2002 Gent, BelgiumThis year we've brought the PC along with us (it was impossible before) and we shall now try to write everyday. When this is seen on the Internet we are at home many days ago. We have also bought a route planner (for PC), Route 66. We shall see if it works.
19/7 We starts from a grey but warm Bålsta around 10. We find our way to Tuntorps Camping, a new camping within the section of Sörmland. It is situated beside the lake Yngaren. What a place! Much is to be done for the enthusiasts, more electric hook-ups for example. A new sanitary building is needed as well, sometime in the future. We arrive around 12 and decide on the spot to stay the night here. When we check in and pays the night the warden tells us that they're going to have a barbeque later on this evening and that we were so welcome to join them. Thank you! There is a small beach and shoaling water. The camping is situated 20 kilometres from Katrineholm and 10 kilometres from Bettna. The rain stopped the barbeque from taking place. The rain stops around 21.00 but that is one hour to late. Have talked with friends on the mobile and they are in Tingsryd right now. Decides that we shall meet them in Osby tomorrow.
20/7 Damp and grey in the morning. Quite good travel weather though as far as Jönköping, when a shower comes. We stop along the E4 at Taberg to have lunch around 13.00. We have to wait more than 20 minutes before we get our "home made" lasagne. They said it would take time when we paid for the food, but they didn't tell us that it should be half cold!! You swear. I can't in English! And as usual your to kind to complaint. This former Route 66 restaurant we will not recommend to anyone, friend or foe! At 16.30 we arrive at Osby Camping, and they don't care that we don't have the SCR camping card (we have the CCI). And they don't charge us the extra 35 SEK for it. Very nice personnel. Place is booked beside our friends. There are many Dutch here, more than the Germans. The weather is quite nice.
21/7 The weather was marvellous when we rise at 6.30. We have a ferry to get to in Helsingborg at 10.00, that's why we are so early risers. We arrive too early to the ferry so we will have to wait. Arrives too early to Rödby as well, but misses the 13.15 ferry and thinks that we now have to wait to 14.15 which is the time we are booked on. But another ferry comes and we get onboard that one. So at 14.30 we are in Germany and meet the longest queue of cars we've ever seen (well...). We have stop and go all the way to the bridge, Fehmarn Bridge. And the suddenly you can go 180 km/h, but we don't do that. 16.30 have we arrived at Schönböckens camping in Lübeck (again), and it's pouring down. Haven't I said this before?
22/7 Today is shopping day. Shops bits and pieces both at Citti and at Plaza. On the way home we will try Aldi, newly opened in the Cittihouse. It rains off and on all day, but what can you do about it.
23/7 I don't think it has rained anything during the night but comes the morning it starts of course. The awning will be rolled wet, but it can take that. Follow the route planner's choice of roads and it works so and so. To try to go by street names is more difficult than road numbers. We have to check out on the map were we're going. It got worse. According the plan we should take junction 16 from A395, but we couldn't find that. After junction 13 it was B6 instead. We are still wondering were the motorway disappeared to. Then of course everything was wrong. After a bit of searching we almost found it (had to ask in a petrol station which way to go), and here we are now at Freizeit Oase Harz Camp in Göttingrode (right place in the right town) and it is very nice. I can't say I've seen anything like the shower rooms here. Tiled walls, soft music from the speakers, when you take a shower. Come and check it out. There is also a sauna, solarium, a small pool (out doors) and several play grounds for the children, and lots of Danish people. There are more Danish here than Dutch and that is pretty unusual.
24/7 Excursion day. We went to Goslar and had a look around, among other things a part of a church from 1100-century. In the evening we had dinner at the restaurant at the camping, a superb Cordon Bleu with perfect chilled beer.
25/7 After paying 39.20 Euro for two nights we follow the planner's choice towards Bad Kösen. 5.20 Euro was extra fee for the pool and sauna. And we hadn't used any of them. The plan according to Route 66 was perhaps correct, we don't know that because there was an 'umleitung' on the road so we had to take another road. The rest we made up by ourselfs. We passed through a village called Stolberg were almost every house was framework houses. Totally incredible, but it was very narrow too. Between Kelbra and Bad Frankenhausen it seemed like we had ended up in the Alps and mostly uphill. When we got to Bad Bibra we checked in there instead of Bad Kösen. They let us in due to the fact that it is 'mittagsruhe'. Not many tourists are here. We can't find any showers or were to empty the chemical toilet. I order one bread for breakfast because the warden said it was big. Can't phone home or watch TV.
26/7 Goes to the reception to buy my bread and the warden jokes with me and asks if it was one or two I had ordered and I state it was one. It was small and he gave me two. There are showers in the camping 'cos a boy bought markers for them when I paid for the night. We don't know the name of the camping, the receipt was an ordinary piece of paper handwritten by the warden. Goes to Wiehe to look at model railway. They were not few. We haven't seen so many different trains and environments in one place before. Goes to Kirchheim, west of Bad Hersfeld and ends up at a 5 star camping, and according to the fee we should have brought our friends children and 2 more. 17,50 Euro per night! For caravan, car and maximum 6 people. And we are two! High up in the mountains are we but we can't phone today either. We must have the wrong operator. We can watch TV anyway and since the sun isn't shining, we watch TV.
27/7 The day starts grey and half cold, 16 degrees. The whole week TV and radio has talked about a heat wave for the weekend. We'll wait and see. Checks out and have to pay 21,70 Euro, pretty expensive for 2. Arrives at Bullay in the middle of "mittagsruhe" and must kindly wait until they open. Bären-Camp is not we recommend since we don't like cramped campings. But the location is almost perfect, close to the river Mosel and close to the village center. Tomorrow we will take a closer look at it. Right now the time is 19.30 and it is 27 degrees in the shadow. Have we gone wrong somewhere?
28/7 Walks in to Bullay about 9 and it is already past 20 degrees. Takes the car to Zell and have a short look around, since we didn't managed to get a parking ticket out of the machine. Parking fines is something you'll try to avoid if you can. Go back to Alf and around a little. Have dinner at the restaurant, Bären-Stube. It was good and not expensive. Now it is 20.00 and 32 degrees in the caravan!
29/7 Goes to Cochem and parks at a parking lot that is free. We walk around a little before the heat gets to us. We have time to shop at Edeka in Bullay before the mittagsruhe comes. You can't get in or out during that time, on foot yes, but not with a car. Have dinner again at Bären-Stube, not the same dish tough. Still good and not expensive. At 22.30 it is still 24 degrees outside.
30/7 Buys a washing machine marker and does something good for once. The machine is more or less self thinking. There is a dryer as well, but with this weather we don't need it. When the laundry is hanged (?) we go for a ride, to Nehren and says hello to the lady in the wine shop. She's always happy to see us. Buys a few bottles of white wine. This is a small producer and we like to help them to survive. There are bigger producers in the village too. When we come back to the caravan we take in some of the laundry. When only three things remains we here a distant rumbling. Thunder? We take in the rest of the laundry and after a short while the first rain comes. Will it cool down now? A couple more showers passes but the temperature doesn't sink anything. We walk to the shop in a drizzle. On the way back comes the THUNDER rain. Waits a while under a tree (we have an umbrella with us but it doesn't help) before we walk back to the caravan. The temperature has gone down 2 (two!) degrees. More thunder is coming later and it seems the be stuck between the mountains. And it's raining cats and dogs.
31/7 The thunder has kept going all night as well as the rain, but in the morning it stops, so we can leave Bullay dry. We arrive at Grevenmacher in Luxemburg around 10.40. A small camping when it comes to guests, but quite big for the seasons guests. Lies beside the road so we have to wait and see if we're being disturbed at night. It is situated by Moselle, but you can hardly see that. A pool bath is in the way. We're spending the evening in the pub with some seasons guest and we're listening to the gibberish, sorry it is called Letzeburgish. That is quite a mixture of languages! A couple of them speak English so we can talk to them.
1/8 Has rained quite heavily during the night, but we haven't heard any thunder. We could sleep calmly through the night. We weren't disturbed by the traffic. Goes towards the Belgian border and at the lay-by Cappelans we stop to wait for friends. When they arrive we go on immediately to a better lay-by. Cappelans is being rebuilt. On the next lay-by we talk about were to spend the night. In Rochefort we camp. The weather is hot. The camping isn't much to see, not were we are standing anyway. But it is much bigger than this.
2/8 Now it is time. The last leg to the rally. Arrives at approx.12.15 and have to queue to get in. About 13.15 we can see the Swedish camp and 10 to 2 the caravan is in place. I can't remember any time it took so long time to get in place. It seems that the Swedish camp is farthest from everything, and that is not unusual. The surface looks alright, pretty rough grass with spot of dirt in between. It could possibly hold for rain. We are 32 vehicles from Sweden and 5 of them are not allowed to stay with the rest, because they have mobile homes. In spite of that 1 mobile home is among us.
3/8 Today is opening day. Organization is missing, because when we arrive at the assembly point there are no signs of where each country shall stand. After about 1 hour the signs arrive. Now some countries have to move around. We're lucky enough to be in the right spot from the beginning. When we've been here for more than 1 1/2 hour it is time to march to the hall. Those who can have funny or very good looking clothes on. The English seem to have a real talent for this kind of things, because they're always nice to look upon. The Swedes are mostly dressed in yellow and blue, some have national costumes.
4/8 It is a free bus ride into Gent every half hour, so today we're going to take a look. We forgot the map at home, so naturally we go the wrong way and sees a very ugly Gent. We take a beer at the Kouter and then goes on to what we think is the right directions for better views. On the way we meet friends that confirm that we're on the right way. Now it is much better views. We enter the cathedral of St Baafs and stand breathless. It is so beautiful! The oldest part is from the 1200 century. The pulpit is made of marble and polished oak. Simply fantastic. The film in the camera is finished and we haven't got a spare one with us right now, so we take the bus home again. Then it starts to rain and we haven't got any umbrellas either. We go to the shop but they have 'mittagsruhe' and open in 40 minutes. We wait out the rain or the shop. The shop in the area has got most of what you want and it is expensive. But then they say it is expensive in Belgium. At the shop we see a sign telling us that from now on the free bus is due every hour instead of half hour, but starts at 8 (instead of 9). I don't know if that is a good idea, we are quite a few that would want to go Gent. Yesterday it was almost a fight to get onboard the bus.
5/8 Today we doesn't do anything special except visiting the Spanish information about next years rally outside of Barcelona. Good wine and nice little tapas. We don't know how we got inside. The information was for delegates only. Our friends stay and watch the Taiwanese information too.
6/8 It has rained more than 'cats and dogs' during the night. When will it stop? A lazy freshman takes the car to empty the toilet and got stuck in the mud right in front of our caravan. Now he had to walk anyhow. Suits him fine. The road is now closed for unnecessary traffic. We shall see when the car is moved. Participates in the Swedish evening and eats yellow pea soup and drinks 'punch'. We haven't invited any new friends, just our friends from Östergötland. When we're finished the French car is gone.
7/8 Now we have found one thing that is cheaper here in Belgium than at home. A roof hatch with built in fan. We buy that. At these kinds of meetings there always excursions made, organized by the club in charge or the country's tourist board, to cities, towns and other things. The at least expensive one this year costs 37 Euro/person and is a bus trip to Antwerp and Brussels. Guide in the city and a walk around is the only things included in the price. We have within the Caravan Club of Sweden a very inventive person called Tom. He's fixed a bus and dinner for 26 Euro/person to Brussels. It is a bus trip in the evening because we want to see the light show on Grand Place/Grote Market. At 16.00 we leave by bus for Brussels, almost everyone from the Swedish camp is on the bus. Totally we are 74 persons in a double-decker. 22 are Norwegian and 1 lonely Finn. We go pass the EU-parliament that isn't finished yet. We have time to walk about a bit before dinner at the Manneken; soup, beef and ice cream for dessert. Then we occupy another restaurant while waiting for the light show. It was short and intensive and beautiful. Only 10 minutes. The music was some kind of medieval monastery music. It was very suggestive. Then we stroll back to the bus and we're back in the caravan 00.30. Good night!
9/8 Today we leave the rally, but it continues a few more days. But we have a job to take care of and have to leave. The road planner has helped to find the fastest way, but we have some adjustments, due to too much K- and L-roads. We have to go on a couple but not as much as planner thought. Arrives at Nehren around 15.00 and it is new wardens. The restaurant is open, the reception rebuild. This weekend is a summer party at the camping. We have dinner at the Imbiss that opened last year at one end of. We order Seniorteller. What is it? It was good. It was schnitzel with French fries and the sauce of your choice (ziegäuner- or jäger-). 3.80 Euro/person. That's not much.
11/8 Now we must leave Nehren and our friends behind. A short heavy rain occurs south of Hamburg, but then it's quite calm as far as Schönböcken. Then the rains come again. Wasn't it like this when we were going south? The camping is full of Swedish rally goers going home. Almost like a new Swedish camp.
12/8 It's shopping time. We visit all the three supermarkets. Aldi here in the Cittihouse has a small, but good offer. We're talking cheap here. Of course we're bumping into the Swedes from the camping and they tells us what to buy, both drinkable and cheap. Thank you. We manage to spend 250 Euro (in all three supermarkets together). But it is worth it. When we get back to Schönböcken most of the Swedes has left. Are they in more hurry than us?
13/8 Homeward bound. Leave the camping at 7, we will try to catch the ferry leaving at 8.15. Not many people onboard. Have breakfast onboard and it is not cheap. We have never understood what "sea prices" are. Not even the tax-free-shop is cheap. Yes if you compare with Sweden but not with Germany. The next ferry we shall be on is the one that leaves 12.00 from Helsingör. Here you can buy cheap snuff. Hurray! Around 16.00 we have reached Jönköping and that's enough for today. It is warm and not a sunbeam insight..
14/8 Leave the camping at 8.30 and now we understand where the sunny weather has been all the time. Here in Sweden. We're not complaining. We've had a nice trip and stay in Belgium.
The whole holiday: 3369 km