Vadstena, Boxholm, Eksjo, Glasvik, Gullaskruv, Boda, Nybro, Pukeberg, Kalmar, Karlskrona
58 days away
311 miles / 501 km since last post
3,876 miles / 6,238 km total
Stu has added a music playlist to the bottom of the page - now you can enjoy the same sounds as we are in the motorhome (or not!).
Saturday we drove to Vadstena, as there was supposed to be a nice abbey and castle there. The abbey wasn't really worth the effort but the castle was quite nice. Whilst we ended up parking nowhere near either, it did mean we could take a nice stroll by the waterside getting to the castle. We also picked up a bit of food shopping in Vadstena before heading off. We realised that we hadn't eaten since breakfast so took a stopoff to make something fairly quickly. Unusually, the information stopoff for Boxholm that we picked had electric points we could plug into so we took the opportunity to plug in and give the motorhome a vacuum through. Very handy. We then just headed onto a campsite in Eksjo. The campsite was OK, despite the irritating showers which charged you for each 4 mins session (who can take a shower in 4 mins?) and still had a push button which you had to keep pressing every 5 seconds to get water. I hate those types of showers!
On Sunday morning we had a Skype session with my brother Mark and his family - and it was a chance to see my new little niece Olivia Mae. It was very nice to see them all. We ended up leaving the campsite just after midday and headed south to the Glasriket area - home to the many glassblowing workshops and apparently one of the most visited areas of Sweden. This ended up being quite a long drive, allowing for a stop along the way for lunch.
Although it was late afternoon by the time we got to Gullaskruv we thought we'd try one of the glass workshops recommended in our guide. We arrived at Carlos R. Pebaque's workshop just after 4pm, so we were worried it might be closed. Thankfully he was still there so we took a look around. Some of the pieces were fantastic - he has a very unique style incorporating plenty of colour and interesting designs into his work. There were plenty of different items - vases, bowls, paper weights as well as other unique sculptures. He seems to be quite well known too - there were plenty of newspaper cuttings on the wall featuring Carlos. Even a picture of Elton John purchasing something from the workshop! As tempting as it was to get something, they were very expensive and I'm not sure a piece of his artwork would survive the next few months in our motorhome!
After a good wander around the workshop we found a great campsite fairly nearby - Boda Camping in Boda, Glasbruk. It was appealing initially as it was a big, grassy space that looked well maintained, and there was only one other motorhome there. The sign said they would be around later to collect the money - which looked to be around 160Kr (about £16) if Stu read the sign correctly. We found a nice spot and hooked up to the electric point - a good time to get things charged.
An hour or so later a guy came over to collect the money. Stu realised he didn't have any cash left besides a few coins, so offered to pay by card instead. I don't think the guy spoke very much English as he looked a bit puzzled, and then just pointed towards the coins. Stu gave him the coins, which only came to about 26kr (about £2.60), the guy said 'thank you', gave us a wave and was gone. Perhaps it was a mixture of language problems and the fact that it was a Sunday evening, so not usually busy anyway. Or maybe he was just a very nice guy. Either way, we managed to get a lovely, quiet campsite, with electric, with a clean and tidy toilet and shower block almost to ourselves (and no timed showers!), for just £2.60 - great result! Certainly the cheapest campsite we have had so far on our trip - besides the free stops of course - and one of my favourites too. I love quiet campsites - no dogs or children!
As we had brought with us all the food from our flat after moving out (it was either that or throw it away), I remembered I had some caster sugar in the cupboard and got the crazy idea to bake some biscuits. After texting my good friend Lee for a basic recipe I set to work on a big batch of shortbread biscuits. I don't have a very big baking tray with me in the motorhome as the oven is fairly small, so the biscuits had to be done in a few batches. However, if I say so myself I think they turned out rather well. (Thanks Lee for the recipe!) So after sausage, egg and chips for dinner we could enjoy a few (motor) home-made biscuits with a nice cup of tea. Stu note: dinner for a builder!
It was quite strange weather on Sunday - heavy rain and thunderous looking clouds one minute, then amazing, hot sunshine the next. It went on for the whole day. Thankfully by the evening the sky had cleared up, and because we were in a small village with little light pollution we got a good view of the stars. It was pretty cool looking up at the stars while tucked up in bed. We spotted a couple of faint meteors, and then the most amazing meteor we had ever seen. It was visible for at least a full second and had a really bright and visible tail. It was really spectacular. It was only the next day that I read on the news about the meteor shower that is visible this time of year due to a comet, so I guess it must be due to that.
Monday morning we felt no great rush to leave the campsite as there was nobody around to turf us out. We took advantage of this and had a very lazy morning and early afternoon. When we did leave we headed to the Elk park in Nybro. We couldn't leave Sweden without seeing an Elk, and we weren't having much luck seeing one in the wild so far. The park was fairly good. We were driven through part of the part to see a male and two females sitting by the water. Our guide was very informative about the animals too. We then went to see a young calf, where we were given some leaves to feed her with - my favourite part of the tour. Then were were left alone to see the last female and her young. We tried tempting them over to us with some leaves but they were having none of it - fair enough. It was an enjoyable and worthwhile visit.
We left Nybro after getting a few more shopping bits at Lidl (I think I am a Lidl convert - the best value for money supermarkets, even in Sweden), and stopped at another Glassworks in Pukeberg - some more interesting pieces here too, although the glassblowing had obviously finished for the day by the time we got here. We headed onto Kalmar and found a campsite for the night just east of the town. Stu note: we shop at Lidl and have opposable thumbs!
Today we headed to Kalmar Slott (Castle). The Lonely Planet said the interior was even more perfect than the outside and to "miss it at your cost", so we gathered it would be worth a look. It was once the most important building in Sweden, and the inside is one of the best preserved from the period. It was interesting to wander around the various room. There were some impressive ceiling decorations and panelling in some rooms, and the castle even has its own chapel. The entry price was a little steep at around £26 for both of us, as it didn't take too long to walk around the castle, but I'm still glad we paid it a visit.
The strange weather of heavy rain one minute and hot sunny weather the next continued, and we left Kalmar heading for Karlskrona. We had heard of this town before as our friends Carolyne and Dan lived here for a while before their move to Haarlem in the Netherlands. Upon arrival it was getting a bit late in the day and we found a campsite virtually on its own island just outside the town. We were a little put off by the steep price though (even more steep than usual for Sweden) so we decided to head elsewhere. However, the reason for the price became clearer when we found it to be the only campsite on our map in Karlskrona. We took a drive back into the town looking for a place to park and work out what to do, when we noticed a few motorhomes parked together in a public car park by the water. The signs said there was a charge between 9am and 4pm, so we assumed this would be a great free stop - our first in Sweden! Even better, we found some free wifi - great result!
Over the next hour or so we noticed the other motorhomes weren't staying around and soon left. I think most of them went to another car park further along, so Stu went to investigate. It turned out that there was a proper motorhome car park, so we moved along. Sadly, this came at a charge but at least it was a lot cheaper than the campsite earlier. I guess we could have tried staying in the free car park but we were a bit worried someone would come knocking on the door later on. It didn't seem worth the risk, and we have become accustomed to paying out money every night in Sweden now anyway! It's just a shame that our nice view across the water is now a bit blocked by a small building site. I hope they don't start work too early tomorrow!
Fantastic Explosion of Time