Spontaneous Camping

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Finished cycling in Sweden. Cycling around Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk finished. So what next? On the spur of the moment camping and Malbork came up. Visit the largest castle in the world by area, wallow in history and watch a reenactment. What better?

Where to stay. Hey, let’s try camping! But we have no tent. No worries, we’ll buy one. And the sleeping bags, the mattress and the air pump, too. Out of the shop heavier with goods, lighter with money and full of determination.

Arrive at the site. The weather is not great in Malbork. Upshot. The campsite is half-full. Loved how the owner sucked on his stubby pencil, scratched his ear. He simply didn’t know how to fit us in. Wonderful stuff!

Allocated a spot. Open the new packed tent and instructions. The clouds are looking ominous. Having not put up a tent since my teens, and my wife possibly never, we went about our business with nervous bravado as the seasoned neighbours next door looked on.

Does this carbon rod go here? Why is that short? Does this go in the ground? What we have no mallet/hammer! Then a kindly gent with the same tent came and offered some help, and one end of the tent was taking shape, and the rest we could manage. Thank you, sir!

Done and dusted and quite comfortable (it says here). Next day we were packed and ready to leave. An older man and his grandchildren looked at an identical tent in confusion.

To his aid we went, and up went his tent. From near novices one day, to experts (nearly) the next.

It’s evolution baby, evolution.

Karlskrona Sedate or Sedated?

The ferry was okay, well it didn’t sink. It also had reassuringly expensive prices. Up at the crack of dawn, and off we go. Well actually we had one holdall that was to be stowed in a locker at the port. This meant we could not cycle. Just as we approachd the gates, they shut. Closed. Locked. I had to shimmy around to the entrance gate, explain the problem and were allowed to exit via the in gate.

Off we went in the sun. Just over 11km into Karlskrona along good cycles paths. Actually it took longer than anticipated. Children stopped for tired legs, aches unspecified or to argue that one has got something better on the their siblings bike, and off again, and again. Karlskrona is pretty in an understated kind of way. A large bay spotted with small bridges and people doing indefinable things with small boats.Some of the houses are very colourful and all is clean. I don’t know whether to say whether Karlskrona is sedate, or sedated? Cue the Ramones!

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A wonderful marine museum was enjoyed by all. We scurried over ships of varying vintage. Inside a hall one can scuttle about the former Swedish subamine Neptune. At around 1,100 tonnes submerged, it confirmed my love of claustrophobic tiny spaces. How 19 officers and crew spent time at sea in such a craft is beyond me. But they certainly deserve respect.

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More cycling and more expensive food and an amiable cycle back to our waiting long ship. Here to be boarded first and haul our oars back to Gdynia. Would cycling be more fun in Gdynia, Sopoat, than Karlskrona? Wait for the next thrilling instalment of…carry my backpack, pleeeeze!

Sweden Cycling Outbound

Road trip to be continued. Sweden. Outbound from Gdynia, part of the Three Towns which include Sopot and Gdansk. The plan was to sail to Karlskrona, cycle into the town and around the peninsula, then back to The Three Towns for more of the same. When we got to Gdynia we were given funky high visibility tops to wear. Little did we know that we would be visible in them for quite some time. First the lorries, then the trucks, after that the American-style RVs, then smaller caravans, vans and then cars, followed on by motorbikes. Two classes, those that do real motor cylcing, and those with old fashioned lookalikes that make a specific poseur sound. Then last the ecological and smallest elements to board, roll on drums, the CYCLISTS!

We took up one tine corner of the vehicle deck, frantically lashing our eco-bikes before the storm wave crashed over the bows of our majestic Longship. Okay, tad I wax lyrical. But rather silly and in Sweden they did not give us the visibilty tops. Why? Because the sensible Swedes boarded us first, bless them;-) IMG_2448

As we left harbour this Polish Warship, probably a Kaszub class corvette, was entering harbour with a beautiful sunset as a welcome.

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Headin’ North, Oars in the Rowlocks!

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Plans upon plans. This summer, after driving to Germany, The South of France for Arles, Aix-En Provence, The Camargue and the Mediterranean, then  burrowing underground in Polish gold mines, finders keepers, we are headin’ north. Up to Gdansk which is a great town and worth a visit in its own right,  or to be more accurate Gdynia, for a ferry to Karlsrona in Sweden.

The first idea was to place the ‘oars in the rollocks’ and chain me to a Viking Longship bench. However with the car, children and four bikes along with enough logistics to land a marine expeditionary force, we have decided on a ferry. I know, a lot less fun than a longship, but my wife says I can keep the loincloth!

The idea is to take in Karlsrona by bike and enjoys its beautiful cycle paths. Then back to Gdansk to cycle and camp around the Three Towns.  Can’t wait!