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On the road again

This is it! I’m on the road again in Scandinavia. Same countries as last time, different places – at least some of them.. 🙂

The idea is to head towards Trondheim in Norway and then slowly head back via Östersund and possibly good old Karlskrona.. I wonder if there’s anyone I know left, but I doubt it.. except maybe those working for the Uni itself, my mentor being the only one I still remember 🙂 I think you’ve already guessed it by now.. I did the same amount of planning as last time: next to nothing! Sort of a guess about where I d like the trip to go and where to start it: Gothenburg. Next step were some randomly named cities on a map with some reserves nearby – Trondheim and Östersund – and finally “oh maybe I can go by Karlskrona”. There it is: the thought through plan of this years road trip… 🙂

So.. I’m writing this from camping Delsjön in Gothenburg, so I’ve obviously already gotten here.. mind you, not without a few hurdles.. I left home early for what I thought would be a 13 hours trip with some time on a ferry to relax for a bit.. things turned out quite differently (anyone even surprised it did?). Everything went smoothly until I got to Germany. Those germans are an industrious little folk.. they are working everywhere. Most of the trouble was in the opposite direction, but that doesn’t really give me much to think forward to for my trip back.. And then – of course – there were the dutch.. I gues there isn’t a road in Europe during summer where they don’t block traffic with their caravans/campers, tugging along on the second lane to get past a few trucks or so.. just as annoying as 2 trucks overtaking eachother, only caravan drivers tend to be even worse drivers.. 🙁 (think regular car driver with the same agility as a humpback whale with that thingbehind their car..)

Then the lovely lady of the GPS suddenly told me about a major traffic jam ahead on the final road to the ferry.. something about 90+ minutes delay already, and it was still some time ahead so probably only going to get worse. She was kind enough to suggest an alternative, but that meant cancelling the ferry and turning it it for a toll bridge.. and some extra km’s driving… bye bye short break. At least it meant avoiding a major traffic jam. At some point I did actually felt tired enough to take a short nap on one of the highway parkings (yet something else belgian governments – when they exist – are oblivious about). It was on one of those streches of german highway where – for whatever reason, I couldn’t image one – you are only allowed to drive 110. While most of those streches come and go fairly quickly, this one went on and on and on.. (you know, those dynamic speed limit signs normally only used when there s an accident so.. guess someone went home after work and forgot to turn them off :S) In the end I – just like everyone else – stopped caring about them..

On to Danmark then.. not much to say about it though.. luck had it i had to refuel at the first station in Danmark and I didn’t have a clue about exchange rates (still don’t). The lone assistent of the station wasn’t of much use either, speaking only Danish and very, very bad english. The only other thing worth mentionning is mainly negative: toll roads 👿 Having dropped the plan of taking the ferry, the only option left was taking 2 toll roads. Guess it mustn’t have been cheap building since the bridges are massively impressive. The view was definitely worth seeing, and unlike in some other countries (say Belgium and France) they didn’t put fances on both sides blocking what could be a magnificent view. Average IQ must go up the further north you travel..

Exiting Danmark and entering Sweden.. wish it were that simple. Of all people and places, the Swedes were doing custom border controls and thought I – coming from Belgium and having gone through the Netherlands – was worthy of some investigating. So, on to the side of the road where an officer wanted to see the trunk… Of course by this time I was hoping he didn’t want to see it ALL because then I wasn’t going anywhere anymore that day. Luckily, on top there was a whole box of medicine she could go through making her look very very busy in the eyes of her colleagues. Of course anti biotics, pain killer and bandages are all so very important that they warrant investigation on border crossings within the EU.. I told her I was diabetic so I needed the insuline and needles and I even showed her some paper a doctor once gave me – intended for use on international flights, not travel within the EU! She seemed happy with it, oblivious to the fact that she ‘d never even asked my name, let alone ID, so had no idea that the person the document was for, was actually me.

All in all, it could ve been a lot worse, having gone through all the medicine she seemed happy and send me on my way. If the customs check made one thing clear it is this: I was in Sweden. Nowhere else in Europe (well, ignoring Finland and Norway) do they have such good looking government staff!

Final strech to Gothenburg then.. except for one “minor” twitch: about 180km from Gothenburg the entire highway was closed! Some sort of an accident had happened and everyone had to get off the highway. It was entirely closed down – in both directions! My lovely GPS lady must have been unaware of this little detail.. she didn’t see a jam because there was none, everyone simply had to get off, no cars standing still on the highway I guess, so nothing wrong, right..?! At least she came up with an alternative to the next highway entry.. everyone had the same idea though.. result: major jam on the secundary roads. And the next highway entrance..? CLOSED! By this time I realized I was lucky that I hadn’t been a bit closer to the accident when it happened.. as I drove parallel to the highway there was a jam visible in the opposite direction with people having setup chairs and tables on the road.. they had obviously been there for a while already, and I doubt they were going anywhere soon. When I finally got to one that wasn’t closed, I must ve been the only one who hadn’t given up because there was almost no traffic. I will be a – intentionally – vague about but the next bit, but I had to make up for a lot of lost time and there was almost no traffic on the road.. add to that a ridiculously low speed limit, I was happy I finally got to my destination without enountering any other swedish government employees… 😉

I’ll write down some more stuff on paper, but changes are I will only be able to post them online much later since I need a decent amount of time to type it on PC and post it there..

Posted in Road Trip Scandinavia 2011

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