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The Land of a Thousand Lakes (From Sweden to Finland)

Written on: Saturday August 14th, 2010

A journal entry from: Scandinavia

So much has happened since the last blog! It's only been a few days, but they have been absolutely packed with things.

Last Monday, we did some more exploring of downtown Stockholm, went to some really neat stores and just took our time. We had planned on meeting Tobias (a friend I met in Oz) in the Royal Palace courtyard that afternoon. Considering that we didn't have a mobile, and the city is quite large with so many people near the palace, it was quite a feat to accomplish!  

Tobias was an excellent guide and took us to an old ship called Vasa, which was built back around the 16th century and was to be Sweden's largest military boat. Unfortunately, it was built with poor calculations and the tall ship sank within the first 600m of its maiden voyage, this was a devastating blow for the country. It lay in the bottom of the waters of downtown Stockholm for 333 years before being taken out and turned into a museum. This was easily one of the best museums either of us had been to before. It was so neat to see how people lived at that time, and to learn how they salvaged the ship and why it was able to stay in such good of shape for so long (special water conditions only found near Stockholm). 

 

 From there we went to a type of outside zoo with old Swedish homes and native animals. We met up with Magnus who I also met in Oz. It was a really cool place and lots of fun to catch up with the two guys. The four of us went out for a nice meal that evening at a small local pasta place near Tobias and followed that up by a drink at one of the many river bars (I paid $16 Cdn for a Whiskey Cola!! Insane, obviously I didn't realize before hand how much it would cost?).  We called it an early night and went back to our hotel to get ready to take off the following morning. Stockholm was a great place with so much to see and do, and some AMAZING moments!  

We took the train the next day to Uppsala, a nice university town about 80km north of the capital. This was one of our favourite spots so far, just a really nice, relaxed city, with a river running through the town centre. Our hotel had the perfect location and was a great place to stay, free internet, food and coffee's etc? We checked out the downtown and did a little shopping. The local Cathedral is absolutely stunning and just so much detail put into it.    

The following day we checked out the Castle, which had been reconstructed several times. We explored the inside of the oldest section, which was so cool! The design was so well planned out. In the nursery there were even some carvings the children had done of hangings! Crazy to picture life back then. We had a walk through the botanical gardens and some old university buildings. When had to run to catch our train, but managed to make it just in time! In Stockholm we transferred and made our way back to the cruise ship. We had a great time and the views leaving Sweden were stunning. 

When we arrived in Finland, Kim and Sven were waiting for us outside the ship. Kim had got the three of us matching pink shirts. Quite funny! We headed straight to Kim's cottage which was about 3h north of the city. It was great to see some of the countryside and to catch up with Kim and Sven. The cottage was awesome, just a small place directly on the water. You could walk straight from cottage into the water; it was a beautiful place to be and to have a change of scenery. We had a great BBQ and just hung out.  Yesterday we came back to Helsinki around 8p.m. and hit the city for some drinks. It's hard to keep up with Finns, but we still had a great time. Also managed to stop in a local Jazz club and saw a friend Jussi who was working there. It was pretty cool to be able to just meet these people all over the world, a great feeling.  Well that is it for now, more exploring today, and PARIS tomorrow for my birthday! It's been an amazing trip so far, and still so much to see and do! 

Take care,  

David W.  

*As always, please leave your comments. **I've also added some pictures to the last blog and some photo comments (Pictures to come later for this one).

 

From Lori on Aug 14th, 2010

Enjoy. can't wait to see the pictures!

From S#2 on Aug 14th, 2010

I think A2 is either TS or TP (A being for aunt). My guess is TS.

From Malia on Aug 14th, 2010

Bonne fete mon oncle David! Tu me manques beaucoup!

From S#3 on Aug 14th, 2010

Thanks for the update David! Happy Birthday!!! CAn't wait to see more pics. Say hi to Leah :)

From C3+PMS on Aug 14th, 2010

Great pictures david. looks like you and leah are having a great time! never alone again. xo bonne fete

From Carmen on Aug 14th, 2010

How grand to be in Paris on your birthday. Enjoy the sights, the cheese, the wine, the pastries... We are thinking of you and wish you a wonderful day. Can't wait to see you two when you get back.

From Susie on Aug 15th, 2010

Happy Birthday David! Thanks for the great commentary of your trip. Sounds like somewhere to go visit for sure. Have a great time in Paris. Hi to Leah

From Tante Francine&Oncle Rheaume on Aug 15th, 2010

Bonne Fete David, amuse toi a Paris!

From Melissa T. Laforge on Aug 16th, 2010

Hi David, Happy belated birthday!! Hope you're having fun in Paris!! Great photos, thanks for sharing!! Take care and enjoy your travels, Melissa

From Joe on Aug 16th, 2010

Hi David and Leah: Trip sounds and looks fun. Happy Belated birthday.

From Ryan on Aug 17th, 2010

Happy Birthday BUDDAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!