Sunday 11 June 2023

Last day in Oslo

Here we are on Saturday morning in Oslo, so what shall we do? - Obviously, our fourth parkrun in eight days. 

This one involved either a short bus ride up a very steep hill (me, S and P), or a very long and tiring run - Daz.

Anyway we all got to the start safely and made it round to the finish, although the course was definitely a quarter of a kilometre longer than usual.

We are assuming that mål means finish in Norwegian.

After a late breakfast at the hotel we had a couple of hours to spare before heading to the airport.

We decided to wander down to the harbour and to the fabulous Opera and Ballet Concert Hall.

Everywhere was bright white marble which without sunglasses must have been blinding. You could also walk up the sloping roof to viewing areas at the top. After his morning exertions Darren decided to sit this one out, so I hiked up for some fantastic views.

Just opposite the concert hall a new Munch museum is taking a rather wobbly shape. There is also an enormous sculpture that might be of someone reading their phone, although then again it was hard to tell.

Then it was a short walk to the station for our ride to the airport.

Ps, last night we went out to dinner with Susan and Paul, and then afterwards they took us to the National Museum as it was open until 10pm.

Saw lots of brilliant Scandinavian art as well as the most famous of all.....

The scream by Edvard Munch

Friday 9 June 2023

Gothenburg to Oslo

Anxious to get the last drops out of our 72 hour Gothenburg public transport pass, we got up early and caught a tram away from our hotel. Getting off at the harbour side, we had 22 minutes left.

We then had a couple of hours to wander back to the hotel, eat breakfast and then catch the bus up north.

There was some very nice scenes along the way,

as well as a magnificent energy producing building.

All I can find out about this Power Plant is that it is supposed to be very green, and it is right in the city centre.

We caught the bus that left exactly on time, taking the E6 motorway almost the whole 300 kilometres to Oslo. Three and a half hours later we stepped out to more beautiful sunshine in the third country of our trip (Norway), in the upmarket bus station.

We dropped off our bags at our hotel and set off to explore for the afternoon. 

Everywhere was packed with people enjoying the sunshine, and at the end of the docks was a huge sunbathing area and brave divers were leaping head first into the sea.

I always like unusual statues and this was one of my favourites, definitely beating the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen.

By now our energy levels were falling and we hadn't managed to get in to the fortress along the harbour. It wasn't our fault as we walked a long way round it, but not only was lots of it fenced off for building work, but an outdoor concert was also just starting in another section.

We did eventually get a great view of the harbour from the top of the ramparts

and the start of the concert.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Volvo and Ikea

What are the two most famous Swedish things that you can think of?? I can think of three - Abba, Volvo and Ikea.

There was nothing that I could do about meeting Abba, but we did manage the other two today.

Our knowledgeable contact at the Tourist Information Centre made it clear that she wasn't really a fan of the Volvo Museum and the surrounding industrial area, but we caught the bus there anyway.

With the benefit of hindsight, I bow to her superior knowledge, and it was okay, but not exciting. 

The above photo is a copy of the Volvo used by Roger Moore in the 1960's series 'The Saint', and the one below is a Lego (from Denmark) copy of a Volvo using over 201,000 pieces.

Solid and sensible, sums up the place, and probably Volvo too (now Chinese owned).

Second item today, partly because the bus dropped us near there, was a trip to see some outdoor swimming pools that float in the river. Coincidentally they were officially opened by the King last week.

 In a natural phenomenon, one of the pools is ordinary water gathered from the top of the river as it leads to the sea. The other two pools are full of salt water which is collected from deeper depths, where the salty water resides.

Disappointingly, the two salty pools were closed today because they weren't salty enough!!

Disappointing also for me because I was hoping to sit on the edge and dangle my feet in it.

This is a picture of the not salty enough diving pool.

Finally, and we didn't ask for the opinion of the Tourist Information oracle, we caught the bus to the local Ikea. We had hoped to visit the factory, but that was a couple of hundred miles away.

As you can see from the car park, it was very quiet today, something that we have never found in our visits in England, however, reassuringly the meatballs, gravy and lingonberry sauce was identical.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Södra öarna - The Southern Islands

Today we had a full day out at Södra öarna - the southern islands off the coast of Gothenburg.

 Firstly we caught a tram for the half hour journey to the village of Saltholmen, and then we walked to the harbour to choose our first island.

We have bought a three day public transport pass and had spoken to a lady at the Tourist Information Centre who told us that all of the islands are beautiful, so we should jump on any ferry that was due to leave shortly.

We decided to try a four island trip, so initially caught a ferry to Donsö.

It took about 40 minutes to get there and as we got closer we could see people zipping around on bicycles and golf carts. Cars are banned on the islands and everywhere is so peaceful and relaxed.

We walked around the island and then crossed a bridge to Strysö. 

This is a slightly bigger island, but we managed to walk from one side to the other in just over an hour.

We initially reached the wrong harbour and had a bit of a dash to the right one about a kilometre further along the coast, and caught another ferry across a short stretch of sea to Brännö.

This island had wilder terrain and we picked our way around the coast, stepping from rock to rock.

We then came to a signpost, where the only words that we could understand were 'at your own risk', where we traversed a slightly rickety wooden walkway.

We crossed most of this island to reach the bridge to Galterö, which is a beautiful and almost uninhabited island.

We followed a triangular route over huge rocks and along a tiny pathway, taking in beautiful sea views.

Then it was back over the bridge to Brännö, and a quick hike across the island to pick up our final ferry back to Saltholmen.

In case you are interested, this was our route. We started in the top right hand corner, red is for ferries, purple was our walk - approximately.

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Parkrun in Sweden

Another day, another extra parkrun, this time in Sweden as it is their National Day today.

Our hotel is a half hour bus ride from Billdalparken parkrun, and we arrived at the bus stop with six minutes to spare.

The whole city was almost deserted and we had been expecting to see dozens of other parkrunners at the bus stop. 

Having checked the website we knew that very few runners ran each week, but expected to see other tourists. In January it dropped to only four runners, but once we arrived at the park it became clear that there was lots of other people today. 

It was another lovely course, and another photo opportunity.

The bus was packed on the return journey and the mystery of missing runners was solved. They must have caught the bus half an hour before ours, rather than cutting it fine like we did.

Once back in Gothenburg we had a sightseeing session.

It's was still very quiet in the city centre, but it was still fairly early, and after a visit to the Tourist Information Centre we found out where everyone was going for the afternoon.

We decided to head there too, stopping off on the way to climb about half a million steps up to a viewpoint.

We then carried on to the Slottsskogen, which is a major park on the outskirts of the city. Before joining the crowds we climbed another mini mountain to see an elk in a wildlife park.

We then ate a couple of huge Mr Whippy's, which aren't called that in Sweden, then went to the main event of the day, an outdoor concert by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

The crowd was enormous and spread as far as we could see in all directions, soaking up the sun and eating tasty looking picnics.

Monday 5 June 2023

Fælledparken extra parkrun

This morning we were up early again and off stomping across Copenhagen to a different parkrun. Today is Denmark's grundlosdag day, so they are putting on an extra parkrun. (Not a typo but their constitution day.)

We found this parkrun in plenty of time and were relaxed and ready at the start.

Once again there was way more British runners than Danish, but also people from Australia and Poland.

It was a hot and dusty start but we all soon spread out and the dust cloud cleared.

I was going to take this run a little bit more slowly than the last one, but then I saw a lady up ahead who just beat me on Saturday, so I did a sort of sprint and beat her to the line.

We took the obligatory photo with the parkrun sign, and Danish flag, and then headed for the Metro station as we had to shower and then catch a train out of the country.

We have gone our separate parkrun ways to Susan and Paul, and we caught the afternoon train to Gothenburg in Sweden. And I have got it right this time!

We are now at our hotel and we actually have a proper bed, not bunks, and surprisingly we have a very nice balcony with some tasty fruity red wine to drink in it.

Sunday 4 June 2023

More wandering around Copenhagen

 Thank you to numerous friends (three) who pointed out that we are actually in Copenhagen and not Gothenburg. It is good to know that people actually see this blog and proof read it for me!

Still in Copenhagen we set off for another stroll, starting by crossing the river and exploring Christiania. A very prominent feature is this beautiful church.

We struggled to get a good photo of it, but in 2004 we made exactly this same journey and paid to climb the outside of the curly spire to the top.

I don't know if we have got lazier or stingier than then, but this time we just looked up and then carried on with our walk.

The next stop was the tourist hotspot of the Little Mermaid. The poor girl couldn't get a moments peace and was surrounded by hundreds of photographers, both on land and water.

In contrast, only five minutes walk away was a fantastic structure that was totally ignored.

It is a maritime monument to honour Danish civilian sailors who lost their lives during the first world war.

Right next to it is a 17th century fortress with fantastic star shaped ramparts. (You can only see the star when viewed from above on a helicopter, so this is one corner.)

On the walk back to hotel for lunch we could hear the sound of firecrackers that got louder as we approached the town square, and there we came across thousands of Copenhagen FC who had just won the Danish Championship and were out celebrating.

We took a few photos but I particularly liked this one of some of the supporters leaning on a wall next to a dragon statue.

Replenished after our lunch stop, we headed in the opposite direction and crossed the river again.

We had a lovely walk through a very modern and classy neighborhood, and then through the university grounds to a rope bridge.

It was on the other side of the water, so Darren pulled it across, we jumped on and I pulled us slowly to the other side.

Last item on the trip was to buy a couple of cans and sit in the sunshine by the river watching the world go by.