Our last camping experience was quite a long time ago: a stuffy small tent, dirty mobile loos, crowded showering cabins and a camping area where tents seem to vanish from day to day more in garbage. It was the time of music festivals. After that we needed a break from camping for a while.
Due to the travel restrictions because of the current COVID-19 situation we have decided to give camping a new chance. This time not in a tent, but more comfortable in a caravan.
I like the imagination of having the own home with me during vacation, having the flexibility of changing the location without permanently packing and unpacking stuff. In a caravan there is not much space available and also weight has to be considered. That means you have to focus on the most important stuff to take with you. What is really required?
Well – let’s see! We decide to rent a small caravan at a caravan rental company nearby for one week. It needs to be small not only for the reason that our car is limited in its traction. We think that especially for us newbies a small caravan can be better towed and maneuvered. Last but not least we want to try out travelling with only limited space available.
As rough destination we have chosen the Mecklenburg Lakeland in the North East of Germany. School holidays have already started in some regions, furthermore the COVID-19 situation leads to a boom of spending holidays in the home country. To keep it short: despite of a huge amount of campgrounds in this region it’s not easy to find a free pitch for the caravan. We increase our search radius and get a confirmation from a wonderful located campground directly at the Lake Schwerin.
In regard to the preparations there is not much to do, just a special liquid as well as fast dissolving toilet paper for the chemical toilet are on our shopping list. We can take tableware, cooking pots and camping furniture from our allotment inventory. In regard to food we just take with us some basics. Finally we stay in the urbansation with supermarkets around the corner.
Our Caravan: Sterckemann Starlett 420CP
Now our first day with the caravan has come. At the rental company we get a short briefing about the caravan and the equipment. Though it sounds not very complicating at all everything is new for us. I am really impressed what the caravan offers on a length of only 4,20 m: a sufficiently large bed for two persons, a cozy dinette, a small kitchen and even a small bathroom with a comfortable Thetford cassette toilet. Everything in a plain and timeless design.
The small kitchen contains a gas cooker and a fridge, which operates with electricity as well as with gas. Enough cabinets for stowing stuff are available. The caravan ist furthermore equipped with a 50 l – fresh water tank, which serves the sinks in kitchen and bathroom by use of an electrical pump. Greywater is lead out through a nozzle under the caravan to be filled in a separate disposal tank (we are provisionally using a bucket). The remaining fresh water volume can be seen on a display.
After we have hitched up the caravan to our small Opel Astra we are starting in direction to Ludwigslust. Fastest way would be the motorway, but this way is much longer and for the reason that we are allowed to drive maximum 100 km/h when towing the caravan we decide to use the landway which is much shorter. We want to spend the first night in Ludwigslust, autarkic without campground.
MoHo Parking Ludwigslust
Ludwigslust is located around 35 km South of Schwerin and is known for it’s castle as well as the beautiful castle park. We are parking on a motorhome parking area outside of the city. Actually caravan rigs are not allowed on these parking areas, but the area is large and empty, so there is simply no reason for us not to use it. We set up the caravan, after that we take out our folding bikes and head to the city centre of Ludwigslust to eat something and go shopping. At first it’s a strange feeling to leave caravan and car lonely at the parking area. What about burglary? Such thoughts should better not come when choosing this kind of travelling. The thoughts vanish the more we leave car and caravan behind us. When we return everything is in well order. Furthermore two other motor homes have arrived.
We spend a very relaxing night in the caravan. The bed is comfortable – also with Sören’s height of 1.89 m good sleep is possible. Sun beams, which pass through the window wake me up. Time for a coffee, which I prepare camper like in an espresso maker on the gas cooker. At the fuel station around the corner we can get fresh croissants.
After breakfast we take again our bikes and have a ride to the castle. We are parking the bikes there. Just in the moment when the lock of the bikes snaps in I realize that I have forgotten the key in the caravan. Fair enough – if it’s not in your head, it’s in your legs! So we take a longer walk – first through the amazing park of the castle, then back to the caravan to get the key, and then again back to the castle to get our bikes. My fitness watch is very happy about the high amount of steps.
Now it’s time to leave Ludwigslust. We are packing our stuff and go on to direction of Schwerin where we can check-in at the camp site from 3 pm.
Camp Ground “Süduferperle” at Lake Schwerin
The camp ground Süduferperle is located on a small peninsula in the South of Lake Schwerin. It’s a small camp ground directly in the nature.
We stay in second row to the water. We detach the caravan from the trailer hitch and move it to it’s final location. Then we crank out the support legs per hand crank. Right beside us a couple from Denmark prepares their camping pitch. At our neighbours we can see how professional campers do this: first of all they position their caravan automatically per remote control with a mover. Cranking down the supports by hand is also for newbies. Experienced campers use a battery powered screw driver and make it within a quarter of the time we needed. Noted! After that we connect our caravan to the power column. It’s also possible to fill fresh water into the tank directly at our pitch. The next super market is appr. 2 km away and can easily be reached by bike.
We feel comfortable with the camping area. The camp ground offers following amenities:
Shower and sanitary house: centrally located and can be reached easily from all pitches. Here are toilets and shower cabins. The showering time is charged. Coins for the showers can be purchsed at the reception. A coins costs 1 EUR and offer 3 minutes showering time. Time can be stopped by pushing a button. 3 Minutes are absolutely sufficient for showering including hair washing, when water is stopped during the foaming of body and hair.
Washing-up station: this station offers some places with sinks and warm water to clean the tableware. We make use of it as we don’t have warm water in the caravan. Furthermore our provisional greywater bucket is completely full after the washing-up.
Disposal point for greywater and chemical toilets. For all who don’t know (like me before our trip): How does a cassette toilet work? By moving a lever the “business” falls into a tank which is pushed in like a cassette from the side of the caravan. Afterwards the toilet can be flushed with fresh water. The fecal tank contains a substance (we have used no chemicals – but a purely biological substance based on eucalyptus) which decomposes toilet paper and eliminates bad smells. The cassette has a capacity for 20 liters. Emtying the tanks is very simple. The cassette is pulled out from the side can be converted to a trolley and pulled to the disposal point. There it can be emptied over an outlet pipe. Two or three times flushing with fresh water, before pushing it back into the caravan. A very clever system.
Bathing area: There is a small bathing entry into the lake. The water in the lake is crystal clear, not too cold, just perfect to refresh. The sunsets at the lake are amazing.
Boat rental: it’s possible to rent paddle boats. We have not used this service.
Washing machine and dryer: also possible for extra charges. We did not need this service.
Recreational activities are abundantly available in the area. It’s always a good idea to have bikes with you. The trend follows the use of pedelecs, we see plenty of them on the camp ground. Also folding bikes are doing good for short trips or quick shopping tours to the supermarket. Apart from that the Lake Schwerin is a good place for water sports. For rainy days it’s recommended to have enough stuff for reading available. I think no problem in time of ebook readers and tablet computers. Cards or other board games are also fine, in case that enough willing players are on board.
Following activities are recommended:
Hiking Circuit “Zwei Seen”
The nature around Lake Schwerin is gorgeous. There are some nice hiking paths through the Schwerin Lakeland. Close to our camp ground runs the 9 km long hiking circuit “Zwei Seen”. The paths runs along the Lake Schwerin, through a beautiful forest over to the Pinnower Lake and finally back to the camp ground in Raben Steinfeld. An easy shady tour through the nature with nice views on both lakes and incredible tranquility. We did not even meet a handful of people on our tour.
It’s almost a Carribean atmosphere at the Zippendorfer Beach. A large golden sand beach in the South West of Lake Schwerin.
The capital city of the federal state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is located in the West of Lake Schwerin. From the camp ground an idyllic bicycle way, through forest, passing by impressing villas and small castles, directly to the big Schwerin Castle. Castle Schwerin hosts the parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It’s gorgeuos. A castle taken from a fairy tale with many turrets, which decorations glitter in the sunshine. The castle garden is adorable. It’s absolutely worth a visit. But not only the castle also the city itself is great for a visit. It’s nice strolling through the small streets and discovering many small shops, cafes and restaurants.
Around 40 km further North at the Baltic Sea coast is the Hanseatic City of Wismar, which is also worth a visit. You can see typical Hanseatic brick Gothic architecture, and a lively harbour to breathe in Baltic Sea air and eat delicious fish rolls.
Probably there are not so many ways during vacation to be so close with the nature and at least outside like when you go camping. A caravan does not offer as much comfort as a hotel or vacational home, but isn’t it a good idea to change this comfort from time to time to the opportunity of just opening a door and being outside in the nature? Pure deceleration. It was great – a good chance that we do it again.