Tag Archives: Sweden

Denmark/Iceland Day 7: Well, Now I Have To Add Sweden

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We had hot weather which was unusual, so we were due for a more normal cold, rainy, windy day. That day was today.

We left Aarhus around 8am and drove to Malmo, Sweden. Malmo is near Copenhagen, just a (16km long) Oresund Bridge ride from near the Copenhagen Airport. Anyone care to guess how expensive for a one-way crossing? (no Googling it first!).

We were looking for something different to do to spend the day. But perhaps a bit of the reason for going to Malmo, Sweden was that Ellen wanted to hit the Thomas Sabo store there and pick up a charm or two. So that’s the address we put into Waze. As an aside, SHOUT OUT TO WAZE for keeping the GPS directions going in Sweden after we strayed from our Denmark data connection. We found the store quickly, were helped by a very nice Sabo employee and Ellen was successful in getting a few new charms and a ring.

Since we were there, we decided to explore. It was pouring rain, 50°F, with 25-40mph winds, but we were determined. We found the town square, city hall and Saint Peter’s Church. We liked Malmo a lot, except for the weather. He hadn’t made it that far south when we were in Sweden 2 years ago.

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We walked until we were so cold and wet that we couldn’t anymore. Stopped for coffee/tea and then came back to Denmark. We are staying at the Hilton at the airport, so we checked in, returned the car and then went back to the hotel. We had thought about going into Copenhagen for our last dinner, but decided to dry off instead. So we had dinner at the hotel and relaxed a little, before our flight to Iceland early tomorrow morning.

There was time for one last Carlsberg, however.

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Vacation Day 8: Sweden to Iceland

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So hard to believe we woke up in Linköping this morning and are now in Reykjavik. We slept well, even though our hotel was on the main square. After breakfast, I took a quick walk around the square to take pictures. This statue caught my eye. Will have to research the story (or depend on one of my librarians friends) when we get back.

ImageThe drive back to Stockholm was easy. We returned the car and checked into our flight. Flying between European countries is so easy now, no customs or immigration. You can even keep your shoes on going through security!

A short 3 hour flight later, we were in Iceland. Ellen absolutely fell in love with it from our first visit. There isn’t a lot to see in Reykjavik. Even less when it is 50 degrees with a fierce wind. But the Hallgrímskirkja Church is a tremendous sight, even more so tonight with the clouds glowing an orangish color.

Our first (and my largest) priority was a visit to 66°NORTH, an Icelandic clothing company we had discovered during our last visit. Their clothes are expensive but exceptionally light and warm. And they are not The North Face, which everyone and their brother wears. We each got several items.

We took a quick walk through town, and then went to dinner at Sjávargrillið, a seafood restaurant in town. We had eaten at a really fancy seafood restaurant last visit, but it had closed. Sjávargrillið was a little more touristy, but the hustle and bustle (and American tourists) were more than compensated for by great food. We both had salmon, with all sorts of interesting things included. Just take a look at the pictures of their dishes!

It was too windy to walk around much after dinner, and we were a little tired after getting back 2 hours by heading west. So we walked down by the water and snapped a few pictures before heading to bed. The sun doesn’t set until after 10:30 here, so still light even late.ImageImage


Sweden Day 7: Finishing Up Sweden

Today was a travel day, covering about half the distance from Gothenburg to Stockholm. We took a quick walk around Gothenburg this morning before leaving. Still just as beautiful.Image

To get to our destination today, we had to drive around Lake Vättern. There were times that the view was just breathtaking. Ellen likes the water. We also stopped for gas for the first time. I don’t know how big the tank is, but we had driven over 1000km. And with gas around $8/gallon, the fill-up was just around $150! No wonder there are so many Priuses around here!

Our destination today was Linköping, a university town about two hours from Stockholm. There is a castle and a church that we wanted to see. We had to rush, as the castle closed at 4. We did a quick tour of both.Image

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After we finished, Ellen’s view of the water made her want to sit near the lake and have a drink. We initially decided to ditch technology and just head west. It was kinda working, but we were heading through small farm roads without really knowing how far we had to go. Eventually we looked at a map and picked a target, Motala. And we found a nice place right on the water. Ellen had a glass of wine and I had a Czech beer. And the sun and the water were just about perfect.Image

We decided we wanted something a little different for dinner, so we went to a Vietnamese/Thai place, Sol & RIs. It was a few minute walk from the main square, so it was a little calmer. The menu was only in Swedish and the waitress spoke little English, but we managed to figure out a good set of dishes: vegetarian spring rolls, chicken and cashew nuts and a beef dish.

We walked back to the square, which was quite lively. The students seemed to be arriving back for the semester or something. We had dessert and did people watching, then went into our hotel, which is a gorgeous old building.Image

Tomorrow we are off to Iceland to finish off the vacation. We view it as the continuation of the couple of days we were there 2 years ago.


Sweden Day 4: A Heck Of A Slott

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Today we left Stockholm to explore more of Sweden. I walked about a mile to pick up our rental car from Hertz. What was supposed to be an S60 manual ended up to be a S80 automatic diesel. “You can take the reservation. You just can’t hold the reservation.” The car is a bit bigger than I would like, but it’s comfortable.

We had about a 400km drive today. Once we left Stockholm, there were trees and farms and the occasional lake. But not much more. Very little commerce by the side of the road. The speed limit ranged from 70 to 110kph. Not nearly as much fun as the autobahn last summer. It rained just about the entire drive down. But it stopped about the time we arrived, so no complaints.

Our destination today was Kalmar, a coastal town in southern Sweden. The Kalmar Slott, or castle, dates back to the 12th century. When you think about that, it really boggles the mind. They say even Disney could not have come up with this castle. Drawbridge, moat, cannons above. It’s an amazing site.Image

We got to the castle just about 3:30, which was just in time for a English-language tour. We enjoyed hearing the history and seeing the interior rooms.

We are staying in a small hotel just down the road from the castle, called Slottshotellet. We have a small, but comfortable room. Only here for one night anyway.

After touring the castle, we walked through a nearby graveyard, then made our way down to the beach. The water is probably cold, but that wasn’t stopping little children from wading. Offered another nice view of the castle, too.

ImageThe afternoon was slipping into evening at this point, so we walked straight into town. There was a lot more action than we expected, with a 50’s band, The Playtones, set up in the square. This brief video gives a sense of the scene.

We had a reservation at a seafood place, but didn’t like the menu. We took out the guidebook and decided to try Chinese. Ming Palace offered a buffet for only $15 a person, which is a crazy bargain in expensive Sweden. Food was good, we sat outside and enjoyed it.

We took our time walking back, and finally got Ellen the soft serve she has been wanting. We certainly enjoyed our brief stay in Kalmar.

Here’s one last shot of the Slott at dusk.Image


Sweden Day 3: There Was Something In The Air…

ImageWe accomplished a great deal today. The day started off at 5:30am, when I got up to go running. I enjoy running when we travel, it allows me to explore cities in a unique way, giving perspective on the recreational infrastructure too. I ran along the water 2 miles out about to the TV tower, then a bridge allowed me to cross and run 2 miles back. It was a cool morning my DC standards, 64 degrees. With the sun rising at 4:25am here, it’s difficult to run in the dark!

After breakfast, we walked over to the Vasa Museum. A fascinating story, the Vasa sailed on it’s maiden voyage in 1628, which lasted about 20 minutes before it listed and sank. It stayed 30 meters deep in the channel until 1961 when it was raised. It has been restored, with 98% still original. The detail of the carvings, the size of the ship, the 2 levels of cannons are incredible. To have a 17th century warship still around could only happen because it sank. I have a bunch of pictures, none that really do the ship justice.Image

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It’s an impressive ship, the archeological work and restoration have also been extraordinary. It’s a required visit in Stockholm.

The newest museum is also required in my book: the ABBA Museum! The museum just opened in May and features the whole story of the sensation known as ABBA, We had bought our tickets in advance, so scooted in at 10 when it opened. We opted for the audio guides, which had many recordings of the band members themselves recounting the history. There were costumes, their recording studio, and lots of video of shrieking fans. They may have just been a short-lived pop sensation, but who doesn’t know much of their music. Mama Mia! I only took a few pictures, they wouldn’t have done the experience justice. If you come to Stockholm, you gotta go!Image

Our next visit was almost as interesting to me. The Spirtmuseum tells the story of alcohol in Sweden, but most interestingly, the history of the Absolut brand. For a country with a difficult relationship with alcohol, the decision to market a brand of Swedish vodka outside the country was controversial. As a marketing professional, the creation of the brand, the bottle, the image was nothing short of spectacular. Much of the original art is in the museum, including the Warhol that started it all.Image

We then walked back into town and had lunch at a fancy food market, the Saluhall. I had veal patties that I was told I had to dip into the lingonberries. With potatoes, it was a hefty lunch.

We took advantage of a free canal ride that was available with the Stockholm card and got a good look at more of the city. We stopped for an afternoon coffee/tea, something we enjoy immensely in Europe and wonder why we rarely slow down to enjoy things in the US. Finally, we walked past the Raoul Wallenberg memorial.Image

We had dinner nearby at Teatergrillen, strolled through town, sat by the water to watch the sunset, then came back to the room to pack. We leave Stockholm tomorrow, rent a car and head to smaller towns in southern Sweden. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Stockholm and are looking forward to seeing more of Sweden.

 


Sweden Day 1: Smooth Traveling

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The trip is off to a smooth start. Everything worked well. By flying economy comfort class on Icelandair, we got access to their lounges at Dulles and Reykjavik. Icelandiar had changed our seats so that we would not be sitting together from Dulles to Reykjavik, but by asking someone to switch, we fixed that. We ate sandwiches, veggies and dessert in the lounge at Dulles, so we went skipped dinner on the plane. Ellen went straight to sleep, I watched a 1/2 hour of video and then slept. Before we knew it, we were in Iceland.

We stopped into the lounge and had breakfast there. We slept the whole 3 hour flight, so we were pretty well rested when we got to Stockholm. Our luggage came out quickly, we got cash from at ATM, we bought Stockholm city cards for museum entry and public transit and tried out our SIM cards and found they worked perfectly.

We had prepurchased tickets on the Arlanda Express train, and we had to wait an entire 2 minutes for it to depart. 20 minutes later we were at the train station in city centre Stockholm.

It was already 1:30 when we exited the station. We needed to break the large bills we had gotten from the ATM, and we saw a local burger place right outside. It was lunch time, we were hungry and we needed change. So it was Max Hamburgers for lunch.

Instead of trying to figure out the busses, we took a cab from the station to our hotel. Located right on the water, near museums, shopping and restaurants, Hotel Diplomat was a great choice of Ellen’s. We checked in, dumped our stuff and headed out.Image

We found a cafe to sit down and plot out our itinerary. Some places are closed Sunday and some on Monday, so we have to make sure to get that right. We walked along the water and over a bridge to the island where many museums and the Tivoli-run amusement park are. Just soaking in Stockholm.

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Walking back across the bridge, the sun was coming through the clouds and I took the picture at the top of the page.

We had picked a restaurant, P.A. & Co., from the guidebooks and walked to it, just 5 minutes from the hotel.

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We had an awesome hash brown as an appetizer, then cured salmon for our main course.

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We strolled through town, as the temperature had cooled off nicely in the evening. We sat near the water, watching it finally get dark, just across from our hotel.

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Now that we have the travel done and are accllimated, we are looking forward to full days of sightseeing and experiencing Sweden, starting tomorrow.


It’s Travel Time

ImageIt’s that time of the summer for us to travel again. This year, we are moving over one country from our trip two years ago, changing from Norway to visiting Sweden. But just like two years ago, we will be including a stop in Iceland on the way home.

We’ve grown a little more prepared for trips, based on past experience. We already have our SIM cards for Sweden, courtesy of TouristSIM. We both have ScotteVest products, to make it easier (and safer) to carry maps, passports and electronics (my vest here).

Instead of an iPad, I’ll be using a new 11″ MacBook Air to write. Hopefully, that will cut down on typos.

So as usual, we encourage you to read along. Suggestions of things to do or places to eat are always welcome.

Our flight leaves at 8:40pm on Friday. Talk to you next from Stockholm!

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