My departure date for Florida is fast approaching, only a few days left now! So today I brought out my bag and started to make lists over what I need to pack, do before I leave, do when I get there, buy and other reminder-notes. I always write lists, for everything... It makes everything easier and seem less confusing to me, which in turn makes me feel more relaxed and under control - especially before a long trip like this. In short, I have officially been infected by travel fever and to write lists is my medicine.
So this is my bag and list I started to write today.
My doggy Lisen of course immediately became a bit suspicious, she has probably learned through the years that whenever this bag comes out - I go away.
Are you leaving me - AGAIN!?
Ahh, Lisen. But she will be fine. Lisen will stay with my sister and her dog in a big house over the Holidays, so I am not worried. Though I will of course miss my little doggy. :-) Nevertheless, I am VERY excited to fly away to some sun and warmth soon. Wahoo!!! But until then I do have a lot of list making and packing to do. So I'd better get back to it!
After my lovely cruise I spent a few days in Stockholm, Sweden, visiting with relatives. And because I have relatives in Stockholm I have been there many times in my life. I remember when I was younger I used to perceive Stockholm as "the big city where I could get lost". Also when I was a child we did not have McDonald's in Karlskrona so I used to think that it was the coolest thing to go to Stockholm just because they had McDonald's there. Of course it was even cooler to actually eat at McDonald's! But nowadays I know my way Stockholm a lot better and we have 2 McDonald's in Karlskrona. :-)
Below are some of my photos of sights seen in Stockholm.
The white building to the right is the Central Station in Stockholm. The big church top in the middle of the photo is Riddarholmen Church. Which is the only remaining medieval monastery church in Stockholm. It was built in the late 1200s and is the final resting place for all of Swedens Kings and rulers since 1632, except Queen Christina. It also the burial place for some Kings from the middle ages.
Sergels Square in Stockholm, also known in Swedish as Plattan - The Slab is the first square I think of when I think of squares in Stockholm. However, even though the Culture House is to the left and there are a lot of shops near the square. Sergels Square is mainly known (at least among locals) for being a hangout for junkies. It is also popular place to hold demonstrations of various kinds.
The main avenue in Stockholm is Drottninggatan - Queen Street where a lot of shops, pubs and restaurants are located.
My favourite Queen Street sights though are the quotes by Swedish author August Strindberg which have been forged in stainless steel in the middle of Queen Street 67-85.
My favourite Strindberg quote (left photo) translates to: "To love is to give, give!". And something I noticed this time while I was walking along Queen Street were the lions in the right photo. I thought, surely they must have some historic meaning - so I looked it up. Turns out they are just stylish obstacles which were put up in 1995 to stop cars from driving through this street. Lol!
On my way to Old Town in Stockholm I became mesmerized by this fountain!
So I stayed a while and played with my camera, hehe.
The building which the fountain is placed in front of is named Norra Latin - Northern Latin. And originally in 1880-1982 this building was used as a school for boys. Today it is a conference center.
Finally I arrived in Old Town in Stockholm. Which is where Stockholm was founded in 1252. It is also one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe. And I just love to walk around here and imagine how it must have been to live in Stockholm during the medieval times.
Main Square - Stortorget in Old Town is indeed a popular tourist attraction. Which I suspect is not just because of the pretty buildings. Actually Old Town is said to be quite the ghost town. In fact many tourist guides offer so called "Ghost Walks" around Old Town in the evenings. During these walks guides share stories about legends, diseases, murders and ghosts which are all a part of Old Towns past.
For instance, the red building behind the water pump has exactly 92 white stones on it, although the stones look more grey today. Anyway, each stone represent the 92 members of the Swedish nobility who were decapitated and hanged between November 7-10 in 1520 by Danish King Christian II. An incident also known as the Stockholm Bloodbath or Stockholm Massacre. And the tale is that when the nights between November 7-10 are really harsh and humid you can see the blood of those who were murdered flow through the gutters of Main Square. It is also said that if ever one of those white stones is removed, the person who represent that stone will become a ghost destined to wander the city streets forever.
By the way, the lovely water pump in the photo was for many years the zero point in Sweden. Meaning that it was the point from which all distances to national roads to and from Stockholm were measured.
The Royal Palace in Stockholm is also located in Old Town.
The Royal Palace in Stockholm has about 600 rooms and is one of the largest castles in Europe.
The Royal Palace is heavily guarded!
So do not try any funny business.
They will catch you...eventually. Nah, this guard was not sleeping. Just checking her gun. Bad me. ;-)
The Royal Palace seen from another angle. To the left of the Royal Palace is Storkyrkan - The Great Church, although its official name is Sankt Nicolai Kyrka - Saint Nicholas Church. It is the oldest building still in use in Sweden. The first part of the church can be traced back to 1306. The current King and Queen of Sweden were married there in 1976 and last year the Crown Princess of Sweden were married there as well.
View of Stockholm from the hill in previous photo.
I had fun taking these photos, although I have tons more. Lol! But this will end my series of Cruise and Travel posts for this time. However I do have other journeys planned so lots more of the travel kind posts to come in the future. Until then it is back to Sweden, Doggies and My Life. :-)
The second stop on my cruise was Saint Petersburg, or St. Petersburg, in Russia. A city I had really looked forward to visit. So I was very excited when we arrived there. Now Saint Petersburg was the only city where we had to have a Visa if we wanted to enter. But if we booked a tour with the cruise ship we did not have to worry about applying for a Visa. So we did.
However we chose to book a tour where we had around 6 hours free time to walk around in Saint Petersburg, which I thought would be good amount of time. But it was not at all enough time! Saint Petersburg is a big city with many, many things and places to explore. Oh well, I will just have to go back one day and continue my exploration. Because it was an amazing city!
What I did manage to squeeze in though was mostly visits to some of the historic and insanely enormous beautiful buildings. So below are some of the photos I snapped there.
Nevsky Prospect, the main avenue in Saint Petersburg.
And along Nevsky Prospect there are many stunning buildings to see.
Like this magnificent church. It is the Church On Spilled Blood which was built exactly where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881.
I thought this building looked really spooky! And when I researched the building it turns out it is a Swedish granite building. Lol! It was built in 1912 and was originally a bank.
At the end of Nevsky Prospect lies this glorious palace named The Winter Palace. This palace is located at the historic Palace Square. The big column in the middle is the Alexander Column which was built between 1830-34. It is the tallest red granite column in the world.
Peter the Great founded Saint Petersburg in 1703 and this palace was commissioned by his daughter, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, in 1754 as an official royal residence (finished 1764). And until the Russian revolution in 1917 this was where the Russian tsars and monarchs used to live.
Can you see me? :-)
Opposite The Winter Palace lies the The General Staff building, built between 1820-30.
And another gigantic building!
There are about 60 small rivers and canals that run through Saint Petersburg.
There are also more than 400 bridges in Saint Petersburg.
My favourite bridge, of those I saw, was this one. Not sure about the correct name though, I think it is something like Wild Horse Tame Bridge. Anyway, there are four statues on this bridge of a wild horse being tamed by a young man. And each statue symbolizes a stage in taming a wild horse.
These are the four horse statues on the bridge. I really think the artist have managed bring these pieces of stone into life. Because I found them so intense and vivid, like I was staring at a live horse being tamed. They truly captured me.
Snack time at a cafe in Saint Petersburg. Sooo good!!! (I did not eat all of that myself by the way.) :p
On the bus back to the ship.
Where I got to enjoy this lovely sunset.
Thank You and Good Night Saint Petersburg!
After our day here we had 2 nights and 1 entire day at sea before we arrived in Stockholm again. I then stayed a few days in Stockholm after the cruise to visit relatives. I also of course went into Stockholm city to snap a ton of photos! Which I will share in my next post. :p
The first stop on my cruise was Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I had never been there before so I had no idea what to expect. But it was a very beautiful and picturesque city indeed! We had about 6 hours to spend in Tallinn and we chose to enjoy them in the "Old Town" part of the city. Below are some of the photos I snapped while I was there.
Here I am by the Tallinn sign. The church in the background is St. Olav’s Church and Tower. A church that was actually the tallest building in the world between 1549 to 1625.
Entrance to Old Town in Tallinn.
Where horses have been replaced with segways these days...
By the way, Old Town is very popular among tourists.
So I was not the only one who took photos
and gawked. Lol!
But seriously, there were a lot of really stunning old buildings and churches to see in Tallinn. Like this 14th century Holy Spirit Church with its 17th century clock.
In fact the Holy Spirit Church clock is the oldest public timepiece in Tallinn today.
Town Hall is another cool building in Old Town. It is located at the Town Square and was first mentioned in 1322 in records, although it was not until 1402-1404 it was given the appearance we see today. Town Hall is also the only intact Gothic Town Hall in Northern Europe.
Town Square seen from the Town Hall side.
Where I, and many others, enjoyed an ice cream on this lovely day. :p
Up by the tree in the photo is a perfect lookout spot in Tallinn!
But I had to wander up this hill to get there.
Then squeeze myself in among all these other tourists to get a glimpse of Tallinn.
But it was definitely worth it!
View of Tallinn, Estonia.
Old and new.
More Old Town charm in Tallinn - Cute shop signs!
Old style vendor in Old Town.
Hanging out in Old Town.
Souvenir shopping in Old Town.
And me, constantly looking for fun ways to capture my surroundings.
Next post will be all about my visit in St. Petersburg, Russia! :p
I will start off my Cruise Week Theme here with some photos of the ship I travelled with, Vision Of The Seas. Now I had only been on 2 night cruises before so this 4 night cruise was a new experience for me. And it became a very pleasant experience indeed!
But before I jump into the photo section, here is a short recap of what kind of cruise I was on. It was a 4 night cruise from Stockholm in Sweden with stops in Tallinn, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia. During the cruise I stayed in a normal cabin on third deck. No complaints about that one.
The food was also tasty and I ate way too much!!! But I guess that is to be expected when there is a buffet for every meal and snack, lol! All staff was friendly, service was good and there were always plenty of activities going on around the ship. A huge bonus on this cruise was the weather! I swear if I had not looked out the windows I would not have known we were at sea. That is how calm the ocean was. So all in all I did indeed have a wonderful time on this little trip!
And below are some of my captured cruise moments.
Vision Of The Seas in Tallinn harbour.
Aboard Vision Of The Seas.
Lots of floors and two glass elevators.
Wonderful buffet food decorations!
And tasty food! Especially the sushi and mushroom risotto (left) as well as the duck with blackcurrant sauce (right).
More food art. Cheese face.
Fun by the pool. The guys by the pool participated in a "belly flop" competition.
Where the one who made the biggest belly flop won.
Delicious evening drinks and showtime.
Of course I had to inspect the casino aboard. :p
Slot machines worked fine. As did the video poker machines. Which also inspired me to perhaps start to play some online poker again. Hehe.
Deck 3 where we had our cabin.
And where we were greeted by these cute towel animals. When I saw the doggy to the left I instantly thought of my Lisen. Aww!
And beyond beautiful!
A perfect way to end my first cruise week post. Next post will be all about my visit in Tallinn, Estonia. :-)
Yay! So today I drove 500 kilometers from Karlskrona here in Sweden to my departure destination, and Swedens capital, Stockholm. The cruise I'm going on is a 5 day cruise with stops in Tallinn (Estonia) and St. Petersburg (Russia). And I'm so excited!!! Especially about St. Petersburg! A city I imagine to be very beautiful with grandiose buildings and a deeply historic atmosphere. Although I'm sure the entire cruise thing will be a fun experience too!
Of course I have brought my camera with me and I plan to take tons of photos! However I'm not sure how often I will be able to update my blog during this trip. Mainly due to limited internet access out at sea. But I will try to post something as soon as and as often as I can. The same goes for responding to comments, emails and other online connections.
But for now I will leave you with some photos from my drive to Stockholm today. :p
Lake at a rest stop along highway E22 from Karlskrona to Norrköping in Sweden.
Another rest stop where we had lunch.
And where this lovely little bird came by to say hello.
I spent this weekend in Gothenburg, Sweden, visiting friends. Now I have been to Gothenburg a few times before, however I have not really done any proper sightseeing. So I decided to do that this time. And of course I brought my camera and took a ton of photos! :p
So the first thing I associate with Gothenburg is trams. Much in the same way I associate trams with San Francisco. Actually, Gothenburg has the largest tram system in Sweden and trams have been in traffic in Gothenburg since 1879. The carts were pulled by horses until 1902, which is when the first electrical tram was introduced.
Left pic: tram line number 12, also known as Lisebergslinjen. This is a museum tram line with trams from as early as 1902. Right pic: some modern trams.
Nordstan mall. I didn't do any shopping this weekend because I wanted to focus on sightseeing, but we did park the car in the garage of Scandinavia's largest mall - Nordstan (in the pic). In fact Nordstan mall is also one of Northern Europe's largest malls measured in terms of total area (320 000 m² or 3 444 451 ft²) and number of stores (200).
Paddan sightseeing (Paddan - toad in English). On to some proper sightseeing then! We chose to try the popular Paddan sightseeing boats that run along the river Göta Älv. These boats have been in business ever since 1939. And it was definitely a fun way to learn about and see Gothenburg.
Paddan sightseeing tour. But there are a lot of bridges along Göta Älv, like "The Cheese Slice Bridge" (bottom pics). Where, if the water is high enough (like when we went) you have to get down on the floor and duck so the boat can fit under the bridge.
Paddan sightseeing tour. Paddan seen from Göta Älv Bridge.
Paddan sightseeing tour. View from Paddan.
Left pic:Gothenburg Opera House, built in 1994 and shaped as a ship (was the idea anyway). Right pic: The red and white building which locals refer to as "The Lip Stick". Its real name is Skanskaskrapan and it's mainly an office building. Although a café is located at the top floor where you can have some coffee and enjoy the view.
Göteborgshjulet - Wheel of Gothenburg. This Ferris Wheel first opened on May 22, 2010. Today it's located at Kanaltorget - Channel square, however it will be moved to the amusement park Liseberg in 2012.
View from Göteborgshjulet - Wheel of Gothenburg. Unfortunately it had started to rain when we went on it and the raindrops on the windows made it hard for me to get any good photos of the view. But this is a decent is one.
Avenyn. Avenyn is probably the most well known street in Gothenburg. It's packed with shops, restaurants, night clubs and theatres. I had an awesome hamburger along this street at the Italian-American restaurant Joe Farelli's, yum!
Gustaf Adolf's square. A popular sightseeing stop indeed. King Gustaf II Adolf founded Gothenburg in 1621. However, the square was originally named Big square. But in 1854, when the statue of King Gustaf II Adolf of Sweden was placed there, the square became known as Gustaf Adolf's square instead.
Saluhallen. Saluhallen is a covered food market with tons of fresh, fun and unusual foods! Like Moose snacks - Älg snacks (bottom right pic), hehe.
Skansen Kronan in Haga, Gothenburg. This is an old defence construction built between 1687-1700. It's located on a small mountain called Risåsberget in Haga, a few kilometres outside Gothenburg. Today this building is used as celebration premises, it's also a great place to enjoy some spectacular views of Gothenburg (for free).
Views from Skansen Kronan in Haga, Gothenburg. I must say it was the best views of the whole day, and it didn't cost a penny. Just a climb up about 195 steep stairs and a small (but also steep) hill, PHEW! I had no idea my fitness level had dropped so dramatically! Yikes!
Liseberg amusement park, Gothenburg. We spent Saturday evening at Gothenburgs awesome amusement park Liseberg. I love this one!!! It has been in open since 1923.
Flumeride at Liseberg amusement park. I love this ride! It's like a mini roller coaster in water. :p
AtmosFear at Liseberg amusement park. This new attraction is called AtmosFear, ooo! Lol! It's Europe's highest free fall. From 146 meters above sea level you free fall at 110 km/h straight down before the attraction abruptly slows down. Now I have gone on an attraction like this one called Free Fall at Gröna Lund (amusement park in Stockholm, Sweden). It was probably a few meters shorter but I'm sure my experience would be pretty much the same on AtmosFear - CANNOT BREATHE or see!!! So, nah. I didn't try this one. Hehe.
Balder roller coaster at Liseberg amusement park. Balder is a roller coaster completely made out of wood. It's also the largest single investment Liseberg has ever made in an attraction so far, which is more than 100 million SEK or 15 099 809 USD. And I did actually ride on this one!!!
Me on Balder the roller coaster (right pic)!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! They had cameras that took photos when we came down one of the steepest hills. LOL! But I must say that the ride wasn't as scary (a good thing) as I thought. I think I probably had raised my expectations of what it would be like (getting slammed from side to side, not being able to breathe, being pushed down in the seat by gravitation) a biiiiiit to much. So it was a very, very, fun ride on da roller coaster for me!
So all in all I had a
great, and very active, weekend in Gothenburg! :p
Tweet This Thursday I went with my sister on a day trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. Now Denmark is one of those countries that almost feel like a part of Sweden to me. Mainly because I have been there countless times, but also because it's located so close to Sweden. However, what quickly reminds me of that this is not the case is the language barrier. Because even though some Danish words are very similar to Swedish ones, I still find it hard to understand Danish! Not sure how the Danes feel about understanding Swedish though? So even though Denmark feels familiar to me, Danish does not. Lol. Which is why I prefer to speak English with the Danes.
Anyway, it was a long time since my last visit to Denmark and I felt it was about time I took quick trip over there again. So I convinced my sister to tag along with me to Denmark's capital Copenhagen. And the easiest and quickest way to travel there from where I live, in Karlskrona, Sweden, is by train. It takes 3,5 hours, no transfers, which is very convenient as well. So away we went! And below are some pics from our day trip in Copenhagen. :p
Train station Karlskrona. This is the train we traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark with.
Copenhagen, Denmark. Behind the Sightseeing bus is the entrance to Tivoli.
Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world. It first opened in 1843. And every year Tivoli have around 4 million visitors.
Rosenborg Castle. It was the former Danish monarch King Christian IV who ordered this castle to be built. The construction took almost 30 years before it was finished in 1632. Rosenborg Castle is now a museum where you for instance can see the Danish crown jewels.
Here I am at the entrance to Rosenborg castle. I think it looks like an old ghost castle actually, I even got some freaky vibes while I was there. I mean, just look at the scary lion type guard statue in the right pic. Yikes!
This large building is the Town Hall of Copenhagen. It was built during 1892-1905. In this building you can find the worlds most advanced clock, designed by Jens Olsen. This clock has 13 different clockworks that shows the exact time from all over the world and the exact position of all planets.
Creatures we found portrayed around Copenhagen. We saw them on churches, old buildings, fountains or as statues. And I think they look a bit creepy, hehe. Although I don't know what they symbolize? But a few places we found them at were: Top left: Outside Town Hall. Top right: Also on Town Hall. Bottom left: Fountain of creatures on Town Square in Copenhagen. Bottom right: Close up of one of the foutain creatures.
Nyhavn, or "New Port". I love this part of Copenhagen! It's so colorful and has such a lovely historical feel to it.
Nyhavn was founded in 1670-73 by King Frederik V as a gateway from the sea to the old inner city. Back then the canal area reached all the way to the Kings Square, where ships unloaded their cargo and fishermen their daily catch. Many of these wonderful houses are 300 years old.
And you can also find the Longest Bar in Scandinavia here.
The main shopping street in Copenhagen is Strøget, which is one of Europe's longest shopping streets with its 1.1 km (0.684 miles).
And there sure are a lot of things to see, do, shop and eat along Strøget! Like buy souvenirs, watch a headless man, check out world records, bargain flowers and/or eat ice cream! :p
Something I ALWAYS buy home with me from Denmark when I visit are these! Danish pastry, or simply Danish. There are a ton of variations of Danish pastry but my favourite ones are those in the pic. And of course Danish pastry taste best when they are made and bought fresh in Denmark! Yuuummy!!!
Train station Copenhagen. This is where we boarded the train back to Karlskrona, Sweden. And I already look forward to my next visit. :-)