Sunday, September 2, 2012

Scandi Summer

Our beautiful, sunny trip through Scandinavia was now a fair few weeks ago, so to play catch-up, here is a run down of the rest of Sweden and Norway.

We spent our last days in Sweden in it’s gorgeous capital and another familiar base for me. We stayed with my Uncle a little outside of the city and then the last two nights in a hostel in ‘Sodermalm’- the trendy, alternative south side of Stockholm. It may be slightly pretentious, with a lot of people trying far too hard to be ‘different’ and ‘unique’, but the little ambling streets, cute cafes, funky bars and quirky vintage stores are still pretty charming.
How adorable is this quirky wooden kid's playground!
We drank Swedish beer and German apple schnapps, visited friends in the city and at the seaside, cruised the archipelago, had great food (I LOVE Swedish food- it’s so underrated) and found some great bars. And even though after 2 months of travelling we were a bit ‘museumed’ out- we had a wonderful couple of days visiting various museums in Stockholm- surprisingly great ones at that. Particularly fun was ‘Skansen’- an ‘open-air’ museum which combines history by walking through authentic re-created old villages and homesteads with a nature park and zoo where we saw many of Sweden’s amazing wildlife- moose, reindeer, lynx, wolves galore! It’s a hub for music festivals and cultural events in Stockholm, and whilst I am sure I have been there when I was young, I clearly didn’t remember how great it was.
Skansen has includes a whole replica 19th century village, in which craftsmen dressed traditionally as they would have been as bakers, blacksmiths, carpenters and glass blowers demonstrate life in the period. This is the functioning bakery, selling traditional and delicious Swedish baked goods, just like they would have then!
Mmmm cinnamon buns, or 'bullar' are my favourite!
A traditionally dressed milkman shows us how they would have kept the milk cold.
A replica old farmhouse- one of many different styles of farmhouses exhibited in the 75-achre park- the place really is huge!
There is a beautiful view of Stockholm from the park
A playful brown bear
I see you!

After taking the express train for about 6 hours through the beautiful Swedish countryside, we arrived at our next destination; clean and green Oslo. With it’s typically Scandinvian organized style, it was smaller than the other capitals, but still super charming. We only had two nights and one full day to explore, but the little city is easily accessible and we had a lovely time. We arrived to our new flat and greeted by our (airbnb) host and instant friend, Fred. After offering us Norwegian strawberries and settling us in, he told us we couldn’t waste the perfect weather (they don’t get too much of it), so took us to a lake 20 minutes north of the city to go swimming with some of his friends. It was a stunning evening, and the water was surprisingly not-freezing, so we had a great time feeling like native Oslo-ers in a clearly local holiday spot.

The next day was spent wandering the streets, navigating the old fortress, admiring the architecture of the climb-able Opera House and the beautiful sculpture gardens, visiting the Viking museums with some some amazingly restored Viking ships, and exploring the quirky neighborhood and cute bars of Grunnerlocka. A short but sweet visit, and a lovely way to end our Scandi-trip. 
 The opera house- this was the ramp that led all the way to the top- pretty cool!
 In the old fortress
At the Viking Museum- the condition that these huge ships from around the 11th century are in is pretty amazing!
My favourite sculpture at the sculpture gardens 
A cute bar in Grunnerlocka- a trendy and quirky little neighborhood in Oslo.

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