IN THE WINTER WITH THE VAN TO THE NORTH CAPE
CHRISTMAS IN STOCKHOLM AT 8°C BELOW ZERO AND THE FIRST SNOW ON THE JOURNEY
After we left Copenhagen, we wanted to go straight to Sweden. In fact, it was no longer far. Only 52€ for the crossing of the Öresund Bridge and already you see Malmö after a short passport control.
From the planning we had been a little annoyed that we have not driven the expensive bridge at least in daylight. Unfortunately, the days in winter are already relatively short here, which we had not considered in advance. But no matter, we want to continue and reach Stockholm by Christmas.
As the next destination for our overnight stay, Kathy at Park4Night has picked out a place by the sea in Kalmar. From Copenhagen, Kalmar is easily reached in four hours. When we arrived at the parking lot, right on the beach, it was already 21:30. The houses of the housing estate were, one day before the 24th of December, beautifully illuminated for Christmas. We parked our van in one of the parking bays directly at the water. In the moonlight we recognized the bridge that leads to the island to Öland.
IT IS STILL A BIT UNFAMILIAR COLD, BUT WE ARE ARRIVING MORE AND MORE IN THE NEW EVERYDAY LIFE
It was a bit fresh at -1°C in the morning, but we slowly got used to getting up in the cold. In the meantime, we had also organized ourselves quite well in the morning routine. Everyone had his tasks, whereby I took over more the part in front of the van, while Kathy made coffee and ensured the order in our small living room.
In other words, I needed a bit of my time in the morning and Kathy was already starting off in full swing. Probably the most important thing is that both are satisfied with their part in such a trip. You just have to come to an arrangement and talk about what is important to the other, especially after getting up.
Once we were ready to go, we drove off to our next stop. Stockholm is about 450km from our overnight stop near Öland. The largest city in Sweden is directly on the planned route to the North Cape. Of course, we also wanted to make progress on the way to the North Cape by van, but since it was Christmas we just wanted to reach Stockholm by the evening.
Despite the fact that we had another 4-5 days of driving ahead of us, we traveled without any real time pressure. Or rather, we didn’t put any pressure on ourselves but felt very comfortable with our time management so far. We stopped here and there in search of a “bathroom” or to just briefly enjoy the beautiful scenery. Since we would probably not make such a trip again so quickly, of course, had to take a lot of great pictures.
FROZEN LAKE, LET’S TEST THE THICKNESS OF THE ICE SURFACE
One thing not to do quite so recklessly, simply step onto a frozen lake and then test how thick the ice is.
When we arrived at a rest area with a large area, many small cottages and a sauna, directly on the lake, we were a little disappointed. Due to the winter months, unfortunately, many stores and cafes in Sweden are closed. On the lake, which belongs to the site, we saw a man skating with sticks on the ice. What adventurers we would be if we did not also test.
We stepped onto the ice via a small footbridge. A cell phone picture from a kneeling position and then a little slither around. When I came up with the brilliant idea to bob up and down a bit, a loud crack went through the ice surface. Kathy looked at me, startled, and I glanced toward the jetty. We were a good forty yards from it. As the ice began to crack more and more under our feet, we hurried back to the boardwalk.
Just before that, there was another loud crack and a large crack could be seen running through the frozen surface a few meters behind us. Kathy got off the ice first and I could see myself drowning in the cold water. But being a gentleman, I let the women and children off first.
When I had also made it ashore, we both looked at each other and had to start laughing out loud. It had all gone well again, but we had gotten a mad scare. It was definitely reckless to go on the lake and I would not do such an action again. Still, a memory that will remain.
So FAR ONE OF MY BEST CHRISTMASES IN STOCKHOLM
When we arrived in Stockholm it was of course dark. The days always seemed to get shorter on our van trip to the North Cape the further we drove. We decided to park in the outskirts of the city. Actually, to this day, I don’t like to spend the night anywhere directly or in close proximity to a city. Nevertheless, it was a good choice for Christmas Eve.
At a crisp -8°C we walked from our parking lot about 30 minutes into the city center. Since it was really extremely cold and we had not yet quite accustomed to the temperatures, we decided without further ado a stopover at the Espresso House. Here we had already drunk a delicious coffee in Copenhagen.
Since it was the 24th of December, of course not very many stores and places were open. In the Espresso House it was wonderfully warm, and what was almost more important, there was free wifi. The perfect place to comfortably drink something and spend time. So check Instagram in peace and answer comments.
But since Christmas Eve also includes a delicious meal, we decided at some point to get out into the cold again and move on. We were looking for a place that suited our mood. We wandered for almost half an hour through the streets, until we became aware of a cozy bar. A quick look through the window from the street and we knew, there we will celebrate our private little Christmas.
About the prices in Stockholm and actually in all parts of Northern Europe, as we were allowed to determine during our trip, we are silent at this point simply times. Instead, we let a few pictures of our very private Christmas evening speak.
When traveling by van at Christmas, such a bar is the absolute highlight. Whether we would have enjoyed it as much on a simple city trip to Stockholm, I can not judge. All in all, we were quite long in the bar and still had a few beers and a few Christmas shots.
AT HOME (IN THE VAN) ANOTHER SURPRISE WAS WAITING
The way home turned out to be correspondingly fun. We had eaten great food and were in a pretty good mood thanks to the schnapps. For the money we had spent on a little alcohol in Sweden, we could have invited our whole family to drink in Germany, but we didn’t care at all.
When we got back to the van, we immediately turned on the parking heater. Thanks to the bathroom rugs we used as window insulation, it was nice and warm in the van pretty quickly. We pulled out the gift from Kathy’s mother and were happy as children. The shoebox was filled to the brim with little surprises. Sweets, a pair of socks, warm slippers and a bottle of Baileys.
As we fell onto our beds, full, drunk and happy, we agreed that this was a perfect Christmas on our van trip to the North Cape that we would remember for a long time.