4 years ago
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Hyrum and I just got back from a 10 day, whirlwind trip to Scandinavia. We spent the first day in Stockholm than cruised over to Helsinki the next night and back to Stockholm the next. Then we took an overnight train to Copenhagen and spent one night there. Then we took the train to Oslo, Norway, sent a night there then caught another train across Norway to Bergen. We spent two nights in Bergen then back to Oslo for two more night there and back home.
We were kidless thanks to Hyrum's mom. It happened due to a conference for Hyrum and some other good things that made it the perfect time to go. Our kids still haven't recovered but, we had a good time.
On to the highlights . . .
The first thing of note is that I was grateful that even though I had two delayed flights, which led to my missing a connection I arrived in Stockholm only 4 hours late.
Stockholm was my favorite city. I never felt like I was in a crazy shopping area and I felt like a part of Stockholm especially on Saturday which happened to be Sweden's National Day. We felt like one of the people with a Swedish flag in our bag and walking around the city. Not to mention seeing the crazy football (soccer) fans ready for the Sweden/Denmark game. It was a big deal.
We enjoyed dinner that first night at the Taste of Stockholm food festival. We didn't get anything too out of the ordinary but we did have what seems to be a national dish, Kotbullar or Swedish meatballs. We love them. It wasn't the last time we enjoyed them this trip either.
We had some lovely strawberries and cherries in a beautiful park in Helsinki. We took an overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsink and back again. There is a little stretch where there is just ocean and the sunsets were beautiful, and they took forever. On average we only enjoyed about 4 hours of night every night. I kept waking up at 4 am.
I really enjoyed the Stockholm City Hall. The City Hall was so interesting because of the deep thought and symbology that went into making it. This is where the Nobel Prize Banquet is held every year. The Royal Palace with it's changing of the guard ceremony was fun too. The ruins of the old Tre Kronor Castle was really interesting.
The best place in Stockholm though was the Vasa Museum. The ship was enormous and was sunk 20 minutes into it's maiden voyage by a little gust of wind. It lay in the harbor in Stockholm for over 300 years and finally someone found it and brought her up over almost 20 years of slowly bring her up in almost one piece. It was so informative and there was enough information but not too much. It was great. The ship was amazing too.
Next we visited Copenhagen, Denmark. It wasn't my favorite place but we've decided it needs another chance, some day. Here we overloaded on musuems. My favorite though was the Thorvaldsen Musuem. He was the sculpter who made the Christus statue. We saw the original in the church in Copenhagen flanked by twelve apostles. That was cool. His sculptures are amazing. I kept expecting them to breathe.
After Copenhagen we made our way to Oslo, Norway. We stopped at the beautiful Frederickburg Slot (Castle). It is the Danish version of Versailles. Here we saw the original Karl Bloch paintings. The LDS Church uses several of these to depict scenes from Christ's life. Before crossing back into Sweden we saw "Hamlet's Castle" from our ferry.
We stopped in Oslo over night and then took another series of trains, boats, and buses to Bergen, Norway and the fjords. The fjords were beautiful and on the train I saw my first real snow in 3 years. It was lovely. It was a beautiful trip with lots of snow, greenery and waterfalls.
Bergen was really a great city. We didn't have a lot of specific things we wanted to see so we got to relax a little bit. We learn about the people that lived there and saw a church that has been around since at least 1280 and probably much longer than that. The houses from the people that lived there several hundred years ago are still there as well as an old ceremonial hall from medieval times.
These places were amazing in so many ways. One of the greatest is that they are so seeped in history. These people and cities have seen so much history and recorded it. As nations these countries are so old compared with the US. For the thinking this trip provided and the education alone it was so worth while. We had a wonderful time but we were also glad to get home to Hannah and Jonathan.