The Long Haul Back Home: Part Two

I’m back home now. The apartment looks like a mess with the life of the past four months spread on the floor and tables. And I’m tired, because it was a long trip.

A nice Tuesday in Bad Bentheim

I finally saw the castle in Bad Bentheim and it was actually much bigger and more impressive than I imagined it would be. Unfortunately the normally really nice view from the top was blocked by the fog.

A foggy look towards the Bentheim castle.
Plenty of old dungeons and stuff to look at at the castle.

Besides the historical castle there was an art gallery too that had some quite interesting stuff from young artists from various German art schools. I enjoyed some of them very much. Gopea (Gallery of pre-established art) is a nonprofit organization that supports art students and gives them a chance to show their works. Some of the pieces had a lot of humor and some rebel spirit that really was cool.

Back behind the wheel

I got a call from the tire shop a little after three in the afternoon. It was about two hours earlier than I expected which was really nice. This meant that I could get more driving done on Tuesday already. I said my goodbyes to Michael and then hit the road.

It’s still unknown what made me think so much about the choice of route. I ended up with the western one, but I don’t think it would really have made a big difference either way. For some reason deciding was really difficult and that isn’t like me much. Maybe it was just the “man on a mission” mentality I had for the trip home that made this so big.

I made it past Copenhagen on the first day and slept on a parking lot in Fortunen in Lyngby. That makes 620 km for the first day. The ferry from Puttgarden in Germany to Rødby in Denmark was really expensive, but it was partly my own fault. I should have bought the ticket online in advance instead going to the ticket booth at the harbor.

On Wednesday morning I started driving after a quick breakfast and took the ferry to Sweden right in the beginning. After that I drove completely through to Kapellskär where the Finnlines ferry to Naantali was leaving in the evening. (More about this below.) Wednesday was the most hours of driving on one day and just 20 km shy of the longest distance too. I took a few breaks and only had problems in Stockholm. I got there at peak rush hour and due to an error in my navigation app (or me listening to it) I ended up going into the city. That cost me about 30-40 minutes extra, but luckily I had enough time.

The ferry trip to Finland

I wanted to cross to Finland with Viking Line, but since I was so late with booking, they no longer had room for Naranja-sized vehicles on board for Wednesday night. Luckily there was a nice alternative close by. Finnlines has a ferry connection from Kapellskär (80 km from Stockholm) to Naantali (close to Turku in Finland). It cost 160€ but it included a cabin just for me and a buffet dinner and breakfast which both were really nice. The company specializes in transporting trucks and bigger vehicles across, but there were about five other smaller cars on board too. This is something I might consider doing another time too instead of taking the normal ferry.

Back on home soil

Thursday morning after seven I was already out of the ferry and heading up north. On the way up I stopped by at my mom’s on the way for a cup of tea. The little over 300 km trip was quite uneventful really. The winter tires worked really well and even if it was really slippery along the way, I didn’t notice it really. I got home at noon on Thursday. The total trip from Lisbon to Jyväskylä ended up being 4230 km.

The first look at home from parked Naranja.

When I had done the unpacking, I took Naranja to a garage that specializes in doing body work. The second time I spent a night at Fabrica, I hit a metal post with the side of the van and there’s a small dent and some scraped paint that needs to be fixed. They will work on that next week. I also booked an oil change and some maintenance time to look into the issue with the engine light for the week after next. Until then I will still keep using the car, but after the maintenance I plan to take it to my friend’s garage close by until March.

Thoughts about the future

This will not be the last adventure with Naranja. Right now I’m thinking about timing the start of my next trip for August like I started this one too. This leaves me at least a couple of good surfing months in Portugal. I will look into the possibility of heading to the Canary islands for the winter too. This is just something I made up while driving and needs to be thought through more first. But that would give me nicer weather and maybe easier waves too for the winter. I could stay on the islands until March and then take the ferry back to southern Spain and head back to Portugal for the spring.

But this plan is surely going to change and morph into many different versions before it is done. But this trip definitely showed me that living in Naranja works nicely.

I’m also going to look into the rules about subletting my apartment or if that’s not doable then maybe giving it up completely. I don’t plan to stay “homeless” indefinitely, but for the next couple of years I could explore being a vanlifer a bit more at least.