12 weeks and 8900 miles on the road
4 nights spent on a ferry, 5 nights in an hotel
1 night driven out of the tent by bad weather
75 nights under canvas
4 new tyres
1 lost spoon
20 destroyed tent pegs
We have been home for nearly two weeks now and nearly finished the washing, going through the boxes and mending stuff. We have ordered all sorts of stuff over the internet; a set of 4 second hand wheels for Camel, parts to try and cure the waterless coolant leak (we lost about a litre every thousand miles and at £60 for 5 litres, that hurts!), (good news, our lovely local garage, Paul Brothers have found the leak and, hopefully fixed it) every possible anti-mozzie thing I can think of, birthday presents for my granddaughter (a nice wooden sandpit for her 1st birthday)(shhh, don’t tell her), a new ‘pocket’ camera because some pixels gave up on my old one and I had to edit every single flaming picture I took with it (I hope you couldn’t spot it), a new stove because I left the griddle behind somewhere in Scandinavia and a knob broke, some pond liner to make an improved ‘footprint’ to go under the Tentipi, Tim’s belated birthday present of a remote controlled tank, the list goes on. The family (who are kindly house sitting while we are away) have become convinced that Tim is building a whole new car. My daughter has asked us to change the delivery company because delivery guys are not hot enough.
It is pretty strange to be back. It hasn’t stopped raining since and we have had to keep the windows open in our bedroom as it feels too hot and stuffy otherwise. People have asked us what we liked best over the last 3 months. Iceland was by far the most beautiful and exciting, but very tiring to do all we did and stressful to drive around (if you ever go there, do what most other people seem to do and drive clockwise so you don’t have to worry so much about falling off a cliff so much). Norway was also very beautiful and the roads are less stressful, although slow. Sweden is a great place to visit, but driving can be mind numbingly dull, and Denmark is a very comfortable place to be. My favourite city was Copenhagen. The other favourite part was meeting so many friendly people, both locals and tourists.
The costs of the trip ended up pretty high. Diesel was cheaper everywhere than the UK, but Camel only managed 30 mpg with the snow and mud tyres we had fitted in Iceland. (they will be great when we head off skiing in January, but we will swap them for normal tyre before we go to Spain). We spent an average of about £90 a day in Iceland, £105 a day in Norway, £90 a day in Sweden and under £60 pounds a day back in Euroland. (Phew, we might be able to afford to keep on travelling!) I must add that we were fairly frugal in Norway, hardly eating out at all and not staying in a single hotel and not paying for any major excursions. Norway is, by far, the most expensive place in the whole of Scandinavia. It is, however, well worth a visit, being truly beautiful.
It has been fantastic spending time with my family, playing with my lovely little granddaughter and meeting up with all our friends and my ex work colleagues (they seemed pleased to see me, but it could have been Tim’s brownies.…). I found it increasingly difficult to be away from them and it now seems to me that 12 weeks is the maximum time I want to travel for before coming back home to touch base with everyone. I have also really enjoyed cycling through the beautiful West Sussex countryside on the few non rainy days.
Still I am very excited about our next trip. We will catch the ferry to Bilbao late on Sunday and we will spend 8 weeks exploring Spain. Hopefully we wont get stuck like last time as Camel is now on top form.