Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vacation in Denmark: Part II - Camping

I like camping.  I think this is what my parents had in mind when they used to pack us up in the minivan and drive us all HOURS to remote locations - instill a love of nature in our children or die trying.  And it worked.

This is probably why I happily camped for 5 months in Qatar.  Tents, campfires, and camaraderie.

Camping in Denmark is totally different.

If you are from the US, forget everything you know about camping.

Camping in Denmark is more properly “caravanning.” 

You take your caravan to a campsite, usually near to a major city and/or highway.  You park it right next to someone with a caravan exactly like yours.  You put up an attached tent, doubling your living space and effectively turning the outside into the inside.  You spend the next week reading a paper over coffee and ignoring the neighbors who are within arm reach.  You are not allowed a fire.  You are not allowed to make noise after 10.  You send the kids off to bike around the campsite and swing on the swings next to the toilets while you toss back a couple of beers and plan on taking the children to the zoo.  It is, I’m afraid, a little grim.

If you have time, watch this - it's hilarious!

We have a caravan that we’ve used as a second home, usually because we need to stay for a few days somewhere too far to make it to our home every night.  The DB lived in it while he was doing a semester abroad in Holland.  We used it when we had first moved to the island, but the DB hadn’t graduated yet so we needed to stay near his school.  But now we have a baby.  So the first time we had to overnight away from home, we tried out the summer home experience

But it just wasn’t us.  I keep cringing and spitting and wailing about the inequality and the environmental destruction and the DB panics about breaking something or staining something that doesn’t belong to us and costs more than we can afford to replace.

Back to the caravan it was.

But while driving north, to where we normally camped, we had an epiphany.  We were in a car with a caravan!  We didn’t have to “camp” next to the city or near a highway.  So the DB told me to pick a campsite and I chose one as far as I could from anywhere, within reasonable driving distance to Aarhus, in the heart of the Danish lake-country just outside of Silkeborg - Skyttehusets Camping.

We still were surrounded by caravans and there was no fire pit at our spot, but the difference!  Oh viva la difference… or something.

There were trees and a lakeside!  Families were going canoeing - parents were hanging out with their kids!!  People were hiking, biking, boating and barbecuing.  Although it was a long drive into the woods (lots of trails!!), campers could take one of the many passenger boats into town (any number of towns, actually).  There was even an old paddleboat that could take you from the campsite to the “Sky Mountain” (the third highest point in Denmark if you don’t count the bridge) to Silkeborg.

The lakeside proper was reserved for tents, so if you are tent camping, you don’t have to stay with the rest of us caravanning sorts.  For the non-car owning among us, you can take the train to Silkeborg and then the boat to the campsite, pitch your tent and enjoy the surrounding nature. 

This is more like it!

You aren't camping until you look like you dressed in the dark without a mirror.
Because you dressed in the dark.
Without a mirror.
This is much more like my kind of camping.  There were still too many of us in a small space, but it felt different because of the trees.  The people staying there were so much more active and into their families.  I missed having a campfire.  There’s not much that can be done about that… except have one in our back yard.

Set up and clean up take a bit longer, especially if you put up the tent extension.  This time we didn’t and therefore set up and clean up took less than 30 minutes… TOTAL.  Can’t beat that! 

I’d like to go back to that campsite again.  But I am also looking forward to trying to find other fantastic campsites that are overlooked because caravanning-is-something-for-old-people-and-chavs.

They see us campin'... they be hatin'.  Just me an' mah posse o' one, yo!
Camping Thug Life.

1 comment:

  1. Aaawww...I want to go camping with you and the DB and the Spawn. That looks like fun.


Keep it clean, don't be mean....