The Lambo attracts customs officers (twice) and meets its doppelgänger on a Scandinavian odyssey
ACOUPLE OF MONTHS AGO THE BIG Lambo and I found ourselves in a sunny but bitterly cold Sweden, heading towards the Norwegian border at Halden. I’d always fancied touring this part of the world, so a week or so earlier I’d taken the ferry from Hull across the North Sea to the Netherlands, from where a 1000-mile trek north began.
It had been a pretty bad winter, even by Scandinavian standards, with far more snow than usual. Although, unsurprisingly, Scandinavia was far better prepared for severe weather than we are in Blighty. So apart from an all-over layer of caked-on rock salt, which I guess would have a garage queen’s owner in tears, the Murciélago fared rather well.
Which is more than could be said for me. A couple of weeks earlier I had taken a tumble from a stepladder, badly spraining my left wrist. I’m not a fan of paddleshifts, as some will have gathered, but on this trip I would have killed for a semi auto. The manual shift in the Lambo is slow and methodical and requires some modicum of strength – especially when it’s cold – so I had to mainly use my right hand to change gear, which wasn’t exactly ideal.
Upon disembarking the ferry at Rotterdam, the run north-east to Hamburg was ticked off in a steady four hours. The city’s Crowne Plaza hotel provided overnight accommodation, and upon checking out the next morning I was amused to find ‘Trigger’s Broom’ had picked up an identical twin during the night. It turned out the Luxembourg-registered Arancio Atlas-coloured Murciélago also sported a manual ’box and an orange interior, and with 80,000km on the odo was nicely run in.
Its owner, avid evo reader Bo Christensen, a Dane living in Luxembourg, was travelling back to his homeland. On the way he’d be stopping at the Jyllandsringen race circuit in central Denmark to take part in a photoshoot for Danish car magazine Bil Magasinet. Having recognising SG54 LAM he introduced himself and invited me along, so that morning we found ourselves in two identical Murciélagos snaking through rush-hour Hamburg traffic. Once over the border we almost stopped the traffic entirely as gobsmacked Danes did a double take: supercars are all but non-existent in Denmark due to huge vehicle import taxes, so two Lamborghinis beating up the E45 highway was bound to attract attention.
Talking of which, Danish customs didn’t hesitate to wave us both down for a few ‘routine’ questions – closely followed by polite requests for a few selfies with the cars.
After a couple of enjoyable hours at the circuit it was goodbye to Bo and his twin Lambo and time to point the Murciélago’s nose towards Frederikshavn, at the northern tip of Denmark, where I found a pretty basic hotel for the night right next to the port.
Next morning saw a ram-packed Easter ferry (lots of Danes own holiday cottages in Sweden) and a pretty rough crossing of the Skagerrak strait. Docking at Gothenburg four hours later, Swedish customs – also extremely polite – couldn’t resist a quick poke around before waving me through. Not like their French equivalents a few years back, I might add. Regular readers may recall they had their sniffer dogs all over the Ferrari 458 I was driving on that occasion. Mind you, I didn’t help the situation by mixing up the French word for dog with the word for pig…
Jönköping was the next destination, around two hours east and situated on the southern end of Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake. After a few pleasant days here with my feet up I decided on a whim to travel towards Karlskoga, around 150 miles north, hugging the east shore of Lake Vänern on the way, before turning west towards the Norwegian border at the aforementioned Halden.
Sure, a trip such as this would be a tad more comfortable in the summer, particularly compared with when it’s -10deg C outside and you have a temperamental heater that only bangs out hot air when it feels like it. And I’ll admit to occasionally wishing I was in a big SUV instead, but where would be the sense of adventure in that?
The reaction from a Swedish hotel receptionist summed it up best. Upon eyeing the filthy Lambo in the car park surrounded by similarly dirty Volvos she looked incredulous, asking: ‘So you drive all the way from England… in that?’ ‘Urm, yeah.’ So where next? I was undecided whether to continue on the E18 hugging Norway’s spectacular southern coast round to Larvik, from where I could catch a ferry back to Denmark, or if I should wimp out and turn back sooner. I’ll let you know what I did next time.