Our stop in Gamla Uppsala was just delightful as there were the wonderful ancient burial mounds to see plus a museum detailing the history of this enchanting and historic area.
We were also able to cycle through fields and woods to the nearby town of Uppsala, famous for its University, established in the 15th Century.
Uppsala University is the oldest centre of higher education in Scandinavia. Among many achievements, the Celcius scale for temperature was invented there.
We really enjoyed walking round the original university building, the Gustavianum, which is now a museum housing amongst other treasures, the Augsburg Art Cabinet, an amazingly elaborate, 17th-century cabinet of curiosities.
Another highlight of this museum was the anatomical theatre, which was added to Gustavianum in the 1660s.
The French gothic cathedral was also very interesting. Work started on this, the largest Church in all of the Nordic countries, in 1271 and was completed in 1435. Until 1719. Sweden’s monarchs were crowned there.
Several Swedish kings were also buried in the Cathedral precincts and the relics of Sweden’s patron saint, Eric Jedvardsson, are housed there.
From Gamla Uppsala we drove the 70 kilometres to Stockholm with the intention of staying a couple of days at least. We were especially looking forward to visiting the Vasa museum and seeing some of the city’s 14 islands and 50 bridges – as well as visiting the old town (Gamla Stan) and all its wonderful sights.
We had found a great spot on our camp site app to park the camper van very close to the water and within easy reach of all the main attractions. Problem was that when we got there it had disappeared! Two very friendly parking wardens tried to help us out and actually followed us in their van as we had “just one more go” at finding the camping spot, It had definitely gone!
Our new friends directed us to another park which they assured us was “very good and by the water”. When we got there we were very disappointed- it was probably the worst park we had been to. For a start it cost 349 Swedish Kroner (around Aus$53) just to park for the night. If you wanted to use the showers and toilets there was an extra fee.
It may have been near some water (a narrow canal) but it was also under a bridge with the noise of road traffic day and night. There was a lot of rubbish lying around and the place just had an unpleasant atmosphere.
The next day we woke to dreary rainy weather. To make matters worse, Jonathan felt nauseous and giddy and had to go back to bed. We thought we had better book another day but just as I was going to the kiosk to book in there was a loud knock at the door. It was an employee of the campsite who told us we had to vacate the site immediately as it was 2.30 and that was the check out time.
I explained that my husband was ill and we needed to stay another night but she replied that there were no spaces so we had to go. She wasn’t the least bit concerned for us and we both felt quite upset by her rather cold hearted attitude. However, at least it jolted Jonathan out of his illness and we took off straight away and decided that we would have to come back to discover the delights of Stockholm another time.
The weather as we left was atrocious – cold, windy and very wet – a real deluge in fact. So we wanted to put some space between us and the filthy weather and headed for the coastal city of Vestervik, around 280 kilometres south of Stockholm (where Björn from ABBA was born and raised).
Fortunately Jonathan felt completely better again and was fine to drive so we had an uneventful ride down the map.
In contrast to the campervan park in Stockholm, the one on the outskirts of Västervik was very pleasant. There were relatively few motorhomes parked, there was a view of the ocean and it only cost us 140 Swedish Kroner (around Aus$21) a night.
The site was owned by a sports club and although we were able to connect up mains electricity we had to go to a private site (by arrangement) to fill up with water and empty the toilet cassette. The auto cleaner for the cassette was the first one we had seen and very easy- you just popped it in and the machine emptied, cleaned, sanitised and deodorised it in the space of a few minutes.
We didn’t go into the city of Västervik although it has a reputation for being an attractive holiday place in the height of summer. However,the clouds were looking threatening again so we decided to press on.