Trip 7 – Total mileage 3,437 excluding to/from Dover.  Average 36mpg

Travel Ferry 75.00 €
  Tolls + local ferry 66.00 €
  Fuel 535.00 €
  Parking (see Wild if overnight stop) 15.00 €
  Train/bus/tram 42.00 €
Subsistence Food 385.00 €
  Gas 27.00 €
  Entertainment/Goodies   827.00 €
  Essentials (laundry, household) 40.00 €
Camping Wild/Free 25 0.00 €
  Aires (or equiv) 27 13.00 €
  ACSI Site 0 0.00 €
  Camping Cheque Site 0 0.00 €
  Other sites 2 43.00 €
TOTAL Total cost 2,068.00 €
  Days away 54 38.30 €

We’ve been to a few of the countries on this trip before but it just shows how experience can change things.  On our last trip to Holland we only used campsites and were told wild camping isn’t -permitted and aires non-existent.   This time however we pretty much only used aires and we did see a few people overnight park elsewhere with no issues.  The aires and permitted parking do seem to be available especially inland, and so on this tour of Holland we stayed to exploring new places and had a much more local view.  So yes, you can now visit Holland and rely entirely on the aires network and some overnight parking – though probably not on the beaches at peak season.

We do like Holland, but think we’ve pretty much seen most of it now, and we’re probably done of Amsterdam – I’ve been there 20+ times now and have seen pretty much everything.

Our plan was to make Poland and/or Czech Republic – however we made neither of these, mainly due to us not rushing and enjoying where we were, and a deadline to get back for.  Ah well – another time!  This does show how much there was to keep us interested in the 8 week tour, as if we were even slightly bored we’d have raced on.

This is our third trip that encompasses Germany and it does astound us how ugly some German towns are but with stunning central old towns.  Clearly the allies had something to do with ruining an awful lot of cities, but the Germans didn’t always rebuild sympathetically.  I think nowadays they are trying to resolve this, but even so some towns you almost need to close your eyes on the outskirts before you find the hidden beauty.  Prior to WW2 most of German towns must have been stunning…  Germany has a huge amount to offer, from amazing cities (ignoring most are rebuilt!) and amazing little villages with great character (ignoring the modern boring ones)

We knew little about Denmark before we came so everything was a surprise!   (see our Country Facts for Denmark here)

Denmark is fairly pricey for most things apart from diesel.  Eating out and food is perhaps 30-80% more than other places, and they do charge you for using credit cards annoyingly (3% or so).  Diesel is cheaper, but getting credit cards to work is a gamble and most garages are self-service.  Some take cash (up to 200DKK notes) – but as no change is given you need to think before piling the money in.  Prices tend to vary 15% between stations, and perhaps 10% depending on time of day!   Beer isn’t as good as Germany, and restaurant food seemed to focus on generic rather than Danish. 

We did plan to wild camp and use aires as much as possible rather than use campsites.  This is a personal preference for us, not only is it cheaper meaning we can do more trips and do other things, but the places you find can be stunning and we stay where we want rather than where the campsites are.

Bordatlas and the Scandanavian “All The Aires” guides were useful, though the latter has too many errors to be relied upon.  Tips from friends helped, but also for Denmark the  website led us to some much needed water/waste sites and meant we had to be less frugal with water.  Had we bought “Nordic Camper” then we’d have had these before we left….

We found as long as you simply “park overnight” rather than “wild camp and get all your outdoor clobber out” then no one actually seemed to care which was rather nice!  Clearly everyone as different and some always need their awning and chairs out and make a mess, but for us we are generally out and about so overnight parking suits us fine. 

Interestingly Denmark (and Germany in places?) seem to charge deposits on canned beer (and maybe other things) – so keep your cans and take them back for a deposit back.  The deposit was 25% on our special bulk-buy of Carlsburg! (the local Danish brew – obviously!)

There was enough in Denmark to keep us interested, some nice Viking history, parks, castles, and towns and villages, but a lot of the enjoyment in Denmark comes from outdoor activities like cycling and walking, and this we did plenty of.  The weather started awful but then turned kind for most of the rest of the tour.  The weather is probably a critical factor in Denmark as most of the “good stuff” is based outside and most of the available activities are weather dependant.

Denmark does have a lot of things to see and do, but none really are really spectacular.  There isn’t much naff stuff either, so as a country to tour we’d probably give it 7 or 8, but probably not return specifically to in a hurry.  That said, we’d be happy to make a few stops should we happen to pass through on a future trip.

Some of the main islands are worth a visit and each has an interesting thing to see or do, but Denmark is very rural so there can be little to interest you on the drive.  Exploring hamlets and tiny off-map villages is a gamble, some are simply a few modern houses; some a tatty little place; but some are well maintained and very enjoyable places.  So take your chances!  The roads to/from them are often short and none we found were impassable in a van. 

Overall a pretty good trip – marred only by the weather 🙁 

The van though has to be complimented.  It performed for the full 8 weeks, in effect, away from campsites.  It hasn’t been on electrical hookup for the entire trip, and we have used the batteries, heating, shower, bathroom, and everything to the full.  We’ve not treated the van gently – we’ve used everything and everything worked.  OK – Mel broke the bathroom fly screen, but that was an easy fix.

The battery and gas setup we have was spot-on, and the water lasted 4-5 days even with 2 brief but thorough showers every other day.  It really is an amazing bit of kit, and averaging over 35mpg is just unreal but helpful.

We’re really pleased with the van, and now its 5 years old, its due a good service and preventative maintenance routine when we get back to UK, but it is astounding.  Thanks Horizons!

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