at guessing games and as she was determined to get the name she Googled it, apparently the answer was ginger.  I had a strawberry and rhubarb smoothie which was rather a surprise given that we’d thought the rhubarb was raspberry, but it was lovely and Darren had a mint and kiwi smoothie made with fresh mint, there were no surprise ingredients in that and he said that was also very nice.

As she was being so helpful, and there were no other customers, we asked her whether there was a safe way back to the Viking museum, and surprise, surprise we discovered that if we’d turned down the ‘lane’ we’d spotted earlier (which turned out to be the cycle path) we’d have been able to cycle UNDER the main road, funnily enough we found it not only faster but so much easier when we followed that route back to the van, so it appears that the Swedes DO have a good cycle network as well.

We sat beside the sea when we got back to the van and spent some lazy time enjoying the view and over a period of 2 hours three vans turned up at the site.

The first couple set up camp at a jaunty angle to get a good view of the bay with the back of their van by the left hand boundary fence.  We were parked with the back of our van by the right hand boundary fence and then a short while later another van arrived and managed to squeeze in sideways so it was parallel to the sea between our van and the other one.  I felt very sorry for the last van to arrive because they just had a view of the side of all our vans, not very pretty at all.

The men in the middle van got out a pile of sheep skins blankets and a steel frame with pots suspended from it and set about making a fire underneath it from drift wood.  They were obviously seasoned campers and also very hardy because they slept out under the stars unlike us, as the night drew in I leaned out to close the van door and they were all sitting round the fire chatting quietly so I sheepishly said “Hi” and told them I was closing the door because it was cold and they said goodnight to me in perfect English.


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