The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Circumnavigation of the Baltic 10

Bye Bye Finland

Hello Sweden

We (the ferry) docked in the port, this is a little way outside of the City of Umea.

But as we aimed to go to a campsite near a place called Röböck about 15 km south of Umea this was not a problem, at first. We arrived at Röböck and try as we may we could find no campsite. What to do?, We returned to Umea as we knew there was a one there, we arrived and sure enough there was a large campsite, with all mod-cons (though useless Wi-Fi).

Not far away was a shopping precinct with an IKEA, well what better place to pop in for a spot of late breakfast, so in we jolly well popped, they had a brunch on, well that was very nice we had an excellent meal and then went to the campsite.

The weather was not being friendly to us; in fact it rained most of the time, thank goodness for the TV, we popped into the restaurant for a cup of coffee and then back to the camper.

Next morning up bright and early and off on the E4, in the direction of our next planned watering hole near Ramvik, this was just a short journey from the E4, but on a secluded bay of the Baltic Sea.

It was a busy little site with, but as we have become used to on this trip, the facilities were immaculate. The chap on the bike showed us to our pitch, he even told us which way to place our camper so that we would get the best Sat reception. This was a very nice uncomplicated site on the shore of the inlet.

Linda off to inspect the Loo's

Next morning up and off, this was to be a longer trip, but as it was nearly all motorways it was no real problem. We passed through a few largish and at about lunchtime while passing through Hudisvall, we spotted a sign for Lidl, we though we may as well do some shopping as we were stopping at the next site for 2 nights and there was no shops in the near. We also stopped at an IKEA for lunch, very nice fish and chips (alas no vinegar).

We arrived at our next campsite, this turned out to be the best campsite of the trip so far, it is immaculate, sited on the shore of Bramsö Fjorde in a well-kept parklike land-shaft, very friendly family run site, excellent scrupulously clean ablutions and kitchen. The pitches are well spaced and if you so desire there are wonderful cabins. There is even a floating Sauna to which you can paddle out in a canoe or a rowing boat. There is a first class restaurant beside but not attached  to the site. For anglers you can get a day ticket for SK 100,- about €10,- a snippet, no wonder they also have an angling shop attached to the reception. The lake abounds with, Pike, Zander and Perch as well as the normal white fish (red eye, bleak, barbel). I felt my rod (fishing) a twitching, tomorrow I think it will be a nice evening spinning on the lake.

Some of the wonderful wood carvings 

We (I) watched the Germany, England under 21 footy game, well I never, they ( my old allegiance) lost on penalties, once again, to my new allegiance (thank goodness that I now am able to support a team that can win a competition).

I then stoked up the BBQ and we had belly pork, with a fresh salad, grilled courgettes and corn on the cob, followed by a sweet honey dew melon. The evening was perfect.

Up early, showered and a walk around the site (all before 07:00), it was much larger than at first site, but all of it wonderfully well kept, the woods that surround it of 3 sides are full of bird song and the odd squirrel or two can be seen busying themselves scurrying across the well mown grass.

Linda had coffee ready when I returned so we had a light breakfast (remains of last night’s belly pork, a piece of melon and a banana). Then it was time to blog and test the Wi-Fi.

We got up to a wonderful morning, blue sky and wall to wall sunshine, it stayed that way all day, we went for a walk through the woods and along the  lake side it was a perfect day, Linda even had a chance to do a bit of washing, she was getting a bit of a withdrawl. We put on the BBQ and had a smashing entrecote steak with garlic potatoes and a salad. The sun was slowly setting as it was time for bed, tomorrow we are off to Stockholm for 3 days, then Linda is off home. We have been lucky with this campsite, it was fantastic. Oh and I got Wi-Fi!

Circumnavigation of the Baltic 9


We arrived in Vaasa after a smooth drive through the pleasant Finish countryside, both forested and the farmland with its pretty red oxide houses and outbuildings (red oxide paint manufacturers must be making a mint). The way to the campsite is well signposted it is just a little way out of the town centre on a small island; it is also the same island that has the ferry terminal on it so no problems there.

The bridge to the Isles

Linda booking us in.
We got to the campsite and were given the pick of the site, we were amazed as it was the start of the Midsummer celebrations and had thought it would be fuller. We found a nice even pitch quite close to the toilets and showers, checked out the Sat position, perfect, first time. The Wi-Fi reception for anything except e-mails was useless. I would prefer to pay and have a good reception, than have a useless free one.

It was a fine sunny afternoon, we sat in the sun, well Linda did, I went and had an afternoon nap. We then had a look around the campsite, it was all very well equipped, with all mod cons, alas as today was a public holiday, the pub and restaurant was closed, though all the BBQs were in full swing and the locals were having a great time.

We even met Anna a Belorussian from Minsk, she had been married to a Swede and spoke about six languages, she was also dressed in national costume and was there with her daughter enjoying herself.

We sat and chatted for a while then it was time for a bite of supper, we had the remains of the meatballs, spareribs and added some fresh pasta and what with a G&T and a glass of Pink.

We were spending 2 days on this site and there was quite a bit of goings on, the natives sitting up drinking well into the early hours (I went to the loo at 03:00 and they were still up and enjoying themselves). Next morning we got up and showered, after breakfast we decided to head out along the coast, it is very pretty low lying arable land with the odd village here and there. 

We headed for a small fishing harbour called Malax, this was full of fishing huts and small fishing boats all very idyllic and pretty, we returned a little way and went to see a boat museum, but ended up at a smashing restaurant perched on the side of a small boat/fishing harbour. We had an excellent meal I had seared chicken breast topped with toasted goats cheese and a nice salad (help yourself). Linda had a smoked salmon Cesar salad also very nice.

Above the inlet a Red Kite (Merlan) was hunting all the time being mobbed by Fieldfares

We returned back to Vaasa and filled up with diesel as we had heard that it was more expensive in Sweden. The weather had turned inclement, in fact bloody miserable so it was back to the campsite, watched a bit of TV and opened a tin of Lentil soup sliced some Wieners into it and enjoyed life (a pink was in order). We hit the sack early as there was an interesting archaeological programme on TV; it was about the discovery of a submerged village in the Fens of East Anglia, very interesting indeed. One of the lead diggers was Phil Prior who was also a lead producer on Time Team.

Next morning up very early, 05:00, everything disconnected, packed and secured, we were at the ferry port at 06:00, first in line, we waited and at about 06:30 along came the lassie to check our paperwork and camper length, then it was in line to wait for boarding, it never does matter when you arrive, you will always be loaded last. We had booked business lounge (free coffee and biscuits and no roaming kids), so an inquiry at the inquiry, told us it was one deck higher, code in and there were 16 plush leather seats, dividing tables and separate Wi-Fi, this worked perfect in port, but once on the high seas was not a lot of good.
So it was out into the Bottnian Sea(top end of the Baltic Sea) and off to Umea and Sweden.

Circumnavigation of the Baltic 8

 Ferry to Helsinki
We awoke to the sound of rain pitter pattering on the roof of the camper, needed also to do a bit of pitter pattering so got up and pitter pattered. I then decide that as I was up may as well do something useful so I got out my laptop and resized a load of photos and finished off writing up the blog in word. We decided we would get down to the ferry early and get topped up with diesel and fill up the reserve canister.
The ferry terminal is only about 3 km from the campsite, it is an absolute central site, but it is better to book ahead, we didn’t and got the last pitch. The toilets are quite within the norm, but Linda found the showers not to her liking, I do not mind communal showering (open fronted) burt then having been many years a boy scout, more than 50% of my life in football teams and also sauntered for the past 40 years, seeing naked men, or for that matter women, showering hold no surprises for me.

We filled up the tank and the reserve canister and then got in to the filter row for the ferry, ours was due at 10:30, you are expected to be there 1 hr before, but Linda insists on being punctual, super punctual so we were one of the first there.

When they opened the lanes we were straight through and put into row number one, not that means you will be first on board, which we were not. Eventually the ferry arrived and its cargo both human and vehicular traffic was discharged on the quayside. It took ages, the 10:30 ferry is the one that the Fins use for their shopping trips, they arrive in the morning and spends the day shopping in Tallinn before, stocking up with booze for the return evening crossing.

We eventually got loaded and got a seat in the bistro, we got some food and a coffee, it wasn’t all that good and we both had all day to suffer with it. Linda bought a bottle of gin for the rest of the trip. I nodded off for 30 minutes and the we were informed that we would soon b discharging, down into the Camper and we were soon on our way through Helsinki on our way to the City Campsite. It is quite a way out of town and you need your whit’s about you as it is all through city traffic, but in the main the natives (and tourists) are friendly. We arrived at the campsite, and it is a very nicely laid out with all mod-cons, only the Wi-Fi leaves something to be desired , you can only get it in the TV room and even there it isn’t great. Our pitch was situated at not far from the toilets and showers and was what man calls in camping site parlance A1.

We had a walk around the site, it has a restaurant, but it is closed for renovation so no food there eve the way down to the beach was closed, it started to rain so we headed back to the Camper.
We were both not feeling too clever, still suffering from our on-board food, so we opened a tin of ALDI vegetable soup and added a few Wiener, It was far better than it sounds. I had a bit of a sleep and Linda done a bit of clothes washing.

I awoke much refreshed, we decided not to go into Helsinki, though the Metro is just outside the camp and you are 20 minutes in the city. We went to a local shop and got a few odds and ends.
We returned and I decided to do a bit on my blog, this took a good 2 hours as the connection was snail pace.
I gave up in the end, returned to the camper and Linda made a nice ham and tomato sandwich for our supper, it was time for bed as tomorrow we had a longer (in distance) to our next campsite.

We were up, showered, disconnected and on the road for 08:00, there was little traffic on the road and as it was 200km motorway ( in top condition) even the last 50km was in perfect condition even though we travelled through wonderful landscape as we travelled through the central Finish lake district. We did turn off hoping to have a break, even though it was 10:30 it was still shut,

We travelled on and found a shop, stopped, and bought some victuals for later. We carried on and eventually arrived at our campsite.

Quite wonderful it sits on its own island in the middle of a lake, we got booked in, were given free pick of the pitches and got ourselves settled. It was about midday so we decided to make lunch, it was to be spaghetti with meat balls in a tomato sauce. This we washed it down with a couple of glasses of pink (the new one bought in Tallinn).

Though the weather had been threatening all manner of nasty things, except for a few spots of rain, it had brightened up and we walked around the island, it isn’t  all that big but what they have they use well. It is obviously a place that anglers frequent (photos of monster perch, pike and zander hanging from the walls in the coffee bar that overlooks the lake), it is also a family place as the kids are well catered for (peddle cars, slides and small enclosures holding Llamas, Skerri sheep and Donkeys.

There is a restaurant with dance area complete with stage (alas closed, so unable to invite Linda for a Pala’s Glide). The I went onto one of the bathing stages and took a few photo’s,

Great Crested Grebes, Gold Eyes and Artic Terns. I went to the reception and tried to get a better connection, the lady gave me a pass word but obviously she wasn’t in the know as it didn’t work either.
So we went back to the van, Linda had an idea and made us a G&T and we watched a bit of news from back home, nothing much happening there, except that you were all melting in a 30° plus heat wave and we are a cool 20°.
I fixed up our collapsible ALDI BBQ, lit it up and while that was happening Linda put on some new spuds and the last of the asparagus (they do suit her), Spare Ribs were the order of the day, that and a nice cool pink (the box fits perfectly in the front of the door). I would have said that we watched the sun go down, but it doesn’t at midnight it is still perfectly light and also at 01:00 as I got up to go to the loo and took a photo (not of the loo you fools).

Up next morning and in no hurry at all, as we were travelling only 82km to our next resting place. We travelled through forests and farm lands, passing along lakes at regular intervals. As we hadn’t have breakfast (I don’t and Linda has followed suit), we decided to pop into a rest place, the sign said 1.5 km along the road so along the road we went at the end was a very nice looking restaurant, it was sited overlooking a smashing lake. Alas it was closed and as it was only 10:00 and opening time was midday, we had to make do with the view.

Our next stop was a small, but well stopped supermarket in a small unassuming town called Killinkoski, we bought some bread that we needed and some other things that we most likely didn’t. It was only another 20 minutes and following the signs we soon arrived at the Zoo, attached to Zoo is the campsite, it is near the small town of Ähtari, it is on the shores of a lake (nothing amazing about that as Finland is covered with lakes both small and monstrous ones). Large, spacious pitches, an exceptional reception area that includes a small shop (obviously aimed at the smaller guests) a hot imbiss bar and on that afternoon the pizza ovens were coming on line.
We were informed that WiFi was available all over the site, alas as normal it is not so, we were not far from the reception area and got a very weak signal. But as we had not eaten and it was only 11:00, it was time for a spot of breakfast, we had eggs, bacon, beans and tomatoes, so what could be better out came the frying pans and soon a sizzling breakfast was being served up, this camping life can be cushy if you want.

After breakfast we went for a short walk through the complex, it has many wooden cabins varying in size from small 2 person single room, up to large 2 story family ones with their own sauna and hot tubs.
This is a very large site (300 touring pitches), but it doesn’t seem overcrowded with plenty of space between the sites.
I went to the café area, had a coffee and was able to put the photos onto my blog about Tallinn and publish it. (I wonder when this one will be published).

We had decided that, that evening we would dine out and go and have a pizza, it was not the best decision of our trip, it was rubbish, I only at 1/3 of mine and Linda left the crusts (burnt black).
It was midsummer, the longest day, alas it was cold and not at all nice so it was an early night for us.

Tomorrow the city and port of Vaasa was our objective and from then onwards to Sweden.