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Scandinavia. Check!

June 5, 2008

After four days in Munich, we arrived in Copenhagen in the afternoon on Wednesday, May 14 to start our 3 week adventure through Scandinavia and into Russia. The Scandinavia portion was spent mainly in Sweden. We rented a car in Copenhagen and set out to explore the area. Here’s a map of our route.

I’ll give you the bad news first. Our camera was stolen when we were in St. Petersburg, Russia, so I don’t have hardly any pictures to share. Yes, our camera, the one we just bought right before this trip, was stolen 15 days into our trip. That means that someone else is enjoying about 750 pictures of us and our vacation. Josh said that he hopes that whoever has it looks through the pictures, sees how happy we are and feels really, really bad.

We buy a Christmas ornament in every place we visit, so I’ve included pictures of those.

Copenhagen, Denmark: We stayed here for 3 days, including a day trip to Malmo, Sweden. Highlights included The Little Mermaid Statue, Tivoli amusement park, Rosenburg Castle and the gardens around it.

For our Copenhagen ornament, we picked a glass light holder from Tivoli. These were all over the park in different colors and they were so pretty!

Sweden: We rented a car for 12 days and drove all over the southern half of the country. From Copenhagen, we drove to Lund which has a gorgeous cathedral. From there, we drove to Osby and Vaxjo. This is where they do the traditional glass-blowing. We stayed the night in a secluded and scary cabin in the woods. It was a house for 12 people, but we were the only people in it!

The next morning we were in the car for a long time. We had to be in Nynashamn by 7:00pm to catch a ferry and it was over 5 hours away. We didn’t do much stopping on the way. The drive was very scenic and you could see the landscapes change as we drove into different regions.

From Nynashamn, we took a 3 hour ferry to the island of Gotland. Here we stayed in a nice hostel and, again, we were the only ones! I was very happy about this because it had community showers. Not only were the showers community-style, they were in the open. It was just a big room with several shower heads. I’m not a fan. But I didn’t have to worry about it since Josh and I were the only patrons.

We drove along the coast of the island, stopping every hour or so and to take a short hike in the woods, sit on the beach and read or stop and have a picnic. After two days of this, we were back where we started and took the ferry back to the mainland.

From there, it was about 45 minutes to Stockholm. Backing up a little, we didn’t make any hotel/hostel reservations for the Sweden portion of our trip. We didn’t really know where we would be each day, so we decided we would find something when we arrived. This was not a problem until we got to Stockholm. It took almost the whole day to find a place to stay. Eventually we settled in a cabin on a camping ground that was about 15 minutes outside of the city center. The room was for 4 people, but no one was in the other 2 beds, so we had the whole cabin to ourselves. It was close to a small lake, and it was a really fun place to explore. There were several trails in the woods around the lake and we took a few walks. Along the way, we saw the BIGGEST snails I have ever seen. They were huge. My sister, Lee Ann, would have loved it. Too bad I can’t show you a picture.

Stockholm, Sweden: We LOVED Stockholm. It was beautiful and full of things to see and do. We started in the old town of Gamla Stan and toured the usual streets, buildings, churches, etc. We went to the Nobel Museum which I unexpectedly found very interesting. We also visited the Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace), the Storkyrkan (Royal Cathedral), the Djurgarden peninsula and Skansen which is ‘Sweden in miniature’. In Skansen, we saw real reindeer!! And we watched the zoo people feed the owls. These owls were huge and do you know what they were eating? Baby chickens.

We also went into some really cool furniture and design shops. This city is awesome!

I wanted to get some kind of mod mini-piece of furniture for our ornament, but that didn’t work out. Instead, we got this Dala Horse.

From Stockholm, we continued our journey to Orebro which has a floating castle. It’s supposed to be “one of the most post-card friendly towns in Sweden” but I didn’t think it was much to write home about. We relaxed stayed the night there before heading to Oslo.

Oslo, Norway: When we reached Oslo, we encountered our first bit of rain. Boo. We found a hostel to stay in and after eating the worst chicken nuggets of my life, we called it a night on account of the rain. We got up early the next day to head into the city.

At this point, we were almost tour-ed out. We still managed to see the new Opera House which was on the water and quite stunning. Actually blinding is more appropriate. It was white with white marble all around and it was so sunny that it was hard to look directly at it. We saw some churches and as we walked by the city hall, there were tons of people in traditional Norwegian garb (I recognized it from my Barbie collection). We never really figured out what they were doing, but they were fun to watch. We saw a cool viking ship and I’m sure we did a lot more, but I really can’t remember.

Our ornament is a troll being a viking. The viking reference is obvious, but apparently trolls and the troll doll came from Scandinavia. Who knew?

After another day in Oslo, we got back in the car and drove along the cost to Goteborg. It rained for a little bit of the journey, so we didn’t get to stop as much as we had planned. Goteborg was cute and we stayed in an actual hotel which was a nice change. The city has several canals and tons of restaurant choices.

Then it was time to head back to Copenhagen to return the car and spend one last night in Scandinavia. But first, we decided to get an ornament for our ‘driving around Sweden’ trip. As we were driving through several country-ish, village-y areas, we kept coming across warning signs for moose. Yes, moose! The sign was hilarious and looked like this:

(Sorry that the picture is out of focus). We had to get a keychain, but it will make a fine ornament. Unfortunately, I did not see one single moose.

Well, this was a long post for our long trip. I’ll do Russia later.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 6, 2008 2:13 pm

    I love your ornaments! It’s nice to see you enjoyed Scandinavia.

    Your other photos are coming up as Red Squares – hopefully they’ll show up soon.

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