Tag Archives: Sweden

Bean’s Trip to Europe – Part 4

I want to finish the recap of Sweden:

In Malmo, we decided to go on a canal tour through the city. Obstinate me decided that I wasn’t going to wear my rain jacket because it wasn’t raining, so I sat there and froze in the wind for the entire thing. Not exactly one of my brightest moments.

The building that looked twisty is called the twisting torso and you can rent the penthouse suite for 200€ per square meter per hour. That’s like $300!

On our full day in Malmo, we decided to take the train across to Copenhagen. It rained. A lot. We got soaked within the first 10 minutes in the initial downpour. In the moments that the rain was lighter, we decided to do a walking tour as sitting around moping wouldn’t keep us any warmer. Great decision as downpour #2 came along shortly thereafter. Thankfully we went to a cafe where we missed out on downpour #3 and were able to warm up and dry off a bit. Thankfully after that the rain started to let up for the most part, but it was too windy for my umbrella to really have been much use.

We went to go visit the Little Mermaid Statue (for that’s like the most famous in Copenhagen!), but it wasn’t there. Lame. There was a live video of the statue in China though.

We then made our way back up the east coast of Sweden on our way back to Stockholm. We first stopped in Kalmar, which has an old castle that was quite neat. I was so ridiculously happy to see some blue sky, especially given our experiences in the last few places we had been!

The hotel we stayed in was an old warehouse on the ward complete with wooden beams and it overlooked a bunch of docks. When we arrived, the dock was empty. A ship arrived shortly after us and unloaded all through the night and filled the entire dock with logs. I swear that ship wasn’t very big – who knew that it would be able to fit that many logs!

The second night we stayed at a bed and breakfast type thing essentially in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty nice, except that there were a few miscommunications: first they thought that we were coming the next day and secondly they thought that we were staying two nights despite us telling them that we needed to be in Uppsala the next day! I found that to be incredibly stressful and so I didn’t enjoy my time there as much as I possibly could have.

Next up: Germany!

Part 1 – Stockholm
Part 2 – Motala
Part 3 – Gothenburg


Filed under Life, Photography

Bean’s Trip to Europe – Part 3

I realized yesterday that Mr. Bean and I got back from our trip to Europe a year ago, which reminded me how I never actually finished my recaps. (Whoops!) I don’t really want to do them in full, but I will share some highlights with a few photos in another few posts. This following post I actually wrote last year but never published it.

You can read the first two parts of the saga here: Part 1 – Stockholm and Part 2 – Motala.


Or why I’m happy that I live in a land locked province.

After Motala, Mr. Bean and I packed up our Volvo S40 and headed to Göteborg (or Gothenburg in English.)

The weather in Goteborg wasn’t spectactular when we first arrived. We walked maybe 10 blocks to a restaurant and I was soaked, even with my umbrella. Once we got back to our hotel, I spent two hours under our duvet with all my sweaters on (plus toque!) in an attempt to warm up. I’m really a pansy when it comes to being cool and wet – you think that since I’m Canadian I’d be better with the cold, but I’m a prairie girl through and through and I have difficulty dealing with and being out in non-stop rain.

The restaurant, Smaka, was quite good – Mr. Bean got to enjoy a lot of traditional Swedish food. Like Pickled Herring:

And Swedish Meatballs:

Goteborg has a lot of really neat museums, such as the Universeum. It’s essentially a science centre that is perfect for kids with ADHD (in my opinion) as the exhibits are interesting, varied and there is even an exhibit that is “learning through and with physical activity.” Plus, there were lots of animals and sea creatures.

In front of a Sami tent
The most awesome bird ever.
The Husqvarna Shark

Another museum we visited was one that first made me very happy that I live in a landlocked province and secondly instilled in me a new level of respect for people who work in the navy. Yep, it was a Maritime museum, where we were able to tour through about 15 different ships.

Ahoy Land!
Anyone get the reference for this?

One of the ships was a submarine. This is how I feel about them:

But, the best thing about this particular submarine is that the crew got to sleep next to their torpedoes.

I can’t sleep without my torpedoes!

It was quite a novelty, but by the 15th ship, the diesel smell, all the ladders and all the weird doorways I definitely was very certain about how I felt about boats. I am SO glad that I live in a landlocked province!

We also took the trolley out to see the North Sea (unfortunately not the angry trolley though.)



There we have it: the recap from Gothenberg. It’s always interesting looking back at photos from a while ago to see how much you’ve changed: I’m so glad that I’ve lost weight and I think I like my hair a bit longer.

How do you feel about looking at old(ish) photos of yourself?


Filed under Life

Scenic Landscape Photos

I need your help. Last Wednesday I started my next photography course – Scenic and Wildlife Photography – and I already have an assignment. It’s pretty simple as I must submit 3 scenic landscape photos that I have taken. They are not allowed to  have man-made anything in them – our instructor told us this was a chance to show off all the different places we’ve been! Unfortunately for me, most of my recent holiday pictures have something man made in them, so I did the best I could.

There is a poll at the bottom and I would appreciate your input in choosing which photos to submit! Here are the options:

1. Tidal Stream on Vancouver Island

2. Rocks on the West Coast, Vancouver Island

3. View Up the Bay, Vancouver Island

4. Ocean Sunset, Vancouver Island

5. Lake Vattern, Sweden

6. Bipolar Sky, Sweden

7. River near Fussen, Germany

Anyone know how to remove the numbers?

8. Mt. Assiniboine, British Columbia

9. Wonder Pass, Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia

In the poll, you can choose your top three photos.


Thank you! 🙂


Filed under Photography

Bean’s Trip to Europe – Part 2

Click here for part one all about Stockholm.

From Stockholm, our next stop was:


I’m assuming that most of you have never heard of Motala – I hadn’t either until I learned that was where Mr. Bean’s Grandpa was born and grew up before coming to Canada. It’s really quite a cute city – especially by the river and lake:

Motala's Shoreline on Lake Vattern

Mr. Bean in the City Park

Motala is known for a couple of things: it is the location of a long-wave radio transmitter built in the 1920’s and it’s on the Göta Canal. Oddly enough, both were used to transmit something between Stockholm and Gothenberg.

The radio transmitter used to consist of two towers (unfortunately not the Lord of the Rings kind) with an antennae strung between them.Personally, I would hate to be the person who had to climb to the top to take the antennae off when they stopped using it in the 1960s.

One of the really neat things about the Göta Canal is the widespread use of locks, which are used to compensate for elevation changes. The engineer in me and the physicist in Mr. Bean were quite impressed and happy to visit and marvel at the locks.

Try and figure out what is weird with the following picture:

That’s right, the Göta Canal runs over top of the highway. Not something you see everyday.

Motala is also famous for being the start and finish location of the Vätternrundan, a 300 km bike race that up to 20,000 people participate in every year in June. We weren’t there at the right time, but we pretended to be in the race anyways.

One of the highlights of our trip was meeting up with our newly found Swedish relations – it’s actually Mr. Bean’s dad’s second cousin’s family. We knew of them as she wrote to FIL Bean when they were kids to practise her English and then would send a Christmas card every year. He only wrote back once (find a 12 year old boy who would write back more than once) until he wrote back this spring announcing that we were coming to Sweden and would like to meet them. Fortunately for us, she wrote back!

As well as inviting us over for dinner, lending us some bicycles and letting us use their laundry facilities (hey, it’s important!) they took us on a tour to see some of the neat stuff in the area, like a ruin of a monastery that was built in the 1100s. It was pretty cool!

Mr. Bean and the Toilet

We also went to a hill and cliffs that overlooked Lake Vattern.

View of Lake Vattern at the longest inland sand beach in Scandinavia

They also took us to see a St. Birgitta’s Abbey built in the 1300s and a castle at Vadstena from the 1500s.

Apparently people were much shorter back then...

Of course, it wouldn’t be a worthwhile stop on our trip without some fun and ridiculousness!

"Stand Back, I'm about to try Science"

I tourist?

Watch Out Below! (Mr. Bean from our hotel room window)

Next up: Gothenburg (or Göteborg in Swedish)!


Filed under Life

Bean’s Trip to Europe – Part 1

Mr. Bean and I were lucky enough to spend two weeks in Sweden and one week in Germany as a sort of graduation/birthday present for me. I have been to Europe a few time before but it was Mr. Bean’s first time, which made it all that much more exciting.

As you can see in the following map, we started in Stockholm and looped around southern Sweden. Thus, I’m going to start off my recap in Stockholm and proceed from there. 🙂

It is important to note that the opinions about places are mine and are based on experiences I had while in Sweden/Germany, so they may not be the same as expressed elsewhere.


Stockholm is a very beautiful city that is definitely worth a visit. Since Sweden wasn’t bombed to bits during the Second World War, there are lots of very picturesque old buildings, especially in Stockholm’s Galma Stan (Old City). Stockholm is built on an archipelago, which means a lot of very scenic and beautiful waterfronts.

Mr. Bean and I rented an apartment in Sodermalm, an island in southern central Stockholm that used to be the home of the working class but now is a fairly trendy area. Our apartment was off the main drag, which suited us well as it was pretty quiet. I do recommend trying to rent an apartment, especially if you want to cook some of your own food like we did. Plus, they are generally less expensive than hotels, which definitely a bonus.

View from our apartment's balcony

The first full day that we were in Stockholm, we wandered around on foot for pretty much the entire day. We wandered around the Galma Stan and the main tourist/shopping district. I really wanted to go to the ABBA museum that our guidebooks were talking about, but apparently it doesn’t exist.

Of course, like in most of Europe, there are lots of really neat churches.

We also visited the Vasa Museet – a museum about a reconstructed ship that sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was rescued in the 1960s. It’s pretty neat as most of the ship is original and archaeologists have been able to guess the lifestyles of people at that time based on what remains they found inside.

2010 is a bit of a special year for Stockholm because the Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is getting married on June 19th, so there are lots of ads for “LOVE Stockholm 2010”. You can also buy wedding candy and paraphernalia of all kinds just to satisfy your royal wedding cravings. I found how excited the country was about the wedding to be quite cute and I have to admit that I might actually watch part of the wedding online because I’m cool like that.

One of the things I really liked about Stockholm was the public transit system. So. Amazingly. Efficient. (P.S. I come from a city where public transit is somewhat mediocre as we suffer from urban sprawl.) Plus, their buses are run using biogas made from taking human/animal waste, alcohol from customs, an anaerobic digester and time. How cool is that?

Oddly enough, route 3 was the route Mr. Bean and I took to visit a work colleague of his. It was awesome because it came every three minutes during rush hour.

Next up? Motala, a smaller city along the Gota Canal, where Mr. Bean’s grandfather was born.


Filed under Life