Capitalism and campsites; thoughts at Ogna Camping

Stardate 27th June 2323 Captain’s Log Supplemental. There are two other observations that I’d like to make about this camp site. The first is its orientation which is to the west, south west. The first night that I was here after having got wet in the rain and arrived on a completely cloudy heavily overcast day, the evening was still thick cloud and wind. It also rained again later, so in other words it was a really horrible evening. This evening is very different. There is some little cloud but basically it’s a clear sky so you can see the way that the sun, as it goes down (its not terribly low, even now at 9.15) is so beautiful. All the buildings here, all the plots are orientated towards the west where there are grassy dunes and then the sea. So the sun shines into every plot and every building and suddenly the orientation makes sense. I sat on the plastic chair that they left in the porch of this cabin, sheltered from the wind but with the beautiful warm evening sun on my face. When I walked down to the washblock just now I could see that lots of other people here are doing the same.

lines of huts

OK, other observations, actually two. One is that there is a grassy space, a lovely flat and lush space here where a couple of cyclists have put up a tent with their bikes, and their clothes drying in the sun. Its good to see proper travellers. The other thing I noticed when I looked up the hill, because this is a terraced site, from where the washroom is at the bottom, I realised how huge this site is. There is just line after line of these newly built cabins which are much more high spec than where I am staying each at Kr1000 per night. There are lots of them and although everybody is facing the sun, and I could see half a dozen or so groups of people in their huts enjoying the evening sun, they are all separate from each other with little fences between the cabins that give everybody privacy. I have to say that it is not one of those friendly, informal camp sites. There is something atomised about it. It seems that that is what you get. You have this drive for profit to replace this kind of old school hut that I am staying in that’s cheap with these more lavish, expensive offers.

You get people who come to enjoy them and get the most out of them but there’s no sense of that communal mucking in together, chatting, that kind of down to earth feeling that you get – certainly in some English campsites. (Because it’s a cheap and cheerful option, often for families with small children who are used to having to make contact with those around them and have to be informal because of dealing with small kids in public places). As I was washing up in this soulless space on my own, a German woman came in with her own washing up. We said a few words. I said ‘I am nearly finished’ and she just stood there next to me while I laboriously washed up my saucepans and plates. She just waited her turn to use the facilities that she had paid for. It felt very odd. I know there was a language barrier and I could have made more effort. There isn’t much – in fact there is no greeting of people as you walk by them. In some sites there definitely is and that feels very nice. Here, it feels as though people have paid their money to get themselves a good experience and that is what they are here for. Also, on the topic of money, there are lots of really nice looking mobile homes, converted vans, two or three of those, very high spec. There was one huge mobile home that was literally the same size as a coach (that could carry 100 people perhaps from A to B) and there just seemed to be a late middle-aged German couple in it. I don’t know how they would have coped on the hairpin route that I came back on this afternoon. That vehicle probably would not be able to make it. It seemed greedy for space.

So, these two thoughts: this is a beautiful campsite and the orientation is amazing but the way it is going up market, like my previous site where they have a ‘vision’ to make a smarter card-operated offer, is losing something about what campsites can be at their best – in my view. I wonder whether this is a feature of sites that are close to the capital here where relatively wealthy people can easily travel to whereas the places much further north attract a very different clientele.