Their fire engine is as old as they are. In the middle of the Covid pandemic, Natascha Müller and Flo Kandsperger started converting the old LF16 into a mobile home. They gutted the dated Iveco truck down to its leaf springs, turned the original driver’s cab from a nine-seater into a four-seater and renovated the vehicle completely. The empty container that became the camper shell was supplied by a Polish manufacturer, everything else is home-made, from the kitchen unit with its air-sprung closing mechanism, oven and induction cooker to the three-m2 photovoltaic plant on the roof. A swivel-mounted 42-inch LED TV overlooks the comfortable double bed. The shower cabin is equipped with a urine-diverting dry toilet. In the modern dining area, large windows offer panoramic views of the outside world. Futuristic light switches dim the indirect lighting at night. The entire interior looks as though it was made by an expensive design studio. Everything is of the highest quality, and the vehicle has been raring to go on its first trip for months, but the couple’s departure was delayed by the pandemic. A ONE-HOUR DRIVE Finally: September 12, 2021, Natascha’s thirtieth birthday. “We drove our truck to my birthday party and headed out immediately after the celebrations,” she laughs. After an hour’s drive, a lie-in started to look like the more attractive option. After all, the ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg was booked. “The adventure started at the port,” Flo recalls. “We joined the queue of caravans with our LF16, towering above all the other vehicles.” But staff soon called the live-in fire engine out of the queue, ordering its passengers to wait until everyone else had entered. As time goes by, all free space around the truck gradually disappears. Natascha and Flo fold their mirrors in. Only a couple of centimeters separate them from the walls. “They basically lifted the ramp and carried us up into the ferry on it,” the two caravan adventurers remember as they proudly show us their photos of Scandinavia. Life on the road, plain and simple. “You can put the Iveco on any natural parking space and spend the night.” Sweden’s freedom to roam (“allemannsrätt”) is unique in the world. There is only one golden rule when it comes to nature in Scandinavia: don’t disturb anything, don’t destroy anything. Apart from that, anyone – be they a local or a tourist – can spend time in nature to their heart’s content, and this includes private lands. This “everyman’s right” dates back to the Middle Ages, and it is sacrosanct to the Swedes. But beware! Do not dare to break the one golden rule. When it comes to protecting their beautiful nature and keeping it pristine, the Scandis are unforgiving. Heading inland to the north, far beyond the Arctic Circle, and then back down along the Gulf of Finland, the LF16 successfully racked up its first miles. Its owners spent nights by crystal-clear lakes, river and coasts, hiked across moorlands and mountains, crossed birch forests, discovered waterfalls and explored the Swedish wilderness. “We soon found out how important good boots are,” Natasha smiles. Text Hanno Meier Photos Hanno Meier Natascha Müller 38