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Tegan & Ingrid's world adventure

Vikings, shipwrecks and rich delicious Scandinavian food

SWEDEN | Friday, 11 November 2011 | Views [582]

As many of you would already know Scandinavia, or more specifically Denmark, is basically my second home. Having lived here for a year as an exchange student when I was a teenager and since visited, I have many people here who I consider family & close friends.  So needless to say I was a little excited to be returning once again.

But before we arrived in Denmark we explored another Scandinavian country I had always wanted to see, Sweden. This was my choice for my birthday. It was more than a little out of our way but hey, we’re on a world trip right, so anything is possible.

We took a train to Sweden. Which pretty much took the whole day by the time we changed trains twice and finally arrived in Malmo in the south of Sweden. Our train even travelled on a ferry between Germany & Denmark which was pretty cool. Tegan & I enjoyed a Swedish cider on board at about a 6th of the price of what we pay in Australia. Always extra tasty at that price J

From Malmo we took an overnight train to Stockholm. We splurged a little here and booked a private room on board with breakfast included at a hotel in Stockholm on arrival. What I loved about this train is that even though the train arrives in Stockholm at 6am they don’t wake you until 6:30 and then you don’t have to leave the train until 7am which means some extra sleep in time. Love it. Plus a hotel buffet breakfast to start the day was awesome. Probably one of the biggest buffets we had ever had. It was delicious.

So after stuffing ourselves full of good breakfast food we set out to explore Stockholm for a few hours. Unfortunately for us the weather was freezing cold. The coldest day we have experienced so far on our trip. In fact I don’t think the temperature rose much over 4 degrees the whole day. So it was a little nippy. We spent some time wandering around “Gamla Stan” which is the old town of Stockholm with lovely old winding cobblestone streets and upmarket boutiques dotted around. We were lucky enough to score a couple of free Stockholm cards (again a perk of my job) which meant we had free entry to many attractions and free public transport for 48 hours.

We stayed at a B & B about 10 minutes by metro south of the city centre. After checking in to our accommodation we decided to explore a photo gallery which we had been recommended to see. It’s a new gallery, only a year or so old with three different levels with different artists on show and then a bar on the very top level where we enjoyed a drink afterwards with great views over Stockholm. Tegan, the budding photographer, especially enjoyed the couple of hours we spent wandering around the rooms.

Our second day in Stockholm was my birthday. Unfortunately for me the weather prediction was for rain starting early afternoon. So we made a reasonably early start to try and make the most of the dry weather. We took a ferry over to Djurgaarden which is an island which has a lot of tourist attractions on it. For those that don’t know inner Stockholm itself is made up of 14 islands and the whole Stockholm archipelago is more than 30,000 islands. So taking ferries and walking over bridges is something you get quite used to.

Anyway when we were on Djurgaarden we visited an outdoor museum/zoo which had old buildings and Scandinavian animals on show. We also enjoyed some morning tea in an old café where they had a table full of delicious homemade cakes and you could just take what you wanted and then pay according to what you chose. We managed to finish our trip around the outdoor museum just before the rain hit. After that it was a matter of dashing in between buildings trying not to get too wet. We went to an Aquarium which had all kinds of aquatic life from Stingrays to Piranha & we also visited the Vasa museum which is the most famous museum in Stockholm. It has a shipwreck of a giant old Swedish Warship on display which was under the water for 300 years before they managed to bring it to the surface almost intact about 50 years ago. It was pretty amazing. Due to the shitty weather we knew we weren’t going to get any good views over Stockholm but decided that seeing as we had free entry we may as well try the famous Eriksson Globe (a spherical stadium). You get inside a big glass capsule and then it goes around the outside of the building on a kind of track. So that you get a view as you are pulled up to the top of the stadium roof and then back down again. The capsule fits about 16 people but due to the bad weather it was only us and another family. Tegan took me out for a lovely dinner that evening with a nice bottle of Spanish red wine to go along with it and then on our way back to the B&B we found a cute little café with homemade cakes & espresso. A perfect end to a lovely birthday.

On a bit of a whim we decided to stay an extra day in Sweden and take an overnight ferry cruise out to the islands near Finland. It was basically a big cruise ship where we got a buffet dinner & drinks included and we could just chill out for 24 hours and enjoy the fresh (cold) sea air. Tegan even got up and joined in on the Karaoke with all the Swedes later in the night. We had a great night and it was beautiful scenery coming back into Stockholm the following day watching the thousands of islands drift by.

Once we were back at the harbour it was time to catch a train across Sweden to Gothenburg. We just had a short overnight stay there before taking a morning ferry to the north of Denmark.

We have been in Denmark for the past three weeks now. I am not going to give you a day by day itinerary as of course over three weeks we have been doing plenty but also have had plenty of time to relax. We have been staying with our friends Jill & Jesper, who some of you will know from when they were staying with us for a few months a couple of years ago. They live in the small town of Videbaek, which is the town I lived in as an exchange student 11 years ago. In fact all three of my host families still live here in Videbaek so it has been nice and easy to be able to see and spend time with everyone.

Our first day we were met by Jill & we visited the Northern most tip of Denmark famous for being where the waves of two different seas meet and crash together. After which we spent a lovely first evening with Jill’s uncle, aunt & cousins.

In our first week in Denmark we celebrated our wedding anniversary with a lovely dinner at an Italian restaurant in a nearby town. We also took a day trip to the third biggest city in Denmark, Odense together with one of my host parents, Karen & Egon to see Hans Christian Andersen’s house & another great photography exhibition. On our way there we also visited a very cute little miniature village of an old Danish town which Karen managed to talk us in to despite them being closed for the winter. It’s amazing how far a “but they are our guests from Australia and they came all the way here to see this” will go J. Tegan played some golf for the first time in more than four months with some of my host parents & we played Football golf for the first time too. Which is basically a small golf course played with a soccer ball. Needless to say I was terrible and lost the match. We also went to Germany to go shopping with a few friends. Many Danish people travel to Germany a few times a year to stock up on food & drinks which are much cheaper over the border.

Our second week we were spoilt with dinners! We had a night at the local hotel for a Rotary Club meeting where I managed to give a speech in Danish about my life over the last 11 years since I was living here as an exchange student. We were hosted by two of my host families for lovely dinners, went to a 30th birthday party and enjoyed some Danish salad pizza. Yes, they put salad on a pizza and it tastes delicious. We also had a very relaxing afternoon in a pool/spa centre enjoying the sauna, steam room, plunge pool, rooftop hot tub, spa & swimming pool.

We now have our final week in Denmark coming to an end. This week we have visited a couple of nearby towns for some window shopping and hot drinks, Tegan has played some more golf, we enjoyed a family lunch with Jill’s grandparents, attended a Halloween party at a Salsa dance club,  had a big farewell dinner and coffee & cakes with all of my host families & eaten plenty of good Danish food. Oh, and just last night Tegan joined Jesper and his mates as they constructed a giant ‘Pepper Grinder’ out of a scrap Volvo and old Oil drums. It’s a tradition in these parts for guys who turn 30 years old to be covered in pepper and given a grinder for their birthday if they are not married yet. Something to do with being ‘over the hill’ and the ladies won’t like you anymore or something like that, haha. Anyway, the boys took it one step further and made a 6 meter tall one and parked it out the front of the birthday boy’s house!

It has been a great few weeks. Very relaxing and enjoyable. We will be sad to leave but the backpacking adventure must continue! Tomorrow it’s on to Copenhagen before we head south again to the far western European nations of the Netherlands, Belgium & France.


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