Last night we declared all out battle with the bugs. As well as a large citronella candle, smoking insect repellent coils, liberal coatings of insect spray and our butane powered insect repellent lamp, we also engaged our new weapon – a sort of hip-slingster device that attaches to your belt or top of your shorts – and emits a smouldering discharge of insect repellent smoke, powered also by butane. I must admit to feeling a bit of a Wally walking around the campsite with smoke coming out of the top of my shorts, but whatever it takes to repel the pesky little things! After half an hour or so, there was not a bug in sight, and Howard’s occasionally shots in the air with his zappy bat resulted in little response. Success! Of course, everyone around us thought we were raging lunatics, but frankly, I’m past caring anymore.
The other really bizarre thing about last night, was that it was the first time in over eight weeks, that we went to bed in darkness. Throughout Iceland, and for our whole time in Norway, we never saw darkness. It seemed really odd. Then, when at about five thirty this morning, I awoke and looked through the pop-up’s window, I saw the sun rising up over the water. We had grown so accustomed to constant sunlight, that we had forgotten what darkness at night was like.
I know when Oliver was camping with us, it drove him mad, and he had huge difficulty sleeping in the bright light. But for us, it had become the norm. It’s funny to reflect that when we left the UK back in January, it was getting dark at 4.30 in the afternoon. I have become a great fan of perpetual sunlight, and will be sad to see the evenings slowly drawing in on the last part of our trip.
This morning, it was sweltering by 10am. We really don’t cope well in this extreme heat. I realise that in the UK just now, it is even hotter, but at least when you’re at home, you have the luxury of being able to go indoors. Living in a baking hot metal van definitely has it’s challenges!
We stopped off for coffee this morning at a town called Hudiksvall. It is known as ‘Glada Hudik’, which translates as ‘Happy Hudik’, since visitors to the town in the 19th century were taken by their hospitality and how jovial everyone seemed. It was indeed perfectly pleasant, if a little hot. Lining the canal by the cafe where we sat, were a row of old red warehouses – very pretty.
We continued on the E4, which Howard and I have officially christened the most boring road on this planet. We started playing i-Spy – but all we could come up with, was something beginning with ’T’. You guessed it!!
We had planned to continue on to Gavle, famous for it’s whisky distillery, but in the end, lost the will to live, and turned off the road earlier, since ‘tree madness’ (a new condition) was setting in.
We headed to our campsite for the night, slightly inland, but set on a small inland island, at a place called Hedesunda. What a delight it turned out to be. It is run by a Dutch couple, and as we found way back in Portugal, the Dutch know how to run a decent campsite. There are huge grassy pitches, set amongst woodland, and right by a pleasant little beach, with a rather nice restaurant and bar. The washrooms are pristine, and there isn’t a half-naked, pot bellied, tattooed man in sight (please excuse my prejudices, but last night I was put off eating my tea). What’s more, the Californias and other small camper vans and tents have been given a section of the campsite to themselves, in a lovely wooden glade, away from all the monstrous Big Whites, which have been given a gravel area near the washrooms. I do believe in Karma!
I think we have decided to stay another night, and take a rest from this incessant driving. Our plan is to spend the weekend in Stockholm, and then catch a ferry to Finland on Monday morning. We are hoping to get Oscar’s awning repaired in Helsinki – since at the moment, it is duck taped to the side of the van. Howard was never great at DIY!! In the meantime, we will enjoy the wonderful tranquility of this lovey campsite – even the children play quietly here. We have spent the past half hour watching two little girls silently running around in circles, attached by elastic to what appears to be a kettle! Their parents must be pure genius!
Sorry photos a bit dull – didn’t get many opportunities today.