A Travellerspoint blog

Sweden

Near Death Experience

15 August 2010

overcast 70 °F

Early this morning Curt and I got on the bus at the Slussen station to ride 45 minutes to the archipeligo where we were going on a kayaking trip. We got off the bus and met up with the ferry that was going to take us to the start point. At the dock I was interested in the gas stations on the water.
gas stations on the water

gas stations on the water


After a short ferry ride we met up with our guide Michael who gave us a little class on Kayaking before we got started.
start point

start point


The worst part of kayaking is getting in and out of the thing but somehow I managed that just fine. We were riding out to the islands through pretty calm waters at first.
getting in kayak

getting in kayak


After we were out about an hour the waves started to pick up due to the wind. It looked like it may storm at any moment. This archipeligo has about 2400 islands and most are not inhabited. The ones that are have mostly summer homes. In the winter most of the water is ice so people can't even get to their houses.
On the island for lunch

On the island for lunch


We hit an island and got out for lunch of potatoes, herring, salad and cheese. Cinnamon rolls are also important to the Swedes so we had those too. Now it started to rain a little bit but we still weren't soaked.
Curt and I kayaking

Curt and I kayaking


The way back was much harder. We were going against the wind which had become pretty strong. The kayak didn't feel like it was turning at all so I was asking Curt if the rudder was down. At the same time I turned to look and fell in to the water. I came right back up and didn't have to use any of the info from the safety class but my adrenaline was going for awhile. After I managed to get back in the kayak we had to row super fast to get back in time for our ferry boat back to the bus. I was still soaking wet when I got back on the ferry, bus and even when we got back to the hotel.
Tonight we were trying to make up for the wildlife safari we had missed Friday night. We rushed to shower and find some pizza before being picked up. Our guide drove us just outside the city to look for wildlife.
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Our first stop though was at some ancient ruins. They had giant rocks called ruin rocks that were placed to mark important events.
Red deer

Red deer


Once dusk had settled tons of red deer came out of the woodwork. It was the start of mating season so the males were chasing around the females and we even watched one sniff out the trail of a female that had ran that way a few minutes earlier.
traditional red house

traditional red house


Before the night was over we saw many more families of deer, 2 foxes and one moose. by that time it was too dark to take a photo and the female moose was very skittish. She ran away from the car very gracefully. We also passed a bunch of giant highland cattle which the Swedes have a special agreement to keep. And last but not least many more of the red buildings with white trim. The red paint is a by product of copper plants that the rich people started painting their houses. Eventually everyone could afford it so the red house became prevalent. Naturally the rich people had to change it up and paint their houses yellow at that point.

Posted by ErinDriver 12:40 Archived in Sweden Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Biking in Stockholm

14 August 2010

sunny 90 °F

me in Stockholm

me in Stockholm


I know everyone always saying the weather reports are unreliable but this has really taken the cake. When I looked up the weather in Stockholm it was going to be rainy and 70 degrees. We woke up this morning sweating - I think it was already 70.
The Red Boat had a decent breakfast the came with the room and then we were off to our biking tour of the city. All the people in the group were riding the same bikes and some just could not ride a bike! The city was very hard to navigate on a bike in a large group with all the people, cars and stop lights! Our tour guide never really took the time to ensure the entire group was gathered before he started talking.
Royal building

Royal building


Our first stop was the royal builing which our guide considered the most beautiful building in Stockholm. He told us Stockholm was composed of 14 islands and had the majority of Swedish citizens living in the city.
Parliament

Parliament


This is the Parliament building and the Swedes are holding an election coming up.
famous Swedish poet

famous Swedish poet


We made another stop by the water and saw a crowd of cruise ship passengers enthralled with this statue of a Swedish poet.
townhall

townhall


Across the water was the Town Hall building. It is where the Nobel Peace Prize is given out in December.
oldest hostel

oldest hostel


Unfortunately we weren't even sure what route we were taking and the city can be very confusing with tons of water, bridges and islands. At some point we crossed from Gamla Stan to the central island. This white boat is the oldest hostel in Stockholm. It has cannons next to it but they are only used for ceremonies now.
cat in window

cat in window


We hit a quiet area where people live in the traditional red houses with the white trim. Unfortunately for the locals it is right next to Tivoli so you could hear kids screaming on the roller coasters.
botanical garden

botanical garden


The tour passed through a botanical park that we had to push our bikes through.
swedish park

swedish park


The city is full of parks with people relaxing and of course they are always right on the water.
After the bike tour we found the Swedish Book store which carries only books written by swedish authors. They have some books in English so I bought one that turned out to be very good.
Swedish meatballs

Swedish meatballs


Curt saw an Irish pub that was playing soccer so we spent the VERY hot afternoon watching soccer and trying their beer. We ended up eating there so I got the Swedish meatballs!
the dock

the dock


On the way home we sat by the dock and watched the people walking by and playing on their boats. Stockholm is an expensive city and seems to be full of people with plenty of money.

Posted by ErinDriver 12:25 Archived in Sweden Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Stockholm, Sweden

13 Aug 2010

sunny 82 °F

Gamla stan

Gamla stan


Swedish meatballs, Pippi Longstocking, the smorgasbord, wooden clogs and IKEA all have one thing in common. They are from Sweden - which is where we are spending the next four days. We chose Stockholm because when I looked at Ryan Air flights from Frankfurt it was the cheapest flight for the four day weekend at 90 euros. And on top of that I would rather go when it is warm.
It was quite an adventure to get to our hotel. The Ryan air flight goes to an airport about 100 miles outside of the city. The ATM there would not give us any money saying our card was not accepted. We panicked a little but were able to buy a ticket for the bus with our credit card. So the bus ride was 1.5 hours and dropped us off at the central bus station. Luckily the ATM's here gave us some cash. According to the directions for our hotel we needed to get on the subway and go one stop to Gamla Stan or the Old Town. We walked to the subway but then realized you had to get a card to get into and ride the subway so we had to go back and buy our 3 day pass. Finally after a subway ride and short walk we arrived at the hostel and hotel called The Red Boat.
The Red Boat

The Red Boat


Of course after all that hassle the room wasn't ready so we dropped our bags and took off shopping. The Old Town was a short walk away so we headed there.
Stockholm landscape

Stockholm landscape


Every store had painted horses that turned out to be a traditional Dala horse that have been carved from wood and painted for years. They also have the wooden clogs and boats in bottles all over the place.
We passed the Taco Bar and just had dinner there because Sweden is expensive and they were cheap and fast with excellent drinks!
We had scheduled a tour to see wildlife but after rushing through several subway stops we arrived with minutes to spare only to find out the tour guide was sick. Instead we ended up roaming the city for a few hours before heading back to our room on the boat.
house boat

house boat

Posted by ErinDriver 12:10 Archived in Sweden Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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