18 January 2010

Final Days in Sweden

The title of this post is a little inaccurate - it should really read 'final day', as Friday (New Years Day)doesn't really count - we did absolutely nothing! The day consisted of a big fry up in the morning, a trip to the video store in the afternoon, and watching movies for the rest of the day. We did also venture out for some dinner, only because we were to lazy to make anything.

Saturday the 2nd Jan - I had to catch a bus from the main station at 3pm, so we had a good few hours to do some exploring. Rich told me about an awesome lookout at the Town Hall which gives amazing views over the whole city. So we spent ages getting there only to find it was closed! But, the building was really cool, so not a total loss. More suicidial ducks (I really cant get over these crazy ducks) and some beautiful sun. It was very nice.

14 January 2010

New Years Eve in Stockholm, Sweden

Wednesday the 30th December was a fairly quiet one. I got off the ferry at about 9:30am and headed back to Rich & Lynns place. After a shower and a bit of breakfast we headed out into the wilderness. The plan was for a fairly laid back day, nothing too strenuous - first up taking a look at the largest IKEA store in the world. Having never visited IKEA before it was a bit of an experience. But, not being much into home furnishings, the intrigue soon wore off. Before leaving we sampled a Swedish hot-dog - which I thought was fairly similar to any other sausage in bread, but apparently its special.

That evening I decided to visit Stockholms number one tourist attraction - the Vasa Museum - the world’s only surviving 17th-century ship. And no, this is not a viking ship (as they are apparently asked hundreds of times a day) - a couple of centuries too late. The ship sunk after sailing for about 30 minutes due to its poor design. The museum was fascinating - fully detailing the building, sailing, sinking, raising and restoring of the vessel. I spent two hours there without even realising. The ship is in such good shape because 1. it did not sink in battle, and 2. the low salt content of the sea did not rot the wood. The ship itself is enormous! and so incredibly detailed. I'm tying to think of good words to explain it, but my vocabulary isn't the best, so I'll just go for something cliche like 'awe-inspiring'. The photos are a little disappointing - they don't really show the size and detail, so I guess you will all just have to go and check it out yourself.

11 January 2010

Fin for a Day (Helsinki)

After a big night on the ferry the only thing I had on my mind was pain relief! But when I stepped outside I was met with so much wind and cold and snow I almost headed back to my cabin. After gathering my courage for a couple of minutes I pulled on my hat and scarf and braved the cold. Once I got moving it wasn't so bad...

First impressions were really good - the city was beautiful and white and the people were extremely friendly. I enjoyed just wandering through the streets, finding small parks and seeing all the trees covered in snow. The Christmas lights were still up which made it even more picturesque. It was exactly how I imagined Christmas in the northern hemisphere.

9 January 2010

Sweden, Part II

Monday 29th December I jumped on a bus from Vasteras into Stockholm, where I met up with my friend Rich. I havn't seen Rich in about 5 years (or more), but he doesn't seem to have changed much. We made our way back to his place to drop my bag. He lives in a really nice apartment right by the harbor with his partner Lynn.

We dropped my gear at his place, then headed into the city to take a quick look around. We visited Lynn at her uni for a bit, as well as checking out Gamla Stan (old town) and the parliament buildings. No pictures as I forgot the camera, whoops. We grabbed a bite to eat, then Rich had to leave for work. I made my way back to the apartment to pick up some clothes, then to the harbor to catch a ferry to Helsinki, Finland. Its a huge trip - 15 hours! But the ferry was filled with so much cool stuff it doesn't seem long at all.

6 January 2010

The land of ABBA, Vikings, IKEA and Meatballs... Sweden!

Who would fly during the holiday period? You would have to be insane. Seats that you can get for £5 normally go for £130! Add to that the fact that every other bugger has decided to go on holiday, including lots of families (with screaming babies or insanely annoying toddlers)... you would really have to be nuts.

So, on Sunday the 27th December at around midday I left for Stansted, caught the Easy Bus, then flew Ryan Air to Vasterus, Sweden. If you are familiar with these companies, you will know how much of a high roller I am (they are VERY cheap & nasty). I arrived at a very white Vasterus, where I jumped into a shuttle to the city. The driver was someone who really loved their job, and the icy roads - he was sliding all over the show. Something like this Good fun.
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