14th June 2016 we left home on a bright and breezy morning and headed to Dover for the 12:00 DFDS sailing to Dunkirk. The first time we had used Dover for a long time, the first time to Dunkirk and the first ferry trip for Fred. It is was an uneventful 2 hour crossing that tipped us out on the Autoroute just shy of the Belgian border.
An 400km drive through Belgium, with an unintentional afternoon detour through the middle of the Antwerp rush hour, the Netherlands and Germany to Haltern-am-See a bit before Munster. Here we tried a new experience and found a Stelplatz. For anyone touring Germany in a camper or motorhome these are brilliant.
They are basically stopping places that you are allowed to use for a night. They might be car parks or lay-bys, with or without facilities and free or a couple of Euros. They are identified my the image of a camper on a street sign. The particular one we found was on a grass car park part of the local sports ground. No facilities but a lot of woodland and a bar nearby. It was a very quiet night only us and one other and our first experience of having to dig ticks out of Fred!
The following day we had decided to bash 800km to Hirtshals on the northern most tip of Jutland, Denmark, with a few detours for roadworks and epic torrential rain around Aalborg that slowed the motorway to 20 miles and hour and even then we couldn’t see anything. At least we could have a relaxing evening with no pressure to rush for the ferry in the morning. We arrived at the camp site overlooking the straights from where we could see the ferries heading to Norway. That far north is on the same latitude as Aberdeen so it was light well into the evening.
The following morning we had time to kill, a walk on the beach, a visit to the limited supermarket and a fill up of reasonably priced Danish diesel before we headed to the ferry for an 11:00 sailing. Another long trip for Fred but he seemed OK with it.
It is worth noting for anyone going to Norway that going this route the ferry actually costs the same as or even less than the tolls on the bridges in Denmark and across to Sweden. However it is several hundred miles less to drive!
Another point of note if you are travelling with a dog even though you will have a pet passport for Europe the same rules regarding worming when coming from Europe into Norway apply as for returning to the UK. So we took Fred to our local vet the day before we left home for his worming tablet that lasted until we crossed into Norway.