PAGE 1 | PAGE 2 |
PAGE 3 | PAGE 4 | PAGE 5 |
PAGE 6 | PAGE 7 | PAGE 8 | PAGE 9 | PAGE 10
I'm writing this some six days after the event so you can see that I am
considerably behind in my correspondence. Anyhow it was a beautiful day
as Lynn farewelled Oland Island and we set off to drive about 315 kms to
a town called Vadstena which is roughly in the middle of Sweden. The
roads are still quite flat. We haven't seen a hill since leaving
Australia. The United Arab Emirates is as flat as you can get, Belgium
and Denmark are also quite flat and so is Sweden. We don't expect to
encounter a hill before Norway. Amazing isn't it? The flat terrain, our
smallish car and the rather low speed limits all combine to give us
wonderfully low fuel consumption which is just as well given that gas is
around $2.30 a litre.
for those members of the Nambucca Wine Club reading this newsletter,
I've found the perfect location for our next meeting. It's a small town
called Pukeberg in south eastern Sweden!!
particularly exciting happened today but the sun shone brightly, the
traffic was minimal and the scenery was wonderfully serene. About half
the day was spent travelling through thick dark green pine forests
intermingled with lots of contrasting birch trees with mottled bark and
bright lime leaves. Not much wildlife around but we've seen a deer and a
hare to date.
on Oland Island
of our day was spend driving through a checkerboard of vivid green
pastures and bright golden canola fields.
the way we saw a sign advertising the Tonkin Golfbollmuseum. We
didn't have time for a diversion to check it out but we noted
the website address of www.tonkin.se
for later investigation. Alas the website was no help at all and
doesn't seem to have anything to do with old golf balls as we'd
imagined. If any reader can throw light on this puzzle I'd
welcome your comments.
reached Vadstena where we are lodging in a very old converted stone
abbey beside a massive lake.
23rd May 2007
We're bound for the Swedish capitol city of Stockholm where we'll take a
three day break. This will be welcome because I've been seedy for the
last couple of days and now there's no doubt that I've caught a
We pass by
lake after lake surrounded by birch trees as well as some particularly
lovely small villages on the banks of gurgling streams. At lunchtime we
stopped at a picnic spot in the middle of brilliant gold canola flowers
stretching as far as the eye could see.
towards Stockholm it becomes necessary to join a freeway and the traffic
gets thicker and thicker. Soon after reaching Stockholm proper the
traffic becomes absolute chaos and almost grid-locked. We're forced into
stop, start and crawl mode for
at least an hour whilst we slowly edge our way across town. Stockholm is comprised of
a mass of islands and we have chosen to stay on Lidingo Island which
about 30 - 40 minutes out of downtown on the OTHER side of Stockholm.
Our TomTom navigator does a terrific job of guiding our journey but some
intersections are such a jumble that it's very easy to misinterpret the
spoken directions. I made two turning errors which got us into trouble
and almost resulted in an accident. I eventually saved the day by doing
this amazing U turn in a position you'd never believe but it it was a godsend
provided there were no surveillance cameras nearby!!
our balcony in "Hotel J" just outside Stockholm
reached the "Hotell J" at Gashaga. It's basically a restaurant
with only 12 guest rooms located out of the downtown melee and plonk in
the middle of a marina complex on Lidingo island. It has been decorated
with all kinds of symbols and memorabilia to salute the old J Class
yachts and America's Cup regattas in general. If you're interested
(and I know some of my readers are), the Hotell J website is viewable by
clicking this link I'm feeling sicker and it's somewhat
a relief to know we'll be staying put for the next three nights.
Today was supposed to be a total rest day but as the weather is so fine
we decide to do a 5 hour ferry cruise from the jetty outside our hotel
out through scores of islands to the outer edges of the Stockholm
Archipeligo, withstanding my uncontrollable cough and thick head
cold. Afterall, one must take advantage of good weather whenever it
presents itself and especially when one is in Northern Europe.
The ferry was
very large and the passengers were few. We spent the first couple of
hours having a slow and leisurely lunch with a glass of vino in the very
nice dining room whilst we watched the lovely scenery go by. I took a
squillion photos and a few appear on this page.
By the end of
the day however your scribe was in pretty poor shape and was glad to see
the inside of our hotel room again.
25th May 2007
Every morning some 8 to 12 large cruise ships crept past our
hotel heading for wharfs near downtown Stockholm. Then every
evening the same great "wedding cakes" would slip by
our window on a passage to their next port of call. Most were
much bigger and higher than the one shown on this page..
Lynn took a ferry into downtown Stockholm whilst I split my day between
coughing my heart out, sleeping and putting a few webpages together for
this Scandinavian saga.
We set off from the east coast and head north-west into the middle of
Sweden again. Quite a bit of freeway driving today and little is
particularly eye catching or photographic. However, as we get nearer to our
destination we are again treated to a chain of lakes surrounded by birch
and other deciduous trees all now brightly decked out in their new lime
green spring foliage. It all makes for very picturesque driving
conditions. Late in the day we pass through the small town of Leksand
and happen to notice some signs of a festival. We stopped the car and
investigated. We found ourselves in the middle of an annual 3 day
festival to celebrate medieval times and customs. There were hundreds of
adults and children dressed in medieval costume, with medieval looking
tents, weapons, forges, medieval food stalls etc. There were medieval orchestras,
peasant dancing, horse races and jousting. I took lots of photos but the sun was
very low with lots of shadows and not photographically ideal. Anyhow, a
selection of these photos appears on the next page.
was on to the small lakeside village of Tallberg and Hotell Akerblads whose
website is located
here. We were impressed by the hotel and by the very friendly
reception staff. This impression further blossomed when Manager Frederick informed us that we'd been
upgraded from a so called "Junior Suite" to the Bridal Suite
together with complimentary champagne, chocolates and fruit basket. A
photo of the "bride" and the suite appears somewhere on the
next webpage. Lynn and I are due to celebrate our 40th anniversary later this
year so it all seemed very appropriate under the circumstances.
there are signs that perhaps the worst of my cold symptoms may be behind
me now... fingers crossed.
Day and night are topsy turvy here in Northern
Europe and this will become even more pronounced with the advance of
Summer. With a fraction of difficulty it's possible to read a
newspaper outside at 10pm. And you can resume your reading at
4.00am next day. Fortunately all our hotels have good blackout
curtains at the window and (unlike Australia) they actually meet
in the middle without causing a gap elsewhere!! Of course Winter
season is the reverse side of this coin when daylight hours are
in very short supply.
Toyota Corolla is a bitch. It has this stupid optional
automatic or manual transmission and the auto side of things is
far from good. In fact it's jerky, unpredictable and horrible.
Furthermore there's no ignition key as such. One pushes the
automatic door opener into a slot on the dashboard then does a
series of micro operations to get the car to start. Finally, there
is no "Park" position on the gear shift gate.
Consequently it's really important to pull on the hand
brake when leaving the car.... something I'm not usually
accustomed to doing if I'm on flat ground.
Cameras are everywhere but they look different to ours
and less noticeable. Our Tom Tom Navigator knows where most of
them are and sounds a piercing alarm. However TomTom doesn't
have absolutely all cameras plotted and given the slow maximum
speeds in Sweden I'm expecting a fine or two will be
retrospectively added to my rental car bill. Norway will be
worse when we get there. The maximum is mainly 80 kph and every
town is either 50 kph with some 30 kph zones thrown in for good
Guest Laundries don't exist and Laundromats don't seem
to exist in Scandinavia either! So we're washing and drying our
smalls ok in our hotel rooms. But jeans and heavy stuff are a
different matter. So today Lynn threw herself at the feet of the
housekeeping staff in our current hotel and was miraculously
offered the use of the hotel's own laundry. Mind you, that's been
a huge drama also but I won't bore you with the details. Ask
Lynn to explain when she's recovered.
through to the next page