This Monday I came back home from a warm and cozy Rome in Italy, where I had a fantastic time with my sister, to a freezing cold Sweden - brr!! Now in Rome my sister and I went sightseeing on foot every day, so we did A LOT OF walking and climbing stairs. Lol! But it was so worth it! And even though we only spent a few days in Rome we did manage to see and do a lot, which of course also means that I took an insane amount of photos (more than 2000!!) of this lovely city. Therefore I will do three posts about my visit in Rome.
In this first post I will share photos from our visit to the amazing Colosseum, Forum Romanum, Palatine Hill, Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi and the Spanish Steps. The second post will be all about our visit to the beautiful St. Peter's Church and the Vatican Museum (the Sistine Chapel) with its gorgeous collection of art. Finally, in the third post I will focus on what we saw when we walked the streets of Rome and some of the Italian cuisine I tried. In other words, I have a lot to cover in these three posts - so let's get started!
The very first thing we did when we arrived in Rome was of course to buy pizza (slice)!! Lol! Which we devoured next to the Colosseum (behind me).
We actually lived just a few hundred meters from Colosseum, this is the view from our hotel terrace.
So our first stop for a closer look - the Colosseum.
The entrance. Now Colosseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre, is the largest ever built elliptical amphitheatre in the Roman Empire. It was built of concrete and stone and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Its construction started in 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD.
Though the Colosseum has a rather violent history, involving both humans and animals, today its visitors, also both human and animals, enjoyed the remains of this amphitheatre in quite a harmonious way. In fact, this cute little black cat seemed very relaxed in there, almost like he/she lived there. :-)
Inside Colosseum. At the bottom there they have removed the "floor" to show what it looked like below floor level, where all the gladiators, animals, slaves and so on where kept during the games.
Only groups with guides were allowed down there though.
Now I think Colosseum always looks gigantic on TV or in photos, but I actually thought it felt smaller than I had imagined. Hm...
View from the other side.
A view shared by many.
In the aisles of the Colosseum you could read and see photos, illustrations, statues and other objects that have been found there over the years. The illustration to the right is of how Colosseum looked like during Gladiator games.
An illustration of how Colosseum looked like when it was whole.
Right outside Colosseum was this beautiful arch, Arch of Constantine. It was built by the Roman Senate to celebrate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312.
Included in the entrance fee to the Colosseum was entry to the nearby Palantine Hill and Forum Romanum. In the photo we are at the Palantine Hill, which is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and one of the most ancient parts of the city.
It is a big area with lots of ruins and big trees.
This reminds me of our own Castle Ruins In Lyckeby here in Sweden, though the version in Rome is about ten times bigger. Lol!
Of course on a hill, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy Rome's fantastic scenery.
On to Forum Romanum, where the ruins of several important ancient government buildings in Rome are located. And where the weather became a bit indecisive...
Ruins in Forum Romanum.
This is Pantheon, a temple dedicated to all the Gods of Ancient Rome. It was first commissioned by Marcus Agrippa and then later rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD, so a very old temple.
And a beautiful temple as well.
Very big doors! Which was a common theme throughout Rome by the way.
Pantheon is located on this square.
As is this fountain,
Which I found to be quite creepy...
This fountain however, the very popular Fontana di Trevi, did not feel as spooky at all. Hehe.
And here I am (in pink), acting very touristy! Lol! ;p
Actually, Fontana di Trevi is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world.
So no wonder people were crazy with their coins, poses and cameras around it... Lol!
Final stop for today, another very crowded sight in Rome - the Spanish Steps.
Where this guy apparently was very thirsty...
The Spanish Steps is the widest staircase in Europe, so a lot of people can certainly fit there.
And at the top of the stairs is the Spanish Embassy and the Trinità dei Monti church. Also up there is this lovely view to enjoy, where I think I see the cupola of the St. Peter's Church? Which was another place where we climbed A LOT OF stairs to get to the top - way more than the Spanish Steps!! But more about that in the next post. :-)
Now back to reality in below zero degrees Celsius temperatures here in Lyckeby tonight, another brr!!
Tomorrow I fly away towards new adventures, in more than one way.
So Rome in Italy is where I am going to spend this weekend and thirty years of age is what I am going to celebrate there, wahoo!!! Though I must admit that I have had a bit of, or a lot of, anxiety over stepping into the era of thirties - super yikes!! But, I do sincerely hope (and believe) that being in such a magnificent city as Rome on my birthday will ease the transition into the thirties somewhat.
Because Rome is a city I have wanted to visit for a long time, mainly because I love the history of the city and the many historic buildings there. But also because of the wonderfully delicious Italian food culture. I mean, I cannot even begin to describe how much look forward is to try all the amazing Italian food and drinks - in Italy! Pizza, pasta, risotto, ice cream, cappuccino and wine of course. Needless to say, I am insanely excited about this trip!! And I will be back with a full report of my weekend in Rome next week. But until then, arrivederci i miei amici (good bye my friends). :p
Fall is in full bloom here in Lyckeby in Sweden right now. And because I will be in another country by the end of this week, I thought I would share some photos of the fall surroundings in Lyckeby before I go. So below are some photos of Fall In Lyckeby.
My favourite tree where I live!
Seen from a distance.
My walk in Lyckeby continues...
... with this lovely lady of course. :-)
There are lots of trees in Lyckeby .
Even red trees (or perhaps I should say red leaves, hehe).
We were not the only ones enjoying the lovely fall weather and surroundings in Lyckeby yesterday.
A roundabout in Lyckeby.
And this is what Ekebacken Nature Reserve here in Lyckeby looks like right now.
Where Lisen and I walk everyday.
But we do not encounter big mushrooms like that everyday though.
Now I only had my iphone with me on these walks, unfortunately. But when I go away on Thursday I will of course bring my proper camera, and take lots of photos of the very historic city I am about visit. However, because I do not want to jinx anything... I will not reveal the destination of my weekend journey until my next, and final before I depart, post. Though I can say that I am extremely excited and I look forward to this trip indeed! Not sure if I will see any fall surroundings there, like here in Lyckeby, on the other hand. Hm...
Today I took my dog Lisen for a visit to The Wamo Park, or Wämöparken in Swedish, here in Karlskrona in Sweden. And, to my surprise, Lisen was actually very interested in saying hello to both the rabbit and pig there (she usually does not really care that much about other animals). But of course while Lisen was busy trying to communicate with the rabbit and pig, I just had to take some photos of them all. Hehe. So below are some photos of Doggy Meets Rabbit And Pig In The Wamo Park.
Lisen trying to get the rabbit's attention.
Finally the rabbit looks at her.
And even gets a bit closer.
Communication in process.
But then Lisen got a bit too eager and wanted to play (I hope that is what she wanted anyway...).
So then the rabbit got a bit spooked and walked away from her.
But Lisen did not want to leave the rabbit, I had to drag her away.
Bye, bye rabbit.
Hello Miss Piggy.
Who was more interested in drinking water than communicating with Lisen when we came by though.
So then Lisen decided to check out the grass instead, which she had a few bites of.
So really, Lisen ate grass and Miss Piggy hung around the water the entire time we were there. Hehe.
But I do think Lisen had a great time in the park though, despite being snubbed by Miss Piggy. Lol! ;p Here we are on our merry way to the car again.
And we had great weather today too! So that combined with a fun visit to the Wamo Park earlier, well - certainly a perfect way to start the weekend in my book. :p
Though fall is a beautiful, vibrant and colourful season - it is also a season often visited by wind, clouds and rain. Which is what we have been experiencing lately here in Lyckeby in Sweden. So this morning I captured how my walks with Lisen have looked like these last few days...
Wet... (We live in one of those houses on the hill here in Lyckeby.)
... and rainy. (Lisen looks about how I feel there... Lol!)
Now I sure hope we will get back that beautiful sun we had a visit from in the beginning of last week, because I actually feel like the weather has quite an impact on my energy levels. In fact, I think Lisen is a bit extra slow and sleepy when the weather is like this as well. Though outside she does not seem to mind the rain as much as I do. But I do feel like we both need a little energy boost right about now. So: "Please Sunny Sunshine, come back again!". Let's hope that does the trick. ;-) Hehe. For now however, soon time for one of those rainy fall walks with Lisen again... Aye, aye - phew!
When I woke up this morning it was to an absolutely gorgeous day! Windless, blue skies, a beaming sun and, though it was a bit chilly outside, the air was so beautifully fresh and crisp that the coldness just made it nicer than usual to breathe in. In other words, it was a perfect day for an outing together with my doggy Lisen. But instead of going to our favourite forest in Rodeby (Rödeby), I decided to take Lisen on a walk around a lake called Lake Farskesjon (Färskesjön in Swedish) near Jamjo (Jämjö) here in Karlskrona in Sweden - about 18 kilometers from where we live in Lyckeby. So I packed a bag with my camera, a thermos with coffee, a sandwich, a bag with treats for Lisen and off we went.
Now Lake Farskesjon is a freshwater lake which is partially located in a nature reserve.
Beautiful Lake Farskesjon. This is where we started our 4K walk around the lake.
Of course this was the first thing Lisen did when we arrived. :p
After a few minutes of intense joy over being in the lake, she spotted the hundreds of birds over there.
But Lisen was more interested in playing around in the lake than chasing after them.
La di da di da...
And let's run some more.
I just absolutely love how clear this lake is by the way.
"Did you say something?"
It is also a very shallow lake. "Hellooooo!!"
Lisen felt a bit brave today, which of course made me nervous! (She made it fine out there though.)
Lisen also felt rather playful (as usual, hehe) - peekaboo!
Climbing a mountain.
Enjoying the view. :-)
"Hey, how about that lunch you packed now Alex? I am hungry."
And this is a common "eat scene" in the Lisen and Alex household.
"Hey, I want some tooo! Pleeeeeeaseeeeeeee!"
"That's more like it. Thank you." :-)
The terrain around the lake was mixed, some parts looked like this.
Others more like this.
As well as like this.
And Lisen always found something to do on our walk... Bad doggy! (She was rolling around in something smelly...)
But it was a really nice walk though, I love when it really feels like I am in a forest (sort of).
There were also plenty of colorful trees and rocks around.
As well as a cute little island in the lake.
Over there on that rock was where we had our lunch.
Of course all around the lake there were lots of opportunities to enjoy the view.
Like here. :-)
Hm... That boat looks a bit too wet to me...
After about two and a half hours, including many stops, we finally arrived back where we started.
And it truly was such a lovely and peaceful walk. We actually only saw two dogs and heard one human voice (shouting at the dogs, lol) on our entire walk, and they were on the opposite side of the lake as us. Which was really quite nice. Even more nice is that Lisen is so exhausted right now, hehe. Besides barking at me when she wanted her food earlier, she has just been sleeping since we got back home. Though I do think her body is a bit sore right now, so I will have to take it easy with her in the next few days. But all in all, we certainly had a gorgeous walk around Lake Farskesjon today - one I will definitely try to take more often. :-)
Pet insurance is a policy that will cover the cost of veterinary care should your pet become sick or suffers an injury, based on you paying in to the policy on a monthly basis. Some policies will cover costs relating to the death of your pet or if it has been lost or stolen. Contrary to the wide-held belief that pet insurance is similar to health insurance for humans, it is actually a form of property insurance.
Although the first insurance policy was written in the late 19th century, the first pet insurance policy wasn't sold until over 50 years later, in the Britain during 1947. Britain now has the second to highest rate of pet insurance policies with Sweden the top country. It is slightly less popular in the U.S where pet insurance is a more recent phenomenon - the first policy taken out was to insure TV canine Lassie in 1982.
How policies work - the U.K and the U.S
U.K policies will cover veterinary costs either entirely or with an excess fee. U.S policies work through a benefit schedule, where limits and deductibles are attributed to individual problems or vet visits. In both cases lifetime or limited cover is available - lifetime cover will apply conditions over the lifespan of the pet, which means that it will cover repeated treatment for the same illness over an unlimited number of years. Limited cover means that once a pet is treated for a particular illness, subsequent annual policies will not cover that again.
How to make a claim
Usually you will take the pet for treatment and then submit a claim form to send to your insurer for them to assess and then pay all or part of the costs. In the U.S some vets may allow time for your insurers to assess and then pay out for a claim, rather than requiring you to immediately stump up costly bills. In the U.K it is regular practice to pay the vet directly.
For all claims it's important to fill out the information correctly in order to avoid delays. When taking out insurance make sure that you read all of the small print so that you are entirely clear as to what protection the policy will afford you.
One of the most popular posts on this blog, where I continually get a lot of traffic to from search engines, is Food And Gas Prices In Sweden Today. And because I published that post about one year ago (on August 11, 2011) I thought it was time for a post with an update of the current food and gas prices in Sweden. So today I went to the local supermarket CityGross again here in Karlskrona in Sweden, the same supermarket I checked food prices in last year, to see if any food prices had changed since then - which they had. In fact, when I compared the same food items I checked last year with how much they cost today, most of them had become more expensive. However, some had also become cheaper.
The Swedish supermarket CityGross here in Karlskrona in Sweden, where I checked food prices today.
And the JET gas station here in Lyckeby in Sweden, where I checked today's gas prices.
Now the JET gas station is also the same gas station where I got my gas price information in last year's post. And, like most of the Swedish food prices, the gas price had also increased since last year. Though I do think gas has become more expensive all over the world, but I am not sure about food prices?
Anyway, below are the lists of the complete Update On Current Food And Gas Prices In Sweden today. The food prices are from well known Swedish and international brands, just like last year. And today's gas prices are gathered from the same sources as last year as well. The prices in the lists are listed in Swedish Kronas, SEK, and US Dollars, USD. Also, because of the slight change in the USD currency since last year the price increases and decreases look a bit different between SEK and USD.
Explanations: kg = kilograms, g = grams, (Swe) = Swedish origin, (-/+) = change since last year
Now the food items I have chosen here are some basic household items, which can of course be found cheaper - as well as more expensive, both in other supermarkets and in CityGross. It all depends on what type of quality of food you prefer to buy. But these prices are a kind of average, not the most expensive - but not the cheapest brands or meat either. The currency comparison is also just to give an idea of the prices in USD. So in case you are coming to Sweden for a visit and/or plan to buy groceries here, I hope this post gives an idea of how much food and gas cost in Sweden today. And hopefully it is not as expensive as Swedish prices are rumored to be. ;-)
That is right, today we celebrate Cinnamon Bun Day here in Sweden! Woot woot! I am always fond of celebrations that include food of some sorts, hehe, so therefore I am naturally an eager participant in today's celebration of the delicious Cinnamon Bun.
Today's Cinnamon Bun, with a pink pearl sugar twist.
Now the Cinnamon Bun was first introduced in Swedish households in the 1920s. The main ingredients in Cinnamon Buns are; wheat flour, milk, yeast, sugar and butter. The dough is also often seasoned with cardamom. The classic Cinnamon Bun filling consists of butter, sugar and cinnamon. The first celebration of Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden took place on October 4th in 1999.
To read more about the origin of Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden and the introduction of Cinnamon Buns in Swedish households, check out my page --> Cinnamon Bun Day In Sweden.
And this is the cute Cinnamon Bun I had with my coffee earlier today. Yum!
Though I am not sure if any other country celebrate this day today? I still want to wish everyone, all over the Globe, a continued Happy Cinnamon Bun Day! :p
Though I was not aware of this until a few days ago, apparently Rose Hip Soup is quite the Swedish soup. So naturally when I learned of this, I just had to write this post about it. Now Rose Hip Soup is made out of Rose Hips, which are the fruits of wild roses that grow in in Sweden. Rose Hip Soup can be eaten or drunk both cold and warm and is consumed either as a snack, beverage or dessert.
I prefer to eat Rose Hip Soup just like this, lukewarm in a bowl with vanilla ice cream. Yuuummyy!! :p
Other common ways to eat Rose Hip Soup is with tiny macaroons, corn flakes or even sprinkled crisp bread in it. To eat or drink it just as it is works too of course.
But even though I do eat Rose Hip Soup from time to time nowadays, I mostly associate it with my childhood. I especially remember how Rose Hip Soup was a common treat served to us children when we visited my friends grandparents. It was also something I sometimes ate or drank in school or at the community youth center when I was younger. So because of these memories, Rose Hip Soup feels more like a childrens soup to me. However, like I said, I do get the occasional craving for it every now and then - although I do think it is more the ice cream part than the soup that entice me about it. Lol!
But back to what I said before, Rose Hip Soup is made out if Rose Hips - the fruit of wild roses that grow in in Sweden. The flower of the plant grow between May and September and the fruit between August and September. When the Rose Hips are ripe, they are collected in dry weather. They should be picked just when they become red, but not hard. Because after that stage the vitamin content in the fruit decrease.
When it comes to making the soup, many Swedes prefer to make their own Rose Hip Soup. Some people also add special twists to their soup or use old family recipes when they make it. I, on the other hand, prefer to buy ready made Rose Hip Soup. In Sweden we can buy liquid ready made soup or powder soup which you then add liquid to at home to make the soup. I usually buy the liquid option in tetra pack.
This is the Rose Hip Soup I have at home right now.
Typical ingredients in a ready made soup are: water, Rose Hips (or Rose Hip powder), sugar, thickener, citric acid and vitamin C. In fact, Rose Hip Soup is quite rich in vitamin C and therefore it is said to be rather healthy (if you do not add any other sweet stuff to it of course). Though the sugar in it is not that healthy really. Actually, I have tried Rose Hip Soup without any added sugar, which is available to buy. But honestly, that soup was quite tasteless. So some sweetness is needed in there I think.
During the manufacturing of ready made Rose Hip Soup the whole Rose Hip is used. The parts that are not in the base of the soup, like the seeds, are burnt up in ovens and in that way the "waste" provide some of the heat and energy needed in the making process. When the soup has finished boiling it is freeze dried or heated and cooled in a protected environment to later be filled in bags and tetra pack.
When Rose Hips are dried and pulverized to become Rose Hip powder, the seeds are removed and the rest of the fruits are dried airy in room temperature or in an oven at 50°. Afterwards the fruits dry a bit more until the are hard and completely dry so they then can be pulverized into the powder which is used to make the Rose Hip Soup. Both of these methods help ensure long duration, which is why no preservatives need to be added. And because basically no commercial Rose Hip Farms exist in Sweden, the soup produced in Sweden is also sold in Sweden. No major export occur. But about 800 tons of dried Rose Hips are annually imported to Sweden, mostly from Chile and Bulgaria.
Now, due to the fact that I knew I was going to write this post today I kept an eye out for Rose Hip bushes on my walk with my dog Lisen this morning. And it did not take very long until I spotted some. :-)
In fact, these two Rose Hip Bushes on either side of the walkway grow just a few hundred meters from where I live here in Lyckeby in Sweden. Though I should say that I am not sure these are the type of Rose Hips you can make soup from, or anything else for that matter? After all, more than ten different kind of wild species of Rose Hip bushes grow in Sweden. And I have no idea which kind this is?
Either way, I did find a few OK looking Rose Hips on the bushes today.
But most of them had dried out.
Lisen looking like she is a bit tired of all my new found Rose Hip fascination. Lol!
Now these are the seeds in the Rose Hip that are removed before drying the fruit. Actually these seeds, or fine hairs here, are commonly known as itching powder. Because they make your skin itch like crazy when applied onto to it - ouch!! I remember how this was a popular way to mess with someone when I was in school, to grab some Rose Hips seeds and pour them inside somebody's sweater. Not very nice...
But besides also being used as a cruel practical joke, the Rose Hip is used for many other things as well. Like tea, marmalade, jam or lemonade for instance. The fruit can even be eaten as it is, though you must remove the seeds of course. Even so, Rose Hip Soup is what the fruit is mostly used for - at least here in Sweden. And in case anyone is curious to see a recipe of Rose Hip Soup, I found one in English at foodbycountry.com - it only has four ingredients! Actually, now that I think of it, maybe IKEA sell Rose Hip Soup? Hm.. Could be quite possible. Either way, I do hope you all give it a go. AND, of course - please do not forget to add some ice cream to it! Because then surely the Rose Hip Soup cannot be anything but a delight to eat. ;p