Preparation (12): Schinder – A Tough Tour

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The first November days show up with the last reminiscence of the splendid summer. Consequently, another hiking trio is up for the Bavarian foothills of the Alps.

Using the toll road towards Valepp, we start deep within the hilly forests between Tegernsee and Spitzingsee. As usual, our path has a clear direction (straight up!) and I wonder whose idea this has been…

 

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Uphill

After 1,5 hours we reach open meadows at the Trausnitzalm. With neither cows nor catering we only sit down for a short break before we continue our way up to the first peak of the Schinder.

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The path gets steeper and rougher while the horizon gets wider. The multifaceted tour with brooks to cross, trees to pass and small paths may be arduous, but never boring. In higher locations hiking sticks are welcome, apart from occasional rocks that are passed best with hands and feet for the way aloft.

Once on top of the 1808 m peak of the Austrian Schinder, we look out to the Großglockner, the Großvenediger and all the other peaks of the Alps.

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Room with a View

Tendency goes to two-peak-tours and thus we leave the first summit and hand ourselves down the furrow to the ridge between Austrian and Bavarian Schinder. The steel rope is more than welcome – and yet this still is the warm-up for the most interesting parts of the hike.

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The second summit offers a brand new cross and narrow rocks that we share with a handful of hikers. The sun breaks through thin clouds and the view presents the Alps with glistening snow on the distant peaks.

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What a joy knowing that from here on all we have to do is a bit of downhill wandering. At least this is true for the last half hour of the tour, but before that we have to face the way down the corrie. And, being part of it, the legendary Schindertor. Thanks to the steel ropes climbing is comfortable and exciting all the same:

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Through the Schindertor

Tons of scree carry us down reams of altitude meters, surrounded by a bizarre moon landscape in all shades of grey.

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Schinderkar

Looking back to the recently overstepped mountain tops is very satisfying. Little by little the path gets less rough and the landscape more mellifluous. 6,5 hours after our departure we arrive at the car, all proud of the 1.000 m height difference and the most interesting tour of the year.

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Preparation (11): Heimgarten & Herzogstand

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View on the Walchensee. And on fresh Snow in the Alps!

Some might wonder what motivates me to spend almost all of my weekends in the mountains with the effort of uphill-walking, sun protection and sweat. The answer is easy: it is all for the good of upcoming holidays. The better I train now, the less exhausting will be future trekking tours. The more I pimp my condition, the less difficulties I expect during walks on 4,000 meters above sea level (let alone the pass of 5,500 m). The more I walk the alps, the more I will enjoy the Himalaya. But that is far away in 2018, now let’s focus on the mountains around Munich.

Equipment

Average Equipent for good-looking Hikers

This time we are a group of four lovely ladies with a double peak tour ahead. The kick off at a comfortable time in the late morning comes along with endless hours of beauty sleep and puts some pressure on our peak performance: Winter time will cut daylight around 5 p.m., so we better not dawdle.

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Today’s Mountain Crew

The first section of the tour leads through autumn forest up to the Heimgarten. Today is a multiple-season-hiking-day with warming sun, icy paths, golden light and some snow, all changing within minutes. The North and shady parts of the hills cling to something around zero degrees Celsius while the sunny hillsides pretend to be stuck in late summer. On top of the world = peak with fresh wind from all sides, we appreciate that there are no worries about pick-nick food getting warm.

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Heimgarten Peak

From here we follow the ridge for a couple of kilometres. It is like walking on the back of a dragon with a lot of ups and downs on the dragon’s jags. With my affection for special ways, I enjoy the small path with downhill views on both sides: one side looks down to the Kochelsee, the other to the Walchensee.

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Ridge Between Heimgarten and Herzogstand (the Latter Visible in the Distance)

Parts of the path are quite icy and so I can proudly present another scar with a story. However, the fantastic panorama continues for about an hour until we reach the Herzogstand and the masses of tourists around the small pavilion. Being one of the most famous peaks close to Munich and given the funicular as transport-potential for the lazy, we share our second peak of the day with a friendly photographer and dozens of supernumeraries.

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Lucky us that most of the crowd is unwilling to take the foot path down. Bathed in golden light we zig zag down and arrive at the parking just in time before daylight finally fades.

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Our legs tell us something about 1.200 meters uphill and downhill and approximately 16 kilometers of distance. Statistics say that we climbed up 332 floors – that is more than twice the available levels of the world’s highest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Our bright eyes tell the story of a splendid day with an endless sky, white snowy peaks and blue lakes that reflect the colourful autumn leaves.

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What a Day! What a View! What a Wonderful Life

Preparation (10): Material Testing on the Rotwand

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It is around six in the morning when a strange noise disturbs my first coffee. I know this sound, but it has been a while that I have not heard it. It takes 30 seconds until I make it up: Rain! Somebody obviously ignores that rain has not been part of today’s plans.

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Autumn at the Pfanngraben

Thanks to the detailed weather app of bergfex, we decide to get going nonetheless and so the five of us start today’s hiking at Spitzingsee. Drizzle continues during the first hour of the tour, preventing glorious pictures of the fabulous gorge of Pfanngraben, containing basins of clear water and little waterfalls along the way.

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The higher we get, the brighter is the sky. Now that I know that my new outdoor equipment is indeed waterproof, I am fine with the drizzle having stopped. The path leads through meadows of summer’s mountain pasture, now deserted with all happy cows being either down in the cowshed or in Bavarian restaurants.

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A bit later today’s culinary destination is in sight: the Rotwandhaus with a kitchen crew that presents their whole menu with an extraordinary grasp for herbs, fresh ingredients and perfect food quality.

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Rotwandhaus in Sight

At first, we ignore the temptation of the alp and continue our way up until we reach the peak of the Rotwand. The sun rewards us with shy rays sent down through the cloudy sky and the peak adds a 360° view to it.

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View from the Rotwand (Fragment)

Now hunger and downhill gravitation work hand in hand and minutes later we catch the best table in the Rotwandhaus. Even with the mixed up weather there is quite some crowd in the alp – on sunny days, you should look for less frequented hiking peaks. Unless cuddling strangers is among your favourite hobbys, that is.

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For the way down, we choose the easy walking path that leads back to Spitzingsee in only 1 hour of walking for the 850 m altitude difference. Grazing sheep complete the typical mountain picture of the Bavarian frontyard hills and we are once more pleased with the beautiful hiking of the day.

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Downhill: Taking the Easy Way

The tenth peak of the year has been the first without muscle soreness, so at least I do make some progress. Still, I have five months yet to come until I need full strength, mountain routine and an expedition sleeping bag. That is what happens when being up for higher aims…

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Just One of my Peaks

Preparation (9): Mahnkopf / Karwendel

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Summer came back and October is as golden as you can imagine. Perfect conditions to pick up the preparation routine about running up that hill.

We have chosen the Mahnkopf for today, departing from the fairy tale mountain village Eng. Sunrise on the road was already stunning, best prefix for a wonderful day in the Karwendel mountains. The four of us start fresh and motivated into the 17 km tour, surrounded by one of the most charming parts of the Northern Alps.

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Walking trhough Eng

The height difference would be much more relaxed without the Hohljoch right below the rocky walls of the Laliderer Reisen: we lose at least 200m altitude difference before we reach the (currently closed) alp Falkenhütte.

 

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Laliderer Reisen

When we pass by the interim hill of the Ladizköpfl, we are rewarded with the view down to the Kleiner Ahornboden. The sun does all the effort to simulate a bright summers day: short trousers and t-shirts are way too much, but as hiking in a bikini is so not-state-of-the-mountain-art, we ignore the heat and continue our way up.

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Ascent to the Mahnkopf

The last section of the tour goes straight up the flank of the Mahnkopf, all steep and stony. The grass around the path is flat from the first seasonal snow – just 10 days ago all of this has been a winter wonder land. When we finally reach the peak, it is all worth it: a 360° panoramic view, mild sun and few hikers are all we need for a short rest.

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The way back is identical to the way up, including the Hohljoch-frustration of lost and heavily regained altitude meters. At a quarter past five we stumble in the Alpengasthof Eng and fall down on the benches, begging for food, drinks and coffee.

With quite some breaks and alpine pick nicks, the tour with roughly 1.300m altitude difference took us about 8 hours, mostly uphill. If not for the traffic jams, it would have been a great but exhausting day. Even with broken down traffic (Munich tourists, argh!) I would do it all over again, especially with the fantastic road-guidance from the back row, manoeuvring us toward Munich on tiniest roads!

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Sweden Résumé II – Backwards

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Sweden is a wonderful country for relaxed travelling. Even though my heart is more into France and Italy –less distance + higher communication possibilities – I will surely choose Sweden again for future holidays. So here comes the personal reminder for my future self:

  • Add some cities to the tour: Malmö, Lund, Gothenburg (Stockholm is just too good and thus more of an extra destination for extended weekends)
  • Dancing! Get into touch with people of the Lindy Hop or other dancing scenes
  • Enlarge wild camping: start in the south and continue along the way
  • Look out for luxury camp sites: spend 75% on simple camper parking / without service and fresh up van + body every once in a while, then best on exceptionally good sites (if available)
  • Go North! Armed with masses of no-bite head for Lappland and continue via Norway all the way up to the high North

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Going through all places I have been in reverse order, the highlights have been the following:

Labussee / C24 Camping Bibertours

What?   Nature, a whole lot of it. Pretty lake, relaxed atmosphere, good showers (electricity available for few pitches only) and nasty mosquitoes.

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Who?    Me, myself and I plus some smalltalk with other campers and the camping staff.

What else?         Slow down, use the boat rental or not, switch off your cell phone and forget about a world that only exists beyond the endless forest.

Warnemünde / Rostock

What?   Endless beach, touristic town, cruise ships and ferries. Camper parking on “Stellplatz Mittelmole” or close to the Ostseestadion (no service).

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Touristic Harbour in Warnemünde

Who?    Friends + friends of friends. And the beach bar.

What else?         Perfect in-between. Between Germany and Scandinavian ferries. Between everyday life and holidays. Between sand and sea.

Kiel

What?   Ferry landing, Jogging + gastronomy at the Kiellinie, Camper parking in Wik.

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Camping at the Canal

Who?    Legendary Svenja with charm and travel stories.

What else?         Military base, Kieler Förde, starting point of the Kiel canal = the most frequented artificial water way worldwide.

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Ferry Gothenburg – Kiel

What?   15 hours, 240m ship, restaurants + bars, comfortable cabins and Hector in the pole position.

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Who?    Greedy tourists between me and the breakfast buffet.

What else? Pure luxury: my own bathroom. Colorful sunset + sunrise.

Marstrand

What?   Quiet town, Carlsten Fortress, camper parking (sea shore, no service) + Familjecamping, Kayak Skagerrad.

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Fantastic Time in the Marstrand Skagerrad

Who?    Hector, the skateboard and the jogging shoes. A bit of smalltalk here and there and the kayak rental.

What else?         Pretty close to Gothenburg, however very calm and inviting. Sincerely recommended: float through the Skagerrad by kayak (eventually with a stop at the Gästhamn), walk or run through cliffs / reed / hills / forests of the nature reserve, visit the fortress, eat delicious fish soup at Marstrand Wärdshus, sit in the sun at the harbour, count the wild sheep on the peninsulae, zzzzzh…

Orust / Tjörn

What?   Pretty islands in the Skagerrad, North / West of Gothenburg, dominated by local summer residence owners, strange mixture of lovely places and a repellent undertone.

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Who?    Grumbling pensioners meet sullen Hector.

What else?         Eat at Café Borgen between Orust and Tjörn – and forget about the islands.

Malö

What?   Tiny island between Skaftö and Orust, relaxed camp site with places directly at the sea (w/o electricity) and regular pitches on the other side of the island’s sole street.

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Hector at his Best

Who?    Chats with other campers, tents and vans mixing up at the shoreline and sharing the sea side meadow.

What else?         Free ferries from and to Malö. Instead of the camp site’s outworn showers you may prefer a bath in the crystal blue sea. Hector marked a cross in the grass with his tires, says he wants to come back.

Between Tanumshede and Norra Grundsund

What?   Ancient rock carvings, perfectly explained during the free guided tour. Small villages, yacht harbours and hard to tell if the landscape’s core consists of water or land.

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Who?    Competent guide, mostly German tourists, ancient artists (at least their traces). Not a single soul found in Grundsund.

What else?         Grundsund is a pretty harbour with a small parking – but so void it was almost spooky, thus we hurried on until we found Malö. Good choice.

Fjällbacka

What?   Vivid small town that if nothing else attracts tourists for Camilla Läckberg. The sole camp site contains hundreds of residental campers + 1 meadow for spontaneous tourists. The long-established Hotel Bryggan (free WiFi in the lobby!), several restaurants / cafés / bars and the very best Kanelbullar mark the town as a high potential stop-over.

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Fjällbacka at my Feet

Who?    Foreign tourists and summer resident owners clash together.

What else?         The gorge is very special and the view from the Vetterberget cliff soaked me in for hours. The church at Kville looks like it just popped out of a story book and retrospective Fjällbacka turned out to be one of the best places of the trip.

Frillesås

What?   Small town with a beach and a camper parking in 15m distance to the sea.

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Once More Hector Made his Way to the Beach, Driven by pure Instinct

Who?    Thanks to late sunset I enjoyed hours of animated conversation with the van travellers next door. Their daughter has made up a wonderful website about her Canada-via-mobilehome-trip and I really should contact her anytime and ask her to continue the blog…

What else?         There is a “real” camp site in Frillesås but I have preferred the service-free parking at the beach and a bath in the North sea after my early morning run. Most travellers that use simple parkings rather than regular campings are of the sympathetic kind with open minds and interesting stories – best conditions for shared wine in the evening.

Ringsjöstrand

What?   Luxury camp site (expensive, even for Swedish means) and a historic castle along the way. Around the camp site is: nothing (except the Ringsjö lake).

Who?    Friends, a whole family of friends – great that we managed to meet!

What else?         Next time I show off with acrobatic moves on the playground I should think of a warm up first (had hell of a muscle sourness).

Bolmen & Torpa

What?   A calm camp site at Bolmen followed by wild camping near Torpa (lake hopping).

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Perfect Vanlife

Who?    Jogging chat with Thomas and a bit of smalltalk at the wild camping lake. The rest was Hector, the barbecue and the intensive use of my book shelf.

What else?         Stormy wind in Bolmen and the discovery of a quiet region with hundreds of lakes and endless forests, speckled with small villages. Elks hiding all the time.

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Bolmen

Hällevik and the TradJazzfestival

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Caught in Dancing

What?   Hällevik at the Baltic Sea might be a nice town even in other times, but during the TradJazzfestival it buzzes with life. The same dozen of bands plays 5-10 concerts spread over 3 days, however leading to the sensation of live music popping up every half hour in another corner of the town.

Who?    Great to have met the Lindy Hop dancers, added by friendly pensioners and all kinds of people in good mood.

What else?         Lucky me that they all played my favourite kind of swing jazz! My favourite place has been the benches between the sea (3m to the right) and the large festival tent (3m to the left) – hard to imagine a better place for a festival, apart from the dance floor that is.

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Jazzfestival

 

Eringsboda

What?   Nice village in the North of Ronneby, driving my bed into my uncle’s garden.

Who?    Two days with my uncle and my cousin.

What else?         Beside the beautiful lake in the North of Eringsboda we made our way along the coast line of the Baltic sea, passing by Sandhamn, Torhamn, Björkenäs and Kristianopel.

Simrishamn

What?   Sandy beach, little town with some restaurants and a large camp site.

Who?    Mainly Swedes, few contact – hard to tell if I have not been in the right mood for encounters or if folks in the campers around have been sort of reticent.

What else?         Millions of tiny black bugs – when wind came up it was a relieve. All along evolution the bugs have not learned to cope with the wind. On windstill days focus your outdoor activities on the time between 6:00 am and 8:00 am.

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Hector, Offshore

Leipzig & Warnemünde

What?   Parking at the edge of the Agra Park (Leipzig) and in front of huge, really huge cruise ships in Warnemünde. Beach, touristic harbour, reams of shops and restaurants and did I mention the beach?

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Everyday Life in Warnemünde

Who?    Nico + Christian – thanks for the initial encounter of the holidays, for beer, for dinner and for the bath in the sea.

What else?         Swimming pools with a spiral toboggan on top of a cruise ship – now, really??

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Overall

The trip was a wonderful mixture of time for myself and people I met, beautiful nature and reliable super Hector.

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Proof of the One and Only Rainshoer I got Caught in

1AI have been to Sweden once before, in a convertible car and with different company. Then, in 2003, I have seen the main cities, have discovered Astrid Lindgren land and Öland, I have been to the two huge lakes (Vänern + Vättern) but I missed being closer to nature, let alone diving in any of the waters we passed by. Consequently the 2017 Sweden trip focused on different aspects. Whatever expectation I could have had (while in fact I had none due to a lack of preparation), sure enough they have been fulfilled.

For next year I have different destinations in mind, but already now I am looking forward to coming back to the South of Sweden, then extending the trip way North and with even more time to spend. It will be a pleasure!

Sweden – Résumé I

When asked how the trip to Sweden has been, the prompt answer is: No rain, few mosquitoes.

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Sweden – Waking up in Beautiful Nature

In fact, I had not a rainy day for three weeks, only (few) rainy nights. Plus one short rain shower that passed me by on the cliff of Fjällbacka, presenting the surrounding in the most dramatic light I could ever have asked for.

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Swedish Skerry

German mosquitoes are way nastier than their Swedish relatives: the statistic speaks up for itself. Consequences are five bottles of no-bite, Antibrumm and similar stuff, all left over and waiting for upcoming holidays.

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Now, what about costs? Sweden is supposed to be expensive and that is more than true for prices on camp sites. At average, I paid about 30 € per night on regular campings, usually coming along with low sanitary standards and extra charge for hot water. However, based on the “Bordatlas” and the gain of routine in seeking nice spots, I spent more than 50% of my nights on any kind of camper parking or similar places, then with average costs of about 10 – 12 €. Best of all has been my wild camping experience at a small lake in Småland – the wild camping / allemansrätten is one of the best reasons for camper van holidays in Sweden.

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Hector Establishes his own Campground

When it comes to food, eating out in the evening is expensive whereas breakfast or lunch are available in the range of 4 – 8 €, supplying hungry mouths with masses of good food. Prices for wine or beer are okay when you are already used to the hilarious amounts of the Munich bar scene: 5 € for a beer (0.5 l) or 8 € for a glass of wine are okay when compared to the white wine in Munich’s “Goldene Bar”, charged with 12 € per glass without being ashamed of their obvious greed.

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Lunch in Ronneby

 

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The route has developed itself. I gave up any discussion with Hector of where to go, easy enough with all the sunny weather my van has subscribed to. The German distance is worked up best with departures in the late afternoon – thanks to camper parkings that are open all night long, there is no timing restriction for this kind of travelling.

Impatient as usual I only spent a few hours in the Leipzig suburbia, all fine with the Agra Park right beyond my doormat. Warnemünde / Rostock was tempting enough for 2 stop-overs and consequently would be first choice for the Sweden ferry any other time.

Sweden’s South welcomed Hector and me with empty roads, easy travelling and harmless people. Most of the villages around the coastline offer restaurants or further gastronomy and sandy beaches are as likely as grassy meadows at the Baltic Sea.

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Severe planning would have saved some hundreds of back-and-forth kilometres, but as far as it comes to me or Hector there are no complaints. I love following spontaneous ideas like antique shopping along the route, a festival weekend and all of the encounters that unfolded along the way.

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Friendly Company in Frillesas

The skerry coast around Gothenburg is even more beautiful than the South but less inviting. The Alemansrätten (the basic right to camp a night in plain nature) is invalid there and despite of the higher number of pretty harbour villages, there hardly are any welcoming restaurants, let alone cafés or bars. People are less friendly to strangers, fighting tourists more than living on them. At least Fjällbacka is vivid enough and always is worth a day or two.

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Now what was best?

Nature.
The wild camping.
Encounters with all kinds of people, some planned and some not. With enough books on the shelf and food in the fridge you will always get by. If looking for action though, be prepared to spend time on your own, best when combined with sports like jogging, hiking or kayaking. Cultural events are rare with exception to larger cities (Malmö, Lund), but as I have not gone to Sweden for their bull fighting tradition, it was all fine. Perhaps I would look for further festivals next time – that is probably the best chance to catch Swedish folk let loose, dance and party all night long.

 

 

A Summer Weekend at Zandvoort

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Travelling the world is a severe duty that may be exhausting, but I am willing to take the load on my shoulders without complaints. Even before the Sweden summary is ready for posting, Hector stays behind (sulking for days) and I am up in the air on my way to Shiphol airport.

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Beach Weekend!

Linda picks me up and just shortly after our great hellos we arrive at her place. She lives in the most inviting apartment I have ever seen so close to a beach – and, as if known it all along, I smuggled in the sun for our long-planned weekend.

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The evening is full of talking and laughing, including a beach restaurant with outside terrace and an open fireplace. For Saturday, she made up some ideas and time will tell that we are able to even over-fulfil all of our plans.

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Waking up in Foreign Neighbourhood

I wake up and watch the sunrise play colourful with the fog in the dunes, all laying at our feet in front of Linda’s large windows. First thing on our list is a yoga class where I follow Dutch instructions to all kinds of dog and warrior poses. After lingering through the heart of Zandvoort on our way back, we settle down on the balcony for lunch. In the afternoon, we take the bicycles into the dunes and look out for deer and funny dressed people, catching both.

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Beach Girls at their Best

We run down the sandy hill of our lookout with loud laughter and ride back home, meeting Else from Belgium for international dinner. The plans for the night are unbeatable: Mantra singing and barefoot dancing at the Spirit Dance party in Haarlem. I love to set my regular life aside for a while and try out different actions, especially when it is about dancing.

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Dance! Dance! Dance!

Thus, I am best in Linda’s company, proved once more tonight with all the fun of barefoot dancing in a crowd-funded and renovated historical building from former industrial eras.

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After three hours dancing, jumping and playing, a cute guy says his goodbye to me with the most unexpected sentence: “Take care when farting with the cushions and pillows.” Äh…?! Here is what happens when loud music and unused accents come together: most probably he commented on the shared girl’s bed and referred to the men-like dream of women fighting with cushions and pillows. I am not sure if my reaction to this would have been better than the puzzled look I gave him, but nice to know that his original topic was of a more positive way than what I first heard.

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My beach! What do you mean with “Share it with others…”?

After Saturday’s action, Sunday is immaculate for second breakfast in one of the beach cafés. Minute by minute the sun gets stronger and not long after the third coffee we lay down in the sand. Such cheerful weather by end of September is just perfect for a weekend at the sea and before lunch we dive into the refreshing water.

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Sitting in the plane at night, I still feel sand between my toes and a wide smile on my face. All the heavy duty of a traveller’s life may be exhausting, but it definitely is worth every minute of this precious summer weekend – especially when sharing it with such a good friend.

 

Sweden (12): Deep in the middle of something is unlike a central position

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I stare at the map on the little screen of my smartphone. Looks like there are quite some lakes around the Müritz… Everybody tells me that the region North / West of Berlin must be oh so beautiful, but they did not warn me of the variety of lakes, rivers, more lakes and hundreds of camp sites.

Simplifying life, I let loose and follow the recommendation of friends. On my way to the Labussee, I see that the villages around offer a restaurant here and a supermarket there and decide to go back later in the afternoon. Seven kilometres later with incredibly bumpy roads culminating into the dirtiest dirt road since 3.000 km, one fact is clear: I will only shoo Hector on that route again when we leave the place for good.

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Hector deep in the middle of the forest

Before the check-in is through I count five new mosquito bites. Now great, why did I substitute a wide beach by endless forests with my bike being flat and my ankle slightly damaged?! It takes a while to catch up with the frightening things (nature! mosquitos!) that turn out to be the charming elements of this place: nature, a whole lot of nature. With casual people, low sounds of paddling kayaks and chugging house boats, topped by a welcoming camping crew that supplies me with chips and wine.

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Ois easy at the Labussee

On second glance, the Biber Tours camping is a nice spot to calm down. Even when the pontoon bar opens the relaxed atmosphere remains. I spend lazy hours in and around the Labussee until it is finally time to leave and head back to Munich.

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Back home my holidays end in perfect harmony with the last weeks’ experience: darling of fortune that I am, I am spoiled with best of both worlds. I am free to travel on my own and never felt lonely. Upon arrival, I receive a warm welcome by my house-sitting friend and the trip fades out with some wonderful summer days in the most beautiful of cities. Isn’t life fantastic?!

Sweden (11): This Looks Familiar

Three weeks have passed since my stopover in Warnemünde. Blue skies with bright sun draw me back to the sea, thus it is time for a second halt around Rostock.

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I stroll through the streets of Warnemünde with houses that look like Disney’s pastry cook creations and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

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Warnemünde, downtown

An hour later I have my feet in the sand and exercise my starring-at-the-sea-hobby. When the cold wind beats the warming sun rays, I change to the beach bar and think about how wonderful life is, especially when being on holiday.

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Imagine Life with more Beach Bars

Tomorrow I will leave the sea behind and look for a welcoming camp site around the Müritz. By now it is time to face the end of the journey: from here, all roads will take me back south, but before that I take a deep breath of salty air and let holiday feeling take over again.

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The evening fades out in friendly company, showing once more that travelling on my own does not mean keeping to myself all the time. The more I travel alone, the more I get into exchange with all kinds of people – that, beside landscape and food, is what travelling the world is about.

 

Sweden (10): The Great Encounter

There is no bed like Hector’s bed. Even though the ferry cabin is comfortable, I wake up at 5:10 am. The glimpse out of my window tells me to take the camera and run.

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With nothing but water around, the sunrise is the most colorful start into the day. The hardest part is to keep the camera still while my body is shaken by strong wind. There is less than a handful of people on the open deck, probably due to the coffee serving starting too little too late. With the stormy wind, the other theory is that some of the early birds have been blown over the rail – you never can tell. When 90 minutes later I stand in line among dozens of impatient travellers, I have to revise the second theory: still masses of people are on board, all waiting for the restaurant doors to open.

Most of the buffet is worth the effort of pushing greedy pensioners and starving kids out of the way. The only mystery is the consistency and the chemical formula of the so-called scrambled eggs, made out of anything else but eggs.

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Kiel in Sight

At 9:10 AM the ferry lands in the Kiel harbour and I hurry down to Hector. I jump behind the wheel just in time to leave the sea and get back on solid ground.

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Landing

First I go straight to the camper parking in Kiel Wik and Hector settles down on the last available parking slot with view on the canal. Only inches away from the windscreen huge freight ships pass by the Watergate of the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal – and that is not even the biggest highlight of the day.

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Here begins the canal between Baltic Sea and North Sea

I spend the early afternoon in the city of Kiel with increasing tension. Only hours from now I will meet a lady that will show up in a cute dress and long dark hair, talking about trips across Europe that are twice as cool as mine.

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Kiellinie, Waiting

While I sit in the sun, the eyes half in my book and half on the Kieler Förde, a green bicycle comes to a halt in front of me and there she is: legendary Svenja. Seconds later we have a glass of Prosecco in our hands and start with what seems to be an everlasting conversation about life, travelling, motorbikes, camping, food, wine, culture, friends and whatever else makes the world go round.

 

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The Great Encounter

It feels like only a few minutes have passed when Hector proudly presents his inner and outer qualities and we finally have to part. So much is still there to be discussed and talked through, but we both know that travelling is about moving and so we say farewell. It only is a matter of time until Svenja + Greeny may cross our paths again.

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Kiel: Keep on moving…