Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Copenhagen September 1st 2022

An interesting quiz question would be to name a famous Dane (apart from HKA). It turns out we all probably know a few and I stumbled on an interesting sight near to the centre of Copenhagen. My sight is the grave of the physicist Niels Bohr, but in the same cemetery (Assistens) HCA and the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard are also buried. After this we walk via the trendy centre (to embrace the full Scandi life J has herring for lunch) past the Rosenborg castle to the Little Mermaid then along the harbourside to the Amalienborg palace where the royal yacht is moored then on to Nyhavn for afternoon refreshments. We're using public transport here so then back across the city to the main railway station where we narrowly avoid catching our commuter train north instead of ... read more

Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Helsingør August 31st 2022

Helsingor's major tourist attraction is the castle of the King of Denmark from Shakespear's Hamlet. As we drove north across the bridge to Malmo we are returning via the "old" route the ferry from Helsingborg to Helsingor. On the crossing we have an excellent view of the castle so skip a closer visit. Once safely back in Denmark we visit the Karen Blixen museum which is at her family house (and where she lived for many years) in the town of Rungstedlund about 30km north of Copenhagen. The museum has an interesting (for me as someone who has very limited knowledge of her life) exhibition, but the house is just as interesting as it has been kept in the same condition as when she lived there, and you are free to walk around most of the ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Skåne County » Båstad August 30th 2022

There is a small island just off the coast from Torekov where we are staying and a ferry runs 2 or 3 times a day. Yesterday the wind was too strong for the ferry to operate, so we drove to the Kullen peninsular. On the way we stopped at a memorial to where a UFO was reported as landing in 1946. I haven’t read the details as these are in a book, but next to the memorial is a place where 2 dead aliens were supposedly buried temporarily while the UFO made repairs. Will try to find a copy of the book in English. On the peninsula we walk to the Kullen lighthouse. This is the oldest lighthouse in Scandinavia and was originally built in 1561. It is also the highest and the most powerful in ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Västra Götaland County » Trollhättan August 28th 2022

I’ve always had a soft spot for Saab cars and so, as we are passing, have to visit the Saab Museum at Trollhatten. In the 60’s Saab built a great reputation as rally cars and then in the 70’s launched the Saab Turbo which quickly became my dream car. J sits this one out – which is probably sensible – as though I love the museum it’s not for everyone. I always wished my father had bought a Saab, though he did look at them. I think he came close once but the specific car he had he eye one (a Saab 99 EMS) then sold and I don’t think he ever came close again. I also remember a Saab connection with Newcastle that was then celebrating its 900th anniversary at the same time Saab introduced ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Västra Götaland County » Smögen August 27th 2022

One of the best ways to experience the west coast of Sweden is to do some hiking. J finds a trail to a place that sounds interesting - King Tryggves grave on the island of Tryggo. The island is not connected to the mainland but I'm told you can walk across at low tide. High tide today isn't until 5pm so we should be fine. Turns out the information isn't quite correct and we need to wade across but the water isn't more than knee deep. The grave itself is a huge cairn of stones 20 metres across. The history of the site is not well understood. The cairn is considered to be from the Bronze age and Kung Tryggve died in 963, and though a stone coffin was found in the centre of the cairn ... read more

Europe » Norway » Eastern Norway » Oslo August 25th 2022

On our way west from Karlstad in Sweden to the west coast we make a short detour into Norway and find the lovely town of Fredrikstad. The town is just north of the border with Sweden and right on the coast. It is considered to be one of the best preserved fortified towns in northern Europe. The city was fortified with walls in a star shape and today the ramparts have canons to add to the effect. Inside the town most of the buildings have been preserved and it is almost car free. On the city walls we find an outdoor exhibition to Amundsen who was born in the town and lived there until be was 14.... read more

Europe » Sweden » Värmland County » Karlstad August 24th 2022

I DO remember the last time I was in Sweden, but as it was (I think) in 1978 I don't remember everything about it. It was our last family holiday and we spent 2 weeks camping in southern Sweden. Some of this holiday has become legend in Risby family history. The main thing I recall about the trip is that we had been told that bread was incredibly expensive to buy in Sweden. We therefore decided that we would take our own "crispbread" supplies with us from England, as well as most of our other food for cooking in the campsites (eating out was not thought to be an option if we could not afford bread!). To make our diet more interesting we purchased a wide variety of crispbreads so we would not become bored with ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm August 23rd 2022

There are many houses on the islands outside of Stockholm, though most are not main residences but are weekend or summer houses for the more wealthy Swedes. A boat trip through the archipelago is both scenic and interesting and makes for an excellent day trip from Stockholm. There are in theory plenty of options and different islands/places to visit, but as we are out of main season the number of these are reduced. Without too much fuss we settle on the trip to Sandhamn which is on one of the outer island in the northern area. The boat leaves at 10am and takes just over 2 hours to reach Sandhamn and returns at 15:30 so we have about 3 hours on the island. This looks to me to be an ideal day trip as it also ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm August 22nd 2022

The most visited museum in Stockholm is not the Abba museum but the "Vasa" museum. The Vasa was a 17th century Swedish warship that sank on its maiden voyage just outside Stockholm, was raised in 1961 and is now brilliantly preserved in a special museum on Djurgarden. The ship is very very impressive. I had not expected it to be so intact, particularly as over 90% of what is on display is the original ship with only a few additions (rigging , masts etc) to improve the overall appearance. This incredible condition is due mainly to the water here which being cold and polluted did not support the oxygen that would normally have caused the wood to rot. The raising of the vessel and the subsequent preservation work are also impressive achievements and are featured in ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm August 22nd 2022

a day at the ABBA museum in Stockholm! I have to confess I'm a bit of an Abba fan so this was top of my list of things to do in Stockholm (though we also managed some other sights). I'm worried when J tells me that no tickets are available, but turns out this was a joke. We book online (but you don't have to) and have a specific entrance time so we don't spend the whole day here but there is plenty to occupy us for a couple of hours. The museum is on Djurgarden and though not quite as central as Gamla Stan it is really only 30 minutes walk from central Stockholm station. The museum is a great mix of information and fun. There is plenty of history to read about and many ... read more

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