trip times

Jul. 9th, 2013 01:16 pm
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
[personal profile] clevermynnie
I'm back in Dublin! My weeklong foray to Scandinavia was pretty fun, though it did leave me with the suspicion that my favorite place up there is still Norway.

Ben and I started out in Copenhagen, which had some rough weather but the added ambience of truckloads of teenagers, newly graduated and kind of trashed, roaming the streets. I literally mean truckloads, like these open-backed farm vehicles driving along, honking, filled with kids cheering and mooning. We went up a stone tower to see the view, went to Tivoli Gardens which is sort of like Disneyland but with Hans Christian Anderson, and had tea in the design center while watching the rain. We also met up with some people Ben knew through work, in an Irish pub, to talk about the travails of being a game development programmer.

Then we took a train up to Stockholm, through myriad lakes and forests. I loved Stockholm, which seemed to have a lot to do, a diverse population, and lots of water winding through the city. We spent a good chunk of time at Skansen, which is like an outdoor museum with historical houses from all over Sweden, plus arctic animals like reindeer, bears, owls, and moose. Well, and peacocks, which are less arctic. And we went to the Nordiska Museum which has a lot of cultural stuff, including a great exhibition about the Sami (indigenous people of Lapland), and the Vasa Museum which has a truly spectacular 17th century ship. Stockholm also seemed to have a lot of great food, and much cheaper than the other places.

To get from Stockholm to Helsinki, we took this overnight cruise, which is cost effective but also just very beautiful. You go through forested archipelagos, and in the summer the sun doesn't go down until late. Dinner was great, and then we were up on the deck having a drink when the sun did finally set, eventually watching the ship dock in Ã…land before it continued on and we went to bed. And then in the morning you wake up and are nearly to Helsinki! This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Helsinki was small but really nice and quite sunny. I loved seeing the Sibelius Monument there, and the big food market at the harbor, and the design and architecture museums. Actually in general I felt that we saw a lot of museums that asked deep and probing questions (like in the design museum, things were organized thematically and there was a lot to chew on). We also went to a great pub, and took a boat out to this fort island, Suomenlinna, which was really nice to walk around. Our last act in Helsinki was to get some treats to take home: I got brunost, which is a Norwegian cheese I really like, and Ben got surströmming, this Swedish fermented fish which has an intense putrid aroma. So I got something sweet and slightly odd, and Ben got something famed for its difficult to acquire taste. I feel like that says something about us.

So it was a pretty nice trip, though we had some difficulty on agreeing on what to do, and I missed the outdoorsiness and mountains that I experienced so much of in Norway. I do have photos, of course, coming soon!
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