A Travellerspoint blog

Snygg Rumpa

Sweden

Sweden! Most certainly a country we have been looking forward to visiting! Having worked with a few Swedes a couple of years back I had heard that it was a great place. My language needed a litlle bit of a touch up though, as all I could remember was Snygg Rumpa, meaning nice ass*. This phrase actually turned out to be quite appropriate (or inappropriate depending on how you look at it).

So from Copenhagen we made the 7.8km journey to Malmö, Sweden. We took the train which used the Øresund Bridge, a really interesting roadway, which is a bridge turn tunnel! Part of the journey is underwater (by tunnel), which meets the surface on an island and becomes a bridge... or something like that - Tim did explain, but sometimes I just find I'm not that interested.

Anyway our 'Swedish experience' had us a couple of days in Malmö followed by a few more days in Stockholm, not very extensive but we got a feel for it.
Tim mentioned in our last blog that... "its definitely Christmas, and its definitely winter", well this still rings true in Sweden and let me tell you, its bloody cold and I bloody LOVE fairy lights!! You really get to appreciate them up here too as sun set is before 3pm!

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Christmas markets are just everywhere, and in my head they were much bigger, but they seem to be small and many. There are neat ice skating rinks everywhere too. We braved it once in Stockholm and were pretty impressed by some of the kids whizzing past us!

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We went and checked out some amazing ice skaters at a local ice hockey match on our last night. Such amazing skill, and WHAT THE PUK!... so aggressive!! That was a blast, and the home team lost to the team lower on the table which made for some great crowd watching!

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Scandinavia is known for its social bathing. Not wanting to miss out on anything we popped along to the big one in Malmö, which is pretty old and very popular (with locals).
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Men and women are separated at the entrance, and as I can't read Swedish I struggled a bit working out what to do and ended up asking someone, she explained that you had to get naked (*snygg rumpa), then wash off before getting into the saunas (there were three here, all different temperatures and types), anyway you get yourself nice and hot and then you head outside and get in the sea, making sure to dunk your head. I tell you what, in a place where I wont go outside until every inch of me is covered up, the thought of a nudey dunk in the sea sounded horrific, but it was actually quite refreshing after the intense heat (not that I hung around in there).
It was quite fun :)

Tim showed his inner child by taking me to a couple of museums. The first was the Malmö marine and technology museum (yay). We were the only adults there without any children (well I suppose I had Tim). Jokes aside it actually was quite interesting, it housed a wartime submarine along with many other early technological pieces, all interactive and all thoroughly tested by Tim.

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The next museum was the Vasa museum in Stockholm. A museum dedicated to one ship (the Vasa). Basically this ship was built in the early 1600's (looked like a pirate ship to me), she kitted out with 64 bronze cannons, it took 2 years to build. Its maiden voyage was August 10 1628, with cannons on show and guests on board she sailed out of the harbour, heeled over to the lower cannon deck, took on water and sunk after aprox. 1.3km! Oops. Anyways it lay at the bottom of the harbour for 333years and was preserved reasonably well, before being hauled up in the 60's.

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While I did enjoy both of these museums my favourite by a country mile was ABBA the museum! Such fun. Man they had some hits! *Agnetha was voted worlds sexiest ass - Snygg Rumpa ;)

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We enjoyed walking around the towns, the buildings were all very pretty and there were hundreds of sculptures. Very visually pleasing even if we couldn't afford to buy anything inside those buildings!

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Our last morning was spent tasting the tradional Swedish meatballs at Meatballs for the People, before jumping on an overnight ferry to Helsinki where we will be spending Christmas. Fingers crossed for snow!

Posted by stomich 08:05 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

The "Happiest Place in the World"

Also Known as Denmark, particularly Copenhagen...

15 Euro Flight

I want to start this blog witb some sweet travel advice... previously I had used skyscanner to help decide where and how to fly, but good old Google have proven one better. Google flights have a super handy explore destinations feature, which is a map fearure that shows all flights from a particular place, and is super easy to help plan trips and find excellent deals, like €15 from Dublin to Copenhagen...

Copenhagen

We arrived in to Copenhagen under clouds. Three days later, it was still there. That was not to dampen our spirits of what we have heard is a truly awesome city. On the train and into the city where we are staying. Immediately we notice 2 things, it's definitely almost Christmas and it is definitely Winter.

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We jumped on a walking tour and got shown around seeing all the sights of note, including the place where Mr J.C Jacobsen used a Scienctific approach to make beer and formed Carlsberg, named after his son Carl. Supposedly this is the innovation that has formed the modern approach to making beer as we know it today.

One important thing to the Danish is Hygge. It's an approach to life that makes them so happy, and basically it is improving everyday things that would normaly not be that exciting, so you get enjoyment from them. Once major method is by lighting candles... They burn alot of candles in Denmak. It is interesting to note that Copenhagen has burnt to the ground a number of times.

Copenhagen is a city worthy of cycling, becasue pretty much everyone cycles everywhere.

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We got some wheels and rode around, where we found the self gorverning hippie city called Freetown (within Copenhagen).
They didn't like photos because some normally illegal activity happens there...

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We found the palace where the Queen of Denmark and the Royal family live, and we also were lucky enough to see some Royals. Not sure really who but the grand horse and cart display along with band music was pretty awesome.

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We found the Little Mermaid statue, to celebrate the story written by Hans Christian Anderson (he is Danish).

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We explored cool streets and exciting bridges, where as we found out were constructed well behind schedule, and that local construction projects seem to take a very long time, possibly because people only work 37.5 hours per week, and have 6 weeks off each year too.

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We tried the local christmas drink, called Glogg, it is similar to the mulled wine you would find in the UK. We also caught up with an classmate of mine and had some beers at the local bar. At only 60 DDK each they were quite cheap (12 NZD each).

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In summary Copenhagen is an awesome city, but an expensive one. Three days here and we think that it would be better experienced when we are not trying to survive for another 80 days travelling. Wow, only 80 days! Best get off to see some more stuff, we are heading over the bridge to Sweden.

Posted by travellinghoney 08:05 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

Ireland

We arrived in Ireland on a drizzly Monday and after smoothing out a couple of issues with the rental car we headed to Hugo's family 'hatbox' in Mayo. Here we spent a few days just chilling, catching up on our washing and going for wanders on the beaches.

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One of the days we walked up Croagh Patrick which is Ireland's holy mountain, and apparently where St Patrick took all the snakes and threw them off the top ridding the country of the slippery beasts (well thats how the story goes).

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Tim's awesome photography skills

Tim's awesome photography skills

After a few days Tim and I took the car up top the top of the country to see the Giants Causeway. We were lucky enough to visit on a quiet day (love travelling off season) and pretty much had the place to ourselves. We wandered over the rocks and discussed all the possible reasons why they formed (geologists that we are).

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From here we drove down to the town of Belfast - birthplace of the unsinkable Titanic! First stop was the Titanic museum which was awesome. We spent about 3 hours soaking up all the info (Tim was playing with all the interactive displays aimed at kids).

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Next morning I woke up not feeling so well, so Tim took us back to Mayo.

Next day we went to Dublin with Hugo and Esme and met up with Naomi and Dave where we went for an afternoon tour of the Guinness factory. An interesting process and history. Fun fact: Mr Guinness took a 9000 year lease for the factory.
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Next day Hugo and Esme left us and Naomi, Tim and Dave ventured out and around the town, I was still not feeling great so I stayed home. From here we hired a car and went up to Newgrange which is a really old neolithic tomb.
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They predict it was built in aprox. 3200BC making it older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids. The internal chamber of the tomb is in complete darkness all year except when lit up by the sunrise at the winter solstice.

Dave ventured back to the UK, and Naomi had returned home which left Tim and I to explore for a couple of days. I was still not feeling 100% so we basically just chilled and planned our next moves!

On Saturday we trained to the metropolis of Limerick where we were greeted by our fab host Naomi. She whisked us straight of to watch the pride of the town, the Munster rugby team take on Leicester. It was a great game - always love live rugby, and we were reminded once or twice about the game in 1978 when Munster beat the All Blacks - just in case we tried to forget.
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Since staying with Naomi and her family we have visited the cliffs of Moher (very cool), walked in the rain, watched christmas movies, visited Banratty Castle, done shopping, eaten some lovely meals and caught up on admin. So a successful few days all round!
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Today we popped up to Copenhagen where we will now remain in this cooler climate until our return to NZ in March!

Massive thanks to Hugo and his family, and Naomi and her family for taking in a couple of strays this month! We really appreciate it!

Posted by stomich 11:18 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Land of Scots

From London we caught the train up to the Scottish Borders where friend and latest tour guide Esme picked us up and took us to her gorgeous wee stone house in the woods. We had a cosy sleep up in the loft after an evening of Monopoly with Esmes family (yes I was allowed to play, dont worry Mum no fights).

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Esme had planned a whirlwind trip around Scotland with us, so we didn't waste too much time (or precious daylight) and started by heading to the town of Sterling. It was fresh out so we rugged up to visit the castle which was once home to the Kings and Queens of Scotland, before becoming an army base and now an attraction for tourists like us!

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We took the guided tour and learnt a bit of history, although I must admit I had a bit of trouble getting my head around the numerous Kings with the same name especially as I was having to concentrate doubly hard on the guides accent! We watched the sun go down from here and take with it the little warmth it provided. With that we bundled back into the car and headed down the road to stay in a (converted) Bothy Esme had found.
A Bothy is a place where travellers with animals stayed back in the day. Its basically an A frame barn with a loft, the animals slept down on the floor while the traveller snuggled in the warmth up top. Naturally Tim and I slept upstairs with Hugo and Esme down in the animals quarters ;)

We got up at sparrows fart next morning to go 'bag us a Munro'. The Munro's are what the Scots call any mountain over a height of 3000ft. There are a total of 282 of them. Unfortunately we didn't have time to do them all so we have settled for just the one. Ben Lomond sits above Loch Lomond at 3195ft.

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It was a great walk, bloody fresh but by far the best weather we had in Scotland so we were very lucky. We were slowed down a bit by the snow on top and by Hugo constantly falling over but we made it up and back all in one piece.
Not to miss anything we hopped back into the car and continued up to Fort William that evening. We didn't see much of the town as it was dark on arrival, but enjoyed a good burger at a pub before crashing pretty early.

Thursday saw us (Esme in particular) taking our time to get up so we kept it close and went to see Ben Nevis (Scotlands tallest mountain standing at 4411ft). We didnt climb it... just looked at it then went for a walk in the valley (Glen Nevis) to the Steed falls. Was a nice pleasant walk through the Glen which didn't see the sun that day and I'm guessing it won't for the winter now. The highlight was crossing the frozen river on a wire bridge, nothing like fear of death to get you over safely!

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We drove to the Loch Ness Inn that night (didn't spot the monster on the way - though I did look).

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We began the haul to Edinburgh from Loch Ness stopping at one of Scotland's many whisky breweries (apparently Scotch whisky is spelt without the 'e'). The Tomatin Brewery is a small (ish) single malt whisky distillery which has been in operation since the 16th century although it only became a legal establishment in 1897. They still brew as they have for hundreds of years and was an interesting process to see. At the companys peak in the 70's they were producing 12.5million litres of whiskey per year, nowadays they only pop out about 2 million litres. As Whisky takes a while to age the have an estimated £3 Billion in their stores waiting to mature!

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Anyway it was a great tour followed by the tasting of 5 of their whiskys which were all very nice.

We carried on towards Edinburgh only stopping at a creepy sculpture park on the way.
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That night we went to a Cailidh (said like kay-ley) dance. It was super fun. Its basically just organised scottish dancing but was a hoot!

In Edinburgh we explored the streets, visited the Crown Jewels at Edinburgh castle, walked the Royal Mile, walked up Arthurs Seat and had a drink at Scotlands oldest pub (The Sheeps Heid est. 1360).

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Well it was a quick tour of Scotland but we loved it!
Thanks so much to the wonderful Esme (and Hugo) for making it a great week!

Next stop the land of Leprechauns ;)

Posted by stomich 13:45 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Retirement

The end of an era...

Where we left off...

I left off with the prepration of a rant.. We had just been yelled at and complained to by a private boat in Galaxhidi, for being unsporting, arrogant, and selfish. My favourite part of this is that the private boat that yelled at us:

  1. Knew we were going to a small harbour the next day, left after us in the morning and arrived after us evening, only to complain that we had filled the harbour...
  2. We proceeded to help moor them up, along with about 5 other private boats, including a large fishing boat; and the remaining 5 of our fleet that had not arrived yet.
  3. We helped uncross their anchor when they got it stuck with another private boat.
  4. Constantly complained to us about the horrible things we had done, and never thanked us for any of the help we provided.
  5. Whistled at me, trying to get my attention like I am a dog...

I am glad all that is over!
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We left Galaxhidi and continued our flotilla taking all 12 boats back to Gouvia Marina on Corfu Island.

Once we said goodbye to our customers for the last time, we lifted the boats (about 150) out of the water, and put them to rest for winter.
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We also spent lot of time enjoying the company of other staff members that we had not seen since May.
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And finally said goodbye to what we called home for most of the year.... It's only about 20 m2.
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Resuming the Travel

Venice

Our first stop on the resumption of travel is Venice.
Fantastic, a few others from work joined us, so we got an apartment for a couple of days in the middle.
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Getting lost in the streets, riding the Gondolas with Processco, drinking numerous bottles of Italian wine, and most importantly not eating Greek food!!! Pizza + Pasta, wow we have missed you.
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It was perfect for all of us, the girls went shopping, and the boys went to an awesome local bar that spoke no english and clearly was not a "tourist trap".

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The only problem was that it was about 15 °C colder than Greece... here comes winter.
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Awesome few days relaxing, then we had to head back to London so Stacey can get a new Passport (it was due to expire soon).

London

Back to London, where nothing is free (or cheap for that matter).

Staying with Amy, we made the most of our 4th time in London.

  • New Passport
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Harrods, possibly the most ridiculous shop in the world
  • Madame Tussauds wax museum
  • Bangers and Mash!
  • Winter Wonderland Christmas markets
  • English Ale in about 9 differnt Pubs, but didn't make it to the Slug.
  • Double Decker busses
  • Watch live Maori All Blacks + Black Ferns both win!

Here are the token wax museum photos... Justin Beiber had a really long line, so the best we could do...

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Next, off to Scotland and Ireland!

Tim + Stacey

Posted by travellinghoney 10:36 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

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