Scandinavian trip – Episode 4 : Stockholm

This was the last step of my trip. And undoubtedly the most beautiful city.

(just in case you missed it, here is episode 1)

I arrived there in the middle of the afternoon and started walking randomly in Gamla Stan, the old town. It’s not very big but it doesn’t look like a nordic city. It’s a mix of a hanseatic and an italian city. That’s colorfoul.

One street in Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

And that’s very touristy !

Main street

In Stockholm more than every other swedish city, water is everywhere.

Gamla Stan from the city hall

I met my host at his place and we tested the bike he borrowed for me. An old single-speed with only the back pedal brake, something rare in France but I got used to it now. We made a very nice tour in his neighborhood on the shore of the Mälaren but I unfortunately forgot the camera at the flat. We met one of her colleague, who had a french student at home. In Stockholm I heard many french people around me everywhere.

On sunday the weather was awful so I spent most of my time in museums. I mainly visited the Vasa Museum, the most visited museum in Sweden (Louisiana was the most visited museum in Denmark, I’ve seen both !), worth it. The Vasa is a huge war ship built in the 17th century which sank in Stockholm’s harbour during its maiden trip, really impressive. The architecture museum was also really interesting and explained a lot on the evolution of urban landscapes and some buildings I would see the day after.

The transport system is not only made of subways but also ferries. So I took this picture of Gamla Stan in the storm.

Gamla Stan in the storm

A house in Gamla Stan

A street in Gamla Stan

I spent my last crowns buying a t-shirt. That was the only thing missing in my 5kg luggage. (I was travelling light !)

I have many more pictures of monday. The weather was super sunny and we spent the whole day biking around the city with my host because his weekend were monday and tuesday. That was great.

First that’s where I would be working if I were swedish, the Lantmäteriet 😉

Lantmäteriet

The bike trip was really pleasant, first on the shore of the lake Mälaren.

Shore of Mälaren

Facing the city hall, a building I liked, mix of venetian palace with nordic architecture.

The city hall

Floating youth hostel

This boat is a youth hostel. That should be fun.

Work and Gamla Stan

A new tunnel for commuter trains is under construction under water.

Country house in the heart of the city

Hard to believe this house is in the middle of the city.

Södermalm

Södermalm is the island south of Gamla Stan, a popular neighborhood

Ski resort

This hill is a ski resort for long and snowy winters.

Short after a picnic in a small park with some of my hosts friends we enjoyed milkshakes in a great new neighborhood.

Enjoying the sun

New eco-friendly neighborhood

Nordiska and Vasa Museums

At least a picture from the outside of the Vasa Museum (on the right).

Nybroviken

This place reminds me the french riviera.

The rest of the tour was mainly in Djurgärden, a huge park just beside the center, very pleasant, were we met another friend.

Small castle in Djurgärden

Hogwarts

My host said it looks like Hogwarts.This building (on the left) may be an hospital.

Friendly sparrow in Djurgärden

The birds and duck were not afraid. A goose even tried repeatedly to eat my fingers.

Getting used to the bike brake system, feeling confident, I looked away of the road and bumped into my hosts bike, slightly distorting is rear wheel. I’m sorry for that, now it’s more noisy.

We ended up biking 40km that day. Here is a map from the tour.

As it was my birthday my host invited me for a nice meal in a Thai restaurant. It was a great end for the trip.

I left early in the morning to catch the bus to Skavsta airport, then a plane to Beauvais and another bus to Paris. I like small airports, everything is faster than in big ones. But they are hard to reach.

Summary

This trip was outstanding, I really miss adjectives to describe it. All cities were really worth to stop by and people welcoming and friendly. These are easy countries for travellers, everyone speaks English, transportation is fast, easy and relatively cheap in Sweden. I found Denmark more expensive. It was easy to travel light, I recommend it.

Here is a map of the whole trip to locate the cities.

trip map

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Scandinavian trip – Episode 3 : Göteborg, Örebro, Västerås

Göteborg

In Gothenburg (aka Göteborg, but the english name is much easier to pronounce) I stayed with people from norway, costa-rica and another couchsurfer from germany. Still no swedish host so far ! One of them was waiting for me at the tram station and the night was incredibly warm as we walked to his place. The cold days in Copenhagen seemed already far behind.

I liked Gothenburg because it ‘s an active, busy city and at the same time with nature, even wild in it’s heart. Also that the first non-flat city of the trip. Like in most of cities, water as an important place. Canals surround the city center.

Canal in the center

And  Göteborg is the biggest harbour of Scandinavia. That was maybe the main reason fwhy I enjoyed the city : I like harbour cities.

Göteborg's harbour

The first museum I visited was quiet unusual, a floating museum made of 19 different boats (one of them being actually a submarine). That was cool and the guide was pretty.

Maritiman

After that I walked on the waterfront to take pictures of the harbour.

Lilla Bommen

I don’t even know what this red-white building is.

And I got this typical picture of the city. Yes there is a tram on the bridge.

Lilla Bommen

These blue trams are everywhere in the city, thats part of the landscape. And for tourists going to Liseberg (the amusement park) they have a very old one. I took some 24h tickets and used public transports intensively.

Tram

The weather was so pleasant that I eat several ice creams during the day. That’s taken from where I eat the first one.

Domkyrka

Then I went to the botannical garden and the Slottskogen park, 2 wonderfull piece of nature in the heart of the city. When you walk a bit in the botannical garden you end up in wild areas, that doesn’t look like a garden anymore.. My host in Stockholm said later it’s the most beautiful botanic garden in Sweden, at least his favourite.

Waterfall in the botannic garden

Back in the center, here is the neighborhood called Haga, where old wooden houses remains.

Haga

And above it the small tower of Skansen Kronan gives the best panorama of Gothenburg I think. There were also a lot of points of views in the hilly parks.

Looking to the center from Skansen Kronan

In the evening, the german who was sharing the flat for almost 3 weeks made a very good indian dinner for us 4.

The day after, following advices, I took the boat to the fortress Nya Älvsborg located at the entrance of the harbour. It was supposed to be quiet expensive but the boatman never asked me to pay, so I went there for free. The boat trip lasted 30min and offered nice views of the city.

View of the center

An old ship

And the fortress is worth to see.

Nya Älvsborg

The fortress is now in a very « modern » environment between the harbour and windmills to produce electricity. That makes it appear small. Especially when a huge cargo ship sails behind.

Windmills

Harbour

Cargo ship

In the afternoon there were some showers, so museums were a good idea.

City museum

Before joining my hosts for a barbecue on the archipelago. After a 40min rain during the tram trip to reach the ferry, the sky stayed incredibly blue.

The archipelago

Beside a too friendly cat which caused coffee and beer stains on my pants, we saw a bit of wildlife.

Hedgehog

On May 21st I left Gothenburg early in the morning for a long day in the train. Not that early but at 9am only the german woke up !

Örebro

It takes almost 3h to go to Örebro in the middle of the country. I went there for its castle but there were nothing interesting to visit inside, quiet disappointing. But it’s really nice from the outside, a typical swedish castle surrounded by water.

Örebro castle

Örebro

But beside the castle, along the river was a very pleasant garden with an open-air museum called Wadköping. This neighborhood gathered some old wooden houses from the city center in the 60s.

Wadköping

Wadköping

It’s located in a great park full of sculptures along the river.

Sculpture in Örebro

And wildlife of course.

Goose with kids

RikstelefonI already saw these public phones in other cities, typically swedish.

Västerås

After spending a few hours in Örebro I took another train to Västerås where I met some couchsurfers I hosted in Paris in february. It was nice to see them again. In the evening we had a typical swedish meal at their student house : meatballs with mashed potatoes. I think it’s the first swedish meal I had so far. Then we had fun in Västerås by night, entering a few bars and clubs including the highest bar in sweden located in the skycraper.

In the morning on my way to the train station I heard some music : this was a music festival called MusikRUM. There were essentially brass-bands and marching-bands and that was pleasant to listen to them, especially playing some ABBA.

Marching band

I liked the sculpture of cyclists in Västerås, and the wooden houses along the river. But there is not many more to see (That’s the way Västerås was advertised to me !)

Cyclists in Västerås

Wooden houses in Västerås

I left the city early to take advantage of the very sunny weather in Stockholm.

Go on with episode 4 : Stockholm >

Scandinavian trip – Episode 2 : Skåne

Malmö

On Sunday I crossed the Øresund bridge to Malmö. In the fog, only the bridge structure was visible, not the water under and it was almost like flying, really smoothly, really quickly.

Malmö is located just on the other side of the Øresund, so it’s only half an hour from Copenhagen. The first thing I saw outside the station is a huge parking.

bike parking

It’s a really nice city, smaller, although the 3rd bigest city in Sweden, and a bit more colorful than Copenhagen. The small streets are really quiet.

A nice brick building in Malmö

Street in the center

After looking for a map I went to the form and design center which looked appealing but ended up being only 2 rooms, so not much to see. But it showed different architecture project for the new congress center of the city with models, I liked that.

The form and design center is located in a small courtyard

Museums are cheap in Malmö, for 40 crowns (4 euros) you can access everything in and around the Malmöhus (the castle of the city). There was among others an exhibit on Nelson Mandela and I also learned some facts about swedish history. I now know that Scania became Swedish in 1658 after the peace of Roskilde was signed with Denmark. Then Denmark failed repeatedly retaking the province.

A tower of the Malmöhus

The main entrance of the Malmöhus

A mill next to the castleA windmill next to the castle, like in Copenhagen citadel.

After that I took many pictures from Turning Tørsø, the tallest skyscraper in Scandinavia, which I really like the shape. The neighboroud around is also very pleasant: a huge park and a beach and some new eco-friendly houses.

Turning Torso

The tower dominating Västra Hamnen

Turning Torso

It’s supposed to be deconstructivist. I like that whatever it means !

The Öresund bridge, facing the Västra Hamnen

Västra Hamnen

Coming back to the center I made other discoveries.

The Post

The Post, a huge brick building, looks almost Danish !

The non-violence sculpture

I will see the same non-violence sculpture in Gothenburg.

The Moderna Museet

The Moderna Museet was already closed and unfortunately also on mondays.

In the evening I met my hosts, a very kind chinese couple and their bunny, we had dinner together, talked and listened some Joe Hisaishi music.

The day after I walked a bit in the city in the morning, exploring the Pildammpark and going back to the central station.

Pildammsparken

In the center

S:T Petri Kirka

Lund

I then took the train to Lund, a university town nearby. So mostly young people in the streets. The center looked like a village, it was really nice.

Adelgatan

The city is also famous for its old cathedral. Lund has a 10 centuries history.

Lund's cathedral

That was the first day with so much blue sky !

I spent some time in the Kulturen, an open-air museum plenty of old houses, and surprisingly with an exhibit on China.

In Kulturen

In Kulturen

In KulturenThat explains why I didn’t stayed at my host place in Lund 😉

In Kulturen

In Kulturen

I spotted this bird of prey, in the heart of the city !

In Kulturen

And this really nice bike…

In the evening I came back to my host in Malmö for the night.

Kullaberg Nature Reserve

Tuesday I left Malmö to go north. Train to Helsingborg and then 2 busses to reach Mölle, almost the end of the road. There is the Kullaberg Nature Reserve, a gem of forest on a peninsula surounded by the North Sea.

Map of the reserve

Kullaberg

Highland cows in Kullaberg

The lighthouse

The cape

Kullaberg

After heading West to the cape to reach the lighthouse I went back to the East to look for Ladonia which was uneasy to find, because not on the maps.
This is huge driftwood structures on the shore made by an anarchist artist. That’s certainly the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in Sweden.

Ladonia

Ladonia

Ladonia

The hike was much more hilly and winding than expected, I walked more than 5 hours.

Back in Mölle

Helsingborg

Then again the bus to come back to Helsingborg where I spent 1 hour rambling around waiting for the train to Gothenburg.

Helsingborg

Helsingborg

Helsingborg

I really liked this city hall.

After a long day I finally arrive to Gothenburg at eleven in the evening where my new hosts waited for me.

Go on with Episode 3 : Göteborg, Örebro and Västerås >

Scandinavian trip – Episode 1 : København

On May 12th I started a trip in Denmark and Sweden that lasted almost 2 weeks. Too many things to say and too many pictures (around 450 is a lot for me) to write a single post. At the end of each I’ll put a link to the next one. I (try to) write in english so I can share the link with all the people I met there. So it will certainly be shorter than in french and with maybe sometimes some inappropriate, and poor, vocabulary 😉 Feel free to warn me of the mistakes !

Copenhagen

After a day working I went directly to the airport, it was more simple than I remembered and I ended up waiting one hour and a half in the small boarding room, with nothing to do beside watching planes taking off and landing. Then the flight itself is not longer and I landed at 11pm in Karstrup airport. The first impression that gives Denmark is of an automatic country. Nobody beside passengers in the airport, a machine to buy the subway ticket, an automatic subway line… The first danish worker we (I was with 2 members of my family, coming from Geneva) had to talk to was the bus driver, one hour after landing. At midnight we finally knocked the door of our B&B.

The first morning we enjoyed the proximity of the Frederiksberg garden. Full of animals, mainly ducks and gooses, something really different from France and that I will see also in Sweden.

Frederiksberg castle

Frederiksberg garden

Frederiksberg gardenWe don’t have goose in french garden, but there they are everywhere.

Frederiksberg garden

Frederiksberg gardenUsually they feed pidgins.

Walking to the center took us 45min and made us feel the special atmosphere of the city. So much bikes makes really quiet streets (surprisingly I didn’t took much pictures of bikes !). Mainly brick buildings and from time to time some artwork on a wall.

Street in Copenhagen

VesterportThis is an old train station, colorful.

Our way lead us to the Tivoli garden, but we entered only later. This amusement park is one of the main attractions in Copenhagen.

Tivoli

Just beside is the city hall, a huge impressive brick wall. It looks like a fortress.

City hall

In front of the city hallPeruvian musicians in front of it, and a nice cargo bike.

Then we walked down the main street, really crowded, we’re not the only tourists.

In the main street

In the main street

We went to the round tower, an old observatory from renaissance. A gentle slope leads to the top of it, making 7 turns inside. Horses could go up. With 36m height it’s a great point of view of the city.

Looking to the round tower

Panorama from the round tower

Then heading to Nyhavn the buildings became a bit more colorful.

Colorfull house

In the center

Kunsthallen NikolaiThis is no church, but an art gallery.

NyhavnNyhavn is almost the only colored place in Copenhagen, one of the place I preferred.

Along the harbour, te city wants to put architectural challenges. The Opera is impressive. Black and gray, huge, typically Danish.

The Opera

The Black Diamond, an extension of the royal library is even darker. I liked it.

The Black Diamond

The centerThe main street.

The day after we scheduled to go to the Amalienborg to see the gards shifting at 12. That’s a strange palace because it’s made of 4 separated building surrounding a public square. In the middle is a statue of a Danish king. I don’t remember which. They’re all named Frederik or Christian. Behind the square is the huge dome of the Frederiks Kirke (it might be the same Frederik).

Amalienborg

Frederiks Kirke

A. Newsky KirkeA Russian church

Gards of the AmalienborgThe gards ! It was not really impressive without music.

After that we went to the Rosenborg castle. A beautiful castle in the middle of a garden where are kept the crowns jewels.

Rosenborg castle

Then we enjoyed a very modern exhibit from Bjørn Nørgaard at the national gallery. After that, museums started to close. They close early in scandinavia, usually 5pm and sometimes even 4pm !

We had a walk to the citadel (Kastellet), which is very well preserved. The little mermaid is just beside but currently in Shanghai. On the way I took these pictures of danish architecture. Modern and old buildings together that’s something I liked there and we don’t find much in France.

Danish architecture

Danish architecture

In the citadel there is an old windmill. It will be the same in Malmö to !

Windmill in the Kastellet

The Kastellet

Then we walked downtown along the harbour.

Sculpture

Royal ship

In the harbour

DavidThe Danish copy of David, in front of a sculpture museum.

NyhavnBack to the colorful Nyhavn.

The next day was heavy rainy. We intended to go north to the Lousiana museum and then to Kromborg castle (Hamlet’s castle !) but the Lousiana was so interesting (and the weather so awful) that we just spent hours there.

First the museum open only at 11am and we were dozens waiting outside under the rain with no shelter but they did not open a single minute earlier ! The main exhibit was about color in arts (mostly paintings) and was huge with an impressive quantity of world famous artists. I understand why it’s the most visited museum in Denmark.

I only took a few pictures outside when the rain stopped for a while. There are fun sculptures in the garden.

Louisiana

On sunday my 2 travelmates went back to France but I continued the trip in Sweden.

Go on with episode 2 to discover Sweden >