Driving our Astro Van to Lake Finja

As I get older I get wiser. Driving our Astro Van to Lake Finja revealed possibilities and limitations that I used to be totally unaware of. On this trip I learned things about my body that I never considered relevant before.

And by before I do not consider life when I was younger. Before refers to my life prior to acquiring an Astro Van.

Before the Astro Van came into our lives I was happily unaware of how rainwater find its way through old weather seals – the way it does in our Van. I never thought spare parts would be the topic at the family diner – for weeks. And never before did I truly value my talent for suppressing a need to pee  (for several hours until sunrise. Yes, I am uncomfortable with the dark).

Adventures in an Astro Van

Campfire! Sausages, stick bread (only a little burned) and a beer.

And let’s face it: Making a campfire was something someone else took care of on the rare occasions I needed one.

Things have stepped up a level
I am telling you this because things have stepped up to a new level in our home in South of Sweden. My husband has spent hours and hours fixing the Van. We knew there would be repairs as it is 20 years old, but doing it all ourselves makes a bigger impression in our lives than handing it in to a mechanic.

Some weekends the most I saw of my husband was from his knees and down: The only parts that stuck out from underneath the Van.

His many hours under, over and even inside the Van has finally paid off: Last weekend we could take “Homer” out on a spin. “Homer” – that’s the name of our van.

Vanstination: Lake Finja
The destination – or vanstination – was Lake Finja. A one hour drive from our home in a standard car – for us it took a tad longer. Just prepping the Van before we left on this adventure took almost a day.

First note to self: Learn what to bring, make lists and the prepping time will be reduced significantly.

After five hours of packing I was in serious need of a nap before we could head out on a trip that was supposed to be relaxing! Finally we felt as ready as we could ever be – and drove the Van out of the driveway and headed north to lovely Lake Finja.

Great place to swim and relax
Lake Finja is surrounded with hills and forests and if you enter from the South you will find an area where it is perfect to park your car or van. At this time of the year bathing has not really begun – at least not for me.

However if you visit during the summer this is a great place to park and spend a day swimming and relaxing.

On this quiet and gray Saturday afternoon we were the only ones there. It was only us, the dogs and a lot of different birds that I don’t know the names of. Except for swan, duck and seagull.

Good to Know about Lake Finja

  • Dogs are allowed
  • Easy access to go swimming
  • Hiking and MTB routes around the lake
  • Not crowded in April
  • Several historical sites in the area
Camping in South Sweden

At Lake Finja you can park just by the water.

Couples making out
At four o’clock I hated the Van.

I could not sleep; the sleeping bag made me feel like a fat pig in a small dress – and I really needed to pee.

My husband was also awake. He however had been awake for a bit longer. Apparently he had not slept at all. He claimed my snoring kept him awake…

We tried it – lets go home
We considered driving back home. I did refer to it as ‘giving up’ – I called it ‘ ok – now we tried it, let’s go home’.

But we decided to stay. At least now it was only a few hours before the sun came up.

Drinking a bit of Snaps also helped us get the spirit up again.

Camping with dogs

Our dogs are off course with us when we go on adventures with the Astro Van

The worst part of it all
As the morning came we realized we had parked our Van in the middle of a popular hiking route. Wherever we looked there were hikers, bikers and families out on their Sunday walk: Clusters with young children and Labradors.

But honestly the absolute worst part of it all: There was no available coffee! I need my morning coffee. Without it I forget my name; I go to work in the wrong office; I cannot start a campfire…

I know intellectually that we did not bring a coffee machine and hundred miles of cable.

That information had just not really been communicated to my reptile morning brain.

I just stepped out from the Van and expected there to be coffee.

Camping at Lake Finja

I tried to make a camp fire – but the result was depressing

Trial and error
My husband looked amused at me as he said:

Honey – you go on and make the camp fire.

I have never done anything like that. Sure I have the DVD but besides that and lighting a candle that is as close I get to starting a camp fire.

So I had to start. Trial and error.

Let’s just say that I had a lot of errors before my husbands need for coffee was larger than his joy of watching me cursing inside a massive cloud of smoke.

Second note to self: Wet grass does not give a great camp fire – this recipe only gives heavy smoke.

We are going again
Finally we had our coffee and could relax and enjoy the day. When this moment arrived it suddenly felt great to be camping. And we celebrated our very first night sleeping in “Homer” our Astro Van.


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