The McCombs on a European tour

In the first issue of the O-Ringen magazine (only in Swedish) we met the Australian family McCombs who planned to go on a European tour with O-Ringen as one of the main stops. Now they’re here!

The McCombs outside their campervan. Photo: Per Lindman

Jonathan (dad), Cathy (mum), Zali and Jett McComb are on a European tour this summer (winter in Australia). The kids have taken some time off school to explore the other side of the globe.

I meet Jonathan at their campervan and he tells me about the trip so far.

The trip started in Paris. They visited the Eiffel tower, L’arc de Triumph, went on a river cruise and much more. After Paris the family went down south through the country of snails and baguettes, saw a lot of chateaus and got a bit confused about the lack of fresh cold milk. They then went hiking around one of Europe’s highest mountains Mont Blanc. From France they drove to Italy for the Dolomites 3-days.

– It was absolutely beautiful mountain orienteering. Cathy won like a month’s supply of pasta, we just can’t eat it all, says Jonathan.

They then went to Venice and of course when you’re in a former WOC sprint area it’s almost impossible to avoid trying some sprint orienteering.

– Well, I’m not sure it was a sprint really. The course was six and a half kilometre and we were out for almost 90 minutes. It was 6 in the morning just to avoid all the people. Unfortunately, the brain is not working properly that early, laughs Jonathan.

Croatia, Slovenia and Germany were visited as well before they flew to Stockholm to pick up their campervan to go to O-Ringen.

Zali and Jett returns to the campervan. They’ve collected some water to fill the water tank on the campervan. With a little struggle the water tank fills up and we sit down outside the campervan in the gassing sun. I ask them if they can handle the heat better than us swedes.

– It’s really hot for us as well. In Australia we have our competitions during the winter and a break during the summer. In Sidney they have the Christmas 5-days which is really hot, explains Jonathan.

Cathy arrives. She has done the laundry and she talked with a Swedish woman there.

– She told me that it is important to create Swedish memories and advised me to bake a blueberry pie. It sounded very simple except for the fact that we don’t have an oven here at the camping, says Cathy.

All the blueberries fascinate the McCombs and they’ve eaten quite a lot during their first two days in Sweden.

– Yesterday I stopped in the forest for the blueberries. On today’s course I had 20 controls on 5K so there was no time for blueberries, says Jonathan.

Jett and Cathy also had some nice experiences from forest. But it was also rather tough.

– The terrain is very soft and energy sapping. We’re not used to all the bouncing, tells Cathy.

Zali was a bit unlucky on today’s stage and didn’t finish her course.

– I ran into a swarm of bees and got stung like 10 times, says Zali and looks to her arm.

However, there’s a lot more to O-Ringen than just the orienteering out in the forest. Yesterday they tried the indoor orienteering.

– I think Zali was really looking forward to it. She beat me with 5 minutes, says Jonathan.

– I made a mistake and didn’t figure it out. In the end I just followed mum, says Jett.

The family wants to try everything and they’re really looking forward to try out the biathlon maze. It seems like the McCombs have found their vacation mode when they sit outside their campervan. Cathy and Jonathan have visited O-Ringen before back in the 90s.

– So much are still the same, they note.

Now the European trip continues with the final stage of O-Ringen and then Swiss O-week and the spectator races for WOC in Norway. Life seems pretty good for the McCombs.

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