1st month on the road | between forests, mountains, fjords and lakes of northern Europe

Katja DEFENDER TRIPS, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND, LATVIA, LITHUANIA, NORWAY, SWEDEN Leave a Comment

Woohoo, first month on the road is just behind us. First month without a job, without driving everyday to work and back for hours. Instead, we drove through a large portion of Scandinavian and Baltic countries, where we are still on the way as we speak. We are from being lazy, but I have to say, waking up without an alarm clock feels very good.

How was it?

Great. Time is flying, I hardly believe it´s been a month already. At the beginning we (well ok, me mostly) were still worrying a little bit – did we forget something, did we sort out all the important papers, will the post be really redirected at the right address, did we turn off the cooking stove (good thing I´m not really ironing, so one problem less haha), did we really do everything in order to not have problems while we are gone? My brain was still caught up in that hectic everyday stress, when there is no time for nothing and you just hurry all the time. Anyhow, a week or two went by and suddenly I didn´t even know which day of the week it was. And exactly this easiness which only comes after weeks away from home is the best thing of it all right now.

We are all the time together, day and night. Do we ever go on each other´s nerves? Do we argue?

Of course we sometimes have a fight. Like a small one. And it´s normal. In the end, it might not even matter how often you have a misunderstanding, but more how often you make peace with each other after that. And when we need time on our own, there are ways too. We don´t all the time do things together as well. One can go on a hike while the other one is fishing or whatever. I´m usually awake early so I read a book or write my travel journal. But annoying each other? Huh, luckily not at all. So, we´re happy to stay on the road for a while longer. Anyone else agrees on how travelling can sometimes be the best test for a relationship?

The best moment

There were quite a lot of those, but I think we both agree it was seeing the orcas in Norway! When you go on a whale watching tour, really not expecting much (in order to not be disappointed afterwards) and then you end up seeing 4 whales and a group of around 50 orcas jumping out of the ocean just along your boat for like 15 minutes, you can just say “wow” and be grateful for that special moment.

The worst moment

Urgh, the last morning in Finland. After a really great day in Helsinki, where we were celebrating the end of the Scandinavian part of this trip by going out for lunch, dinner, drinks and even a movie, we spent the night at a parking in the city port. The location is very convenient, easy to reach the city centre on foot and we departed Finland on a ferry from here the next day. We paid the parking to avoid trouble (6€ per hour ouch, 30€ in total). But then, due to too much celebration the evening before, we overslept the alarm clock and got a 60€ parking fine for being 30minutes too late. Grrr. On top of that I had a hangover and had to pee, but there was of course no toilet in the near. Not a good combo all together haha. So, Helsinki turned out to be more expensive than expected, but oh well, things cannot always just be good. And we survived. Had a juicy burger on the ferry and were in best shape 2 hours later once we reached Tallinn.

How is the car hanging on?

Awww our car is the best haha. We had absolutely no bigger troubles on the way. We will have to do an overall service of all the fluids and other stuff once we get back though. And we started to notice what we could change, add and rebuilt to make it even more comfortable for travelling. So we might use the following weeks to do some work on it again.

What about Lu?

I`m sure everyone is asking themselves that. We have some new readers in the last weeks, they might not even know, we are actually 3 in the family. Life has its ways and we are trying to make the best out of the situation so that everyone is kind of happy. So sometimes it is just the two of us, sometimes it´s all three. Lu finished his first class of school shortly after we left and spent the first half of his holiday with his dad. Unfortunately the school system in Germany is very strict and doesn´t allow us to take the children out of class outside of the holidays. Not even for a day, let alone a week or two. Something I´m not used to and I think it is an utterly horrible rule, but we live here and have to do as they say. This means it´s impossible to take Lu with us for such a long time on the road. We are picking him up in Germany in just a few days and he is with us the second part of the summer.

What happens now?

We are just in the last week of this road trip, somewhere around Baltic coast. Soon, we are stopping over in Germany for a night, just to pick up Lu and then we are off towards the south. It´s been 6 months since I´ve been home in Slovenia and I´m really looking forward to that. After 8 years abroad it is always nice to come home. So the next month will be more family orientated, we will also have more time for friends. As almost every year, we are looking forward to a week in Croatia, where we might go a bit under the radar and really relax and do nothing. Later on, towards the end of August, we are driving in the direction of Greece. Can´t wait for all of that!

And longterm?

We don´t know. First some up&down around Europe and then we´ll see. For now, we have time and we have some money left. But things can come in between anytime so we don´t feel like spending much time on another continent. It´s been a while since I didn´t have any firm travel plans, but it´s good.

Short statistics

In the first month we visited 7 countries. Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The last 3 for the first time. We drove around 8000km. We put the car 20 times on a ferry, mostly in Norway. We spend quite a lot, but we knew what´s coming. Only 3 times we slept in a campsite, 27 times we slept in the wild. No one got sick, we were not robbed, we didn´t lose anything important. Except for about 10 cold and rainy days in Norway´s fjords, we had sunny weather with summer-like temperatures. Denmark and Norway were the most touristy. Lithuania was the cheapest. We found Finland and surprisingly Estonia to be the best for wild camping.

That´s it, made it through the first month, not regretting we decided to go. While we are almost back in Germany, I´m already on the first blog posts about the trip. There is a lot to write about and lots of pictures to share. As always, you can follow on Facebook and Instragram as well.

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