It was a dry and mild Christmas day when we packed the van in Gent and set off just after the crack of noon with guitars, sound equipment, food and enough clean clothes for two weeks.
It was sunny enough to wear sunglasses but you’d need a jacket outside.
The journey ahead would take us through the countries of Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, finally Norway.
We put winter tires on the van for that bit of extra grip should we experience snow or ice on the roads and of course it’s a legal requirement in this part of the world.
The highways were busier than we expected them to be on Christmas day but so far the weather as far the Netherlands was dry and ideal.
We spotted lots of Buzzards and Kestrels en route, a sure sign of good weather according to Pluim (my friend/driver/roadie) who has knowledge on these types of birds and he told me that they generally only appear in dry or sunny weather
(I know some humans like that too I said)
A Rainbow Day
There are some crazy speed mongers out there.
A small stop near Hamburg for refreshments and sleep for the driver.
I called home to wish my family a Happy Christmas and it was lovely to hear them all having fun. I joked and laughed with them and tried to convince my mother that I had my Christmas dinner in McDonald’s. She wasn’t falling for it
(I really missed her cooking though)
Xmas wishes from wi-fi central
Tea for the roadie
Checking if we were on the list
We’re used to this ferry going every 20 minutes but hey It’s Christmas.
We were glad it was going at all.
One lonely looking Christmas tree with it’s lights dancing in the wind stood in a ridge of snow which seemed to have been left over from a previous flurry.
A taste of things to come perhaps?
smooth 45 minute crossing and hello Denmark. The time was about 2.30am and I was beginning to doze off. I remember the red tail lights of a truck that we seemed to be behind for hours and waking up in time to pay the bloody expensive toll (43 Euros one way) to cross the famous Øresund bridge 8 Kilometers of manmade brilliance that crosses the Øresund strait and takes us into Malmo, Sweden.
The lady collecting the money handed us some pink and white Santa Claus sweets though which were delicious. We were strip searched at the Swedish customs on one of the last trips. This time we continued un-interfered with.
We ploughed on as far as sleep would allow and as dawn approached we settled down near Göthenburg and I managed a few cold hours sleep in the cab of the van in a sitting position. Glad I had a pillow with me.
Pluim has his own in-built bed in the back of the van so at least he got a proper rest and he is the sole driver so his rest takes priority anyway.
Some morning tea and coffee and we were off again this time feeling the pinch of a December wind and admiring the whiteness of the Swedish countryside as we left Göthenburg and finally crossed that beautiful high bridge that spans the water that separates Sweden and Norway.
No stop at Norwegian customs this time also so in we went Oslo bound.
A truckload of reindeer?
Snow suits Norway very well, It always looks like a winter wonderland, scenes from a book or postcard surrounded us though it was well below freezing outside every so often I’d lower the window and take photos and feel the pure cold on my face. wakey wakey.
As we got closer to Oslo we were met with freezing fog which made it difficult to navigate but we were not under time pressure so we made it safely and soundly. 1700 Kilometers later we arrived et the door of The Dubliner Irish bar which would be our home for the next two weeks and where we’d ring in 2013 among friends of all nationalities.
Then when it was over we packed the van and drove back home……
Happy new year