Welcome to the September edition of the newsletter.
We have just returned from a very sunny trip up to Scandinavia with our Summer in Sweden Tour. This edition features a full tour report.
In other bits of news, we have two further tours heading out this month. Ian & Linda are already away with our Idyllic France Tour and Colin & Sue will be heading off shortly on our Lake Garda & Venice Tour. Full tour reports in next month's editions.
As usual we have another great one-pot recipe and the motorhome/travel tip this month is about collapsibles.
Summer in Sweden Tour Review
Fine weather greeted the group when we met up in Kent the night before travel. This was a trend that was set to continue for the whole tour as we enjoyed temperatures of nearly 30 degrees, with guests swimming in Baltic Sea to cool off!
There are a few busy driving days on this tour as we head up through The Netherlands and Germany. On night one we all jumped in the 'maxi taxi' to enjoy a fantastic meal in a local restaurant near Eindhoven. On night two we all jumped in the lake on our campsite near Bremen. We were treated to lakeside pitches with some of the guests even opting for an early morning dip.
On day three we got into Scandinavia for the first time with an overnight stop on the breezy Danish coast not far from Kolding. Our terraced campsites had lovely views over the sea and made for a relaxing break after the drive through Northern Germany.
The pace dropped a bit now as we headed over the 4-mile long Great Belt Bridge, one of two stunning large-scale feats of engineering that we enjoyed on this tour. We know a cracking little spot just after the bridge where you can get right down on the foreshore to get some stunning shots.
Our destination was Denmark's capital, Copenhagen. We spent a few nights here to give everyone chance to make the most of the city. Guests undertook various activities including walking the Stroget, one of Europe's longest shopping streets. At the end if the (far more interesting) Nyhaven lined with coloured houses and restaurants. From here many people take an open boat trip which culminates in a trip to the Little Mermaid statue.
Other guests took a different approach and headed for some of Copehagen's more unusual attractions. One of these is Christiana, a hippy commune housed in a a disused army base. It is a bit less hippy these days but make for a fascinating visit with all the graffitied houses, art stalls, hipster cafes and an overwhelming smell of marijuana! A new find for for us was Reffen, a massive street food market housed on old dockland. Here you could enjoy food from literally everywhere in the world.
After an exhausting few days, we embarked on another massive bridge, this time the Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. It was a lovely bright day and the sun was glistening on the Baltic. After the bridge we take a very slooow drive along the whole of the southern coast of Sweden with loads of places to pull in and amble around small villages and towns.
A highlight for us in this area is the Ales Stenar (Ale's Stones), which are around 60 massive boulders forming the shaping of a boat, set on a cliff overlooking the Baltic Sea. An added attraction this year were a group of paragliders who fly just inches from your head catching the uplift from the cliffs.
The next leg of the journey took us up the east coast of Sweden towards Kalmar and the island of Oland. The island was a real hit this year with guests taking in the 300 or so windmills that dot the landscape. Some guests chose to get the bikes out at this point covering an impressive 20 miles in and out of the town.
On the next driving day a few of the guests chose to visit one of the moose parks for a hands-on (and lips-on) experience. You can get very up close and personal with the animals. You can hand them food, or they will even take it out of your mouths. Effectively, you get kissed by a moose. The only moose to touch my lips is the chocolate variety.
Next stop was the Swedish capital, Stockholm. I could write a whole tour report on this place. Suffice to say that guests availed themselves of all of the activities on offer from the stunning Vasa Ship Museum to the (insert your own adjective here) Abba Museum. There was also the Viking Museum, the boat rides, Drottingholm Palace, The Royal Palace, Gamla Stan...
It was time for a bit of peace and quiet after all of that as we headed across the centre of the country with a night on the shores of Lake Vanern, Sweden's largest lake. In fact, it is the third largest lake in the whole of Europe covering over 2000 square miles. We could only see a bit of it from our campsites, but it was lovely to swim in.
The next two stops took in Sweden's second and third largest cities. Gothenburg and Malmo. Although quite big, both cities are really accessible with relatively compact centres. Probably the highlight for most in Gothenburg was the Paddan boat ride. This takes you around the 'canals' with a requirement to duck from time to time as you go under the bridges. Perhaps Malmo's most distinctive attraction is the Twisted Torso, an enormous white skyscraper that looks like it has been held at both ends and twisted around (Chinese burn style).
Another attraction of Malmo is that it is the entry point to Sweden from the Oresund Bridge. Our campsite was right under the bridge allowing guests to get some lovely sunset photos on our last night before retracing our steps home.
Summer in Sweden will be running again in 2023. If you would like to join us, full details are on our website here: https://www.crossingsmotorhometours.com/2023-summer-in-sweden
Coq au Van (the amusingly titled recipe feature)
Meatball Stew with Coriander Chutney
1 large onion
500g lamb, beef or pork mince
2 tbsp harissa or chipotle paste
1 tbsp flavourless oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g tin chopped tomatoes
200ml chicken stock
400g tin chickpeas, drained
to serve rice or couscous
STEP 1: Put all the chutney ingredients in a blender with 2-3 tbsp water and blend until as smooth as possible.
STEP 2: Peel the onion and discard the first tougher outer layer. Grate on the rough side of a box grater. Put half the onion in a bowl with the mince, a good amount of salt and pepper, and 1 tbsp of the harissa, and mash together with a wooden spoon until evenly combined. Chill for 20 minutes.
STEP 3: Roll the mince mixture into 24 walnut-sized meatballs. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, add the meatballs and brown all over (you will probably need to do in two batches to not overcrowd the pan). Scoop out once browned, leaving any fat behind. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of fat.
STEP 4: Add the rest of the grated onion and the garlic, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened and golden. Stir in the rest of the harissa, the chopped tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer then cook for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs back in, along with the chickpeas, put on a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of the chutney and with rice or couscous.
This month's motorhoming tips are all about collapsibles. These are your everyday items that can be purchased in collapsible form in order to save space when being stored. There is a whole range of these things including buckets, washing up bowls, drying rack, watering cans and even kettles.
First thing to say is that they are great. We can recommend using them. However, just be a bit careful that you don't pay too much for them. We have seen some massively overpriced stuff at the motorhome shows. We have then found the same thing in in bargain shops. So if you have B&M or Home Bargains near you, go and check what they have first. We have bought buckets, bowls and drying racks here for a fiver!
Keep in touch
Please feel free to contact us at any time. When we are away, calls will bounce to our mobiles at no expense to yourself.