Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sweden and Denmark

Hello All!

So, I knoooow this was a while ago, but alas, my first weekend trip out of the UK was to Sweden and Denmark!  At first, I was really nervous about getting to the airport and getting through security and customs alright, but all of our travels ended up going more smoothly than I could have hoped for.  We found cheap flights on Ryanair and since I knew I'll be doing a lot of continental travel during April, I wanted to go visit a country a bit more off the beaten path.  In the end, I was amazed by how cool Sweden is!  I didn't really have any expectations about Sweden other than the fact that it would be cold so I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to go there for a weekend.  Ethan and Kelsey, two of my friends from USC who are studying abroad here, agreed to come with me.  We found a decent three person private room in Malmo, in the south of Sweden, where our flights landed.

Boarding in London

Landing in Malmo

After arriving Friday afternoon, I got another stamp in my passport going through customs in Sweden.  Honestly though, they weren't near as strict as when you're traveling into America, but I guess it's understandable since we were traveling within the EU and the USA is pretty ridiculous when it comes to border control.

Anywho, our first day in Malmo we wondered around a bit, getting our bearings, checking out the sites, and admiring the architecture.  We saw some pretty cool buildings along the canal.

On the steps down to the canal, we ran into this little kitty.

And also this really cool fountain.  Yes, it is frozen, but if you got up close to it, there was still water running underneath the ice!  It was the craziest thing I've ever seen!

The ice was so thick I could stand on it!

We passed by this little creature but the description was in Swedish.  It was still interesting!

And another specimen of fine architecture.

This monument was in the central square...we just didn't know what it was for.

That night we found our way to a shopping mall that was advertised on one of the maps we picked up in the airport.  We picked up some ice cream and chocolate in the grocery store and decided to go bowling.  I hadn't been bowling in a while and it was really fun!  

I was really proud of us for navigating the city so well!  Admittedly, Malmo is a pretty small town and the streets are laid out on a fairly easy to navigate grid, but still, all the signs were in Swedish and we still managed!  We've often joked that coming to London has been a crash course in learning how to read maps, but honestly, it really has been!  I don't think I've ever used a street atlas before but ever since I came here I bought my London A-Z and there's been no turning back!  I never realized how useful it is to carry a map, probably because in America I've had an iPhone since before I could drive and a car with GPS so I never actually had to direct myself anywhere.  But, since I have a cheap UK phone without GPS capabilities, I've really taken to using a map.  The A-Z (A to Zed) is great because as long as you can find two street signs, you can look them up in the index then find yourself easily on the map.  Many a time I've set out looking for somewhere in London and had to check the A-Z along the way.  Anywho, the point is, armed with a map in Sweden, we were more than capable of finding our way around.

Our second day, we planned on heading to Copenhagen for a day-trip.  Sweden shocked us with how modern, sleek, and convenient their train system is!  Here's us at the train station.

And we're heading to Denmark!

We really wanted to get our passports stamped on the way into Denmark so we'd have proof that we'd been to more than one country, but even though we got off the train at the Copenhagen airport, we didn't have to go through customs.  Alas, no passport stamp.  I really only wanted it so I could show off all my stamps anyways (hehe).  

Once we got to Copenhagen, we found more frozen canals!  We climbed down to stand on one.  I set my camera on self-timer so we could get this photo.

Some more cool monuments...we didn't really know what anything was, but it was all cool!

This church was gorgeous!

Another cool church.

We found a castle in Denmark!

For some reason, there was a random patch of the moat that wasn't frozen, but the ducks were happy about it!

We stopped by a bakery to get Danishes!

They were so yummy!

Navigating Copenhagen turned out to be rather interesting.  A street sign...what is with all those consonants?

Side note: We figured out that "gaten" must have something to do with street because so many of the street names in Sweden ended in "gaten."  Generally though, with most Swedish words, just look at the first few letters for a Latin root, then ignore the random stream of constants to follow and you can almost understand everything!

On our last day, we decided to walk to the beach...and this is what we found!

Definitely not a California beach...

I wouldn't want to go swimming in this!

Leading to the beach there was a little frozen river, but we couldn't even tell it was a river until we moved the snow and saw the ice!

This building is called the "Turning Torso."  It's the only real sky-scrapper in Malmo.  In the morning when we got there, the fog was so thick we could barely see the building.

But, by later in the day it had cleared up a bit!

Around the building, there was this creepy eye thing.  No idea what it was there for, but sometimes it was really really creepy.

We found this house frozen in one of the canals...pretty sure that's not supposed to happen.  I have no idea how it ended up in the canal in the first place.

There was also a castle in Malmo!  The castle is now a museum, and part of it is the natural history museum.  They had a giraffe in the front!  You could also walk around the castle part and learn about life in the castle in the middle ages.

Once it finally stopped snowing, there was a ton of snow on the ground!  Time for a snow ball fight!

So that's about it!  Sweden and Denmark were a ton of fun!  Someday, I'll have to go back to Sweden, but not during the winter!

Sorry for the delay!  More posts to come :)

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post! I love the Giraffe. Keep them coming. This one was really good and I totally enjoyed reading about your exploits.