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Sweden – perfect for a motorhome trip.

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Our motorhome is parked up for the night on the Swedish coast in a sleepy village called Stokka. (N61°53’55”  E17°21’16.3″)

Our motorhome stop at Stokka, Sweden.

To our east is the Gulf of Bothnia, and this place has red coloured wooden houses with verandas overlooking the sea. How lucky are the people who live here!

We have met many very friendly people on this motorhome trip. This morning we met Andy who came to our motorhome to introduce himself and we swapped interesting stories about where we had been and where we were heading. We also were chatting to a biker German man and his new wife, who were eager to chat to us about where they had visited in England.

Driving our motorhome north on the E4 in Sweden.

The days are long here and the light woke me at 4.30am. After breakfast we drove north up the E4 to our overnight motorhome stop, a distance of 180 miles. The landscape was fairly flat but with lots of huge lakes and millions of trees. Many of the picnic stops along the way look out over lakes and make a wonderful place to stop. Totally different to the picnic stops you might find on the M1!

Our motorhome parked at a picnic stop in Sweden.

The motorhome life is proving to be just as we had hoped on this trip. It’s the option to stop in remote places with views that no hotel can offer that is so appealing: not that there are any hotels near here.

Sweden is very laid back. The person responsible for collecting the £10 fee for the motorhome stopover is a lovely lady called Marianne. Her English was very good and she told us that she had been living in this place for 50 years and the community was once well known for ships coming into the harbour to fill up with timber from the nearby mill. A house just along the road was selling fresh fish and there is an honesty box to pay. This place is a world away from the traffic congested cities we are used to in England.

Tomorrow we head further north heading in a few days time for Trondheim in Norway.

A selfie at one of the many picnic stops on the E4.

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Bredangs Camping

Over the Öresund Bridge to Malmö and Stockholm

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The Öresund Bridge connects Copenhagen in Denmark to Malmö in Sweden. The bridge is an incredible feat of engineering and this morning we drove on the bridge in our motorhome, after leaving the wonderful city of Copenhagen.

Öresund Bridge

The bridge is a combination of a tunnel, an artificial island and a bridge with a total length of 18km. The Öresund Bridge itself is over 5 miles long and is the longest connected road and rail bridge in Europe. At its highest point the road is 57 metres above the sea.

Our motorhome is just over 7 metres long so it falls into a higher toll category and a higher cost. The cost to travel across the Öresund  Bridge for our motorhome was 100 Euro, making the trip an expensive one!

The Swedish city of Malmö has family connections so we wanted to stop the night and spend a day in the city. We found a peaceful place to park for the night at the marina (£16) and had fantastic views across the sea to Copenhagen. The number 7 bus runs every 10 minutes to the centre of Malmö. We had been told that you can only pay with a credit card and not cash but when we presented a card to the bus driver he said his machine didn’t work and we could ride for free!

Malmo, Sweden

Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city, although the city originally belonged to Denmark until 1658. Apparently, over 100 languages are spoken in Malmö and Thai food is just as popular as meatballs! We found Malmö to be a charming cosmopolitan city with historical buildings and fascinating architecture. Malmö is also home to Scandinavia’s tallest building the Turning Torso.

Waking to blue sky and after emptying our waste and putting water in our fresh water tank we set off north on the E6 and E4 to drive the 612km to Stockholm. Not wanting to drive for 7 hours we stopped  halfway at a lovely free overnight spot on the shores of Sweden’s  Lake Vattern. It’s always a good feeling when we find a free place to park up for the night. We found the place on the Camper Contact app. which I think is fantastic and well worth the £4.99 cost. We had a walk down to the waters edge, beautiful scenery with traditional red painted wooden houses along the shore. We had a stunning sunset and all this for free.

Next day we set off again to complete the remaining journey to Stockholm. The E4 motorway to Stockholm winds its way through lots of dense forests and past crystal clear lakes. There are plenty of picnic places and service areas on the way. The picnic stops are often next to a lake and they have toilets and information boards making them a great place to stop for lunch. They are perfect for motorhomes because we can just turn the gas on and boil a kettle or get something out of the fridge for lunch.

Stockholm, of course, is Sweden’s capital city with a population of about 1.3 million. It’s known as the Venice of the North because it is built over 14 islands and water dominates the landscape. We arrived at Bredangs camping, which we had picked out as a good place to stay, and it turned out to be a good choice. It’s a 10 minute walk to the nearest T-Bana metro station and cost 44 Swedish Krona (£3.70) to get to Stockholm centre. We got off the metro at Gamla Stan, which is the old town of Stockholm and walked to the waterfront to buy a ticket for the Hop On/Hop Off boat trip. At a cost of 220 Swedish Krona (£18.50) it was well worth the money.

Meatballs for lunch in Stockholm

After our boat trip we decided to see if we could find somewhere for lunch and we found a nice restaurant in the old town, which turned out to be Russian, but the meatballs were good, as was the price at a very reasonable £11 person including drinks. Our impression of Stockholm being reasonably priced was shattered, however, when we later had a coffee and a piece of cake each and the bill came to £22! and for a Yorkshireman that was hard to tolerate. No prices were visible in the cafe and I should have known better! It’s a good job we will have plenty of free overnight stops, for which Sweden and Norway are well known for, to make up for the exorbitant prices in Stockholm.

Stockholm old town Traditional Swedish roast Sunday lunch

Despite the high prices, we really enjoyed our visit to Stockholm and the warm sunny weather was a bonus. Stockholmers were making the most of the good weather and were sunbathing and walking in the many green spaces and along the waterfront where there are lots of boats and plenty of people watching to be done.

Cafe culture in Stockholm Hotel ship in Stockholm harbour Traditional mens toilet in Stockholm Guard outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm

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El Torcal

Eating pasta with the vultures – El Torcal

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We have just spent the night in our motorhome in the car park at a place called El Torcal. It might not sound interesting to say we have spent a night in a car park but this was no ordinary car park! This car park was at the top of a 1200 metre high mountain called El Torcal Natural Park and it has the most amazing scenery that I have seen anywhere. I have visited the incredible Grand Canyon in the USA and The Blue Mountains in Australia and El Torcal is just as good. What makes El Torcal so good is the pre-historic landscape. This area has unique limestone formations that were formed 150 million years ago and there is even evidence of human habitation here dating back to 5500BC.

El Torcal Natural Park is located about 45 km north of Malaga and 13 km south of Antequera. There is a car park on the main A7075 road but I would recommend driving through the barrier up a 3.5km mountain road to the visitor centre at the top. There are spectacular views as you drive up this road and the road is wide enough to take a motorhome. There is a large car park at the top with plenty of spaces for motorhomes, but it can get busy at weekends and the top car park can get full.

From the car park you can see the coast at Malaga on a clear day but the highlight for me was the 45 minute walk we did along a well marked path that took us through the most remarkable landscape I have ever seen.  There are many walks in the area and you must do one to fully appreciate this place. My photographs don’t do the landscape justice but it was like walking through a prehistoric landscape. Vultures were circling above us, perhaps hoping for some lunch!

Despite a sign in the visitor centre saying “no overnight parking” we spoke to a German couple with a motorhome parked next to us and agreed between us to stay overnight in the car park. After all the visitors and staff had left it was eerily quiet, apart from  the occasional bells of mountain goats wandering by, and we set about making some pasta for our evening meal. Sleeping and eating in such a remote place at 1200 metres above sea level felt exciting with the added bonus that it was a free nights motorhome stop!

After eating we stood outside in the cold and watched an incredible night sky under millions of stars with no light pollution and slept well with no worries about safety. After all, who would want to drive up a mountain road with sheer drops in the pitch black in the hope of finding some motorhome owners asleep in a car park at the top of a mountain.

Here are some photos that I took at El Torcal but I don’t think they do the place justice. You have to be there to witness the beauty for your self.

Our motorhome parked at El Torcal car park El Torcal Natural Park El Torcal Natural Park, Spain El Torcal, Spain The limestone landscape of El Torcal Natural Park

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