sweden Malmø
Travel

Virtual Travel to Sweden

I wrote a guest post some years ago, for a travel blogger, about a favourite place that I had visited. As we cannot travel irl, virtual travel will have to do today. there is some formatting errors as it is written with the old editor. (Who uses that now?)

Choosing a topic for my favourite holiday destination, was both easy and difficult. Easy because I knew it would be somewhere in Scandinavia, (for those who know me, I hear you mumbling an audible, “of course,”) but difficult because I could only pick one Scandinavian country.

Each region of Scandinavia has its own beauty, personality and appeal and it is hard to choose one over them all. In today’s case, Sweden won out. Tomorrow I am sure it will be Denmark, and the next: Norway……

Sweden, or ‘Sverige’ (pronounced in Swedish svair-ri-ah), is one of my all-time favourites to visit because it is full of Nordic vitality, culture and unique sights.

Don’t let the threat of a harsh winter put you off a winter vacation in Sweden, because the warmer jet stream ensures that the winters in Scandinavia are no worse, and even sometimes better, than the American or Canadian version.

 

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I enjoyed “fika” ( Swedish coffee and cake ) in a traditional Swedish cafe

In southern Sweden, you’ll find a fast-paced modernity in the large, cosmopolitan cities, like Stockholm and Malmø, but you will delight in finding they are also peppered with ‘old world’ charm.

The central area of the country is where rural Sweden and the philosophy of  ‘Ikea’ at its best, with rolling green hills, a dusting of snow in Winter and a countryside dotted with ‘Falun’ red cottages, barns, medieval farms and quaint churches, some with amazing, intricately-painted ceilings dating back to medieval times.

You’ll also see age-old Swedish traditions alive and kicking, from one end of the country all the way to the other.

From painted horses in Dalarna to summers with wild ‘surstromming,’ (fermented fish), or Crayfish parties, or relaxing lazily on the west coast resorts, where a tourist-driven, laid back lifestyle predominates. A local beach on the Bohuslan coast might be a lump of bare sun-soaked rock, striking, attractive, yet it is appealing and extremely popular to visitors and Swedes alike.

And don’t forget the far north, where a Swedish winter adventure might include viewing the northern lights, going dog sledding, snowmobiling or experiencing a mix of arctic and Sami culture that transforms a cold, dark winter into a snowy, white wonderland one might associate more with Santa Claus and his elves.

Dalahest - Traditional horses
Traditional painted horses from Dalarna in Sweden

You might ask:What made this place so memorable?’

The Swedish people themselves have a proud and varied history, are gregarious, hard-working and cannot go for more than a few hours without ‘Fika’: coffee and cake.

Just my kind of people!

You will find cafes and bakery everywhere serving Fika, and this experience coupled with a kanelbolle, or cinnamon bun, made my Swedish experience memorable.

So what are the top ten sights/activities for this destination?

1. Vasa MuseumStockholm:

See the ill-fated, triple-decked centuries old galleon that sank on its maiden voyage in the Stockholm harbour, replete with cannons, crew and gold-encrusted decorations.   Nearby is the Nordic Museum that is also worth a look.    

                                                            

Vasa Museum
Vasa Museum
Nordic Museum
Nordic Museum

IMG_02392. Skansen/Liseberg – Stockholm: an open-air museum with vintage Swedish houses, barns, dancing demonstrations and delicious traditional food. Stockholm’s Zoo is also located there, so if you yearn to see moose, reindeer, or a bear, you can do that when you visit Skansen.  Then, burn off the extra calories on the rides at neighbouring Liseberg, Stockholm’s oldest amusement park.

Skansen
Skansen – open air museum – Stockholm

         

 3. Gamla StanStockholm’s Old Town: a mecca for foodies. Commencing at the Royal palace, the “Old Town” consists of narrow alleyways, cute cafes, oh- so photogenic painted terrace houses, and shops full of traditional souvenirs to take home. Money exchanges/plenty of ATM’s are conveniently located here to help you on your mission!

Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan

 

 

  1. Radhuset Stockholm’s Town Hall: like a ‘mentos sweet’: plain and dull on the outside, magnificent on the inside. The Town Hall, built in the 1930s, is not only the venue for the Nobel Prize ceremonies; it has a Council chamber with a unique roof. The roof’s design was inspired by an upturned and decorated hull of a Viking longboat and the Town Hall also has a third reception room that is equivalent to an ancient Egyptian Pharoah’s temple. Surprising, and a definite ‘must-see’. Guided tours usually operate daily.town hall stockholmcity hall stockholm

 

  1. Stockholm archipelago – A leisurely boat trip past idyllic islands, the occasional fortress and stunningly beautiful nature. A photographer’s dream on a good day. Departs from Stockholm or Stromstad. Alternatively, if you are not a water baby:  the sites mentioned in the Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millenium’ trilogy are a great way to see more of Stockholm. There is an easy D.I.Y. walking tour of Stockholm. Maps available at the tourist office.

 

Stockholm
Stockholm

 

  1. Malmø – Skane, Southern Sweden: see the impressive “Turning torso” building, a feat of modern engineering; and Malmohus, a renaissance castle; as well as historic buildings in the Malmø Town Square including the Town Hall from 1547, Hotel Kramer and the old pharmacy: Apoteket. If you still have breath or run out of things to do, take a thirty-minute train ride and you are in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 

Malmø
Malmøhus

 

  1. Ystad –Skane, Southern Sweden: trace Detective Kurt Wallander’s footsteps, (from Henning Mankell’s famous novels and TV series). There’s loads of half-timbered cottages with thatch roofs too.

 

  1. Stromstad –Bohuslan, a beachside town on the west coast – see the Town Hall with its quirky history, take in drop-dead gorgeous views out to the archipelago,  and try the must-have Buffet lunch at Lalaholmen hotel.  You SO don’t want to miss the dessert. But you may want to skip the ‘surstromming’, (a fermented very smelly fish)and just party in the lively atmosphere and long hours of daylight hours in summer, or use Stromstad as a launchpad, for a high-speed boat trip to spend a day in Norway. 

    Stromstad
    Stromstad
  1. Lappland: Skellefteaa – track and hunt wild reindeer in their native habitat, go sledding, skiing or snowmobiling, or see Sweden’s oldest wooden bridge, and an utterly impressive Domkirke Cathedral, (a place of pilgrimage for centuries) and the pilgrim’s traditional cottages nearby.

 reindeer tracking

Skellefteå

Skellefteå Domkirke
Skellefteaa Domkirke

 10. Catch a glimpse of the mysterious Northern lights, or ski from February to June at Riksgransen, where, if you are lucky you may see the testing of pre-production European model cars that occurs in spring on the, still frozen, Arctic lakes.

frozen lake sweden

 If I could go again I would…

Spend more time relaxing on the Bohuslan coast, on a long summer night, visit Gotland to see the Viking relics and feast on Swedish delicacies such as reindeer, cloudberries, salmon, ‘Vasterbotten’ cheese and ‘Filmjolk.’

IMG_0175 unter - swedish supermarket

Is a Swedish holiday for you? Something for you to ponder about?

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Monday Mystery Photo Trondheim Grenadiers, Norway

Previous Mystery Photo

The photo here under, of me, standing beside a soldier from a historical re-enactment group. The challenge was to find the location for this military group, based on his costume.

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This re-enactment group is actually based in Trondheim, Norway. In those days, the King of Norway was actually Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark, so this soldier wears the yellow faced uniform of the Trondheim Regiment, of Northern Grenadiers, in the Danish Norwegian Army fighting the Swedes in 1809 – 1814. Read more about the re-enactment groups here.

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Norwegian soldiers had been fighting the Swedes for many years. As many as 3000 Swedish soldiers died out in the mountains on the border of Sweden and Norway near Røros, during a bleak winter as they were retreating back home, defeated.

Here the group are parading in the Constitution Day parade in Trondheim with their drummers. They look rather grand, I think.

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Their hats are rather unusual, and remind me a little of a feather duster on a beaver’s back!! And there is my friend from the Monday Mystery photograph – in the middle of the photo!

trondheim soldater

Monday Mystery

Something to Ponder About

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Monday Mystery Photo. Last week Wroclaw, Poland

This Week’s Mystery Photograph

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I invite you to leave a comment if you think you know the location of this week’s photograph. If you guess the correct location, I will link back to your blog when the answer is revealed the following Monday.*

*Please note that I will release comments in the latter part of each week, usually Thursday or Friday and in this way, everyone can have a guess without a spoiler being revealed in the comments.

Last week’s Monday Mystery Photograph

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Last week we were in Wroclaw, (pronounced more like Vratslav), in Silesia, Poland checking out – “The Anonymous Pedestrians.”

I have to say I found this incredibly powerful piece of street art. Sources state that the statues are representative of all the people working, for so many years, in the Polish underground movements. As Poland has struggled for centuries with self-determination, it has a poignant theme and spans many generations of untold struggle, heroism and resilience. A really significant piece of Polish art, worth seeing, if you ever have the pleasure of visiting Poland.

“The wonderfully lifelike bronze statues descending into the earth are based on Jerzy Kalina’s temporary art installation set up in Warsaw in 1977; the original plaster sculptures, stored in the Wrocław National Museum for 28 years, were re-cast in bronze and unveiled in the middle of the night on the 24th anniversary of the introduction of martial law in Poland.” [Source: inyourpocket,com]

Wroclaw has much more to offer and I personally loved the city. The old town and surrounds are very special. Intrigued? Read more about it here

The following bloggers guessed last week’s photograph location correctly:

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Stories from Europe – Well done, Pooja

Where to Next? – Great memory, Peggy

A Mindful Traveller – Excellent guess, Lorelle

Ledrakenoir – I should know your url off by heart now, Drake

Travelling Matters to Us  – Great work, Mel and Suan

Very impressive general knowledge!

Monday Mystery

Something to Ponder About this Monday

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last Week Helsinki

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I invite you to leave a comment if you think you know the location of this week’s photograph. If you guess the correct location, I will link back to your blog when the answer is revealed the following Monday.*

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Can you guess the location?

*Please note that I will release comments in the latter part of each week, usually Thursday or Friday and in this way, everyone can have a guess without a spoiler being revealed.

Last week, MMP visited beautiful Helsinki, Finland, with ‘Snow’ from the blog, SnowMeltsSomewhere. [photo now deleted but photo from same area seen below]

Thanks so much for your kind submission, Snow. It was great fun reading the various guesses.  Gerard from Oosterman Treats Blog and Pooja from Stories from Europe guessed correctly with Millie from MillieThom also managing a good guess! And no they didn’t use Google – Good work, everyone!

Free Winner With A Golden Trophy Stock Photo - 19520420

The Helsinki Archipelago has 315 islands in close proximity to the city centre. Last year, I took a delightful lunchtime cruise around this very archipelago and I highly recommend it; you can read more about my impressions of Helsinki here. However, I shall let Snow tell you a little more about this location!

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“This picture [now deleted but photo of same area posted above- ed] is taken near the Kaivopuisto park in Helsinki. It’s located by the sea right in the center of town and it is a definite must-visit if you come to Helsinki. Locals have picnics, go to cafes or ice cream kiosks, and jog in the park – it’s very lively in the summer.” – SnowMeltsSomewhere

Fun Fact: Finland is the world leader in the use of coffee. According to official statistics, more than 11 kg of coffee a year are drunk per capita!

Monday Mystery

Something fun to Ponder About

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last Week Rjukan, Norway

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object. I invite you to leave a comment, if you think you know the location of this week’s photograph. Please note that I will release comments in the latter part of each week, usually Thursday or Friday and in this way, everyone can have a guess without a spoiler being revealed.

If you guess the correct location, I will link back to your blog when the answer is revealed the following Monday.

Guest contributions to MMP are very welcome. Please flick me an email if you have a photo to submit.

This week’s photo is shown below. Can you guess the location?


Last week’s photograph was correctly identified by Tidious Ted from the wonderful WordPress cooking blog, Recipe Reminiscing.  As the MMP was located in Ted’s native country of Norway, I will leave it to him to tell us more about the location:

“As I’ve lived 11 years in Telemark and had customers all over the county this week’s mystery photo is so easy for my that I almost feel ashamed answering at all. The photo is from Rjukan in Telemark, Norway and the huge building in the back is Norway’s national industry museum. It was once Norway’s largest power station and the place where three movies about the the action preventing the Nazis getting hold of the deuteriumoksid (heavy water) produced there during WWII were filmed. Older people may still remember “Heros of Telemark” filmed in 1965 with Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris in lead parts. A Norwegian film about the action “Kampen om tungtvannet” was made in 1848 and a recent movie about the same action was made just a few years ago.” – Tidious Ted

Thanks so much for all that wonderful information, Ted. Here is a youtube clip of a modern day team re-creating the heroic action of the men that stalled the Nazi’s atomic bomb program in WWII.

TheSnowmeltsSomewhere also very cleverly recognized that last week’s location as Norway, even though she didn’t recognize the museum building!! Incredibly astute SnowMS!

!Monday Mystery

Monday Mystery Photo leaves you with Something to Ponder About

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Monday Mystery Photo – Last week: Hagia Sophia

Each Monday, I post a mystery photo, or occasionally a mystery object, such as the photograph last week, which has been kindly submitted by the blogger, TheSnowMeltsSomewhere which you will find below.

This Week’s Photo

I invite you to leave a comment*  if you think you know the location of this week’s photograph, (posted above), or what it is. The following week, when the answer is revealed, I will link back to your blog if you have guessed correctly.

Guest contributions to MMP are very welcome. Just flick me an email or send a photo.

Last Week’s Photo:

Many thanks to SnowmeltsSomewhere for this contribution. If you read any of the comments you will know that although he was doubtful, Drake guessed correctly and gave us an interesting account, of his very brief visit there, some years back.

Mel & Suan from Travelling Matters, Gerard from Oostermans Treats also recognized the location correctly as Istanbul. Very well done, people!

Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and is now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

Monday Mystery

Monday Mystery Photo leaves you with Something to Ponder About