Monday, August 13, 2007

Day Four - Tuesday 6th August

We had planned to drive up to Skagen, a little village on the coast and northerly tip of Denmark where the Baltic sea meets the something or other sea, and then travel down to Give to spend the night, but we decided that that would really be too much, so we got in the van and made our leisurely way down to the campsite at Give. We pulled off onto a tiny side road to have our lunch at the side of a field, which I was a bit dubious about, and I was a bit apprehensive everytime a tractor went past, expecting the guy to shout “Get orf my land!”, but it was a really nice thing to do, and was miles better than stopping at another service station. We saw some great insects, all of which M wanted to hold, so a lot of scrabbling around after the little blighters ensued!
We got to the new campsite at about 2pm, and although we couldn`t camp close to the playground this time, we were very close to the toilet/shower/kitchen block and there was a large pile of large stones to keep m busy. The facilities, particularly the kitchen were superb. Although we have a 2 ring gas cooker in the van, it is a lot easier to cook elsewhere, as you have so much more space so meals for the next 2 nights were cooked in the great kitchen block.
Later in the afternoon we went to the outdoor swimming pool which has to be the coldest swimming pool I have ever been in. A pushed me in, as I was gingerly lowering myself into the water which I thought was rather unfair of him, particularly as he then refused to get in for at least another 10 minutes. M stood thigh deep in the baby pool, and kicked up a right stink when I lifted him into the main pool, and spent the 5 minutes he was in there trying to scramble onto my head to get out of the water! We finally gave up and had an icecream, marvelling at the way the Danes were happy to spend seemingly hours in the freezing water.

The site also had a selection of other toys/games etc, marketed as an adventure playground, which I guess was almost an accurate description. I was very proud of the fact that I went on everything, the trampoline (showing off the skills I learnt many moons ago at Saturday trampolining club at the Sports Centre, including a wicked Seat Drop – Half Turn – Seat Drop), the bizarre bikes with 2 handles instead of handlebars or steering wheel (a bit difficult to explain really) and another bouncy cushion (this time with everything staying intact!). They really seem to be popular in Scandinavia.

The site also had a train, so A and M went on that whilst I made dinner. I seem to have fallen into a role on this trip, a rather housewifey one, which actually I am enjoying as it means that I can have a bit of time on my own. It also means that I don`t have to do the boring things involved in camping, like moving all our stuff around constantly, and sweeping the van out and stuff.

Day Three - Monday 6th August

Today was a long driving day, but not as long as it might have been as we went further than we had planned yesterday. We made it into Denmark though! We drove all the way up to Nibe in the north and found the campsite after a few wrong turns (Gina Patricia Saunders doesn`t have all the little roads in Scandinavia at her disposal, so we were a bit lost when she stopped giving us directions.
The campsite was on the banks of a fjord, although our pitch was tucked way back, but again we were really close to the playground, so M was able to go off and play while we got on with things at the van, as we could stick our heads up and see him.
Every evening the owner gets his train out and takes the kids (and any adults too!) around the campsite, which thrilled M no end. They also had a large bouncy cushion, sort of like a bouncy castle, but with no walls, iykwim, which was great fun for all of us, well, until my pelvic floor muscles gave out!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Day Two - Sunday 5th August

M wakes up at 6.15am, asking for milk as usual. A seems amazingly awake, whilst I struggle to open my eyes.
It is usually the other way round in our house when the alarm goes off. I did have a disturbed night though, first struggling to get to sleep because of my headache, then getting cold and not being able to find the duvet. Did have a nice dream about Julie Roberts though. Not sure what it was about, just remember that she was in it.

We decide to rearrange the van before we leave, so that at least future stops may be less painful than the previous nights. I suspect that we may have a few more side-of-the road overnighters before the 2 months is up, but its not really a problem, and it does save us some money!
We may also have got ourselves sorted out properly in the van by the time 2 months is over too!

Leave the parking place at about 8am, to find somewhere to have breakfast. Travel for about 20 minutes and find a service station, with another nice restaurant/cafe. Share croissant au chocolat and phili on roll. I get my morning fix of coffee (2 in fact, to keep me going!). M charms one of the waitresses into giving him a children's coffee (frothy milk), an amaretto biscuit and a lollipop, which he ignores my pleas to not eat quite yet, and then complains that his teeth are sticking together!

M is finding this all a bit daunting I think. The van is a fascinating place for an almost 3 year old with all its switches and buttons and cupboards and nooks and crannies. Unfortunately I am so terrified that he is going to break something as it all seems rather delicate, that I seem to be saying 'Don't touch', 'No' and 'Be Careful' a rather lot. Still its just something to add to the long list of things that M seems to be currently holding against me.

My feet are swelling up quite badly, a combination of hot weather and sitting still for so long. I really hope that they aren't like this for whole of the trip. It will annoy me. Have been sitting here, trying to move them around a bit, but they still look like lumps of meat on the end of my legs. Any remedies greatly appreciated.

We hope to stop at about lunchtime and get some bread, cheese and ham for diy sandwiches, but the service station we stop at has nothing of the sort. CB radios, seat covers, dirty dvds, crisps, biscuits and sweets, but no bread.

To be continued......

….continuing this several days later so have sort of forgotten exactly what happened, except that we had planned to stop in Clausthal-Zellerfeld in Germany, but as we were making such good time we decided to continue further up the motorway to Soltau.Really glad we did, as it was a great campsite. We managed to get a pitch right next to the playground so M was happy as we made dinner and again tidied the van – its all we seem to be doing!

He managed to annoy a 9 year old by insisting on taking sand from the ramp he had just built, although the 9 year old tried to get his own back by asking us quite insistently if we had seen his blue car, looking at M all the time he was asking us!

The toilet/shower block was absolutely fabulous. Real hotel quality. The radio was constantly piped into each toilet and shower room, and they had cool family bathrooms. I can tell that I will be boring people with my appraisal of each and every campsite, of which there are going to be many, seeing as we are staying in a lot of places only one night!

Day One - Saturday 4th August

Started off at 5pm, 1 hour later than planned. Almost immediately pulled into garage as front left was looking a bit flat. Just needed some air.

After not many more kilometres, M suddenly declares that he's done pee-pee and is all wet. Sure enough, its soaked the child seat and the suede car seat. Stop to change clothes and put towel on seat. Just past Bern he does another one. Then declares that he needs a poo. Stop again. Decide that we won't make it to the first campsite until well past 8pm, so we better stop somewhere to eat. Stop at Cindy's Diner, a very authentic looking American style diner. Plans for healthy eating holiday go out the window as we have burgers and chicken nuggets and chips and things. M bullies a 9 year old into submission over the use of a Gameboy.

I feel a bit tired and have a bit of a headache, but drive part of the way anyway, because I was finding M's inability to stop shrieking at me for some reason or other rather wearing.
At 10pm we finally make it to the first campsite, but the gate is closed. Find the owner, who states that he is full, so carry on to find somewhere else. M finally falls asleep: I think he was holding out to sleep in the roof.

Decide that actually we aren't going to find a campsite, so stop at a parking layby. These places in Germany are pretty good; you can still hear the road, but some of them have toilets, picnic benches and lots of space.

Realise that we packed really badly because almost everything has to come out of the van to put the bed up. M gets posted into the roof, still asleep. A and I settle down for the night at about 11.30, after experiencing the toilet which flushes when you lock and unlock the door. Share the van with a fly and a moth.