Illness and a deluge left Stockholm unexplored

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.

The Royal Mounds from the museum
Inside the Gamla Uppsala museum
There was a lot of information about the history of ancient Gamla Uppsala

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.

The original University building (Gustavianum) in Uppsala

Uppsala University is the oldest centre of higher education in Scandinavia. Among many achievements, the Celcius scale for temperature was invented there.

A Viking helmet at the University of Uppsala museum

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.

The truly amazing Augsburg Art Cabinet which was filled with incredibly detailed hand made items designed to entertain and captivate

Another highlight of this museum was the anatomical theatre, which was added to Gustavianum in the 1660s.

The anatomical theatre

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.

Many Swedish heads of state were crowned at this Cathedral and a lot were buried there too!
Inside the Cathedral

Several Swedish kings were also buried in the Cathedral precincts and the relics of Sweden’s patron saint, Eric Jedvardsson, are housed there.

As well as being the longest Church in Scandinavia, it was also very high!
The very ornate pulpit
The chandeliers were incredible.

A royal tomb

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.

The Opera House in Stockholm
The motor home park was meant to be somewhere around here

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!

There were some gorgeous boats on the waterside in Stockholm

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.

We just caught glimpses of this beautiful city

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 canal near where we stayed
The campervan park was very crowded and had a busy road bridge above
It was quite messy
With lots of “junk” lying around

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.

Back over the bridge from the camping place

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.

No wonder Stockholm is called “the Venice of the North”. Wish we’d seen more of it.

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).

Heading southwards

Fortunately Jonathan felt completely better again and was fine to drive so we had an uneventful ride down the map.

The camper van park on the outskirts of Västervik

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.

Our sea view (even if it was rather grey!)

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.

The automatic cleaning station

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.

On the move again to try and avoid the threatening dark clouds

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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