Friday, August 29, 2008

Scandinavia Trip - Part 3 (Sweden)

With an hour or so of sleep and still very drunk we managed to pack our bags and catch the overnight ferry to Stockholm. With numerous restaurants, a casino, bars and duty free shops we found the journey very relaxing and a bargain, considering it was cheaper than a flight and included a night of accommodation in a fantastic room.

We arrived in Stockholm and immediately organised to catch the soonest bus out of town to Mora, a lake side town five hours north. We had most of the day to waste and explored Stockholm’s version of ‘old town’, Gamla Stan.

Mora was a beautiful little town nestled on the edge of a large lake and in a region famous for its Viking heritage. It was just a pity that it was dead boring and in no way living up to it’s reputation as a summer sports location.

The next day we hired bikes and headed off under threatening clouds. Soon enough it was drizzling in patches, but not enough to destroy our will…..yet. We ventured through the country side admiring the small town culture and discovering Viking ruins (unfortunately with no English signage).

We eventually arrived at Soleron, where the local markets were in full fling with at least 10 stalls!!! We gorged on the sweetest strawberries we had ever tasted and decided to head back toward town before the rain got too heavy. I was enjoying the ride, after all, I hadn’t ridden for over a week and the rain was nothing compared to some experiences I have had on a bike. Tim felt differently!

It was Saturday night and we headed out for dinner. We had no understanding of the Pizza menu so Tim took a random stab and ordered a pizza with three mystery toppings. Of the thirty or so pizzas on the menu the pizza Tim ordered was one of only two with prawns. Tim’s allergy to seafood meant that I was well fed.

The next day we headed to Rattvik in a vein hope that it would be a bit more fun. It wasn’t. I would compare it to Victor Harbour in summer; trailer trash everywhere, nothing to do and a ‘Youth Hostel’ full of people over forty. We spent most of the following day on the internet planning the next week of our trip, as we had discovered that it was impossible to live day by day in peak tourist season. Thankfully we arrived back in Stockholm the following morning.

Our hostel was located in the basement of a large hotel. About sixty rooms had been constructed, each measuring no more than 4 x 4 metres in size. The surprising thing was that these rooms were amazing well designed; clean, comfortable and surprisingly similar to a cabin on a ship.

Again we headed out to explore for the day before we met one of Tim’s friends for dinner and drinks. Dinner never eventuated but some serious drinking ensued until we found ourselves at an Irish bar that played heavy metal music. We caught the last bus back to Frida’s sister’s soviet style apartment and crashed (the bus driver allowed us to ride for free as we didn’t have tickets, he had a soft spot for Aussies!).

With terrible hangovers we planned to take a ferry through the bay that day; however, I piked and went back to bed, a decision which I’m glad for to this day. Tim endured the sun and sea and returned with some worthwhile photographs.