Day 107 to 123
06.05.2013 - 23.05.2013 18 °C
We have now moved onto our Scandinavian adventure. For the last fortnight we have been in Denmark and Sweden. In Copenhagen we stayed in a suburb called Österbro, which is about 5 kms north of Copenhagen downtown. Whilst we were there we did plenty of walking, more than we were used to after a week sailing. Copenhagen is very flat and has loads of bikes. In my opinion, they have more than Amsterdam. We saw Hans Christian Anderson’s grave, his home in Nyhaven, and the statute of the Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid is the number one attraction in Copenhagen. The day we saw the changing of the guard in Amalienborg Palace we also caught a glimpse of Queen Margrethe and her dachshund. She was boarding her little boat, about to entertain on the canal. That day we had lunch in Nyhaven. Leah and I both went for the Herring Buffet which included 10 varieties of herring, all you can eat with rye bread and potatoes. We also had a snaps to wash it down. We found Danish snaps a lot harsher than expected.
At the end of the week we caught a 30min train over the straight to Malmö Sweden for the 2013 Eurovision Song contest. The whole town was buzzing and there was plenty to see during the week. We stayed with a great family and a Portuguese Eurovision fan who ran the Portuguese fan blog. We attended semi-final 1, 2 and the dress rehearsal of the Eurovision Final. On the first night we were interviewed by an Estonian Tabloid (we didn’t realise we were being interviewed until half way through the conversation) and made it into the online edition of the paper. We had our best seats on night 1 with 3 Aussies in front of us and 2 next to us which made for a great night critiquing the live Eurovision experience. During the week we also made our way into a meet and greet with Australian Eurovision commentators Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang. We only got around 45min with them as they had to head back to the arena but they didn’t disappoint the 50 fans there, posing for photos and being more than generous with their time for each group. At the dress rehearsal we had seat behind the stage, but were still able to see a good amount of the action and a couple of extra behind the scenes happenings. They even did a fake vote and the stagehands sat in as 12 point winners, really haming it up. That night we watched the start of the final In Folkets Park. Not having a great spot on the grass, we then moved to watch the second half in Gustav Aldofs Torg.
After a fun week in Malmö we caught a train to a town 2 hours south of Stockholm called Norrköping (pronounced Norrshoping). The reason we ventured to this area was because Leah’s great grandfather was born here. Of course we couldn’t find anything to see in relation to the family; however, it was just nice visiting a place where your ancestors once lived. We enjoyed a walk around town and an early dinner at one of the pubs.
After Norrköping it was onto the capital of Sweden, Stockholm. We had originally booked two nights here as we knew it would be expensive; however, when we arrived we wished we’d planned to stay longer. It’s a beautiful city with many great attractions for tourists. One of these that we visited was the Vasa Museum. In 1625 the Vasa ship sank 1300 meters into its maiden voyage in the Stockholm harbour. Apparently it was built far too tall in comparison to its width and a small gust of wind toppled it over. What makes this ship special is that after 333 years it was raised from the harbour in 98% original condition. This was due to cold seas, the pollution in the harbour extracting most of the oxygen from the water and not allowing the seaworms to eat away at the wood. Once raised out of the water the ship was painstakingly restored over a 20 year period to what it looks like today (although restorations on the ship are a continuing process). All in all, a very impressive piece of history.
After our visit to the Vasa ship we indulged in the local Swedish custom of meatball making. Unusually, Rein was keen to get involved and had lots of fun making meatballs! We met some new friends, laughed, and washed the meal down with a beer and some Swedish snaps (which was much nicer than the Danish snaps). Today we saw the changing of the guards, which was the best royal changing we have seen. Today accompanying the guards was the Mounted band, who were very good. Then the rest of the day was spent on a sightseeing harbour tour.
We will soon be embarking on the ferry to Finland.
Rein, Leah and Henry