So after almost a year of planning; making lists and Google maps and ordering various essential rv-gizmos from Amazon, this was the day when it all came together. We were plucked from the hotel by the rental company and soon after, we were introduced to Thor. Tom suggested several months ago that having had Harvey, we should call our next RV something and given the neighbourhood, Thor seemed appropriate. He is quite the most modern RV we have ever had, with sleek Scandinavian wood styling inside and a modern diesel engine which pulls swiftly through six gears. Its a little smaller than we are used to but perfectly laid out and a doddle to drive. There was one small hitch in that the gas cylinders which fuel the stove, water heater and furnace turn out to have different connections in Sweden and Norway, so once across the border (in about four days time) we would have been somewhat stuck. Thankfully they found a Norwegian tank and switched it with the Swedish ones so we should be set. After completing all the checks and safety videos and paperwork we were off.
Our satnav, is by modern standards an antique. It is a dial-up modem in a fibre-line world. Actually it works well enough but the maps were probably drawn up by Magellan. Every now and then a warning comes up which says “here be dragons”. Anyway the point I am labouring over is that it is unaware of quite a lot of recent roadbuilding activity, to the point where it didn’t realise that there was a much faster road through Sweden than the one we were on. I turned off to follow a motorway sign and soon we were heading north a whole lot faster, through what the satnav insisted was open countryside.
Next stop, Uppsala with its beautiful cathedral and ancient city centre. We didnt see any of that because we were interested in only one thing in Uppsala: Willy’s! Home of “Sweden’s cheapest grocery basket”, Willy’s is not quite Walmart, but its a big ol’ supermarket with low prices and the perfect place to stock up for the next month on the road. Using Google Translate, I had exchanged Swedish emails with the Willy’s people and become a member, so in we went and out we came with a groaning trolley’s-worth. I was pleased to find some products which I remembered from a few months spent in Denmark as a kid – like Remoulade and the onion chips to sprinkle over open sandwiches.
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