Tuesday, June 24, 2008

50 Travel Quotes...I love quotes.

After sleeping in "Heaven", i suppose one deserves a night or two in "hell"...well, not actually, ha, i only say this bc my room here in Stockholm is in the basement and is as dark as one would imagine hell being! But i love it! There's no windows and i slept like a baby until 9:30, which after Sunday night is a blessing!

I've got a long list of places to see today, so i'll make this brief. A friend sent me this site on 50 Best Travel Quotes and I love it! For all those ardent travelers and even those seeking inspiration, check it out!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Köbenhavn Part 2

My time in this quaint city turned out to be quite enjoyable. I couldn't have found a better travel partner than Gavin. He was totally flexible, laid back, liked to talk, obsessed with pictures and quite versed in business, politics and history. Needless to say, I learned a bit from the kid.

We covered the city in a mere 12 hours...including lunch at Christiania (the free hippie commune), and checked out the Parliament building, took a boat canal tour, pictures at the Little Mermaid statue (including Gavin crawling up on the statue and kissing it on the lips, which was quite hilarious and earned a few stares!), checked out a few churches, ate at a Mediterranean Buffet (complete with belly dancers and loud music) and strolled down Stroget making fun of the goofy outfits these Danes wear, all before collapsing at the King's Gardens around 9:30pm and soaking up the beautiful skies while laying on our backs and breathing in the sweet grass. There's just something about Europe that makes me yearn for laying in the grass to read, nap or relax.

My fave thing about Copenhagen is the calm vibe. I feel at ease, and less rushed. The casual bikers and lazy strolls of the residents surely caught my attention. I made effort to join them in their slow saunter. Women even wear dresses and heels while riding bikes, and no one wears helmets...and many a bike goes unlocked. It's a beautiful thing...just hope to bring some of it home with me!

Day 3 in this fine city began with a pleasant and by no means coincidental meeting of a Chicago guy during breakfast at the hostel. It's pretty easy to pinpoint the Americans. We began chatting and when we found out we are from the same hood, he asked me to join him and his new Boston pals for a day at the Botanical Gardens and touring the city. Seeing as i had no plans (yes, believe it!), I took him up on the generous offer. It was a wet day, so after the gardens, we proceeded to the National museum to take in some fine art for FREE!

The Boston folks had to depart for Germany, so Rob and i headed back to the hostel to recharge and then went for'll never guess...yes, Mediterranean again - only pizza this time! So crazy, yet o so yummy! (I guess i realize now that the reason I ate so much of this food while there is not solely bc i love it, but because it's CHEAP, haha!) Anyway, we were planning to head to Tivoli, but the rain would not relent, so we opted for a huge cultural experience of watching the Eurocup with the regulars at O'Learys Sports Bar before I caught my 10pm overnight train. It's crazy how passionate futbol fans are!!!

Saying goodbye to my Chicago friend (whom i have plans for sushi with back in Chi-town), I met another fellow backpacker from Denver on the train who was very helpful in guiding me on my first Eurorail experience! I like the train, but sleeping on them, however affordable, is not ideal! I like to think i got 6 full hours, but the truth is they were very interrupted every time the train stopped to pick up more folks.

Oh well, I reached Stockholm at 7am, got my money changed and my train to Oslo on Thursday booked and even did a little cleaning up in the Toiletter that cost me 2 Kroner! I treated myself to a sausage and egg mcmuffin and a small diet coke, which cost way too much, but was justified in my groggy state. Then headed to the FTP Friedhelmsplan Hostel to drop off my gear.

With my extra day, I had to figure out what to do and how best to allocate my time...I decided that seeing Drollingham Palace was a priority and a bit off the beaten path, so i opted to go spend the day at the home of the Royal Family. It was remarkable, stunning...simply breathtaking! I got a guided tour, in English, and learned much of the history. I then proceeded to walk the grounds which were a mixture of lovely French and English inspired gardens, ponds, statues and other buildings that accompanied the castle. By this time, my legs were growing weak and my sleepless night was weighing heavily on my eyelids, so i found a nice sunny patch of grass in a field and lay down to nap for a bit. And no sooner than 20 minutes into my snooze, little pellets of water, interrupted my slumber. A bit dazed and confused, I arose to find a fast moving summer storm approaching and ran for the base of a gigantic tree in the gardens. Finding suitable coverage, I sat there and read "The Glass Castle" happy as a lark and unaffected by the storm. ---This happy-go-lucky feeling is exactly what I so badly want to bottle up and take home with me...I mean, I could sell it and be filthy rich, haha...It's been such a blessing to be without a phone and immediate communication vehicles, should try it! Hopefully, it will break me of my compulsive email checking, etc!

Ok....times up. More to come of Stockholm!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The "Great" Danes

Copenhagen or Kobenhavn as they call it here marks the first stop on my Scandinavia Tour! The 7 hour time difference from Chicago left me rather jet-lagged upon arrival yesterday afternoon, but I rallied and went walking about town to get my bearings.

First stop was, of course, Heaven...Ok, not literally, but the hostel I reserved is perhaps not so fittingly named "Sleep-in-Heaven". I have a locker and a 6 bed room the size of my tiny Chicago one. Guess I
won't ever be complaining anymore ;) The spot is complete with a big communal area with a pool table, 2 computers and coed bathrooms...that's a whole other story. Pics will be provided at a later date. Although it's not Heaven, i did sleep well due to an eyemask and earplugs!

Next I visited the Round Tower for a 360 view of the city. Met some more Texans there! It was interesting and fun to be by myself, and lots of good people watching...the Danes don't exactly have good fashion...

Met some great people already and am about to head out to tackle the sights with a Canadian from Vancouver named Gavin!