Leaving Berlin you get trapped in such a traffic jam that is worthy of the roman GRA; luckily in a temporary orgy of Wi-Fi offer in a coffee place you had downloaded a bit of maps with maps.me, so you find an alternative road to get out of the city. Soon the panorama of the idyllic German countryside starts to slide, which reminds you of the illustrations by Richard Scarry: factories, warehouses, small forests, road works perfectly tidy, absurd means of transport like giant motorbikes with three wheels, lorries carrying cars of one same color, tractors with the trailer full of hay. It´s only missing the talking cats or the worms with the Tyrolese cap and one shoe only. You stop by at Hamburg to do the groceries and refill the tank (a bit more than 1 euro/liter, and the highway is FOR FREE: Deutschland über alles).
If one can trust your intuition, then Hamburg is a place to take into account: crossing it you instantly have the impression of a live city, a real one, with a strong and well defined identity. Canals with canoes, streets packed with bikes, houses with and Anglo-Saxon flavor, so many trees and then young people everywhere. Something rare in an occidental city nowadays.
You leave behind the German Jutland and enter Denmark while it starts pouring rain.
The kids fall asleep and the car gets invaded by Bach´s cello sonatas. This moment all for yourself, with the rain outside accompanying the sound of the cello, has the power to open up a whole wave of memories from your childhood. Very clear memories of some afternoon in Autumn at your friend T.P´s place, the smell of pipe smoked by his father in the studio while you interrupt your games to run soaked in sweat into the kitchen and have a snack. It was an unrepeatable state of grace, where each thing imagined in the game was real and fantastic at the same time. A marvelous childhood, right T.P.? Now we both have kids, and we face our lives separately; and still that thing is always there, somewhere. Do our kids live such a happy childhood? I try my best, T.P., to protect their enchanted age, but it´s not easy. Sometimes the sea is rough, probably more than what it was for our parents: and is difficult to show up always strong, secure, sweet and able to drive away the threat for them. And maybe is stupid to even question it, happiness belongs to whom is able to perceive it.
You go fast through the strip of earth that connects Rømø with Denmark, in the horizon under the clouds you can see a stripe of light: the rain will stop soon. You stop in a campsite, while the night comes down you prepare chicken and basmati rice for everyone. It´s cold, but tomorrow will be nice, you feel it.
And actually the next day at 6 in the morning the sun is already up there. The occidental coast of the pseudo island of Rømø is an immense beach of thin sand, where you can access with the car, like the bad guys at Daytona Beach. Your day goes by collecting shells, that in some parts are so many that they cover the sand and crack under your feet when you walk over them. You and Emma venture into the sea, cold but not freezing. Then you wander around the island, browsing between the funny Danish houses with the roof that looks like fringe haired girls.
The next day you clear out and leave again. You stop for lunch at Ribe, delicious antique village, under a splendid sun: like in Berlin, also here you have brought the summer, you joke with the kids.
You overtake the gigantic bridge that connects Copenaghen with Malmö and you land in Scania, all yellow with the dark blue sea in the background (it loos like PUGLIA). Sweden welcomes you with a thousand car Volvo in the highway, some of them really absurd (the Swedish have a particular eye for vintage cars). The way to Stockholm is long: you stop for dinner (you prepare risotto) and you sleep right next to the highway.
Today you´ll drive to Stockholm; you arrive around 5 in the afternoon, but the campsites are all full: full for the Swedish, which means that between a campingvan/tent and the next there is enough space to park four Volvo, but that is right. In reality, there is so much space in Sweden, what´s the point on squashing all of us together? Somehow you pull out a big smile and some words in Swedish to the tattooed receptionist, who must be around the 15th month of pregnancy, by the size of her belly. You make her notice the three tired, hungry and dirty kids (wich is true, though ALWAYS). At the end she grants you a place with electricity and even a discount. Tack så micket!
After dinner, you wash the dishes with Maia in the common washing room. It´s half past nine, and here we go, another of those killer sunsets shows up. They look like nuclear explosions, the sun fires up the clouds, which streak the sky in thousand shapes: you leave Maia alone for a moment to admire it once again. At your return you find her concentrated on washing the pots.
“What a good girl you are, Maia. Dad has been distracted by the sunset. He is such a romantic, uh?. “Hehe, yeah, a little bit way too romantic”.
Mmmh. That’s it. Shit.