Over the last couple of years, Anniken and I have been on some awesome trips. Last year we spent two weeks in fantastic Japan and a weekend in Paris, a city which unfortunately failed to impress any of us. In 2012, we cruised the Eastern Mediterranean for 7 nights on board the Navigator of the Seas. In terms of convenience, cruising is without doubt my kind of vacation, but Japan was an all time highlight when it comes to adventure.
This year, however, things are a bit different. Life With Kids has started, and while going on a cruise most likely would have worked out perfectly and some adventurous parents go around the world with their toddlers, we decided to keep it simple this year: Three nights at the Tanum Strand family resort in the South of Sweden – about two hours by car from where we live.
The resort, which is located at the coast, has everything you need and then some for a successful family vacation: A hotel, or a choice of cabins if that’s more your style, a small water park with both indoors and outdoors pools and slides, trampolines, miniature golf, a kid’s event center with activities like bouncy castles – there’s even a candy shop in the same building to keep the kids going and going and going, crab fishing, and, if you prefer to arrive by boat, a marina where you can dock your cabin cruiser.
Quite a few people, a surprising amount of them Norwegians, had decided to travel to Tanum Strand by boat and the marina was packed most of the time with millions and millions of dollars worth of boats. Since we don’t have a boat and I have a fear of water – the two don’t combine well – we went by car instead. Getting there by car is simply a matter of finding the correct freeway and then take three right turns after about two hours. Dead simple, although the surprisingly outdated GPS system in our car did its best to confuse us.
Tanum Strand has three options if you want to eat: A bar/pub/restaurant option with burgers and similar food, a more proper à la carte restaurant that also serves a buffet and, finally, a pizzeria. After checking in on the first day, the restaurant hadn’t opened yet and the Swedes had already started their usual sing-along in the bar, so we decided to go for the pizzeria, which was fairly quiet. A good option for us since Vilde was asleep. Both me an Anniken tried the courageous pizza options, she a chicken curry creation, I a kebab pizza. I like kebab and I like pizza, what could possibly go wrong when combining these two international and highly successful dishes?
As it turned out, combining pizza and kebab is a really bad idea. Anniken’s chicken curry was also pretty far below average in every way. During the three days we stayed at Tanum Strand, we realized that “pretty far below average” was a good description of most of the food they served. The burger in the pub was bland (how do you mess up a burger?) and most of the hot food I picked from the buffet they server in the restaurant turned out to be cold. The breakfast was all right, though, and for dinner on the third day we had two of the simplest pizzas they could prepare (pepperoni and ham) and those didn’t taste too bad. But if you go to Tanum Strand, don’t expect a gourmet experience.
Something else you shouldn’t expect is free internet, because there isn’t any. Pretty lame in 2014. “But who needs internet anyway, you’re on vacation?”, you might ask. Why you ask, I don’t know, because you already know the answer: The modern traveler needs his internet. How else can he check the weather forecast, the most important thing about going on vacation? Also, he needs to Instagram his food and write this blog entry. Also, we’re trying to get Vilde to bed at around 19-20-ish in the evening now, and it’s not like we can leave her alone in the room while we’re out having body shots. But there is a paid option to get internet access at Tanum Strand, and while it was rather pricy, it’s of course worth it. The alternative would be to watch Swedish TV channels in inverted colors on the 4:3 TV (when was the last time you saw one of those?) in the hotel room.
Besides eating mediocre food, watching the boats, surfing the internet (Anniken read a book), eating ice cream and walking two times to Grebbestad, a small town about 1.6 kilometers from the resort, we didn’t do much. But isn’t that what going on vacation is all about? To relax and kick back? Sure, it can be about adventure as well, but I for one don’t mind chilling by the sea for three days.
That reminds me, I have to dig up the hammock again. We can see the sea from our house, and Vilde will probably love the soothing, swinging motion it makes. Good times.