And so to the thing that Nick was looking forward to most. Crossing the mammoth Oresund Bridge from Denmark to Sweden – a 17km long engineering marvel. You’ll have seen it on “Megastructures”, or “How Do They Do That?” Or “Concrete Stuff That Only Boys Like” – one of those channel 5 programmes about things like this. It was amazing though. First there’s a tunnel to a man-made island just off the coast of Copenhagen, then the bridge starts and takes you all the way to Malmo. We were a bit nervous about entering Sweden as it has the strictest requirements for the Pet Passport scheme, so we were prepared to have to stay a while at customs on the other side. We paid the toll and were directed to the customs area. A man appeared and we told him we had a “hund” to declare and handed over Doug’s passport. He took a cursory look through it, then asked to see the dog. He came around the side of the van, we opened the door, and ta-daaa, there he was. “Oh, he’s just a little one” he said. Not realising that size was apparently the main indicator of whether a dog has rabies or tapeworm, we were surprised when he patted Doug, said that was fine and we could go. I’ve a feeling that Sunday evenings might be the best time to cross borders. I’ve also a feeling that he was the janitor.
It seemed the signs were good for our visit to Sweden. The sun came out, the first thing we saw when we crossed over was an Ikea, and Abba came on th’Ipod while it was on shuffle, so we saw these as good omens. We were heading for Ystad on the south coast: Wallander country. Never seen it but it’s one of those shows my dad talks about (it’s rivalling Last of the Summer Wine in the list of favourites at the moment) and so I feel I know it well. Lovely countryside around there, and there’s definitely a very distinct style to the Swedish houses. They are gorgeous; wooden and painted dark red, with white trims. All the villages were so pretty and perfect looking, with neat town squares and cute wee streets. Already loving Sweden.
We headed past Ystad along the coast a little way to the village of Kaseberga, where we were looking to stay down at the marina. It was lovely, with a nice harbour master, a few people around who were staying on their boats, and there were nice toilets. There were showers too, but unfortunately they were only for the boat people and not the free loaders.
The best thing about this aire (apart from it being free obviously), was that it was only a short walk up a hill to some famous standing stones. The Ales Stenar are 52 stones of varying sizes which had been dragged up onto the headland and laid out in the shape of a longboat, and even now there is no consensus as to what they were used for. The sun was setting as we walked up there, and it was beautiful in the reddish light. I say the sun was setting, but of course, this close to midsummer, this is the land of the midnight sun and it never really gets dark at all, even though this far south the sun does actually dip below the horizon for a while which it doesn’t do further north.
We went to bed happy campers that night. Sweden was looking good.
We were up early as we had to be off the marina by 8am. Nick, the chancer, nipped into a shower after the cleaner had finished in it and left the door open, cheeky boy! Clean cheeky boy, though.
I’d read about a pretty nature reserve just a few miles from Kaseberga so we headed there. When we arrived down at the shore there were 2 California vans there who had obviously been there all night, and it was a gorgeous place, right on a lovely beach (I’ve added photos), with a wood behind. Dagnammit, we could have been there too! Never mind, we would keep our eyes peeled for Natureservatts as these were obviously places where you could wild camp. We stayed there all morning, walking, sunbathing, chilling out, then headed north. We were off to another lake: Lake Vattern, in the heart of Sweden.