Climbing, crab fishing and three kids in a Sun Living (part 1)
In our family we’ve been talking for a long time about taking the kids on holiday in a a motorhome. The fantastic benefits of flexibility and the ability to travel around for the whole holiday without having to pack and unpack and stay in different places.
And friends who have used a a motorhome have given good reports of their holidays. But with three young children there are challenges on several levels. Will it be too crowded? Will they fall and hurt themselves? Will there be room for three child car seats? Will it work to have everyone sleeping in the same room for the whole holiday? Despite all these worries, we decided to have a go at a motorhome life this summer. And with a historically warm and dry summer like the one we had, we felt we couldn’t go wrong with a holiday in Sweden. We decided on a Sun Living S75 SL. With five belted seats and several beds, it seemed like the right vehicle for us.
Our plan was to travel round Bohuslän, west coast and visit the classic climbing areas there. It is also a beautiful archipelago landscape with rocks, sea and countryside, and is thus perfect for a family holiday.
Our oldest child, Sally, who is four years old, has been talking about the motorhome for several weeks now. She seems excited about both the holiday and riding in the motorhomevan. Our two-year-old twins, Harry and Frank, are still a bit too young to understand what is going on, other than that their parents are packing a lot of bags.
After driving from Stockholm to Jönköping, we get ourselves and our stuff into the motorhome and off we go. Straight away we are amazed at how all our stuff, which completely filled up our car and roof box, barely fills half of the motorhome. When we stop for our first night, everyone is already so tired that we fall asleep immediately as soon as we have parked.
We wake up to a beautiful morning. The kids are excited about waking up in the motorhomevan and, a bit giddy, they want to explore all its storage compartments and nooks and crannies. After breakfast, the kids are impatient and want to go out to play. We adults are curious about the climbing to be found in the surrounding area, and we pack a light backpack with the most important things we need for a morning and head off into the woods. We stay close to the motorhomevan, and think it will be good for the kids to become familiar with what will be their home for the coming weeks. We adults didn’t get much climbing done today, but we did have a fun time in the woods, and the kids climbed up and down some small rocks and hills.
Back again in the motorhome, the kids seem to feel at home. We play in the afternoon with toys that we brought with us from home, and just enjoy being on holiday.
Climbing and “open preschool” on Häller crag
Today we decided to meet up with some friends on one of the best-known crags in Bohuslän. Most of us who got together are from Stockholm and are down here on holiday. Some have summer cottages in the area and others have campervans. The climbing community is so welcoming generally, and it’s not unusual for people to take their kids along to the crags to spend the day there playing in the woods, having picnics and socialising with other families. The day serves up some superb climbing on top-class granite. The kids eat from wild raspberry bushes, go on small adventure walks in the woods – sparse pine forest with a light that produces a magical glow in the moss on the ground. We make sure we do our own climbing when most of the children are asleep, and we help each other by playing with those children who are awake. The woods and the crag provide some welcome shade on this hot day, and as we walk back to the motorhome we talk about the wonderful freedom you have travelling in a motorhome and being able to adapt what you do each day to the weather and your mood.
The next day promises a temperature of 32 degrees or more, so we decide to drive to the sea and have a day of rest on the beach the day after.
Crab fishing and dinner on the rocks in Ramsvik
We sleep well in the motorhome despite the tropical heat of the night. With the windows and roof hatches open we catch a nice sea breeze, and wake up ready for a lovely day of rest on the beach. Travelling with young children on a climbing holiday is a lot about planning fun things for the children in between the days on the crag. However wonderful it is in the woods, our kids love to play in the sea, and fishing for crabs is just as much fun. We find an easy stopping place and enjoy our day at the sea. There are plenty of crabs, and we catch a few other sea creatures in our net too. The kids think it’s all very exciting and never want to stop. It is almost dark by the time they settle down in bed, and we parents can have a cup of tea on the rocks and enjoy the twilight. After this beautiful day we are very glad to be on a motorhomeholiday; it’s really soothing to be able to sleep right by the seashore, with the sound of waves and seabirds. Also, to be close to the fun of the beach and at the same time have somewhere to eat and sleep parked right there feels really luxurious. With this feeling, we fall asleep and recharge our batteries for the next climbing adventure.
Child-friendly climbing days with friends
We have friends who have a summer cottage in the area, so for a few days we stay in our campervan there with them. A motorhome makes it easy to stay overnight with other people, because we don’t feel in the way with our big family in a small cottage. Instead we sleep in the campervan, parked on their drive. Then we eat and play in the garden in the daytimes. These are days with a communal feeling, when we help each other with cooking and the children play together in the garden. For us grownups it’s nice to socialise with our friends for a few days and just enjoy being on holiday. There was a slackline set up that the kids thought was really exciting to try balancing on. And the summer berries from the garden made a delicious snack.
During the daytimes we go together to some great climbing crags nearby, and the children have fun in the woods or at the house.
It strikes us that we have adapted very well to the change from our big house where we have a lot of bedrooms and large play areas to sleeping in the same bed and crowding round the table and in the motorhome. Obviously they sometimes squabble a little more than usual, because they are playing so close together in the motorhome, but bedtime routines and meals go surprisingly smoothly. All five of us sleep in the large bed in the back of the motorhome. It is wider than a standard double bed. Although there are several beds in the campervan, it feels nice to sleep all together, and no one complains of being crowded.
After these days with our friends, we move on, and sooner than we realised it is the last climbing day before it’s time to go home.
Being prepared for the unexpected and a last climbing day
Sometimes as a parent you just can’t keep up. We realised this when we were taken completely by surprise by a heavy downpour when we were at a parking area and were just about to drive to our parking space for the night. We grownups were of course thinking how lucky it was we were inside the campervan not getting wet.
But sometimes children think a little differently from adults. It wasn’t long before all the kids had got their boots on and were heading out into the pouring rain. There was no time to put on their rain gear – they were fully focused on the biggest puddle in the parking area. And how they played! They ran, jumped, laughed and shouted. That’s when we parents felt there was no point in trying to get them back into the motorhome again. In the end they were completely soaked all over, because having boots on is no help if you start rolling in a puddle!
When the children had finally finished playing in the rain, they stood by the side of the motorhome, completely drenched from head to toe. At that moment we both felt that the motorhome was our salvation. Off with all the wet clothes, into the shower, and on with warm, dry clothes. The kids crept into the bed and laughed happily at the fun they had just had. We never thought before this holiday that the biggest adventure would be had in a completely ordinary parking area. But that’s what it’s like travelling with children; you never know when the memorable moments will come along. Thanks to the motorhome, we were able to just let them play completely freely in the rain without worrying about how we would get them into their car seats again.
But after the rain comes sun. On the last climbing day we go to a crag where we can park right there. This is not all that common, because many crags are some way from the road. With the motorhome, it feels extra luxurious to be able to make lunch, rest in beds and drink coffee in the shade under the awning between climbs. We linger and do not really want to start driving back to Jönköping.