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                 And so twhen the moon was full hey set off on their mystical raft                                           of dreams to find the magic rainbow and return the light                                                                                      to the people of Eriu..................

Here for the dream journey..


March 2nd. 2005

We're off..2200 hours destination Belfast for the 2.30 am crossing to Stranraer..arrived in Belfast at 00.30 and sailed through check-in at 1.30. The ferry was very seemed like we had it all to ourselves. We got about one hours sleep after watching James and the giant peach is this a sign of things to come I wonder ..The crossing was very calm.Welcome to Scotland the sign said and by 5.00am we were parked up for the night in a layby outside Stranraer. Sleep came easy.

By 9.30 we're on the road again destination Dumfries The drive across the A75 was beautiful The snow covered mountains visable in southern Scotland .Who needs to go to Sweden ? This has the feel of an adventure of it's own, so we will be back. We both would love to spend time in Scotland,visit the Islands, Findhorn, and capture the monster of the deep!!!!!!or leave one. We think that we have querky roadsigns in Ireland, well try this one. Slow down for cows when you see flashing red lights, yea right!!

4.15 just come off the Pennines good covering of snow on them, because of the weather conditions driving is difficult but we have decided to go as far as we can in daylight, due to the time constraint of the ferry also lack of sleep is catching up with us and we are getting a bit edgey. Scotch corner and 174 miles covered so we are well up on target.

We have arrived in Hull , it is a beautiful city, small, without the docks it is about the size of Swords. We spent some time here, had some traditional fish and chips!! watched sky news on a huge screen in the main square.It's a very compact city even we didn't get lost. We drove accross the Humber bridge just for the experience of it and because we could, then we walked under it, it was worth the trip.



Almost at the end of the walk we came across this clay works it was established in 1840 appears to be closed now but it holds images of times past



4th March

We awoke this morning to witness a cockfight, two cock phesants were having a go as a third one looked on. It looked like it was going to be a fight to the finish then one did a chicken run, it was all over. Today we are in a park in Hessle, an oasis under the Humber bridge, it used to be a chalk mine. It is the only place that we have stopped that is litter free. There are lots of places to pull in on the motorways which is great, but there is a shortage of bins and litter is growing everywhere (worse than home).

We are optmististic that we will get Molly on the P&O later as we went on line yesterday and have everything that fulfills the requirments. She has been great, she seems a little anxious as if she is wondering where we will bring her next. She would go anywhere that Jimmy would (foolish dog).

So now it's almost 4pm on the 4th...the ferry check in time for Rotterdam is six thirty so better get the spuds on ...

Off to the ferry, it took ten mins. to reach the port from Hull ..15 mins later we were on the boat, Molly and all, no bother at all, so now we wonder about getting her off on the other side.We watch a film in the cinema onboard (meet the Fockers what a laugh, and the camper well it's not quiet the Tigin) ....put the clocks on an hour and then back to the cabin for a glass of wine and before we know it ....Its 6 am and breakfast is being served ...yawn back to sleep.


Boat is dead on time in Rotterdam and we get out first glimpse of the snow covered docks and by about half eight we are on the road again not a word about the dog. We think, what was all the fuss about anyway .

So now the drive across Netherlands, Germany and Danmark begins. As part of the preparation for the trip we downloaded a step by step route map from RAC for each leg of the journey. Just as well for I think without it we would be still trying to leave Rotterdam invaluable tool I would say. It made things so easy. Not so good with the driving conditions though, freezing fog, a blizzard at one stage I wonder how far we will get on this 536 mile drive. The road is great and not too busy.

Every few miles there are parking lay-by's equipped with toilet's. ( picture speaks for itself) Some of these places have garages come restaurants but unlike Ireland not shops. We've been looking for a pint of milk for few hundred miles now

Its important to keep topped up with fuel although this is expensive in these garages, it would be possible to go off the motorway to the towns but that would take time. So on we go and by 7pm we hold up for the night just north of Hamburg its about minus seven outside..Hot chocolate time inside ...hmmmm


Its 9.45 am temp is minus 4.5 we have a few new neighbours this morning dont know when they arrived. Molly is off running in the soft snow. Breakfast and we're off North on the A7 heading for the Danish border. Stress free driving on a beautiful sunny day. A lot of snow along the way but snowploughs have been busy. Children and adults on sleighs along the way some pulled by tractors some by Mercedes. We also saw on a few occasions, groups of people in fields standing around trees not sure what it was about.


W passed over a few frozen rivers just inside Denmark remarkable to see such a body of water frozen. In the picture it's more like a beach.

The scenery along the drive is wonderful it would be nice to explore the many small villages we passed, but another time. Arrived in Grenaa at 5pm and had a nice walk through the woods then dinner, wine and early night we're both tired after the long two days driving.



7th March

A day off today explored the town of Grenaa got supplies of water and food, the ferry for Varburg leaves at 01 00 so taking it easy for the long night ahead. It is a very small port town not at all what we expected. It has a lovely intimate feel about it, slow and easy. Old style prams are still in use it is like time has stood still here as no one seems in a hurry to go anywhere(maybe this was a reflection of how we are feeling today). We took a walk on the beach this is our first time on a beach in Denmark its a dark sand and the water deepens quickly so no swimming today.


8th march

We got on board the ferry with no hassle, no mention of Molly, and we were not asked for our passports. Here we are on our last crossing before entering Sweden, we could have taken half the dogs in Ireland with us and no one is bothered.The crossing was very calm it took four and a half hrs. and we dozed most of the way. We arrived in Sweden at 5.45 (don't tell Jimmy, but we couldn't find the Tigin we forgot which deck we were on)(We christened the camper the Tigin, it is the Irish word for little house). We decided not to travel on the main roads,(the red ones)but to take the secondary ones and see a bit of the countryside(the orange ones).There were also white roads and they were just that, white, we decided that the Tigin may just not be ready for them. The country already has a beautiful energy and we want to stop everywhere and take pictures of everything. We have seven days before we are due to arrive in Orsa (350mls) so we are going to soak up as much of the differences between our two countries as possible. The farmyards and the outhouses are as well kept as the houses, so neat and tidy and painted in wonderful colours.






We stoped in Svenljunga where Jimmy had his first encounter with a moose (see pic). Frozen rivers are no longer a shock or a novelty as when we first saw the one in Denmark. Today we saw a frozen lake with footprints going right across we are not tempted or that brave yet. Later we spent a few hours in Jonkoping we bought the most beautiful bread and a phrase book, we will be fluent in no time!!! We headed up the lake coast road from Jonkoping which is approx.180km long, reached a town called HJO about 3pm took the rest of day off .



9th March

Arrived in Orebro a beautiful city. Spent the day walking about the town. There is a castle in the centre of the town with a river running around it, like a moate. On one side of the moate three boys were playing on the frozen water with a sledge and on the other side the water was so fast flowing that it would carry you away instantly. The water was running under the ice and out the other side.

We made inquiries about making a subscription to the local telephone co. (Telia) to gain access to the internet, and were told that we would need a Swedish address. So we bought cards that will enable us to connect if we can gain access to Telia networks. Everyone we spoke to here, were eager to help. Later we found a free connection which was our first time to gain access since we left England. We found all the information on where to find LPG (liquid petroleum gas)in Sweden, there are very few, only eight so it would be important for us to plan our route around them while winter is still here. We not only depend on it for cooking but for heating and hot water.

We then did our first grocery shopping in Sweden, everything here is cheaper than at home so we are not sure why the perception at home is the opposite. We got such value for money that we felt like Bonny and Clyde, and re-checked the currency rate. We spent the night just outside Orebro.

10th March

Today we drove back roads (orange ones) and headed north. We tried to avoid the main road at one point and ended up on a white one. It was very white so we headed back to safer ground. The road signs now are showing moose so we have our eyes peeled. The weather up here seems much milder. We arrived in Falun where we knew we would get LPG. Well that's a story in itself so I will give the short version. We are now familiar with the location of every garage in town, but it was not in a garage but in an outlet called Gasbolaget off the main road not 3k's as we had been told but about 13k(a touch of home I would say). So right now we are toasting our toes and drinking cans of cider which by the way cost €8 for eighteen cans ( beat that). We are in Rattivik tonight, between three churches, (safe!!who knows). We are overlooking lake Siljan which is about 40kl long and completly frozen. We can't see a lot because it's snowing. We played draughts before retiring for the night.

11th March

This morning we woke up to a fresh covering of snow it was -5 last night a cold snap has begun according to the forecast. We didn't feel the cold as we were insulated by the snow the Tigin was covered. We headed for Mora which is 40k's away and at the other end of the lake. We stopped along the way to exercise Molly and listen to the silence of the forest. We arrived in Mora and parked up at the frozen lake. We spent the day in town, we walked around to familarise ourselves with the place. The went to the library and got onto the internet, it is a great facility for us while we are in this area. We also walked into a camping site which is an option for us if the need arises. It snowed all day, it was the type of place and weather that we expected to find in Sweden. Mora hosts the worlds longest cross country ski race and it happened last weekend. The marque's are coming down and the town is in recovery. A breed of horse called the Dalahast originated here it is the symbol of Sweden. They are similar in look to the shetland. Wooden Dala horses are hand made here by skilled craftsmen. Most important of all Santa lives here in Tomteland (Santaworld)at the foot of the mountain called Gesundaberget. We settled down for the night alongside lake Siljan in Mora.

12th March

Last night was -10 so the cold spell is on the up and it is -4.5 in the Tigin this morning, outside it is -9. There is no end to the surprises everyday. The sound of the snowplough is a familiar sound to us now but wait for it !!! this time it was on the lake clearing a track of fresh snow around the lake to enable families of saturday morning skaters to enjoy the sunshine and icy winds (it's time to muffle up). We walked with Molly for about 1ml.on the lake (walking on water not new to Jimmy of course). She was very excited but what a sight, she had a bit o' bother keeping all four legs under her. She was practising the fandango just copying Jimmy as usual. It was mighty thrilling to know that below there was a lake that creates another kind of world here in the summertime. Visions of sandcastles, paddling and all types of water sports including angling.

The fish are having time out right now.We are also having time out time too, before the rest of the Irish musicians and dancers arrive on Tuesday night into Orsa about 15kl. from here




We took a trip to Tomteland today and it was the fairytale setting that everychild (big ones too) dreams of, complete with falling snow just as we arrived. The only thing missing was the white bearded one but I suppose even he deserves time out (a bit dissapointing though). Yet another surprise around the corner, mount Gesundaberget ! It's a ski slope. It was the first time that either of us had ever witnessed one. What a sight!! We were besotted by the sight of it. It drew us in and we felt that it was a place to spend some time. There were little ones from toddlers with their parents queing for the chairlift it looks like they were born with skies attached, we are smitten. We made enquiries and "we will be back", can't wait !!!!

Tonight we made a quick decision to use the campsight as the forecast is giving -16 to -20. So here we are "plugged in to electricity and recharging". It is 10pm and already it is -9 outside. A good choice I think. We are leaving the heat on as a precaution.



13th March

Well we have survived the night, it was -13 at one point of the night and we still had to turn off the heat as it was too warm for comfort. When we got up it was -9 outside and -6 inside but the Tigin heats up very quickly and porridge does the same for us. We left the parking lights of the Tigin on so the battery was dead. Luckily we were not planning on going anywhere for the next few days. We have the facility to charge the car battery from the control panel so with the flick of a few switches it is charging. We went in search of a small electric heater to use while on campsites or for use with the generater in case we need to conserve our gas. We took a walk to the shopping centre on the outskirts of town, about 5mls round trip it is heavy going in slippery conditions. Sunday is not the day to go shopping here except for supermarkets and McDonalds there was not a lot open so no heater today. Prices of food here are a lot cheaper than at home. While we have good grips and we were well wrapped it is easy to skid if you are not alert at all times. We were tired and glad to get back. We used the laundry facitities which was great, not many people here so there was no, get in line, we had it all to ourselves. We decided to sleep in the downstairs bed as condensation had built up in the upper one from the inside heat. We are leaving the Tillylamp on tonight as temperatures are plumeting by the hour and we think that Molly is feeling the cold.

So glad that we brought the thermals

Look ma! I know I said never, but when in Rome....



14th March

Well here we are the day before our due date in Orsa, not only have we survived the changing conditions but we are adapting already. The Tilly and the thermals did the job last night and we were very cosy. Today we bought a convector heater and chocolate cake (perfect combination), they both have the same effect. We had a beautiful walk in the woods with Molly, she was born for the snow. No matter how cold it gets the snow remains soft and powdery not easy to form snowballs, so no snowman just yet. Molly doesn't care she just hare's around jumping and chasing, eating as much snow as she can manage, it is not easy to tell where solid ground ends and the river begins although that is solid too. It is good to have had these few days to rest up before the Irish arrive late to morrow night. So our first leg of the journey is coming to an end and we look forward to the next phase        Orsa...