Saturday, 28 July 2018

Gothenburg, Sweden (Inägogatan 21)

The heat yesterday really affected my sleep and my energy. It is still a bit warm today so I’ll take it easy and nap when I can to make up for the sleep lost last night.

I should be filling in some of the gaps in my travel plan, but I’m not ready I guess. Maybe tomorrow when it is expected to be much cooler. Had a tremendous downpour this afternoon. I had to close up the windows to make sure rain didn’t get inside the flat. I could hear thunder rumbling in the distance but no lightning visible, probably because it was in the afternoon.

Today I received news that the fire around my uncle and aunt’s ranch seems to be under control. And from what I can tell there has been no loss of lives or livestock, but I’m sure many wheat fields were burned before they could be harvested.

Was good to talk with Paula again today. We vowed to talk more often. Who knows when we will meet up again. Perhaps this coming December or I might house sit for her some time next year while she visits Europe. More planning in our future.

Earlier I bought some chicken so I fried it in butter for dinner along with boiled potatoes and green peas. I usually use olive oil but tonight I used butter. I’m looking forward to walking more to maintain my weight. But need to find a place where it isn’t so hot. As for next summer, I will stay somewhere so I can avoid the heat. I can’t be in the heat as much as I was this year.

Tonight I’m watching the first season of Victoria again. I finished with Downton Abbey last night. The weather forecast for tomorrow says that it will be in the 70’s, which will be good weather to catch up on sleep and do more travel planning.

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Friday, 27 July 2018

Gothenburg, Sweden (Inägogatan 21)

To avoid most of the heat that is forecasted for today, I’m taking a ferry to the island of Vrango. Since the ferry terminal is out in the Gothenburg harbor, the tram ride will take about 45 minutes, knowing it will seem longer if the tram isn’t air conditioned.

The tram that I caught at the nearby station was not air conditioned. I rode on it for eight stops then needed to transfer to another tram that will take me to the ferry terminal. After 15 minutes on the tram I had to get off. It was too warm and I needed some water.

I found a nearby store and bought water and waited at the tram stop for the next tram to arrive. Drinking the water really helped. The next tram wasn’t much cooler than the previous one, but it was cooler. It was another 15 minutes before we reached the ferry terminal.

The person at the terminal’s ticket window recommended that I board without a ticket and to buy one after I board. Am glad I did. The cost for the ticket was $3 rather than $20 if I bought it at the terminal window. I didn’t ask questions, I just confirmed that the ticket is good for a return trip and was told it was.

After we left the port, I hung out in the shade on one side of the ferry. There was a good breeze and I enjoyed the coolness. Inside the ferry there was good seating but it was a bit warm. We stopped at a few islands along the way. Remarkable how the ferry was able to quickly dock, load passengers and be on their way again. Probably from years of practice.

After about 40 minutes we were at the Vrango dock. The island has a little over 200 residents living there. I got off the boat and started walking to the other side of the island, about a 20 minute walk. No hills, but no trees and therefore; no shade. When I arrived the other side, I found many people sunning themselves on the rocks. Beyond the island is Denmark and the North Sea. Large freighters were anchored in the distance.

I stayed there for about 10 minutes before returning to the dock. I would have stayed longer, but no shade. I planned on a quick meal at the little cafe. When I arrived at the cafe I was ready to get out of the sun. Very glad that I’m now wearing a hat full time, otherwise I would have had a very burned head.

The cafe had a good variety of food and ordered a vegan tortilla and a glass of water. I could see that a return ferry was going to leave soon so I quickly finished my meal and got in line to board the return ferry.

I enjoyed the return trip as well. I wouldn’t have minded if the trip was a bit longer, but was good to be out in the open with the cool breeze.

Just before we docked, I decided to arrange an Uber ride back into the city rather than ride in a hot tram. When the driver arrived his air conditioning was on full blast. And it felt real good! I almost fell asleep during the ride to the Central Station.

After a visit to the restroom at the station I caught a tram back to the flat. I can put up with a short tram ride. Not one with 22 stops along the way.

The flat was warm but not too hot. Though opening the doors didn’t do much good. I was able to take a short nap before the heat started to get to me. I made dinner and took a shower before watching the last of Downton Abbey.

While watching Downton Abbey I saw the moon outside. Last night it was a full moon but now it wasn’t. Then I remembered the lunar eclipse. I turned off the lights so I could get a better view. It had been many years since I saw a lunar eclipse. For once, I was grateful that today we had clear skies.

I really had a hard time getting to sleep. I tried, but had to keep getting up because of the heat. I finally sat on the couch and slept in a sitting position. I was that tired! It was after 4:00 a.m. before it was cool enough to sleep in a bed. This is with all the windows and doors open. No breeze and it was still in the high 70’s.

I don’t have anything planned tomorrow, except to sleep, if it is cool enough.

 

 

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Thursday, 26 July 2018

Gothenburg, Sweden (Inägogatan 21)

I’m finding Gothenburg to be a nice place to just hang around. I find taking the tram into the central part of the city enough for me. From the flat, it is an easy walk to the tram station, then a 15 – 20 minute ride to the Central Station. From there, you can quickly get to most everything.

Today, I will get a haircut and use that as my motivation to look around. I found a number of places to get my hair cut near to the central station. I picked one that received good reviews from Google and decided to go there. It was a five minute walk from the station.

I was greeted when I walked in and took a seat. The barber asked what I wanted, which is nice to hear because there isn’t much you could do with my hair. He spoke enough English to know that I wanted to have my hair to be the same length and agreed on which guide for him to use on his shaver. It took about 10 minutes and I was done. The cost was about $20 and I tipped $2. The local currency, the krona equals .11 US$.

I wandered around for a little bit, ordered a Whopper Jr. from Burger King, then started to return to the flat. Then remembered I needed a few things from the store. I decided to take a bus, rather than the tram to the store. Think I got off the bus too soon and walked the rest of the way to the Coop grocery store. From the store I took a bus up the hill to a stop near my flat.

The heat is really making me a little run down and took a quick nap. I will be phoning Paula later and would like to be awake for that.

Was good to catch up with Paula with a phone call. We plan to talk again on Saturday. Not sure when I will be able to see her again, most likely not until next year. She may visit Europe. We will see.

For dinner I ate more of the chicken salad, updated my blog and watched more of Downton Abbey. It finally started to cool off around midnight and tomorrow is expected to be even warmer than today. I decided to take a ferry to one of the islands that form the southern archipelago just beyond Gothenburg’s harbor. It will be cooler there.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Gothenburg, Sweden (Inägogatan 21)

Glad it cooled down last night so I wasn’t trying to sleep in a warm bedroom. And still cool this morning so kept the windows open and the door to the deck as well. When the sun started to come in through the windows I closed the drapes to keep out the heat.

Today my only sightseeing will be to see the Poseidon statue, which is Gothenburg’s city icon. It isn’t too far away from the central station so it will be easy to take the same tram, that brought me to the flat, back to the station (#6) then find out which tram or bus will take me to the statue.

It wasn’t long before I arrived at the statue and took a few pictures. There was one other person taking a picture, otherwise – there was no one there. Quite a change from the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen.

I was hoping to find a store where I could buy a few items on my way back to the flat, but that was okay that I didn’t find one. I’ll go to the nearest Coop market and they will have everything I need. There is a Coop market just down from where I’m staying so I walked down the hill after I got back to the neighborhood from the central station.

Yes, I enjoyed the store. Especially the air conditioning! Store is not too big and it looks like they carry everything I’d ever need. Today I’ll buy my chicken to roast. I left the store with two bags, each half full. I was looking for wine or vodka while shopping but didn’t see any. I had my suspicions that Sweden might be one of those countries where you buy any alcohol in a state-owned store. Google confirmed this and found that the nearest store was just next door. Very convenient.

I took a bus from the stores back to the flat and put away most of the groceries. I needed to call Cousin Donna to give her an update on her brother’s estate since I heard back from our attorney. We talked for nearly an hour. She told me that she just had breakfast with a couple who just returned from Sweden.

Next, I needed to write up two days of blog entries, so I did that after I took another shower. I also started dinner as well. By the time I finished writing dinner was ready and it was nearly 9:30. Seems like the day goes by fast when you keep busy.

I watched a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey before I headed off to bed. I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing tomorrow. Though one thing I’d like to do is get a hair cut.

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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Copenhagen, Denmark (8 House, Ørestad)

Today is travel day! My plan was to leave the flat at 10:30 so I’d have time to get to the train station for my journey to Gothenburg, Sweden. I set my alarm for 8:30 the night before but was up a little before that. Guess I planned well, because I was able to finish packing and cleaning the flat by 10:30 and was on my way to Copenhagen’s Central Station.

The variable when I got to the station was redeeming my Metro card at the customer service office. I could imagine that, depending on the number of people, I could be waiting for an hour. While I did wait for over 15 minutes, the person processing the refund was quick and efficient.

My other question was where to board the train – and I had a few questions, such as where do I put my large suitcase. The trains did not have large racks in each car like in other countries. When I showed a conductor my ticket, she pointed me to a train on the other side of the platform. This is where I made my mistake. I should have asked her why I was being directed to another train rather than the one listed on the departure board. This is where I wasn’t patient enough. As I was asking her questions she allowed herself to be interrupted with other passenger’s questions rather than ask them to take their turn. At one point, as two other people trying to get her attention, I asked them to please wait. Finally I went over to the other train.

What I didn’t know (but found out later) is that my ticket was not for the high-speed train, which was the one I was trying to get on. Two people on the new train suggested that I get off at Malmo, Sweden and transfer to a train going to Gothenburg because this train was not headed in that direction. The confusion is a result is that the rail service is managed by two different countries. I learned that even the local people get confused.

In the end, I was slightly delayed but on my way to Gothenburg. I sat back and enjoyed the view. We passed many wheat fields along the way, which reminded me of the awful fires in Oregon near where my uncle and aunt have their ranch. You don’t think of Sweden as being a place that grows lots of wheat, but there it was. After a few hours the train pulled into the Gothenburg station and I got on a city tram headed to my Airbnb location.

I got a little confused because my phone’s GPS directions differed slightly from those given by my host. I was probably a little cautious because of my recent experience with the train. It was a very warm day and pulling a large suitcase only made me warmer. The distance between the tram stop and the flat was about 500 meters and when I arrived I was perspiring.

When I got into the flat I asked the host why it was so warm inside. Didn’t he have the air conditioning on? He gave me a look and said there was no air conditioning. I opened the Airbnb application on my phone and showed him his listing, which clearly stated air conditioning. He offered to cancel the reservation, but I said that I was here now and I’d stay and make the most of it. (Though thinking inside that air conditioning would be really nice.)

It is a very well-decorated, clean, and modern flat. And quiet too. After the Airbnb host left I opened the windows a bit more and it cooled down as the sun set. I made a quick trip to a local store and made a small dinner and watched some TV before going to sleep.

Not sure what I’ll do tomorrow, but I was tired and ready for sleep. I don’t have to plan out every day.

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Monday, 23 July 2018

Copenhagen, Denmark (8 House, Ørestad)

Today is my last day in Copenhagen so I’ve planned to make the most of it. Before I left this morning I made a list of the places I’d like to see.  Not a long list, but enough to where I will be satisfied that I’ve made a good attempt to explore the city.

The first stop was to the famous Tivoli Gardens, just across the street from the central train station. Way before Disneyland there was Tivoli Gardens. To the modern eye it seems a little out-of-date, but I’m sure to previous generations it was an entertainment dream. So much to see there and many families with their children enjoying the park-like setting with many rides and amusements. I took a few pictures before I left for my next destination, Christainsborg Palace.

Christainsborg Palace is located on the nearby islet of Slotsholmen. This is the location of the Danish Parliament, the Danish Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court of Denmark. The palace also contains the Royal Reception Rooms where foreign ambassadors to Denmark are received. Remarkably, these buildings are rather understated. Very grand, but very simple too. I didn’t go inside for a tour and focused my attention more on the exterior.

Next up was Rosenborg Castle. Rosenborg Castle was built as a country summerhouse in 1606. (Back then, this location, only a few kilometers away from the official palace, was considered to be out in the country.) Only briefly used as a royal residence, now a museum containing much of the royal collection. Because the visitor lines were short I decided to tour the castle.

The castle has remained standing in good condition for over four centuries. The number of royal artifacts is amazing. Up until this century the priceless royal jewels were kept behind a locked door in the castle. No elaborate security precautions. They were just off the throne room on the second floor where the king could show his visitors during state visits. Now the collection is held below ground, but still with fairly minimal security.

From the castle I was close to a stop on the Metro. I got turned around and needed to ask several people for directions to get me on the correct Metro line. As it turns out, the Metro station was one floor below the regional train station. (Who knew?) In any case, I boarded the correct Metro line and was on my way back to the flat.

For dinner I finished up on some leftovers before watching a few episodes of Downton Abbey. Tomorrow I leave for Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Copenhagen, Denmark (8 House, Ørestad)

I’m enjoying the cooler weather while I’ve been in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is a little further north than Edmonton, Alberta. My next destination, Gothenburg, Sweden is even more north and I’ll expect more days in the lower 70’s. Feeling sorry from family and friends in the NW who are experiencing some hot summer days.

Today I’m visiting the Copenhagen Airport and the Copenhagen Central Station to get squared away on my trip to Gothenburg. I think it’s the many travel options that are getting me confused. Good to have more experience with mass transit and hopefully the cities that I’ll visit over the next few weeks will be along the same design.

The Ørestad station has two options for travel. The Metro and the regional train both cross at that location. I decided to first go to the airport and get my ticket based on the suggestion from my Airbnb host. The trains (both the carriages and tracks) that support the regional lines look very solid. Just an observation.

I took a regional train to the airport since it was quicker than the Metro line which makes frequent stops. I suppose I should have taken this line when I first arrived in Copenhagen to avoid the cost of the taxi. But unless I have to, I generally don’t want to try and figure out a new method of transportation when I arrive at an airport. A personal preference of mine.

Once I got to the main terminal at the airport I found where tickets for the trains were being sold and that several people from the train company were on hand to answer questions. One of the gentlemen there helped me with my purchase. Of course it seems easy when you get help, but I didn’t want to take any chances of purchasing the wrong ticket. And I found out why I couldn’t find Gothenburg when I looked for that destination the day before. It is because the English name for Gothenburg is not used, but the Swedish version, Gøteborg was used. And because, alphabetically listed, Gøteborg is at the end of the “G” list of cities because of the “ø” is alphabetically last. Good to know!

I now have my ticket for Gothenburg and can let my Airbnb host here in Copenhagen know when I’ll be leaving and my Airbnb host in Gothenburg will know when I’ll arrive.

From the airport, I got back on the regional train again and went in the other direction to Copenhagen’s central station. Nice that the airport and train station are conveniently connected. I’m going to the train station to see about redeeming the remaining amount on my card. And found out from talking with a customer service representative, I should request the refund on my last day in Copenhagen so I can use the card until that time. As a result, I’ll leave from the Copenhagen Central Station on Tuesday.

After I returned to the flat I took a nap, made dinner and watched more of Downton Abbey before I went to bed. Tomorrow I’m visiting a few places in Copenhagen that I want to see before I leave, so by the end of the day I’ll be in good shape for my next stop, Gothenburg (or Gøteborg).

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Saturday, 21 July 2018

Copenhagen, Denmark (8 House, Ørestad)

No touring Copenhagen today. I needed to confirm reservations for Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Also, to finalize plans for traveling by train from Copenhagen to Gothenburg, Sweden. My goal was to wrap up these loose ends today.

After almost three hours I completed the reservations. My open question is how to take the train from here to Gothenburg. I consulted my Airbnb host and she gave me some ideas and confirmed what I knew already. I decided to investigate the train station that is next to the Metro station one stop away.

Once I got to this nearby train station (Ørestad) I was confused about how to buy a ticket. I couldn’t get the ticket machine to find my destination, Gothenburg. My Airbnb host suggested going to the airport to get the ticket. I realized I wouldn’t get this resolved today. I’ll need to visit both the Copenhagen airport and Copenhagen’s central train station. I have to visit the train station anyway to get a refund on my Metro card. This I can do tomorrow.

After a quick trip to the grocery store I was home again and ready for a quick nap. After my nap I realized that I was behind in writing my travel blog entries for two days. Also I needed to upload new pictures to my picture blog. Getting current took me over two hours to complete and now it was nearly 8:30 p.m.

Dinner consisted of a hamburger patty topped with cheddar cheese, boiled potatoes (with plenty of butter) and green pea salad. No one could say that I’m not eating well. I really enjoy basic foods like this rather than trying something new. I know that I’m probably missing out on many terrific foods, but I’m happy with what I fix for myself.

I had a relaxing evening watching more Downton Abbey episodes. I suppose this relates to food as well, since I enjoy watching something I’ve seen before that I know is quality rather than watching something new that might be questionable. What I really enjoy is traveling to new destinations, staying in new places and meeting new people. Perhaps that is enough “new” for me and finding comfort in something familiar and predicable balances out the newness of travel?

My primary goal tomorrow is to get my train ticket for Tuesday and let my Airbnb host in Gothenburg know when to expect me. I’m looking forward to staying in his flat. The reviews for this place are outstanding and all who submitted reviews agree that this is the perfect place to stay when visiting Gothenburg.

Copenhagen Food Prices: Below is a sample of food that I’ve purchased while in Copenhagen. I’ve converted the cost into US Dollars.

Large Bag of Spinach: $6.82
Quart of Milk: $2.63
Muesli Cereal: $9.68
Corn on the Cob (2): $3.72
Boneless Chicken Breasts: $15.48
Cheddar Cheese (1/2 lbs): $5.87
Special K Cereal: $9.59
Loaf of Bread: $1.84
Mayonnaise: $5.89
Asparagus: $4.96

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Friday, 20 July 2018

Copenhagen, Denmark (8 House, Ørestad)

I did some research on Segway tour companies in Copenhagen and found two. One was located far out by the harbor and another was near the Kongens Nytorv station. I opted to try the one that was near Kongens Nytorv station. Why would a tour company be located way out there?

When I got to the tour company I decided on the hour tour since the 90 minute tour included some of the places I saw yesterday. I asked about the other Segway company and was told that those rides only cover what is around the area of where the cruise ships docks. The tour company person issuing the tickets has problems with the application (she is normally a tour guide)  so I helped her figure it out.

The tour didn’t start for 30 minutes so I used the time to drink a bottle of water and walk around the nearby park.

I showed up on time back at the tour company to get Segway lessons and since I was the only one of the five in the tour who had experience with a Segway, I was asked to provide a demo. Soon, with a little practice from the others on the tour we started off. The tour guide, who was from Chile and came to Denmark a couple of years ago did a fairly good job. He was funny, sort of, and perhaps I would have liked to have heard more of the city’s history, but enjoyed riding around nonetheless.

We saw the usual attractions of palaces, churches and the city’s opera house. I did see more of Christianshavn on this tour, than when I visited this area on Wednesday. Think I return and check out some of the places in that district.

The old part of Copenhagen is fairly small, so it was easy to get around and see most everything. Similar to Madrid, Spain. Overall I enjoyed my tour very much.

After the tour I stayed behind an spoke with a couple from Dublin, Ireland. They were saying how much the prices have gone up in Ireland. I heard how they had to increase their annual budget by 10% to account for the increase in the cost of living. They admired the UK health system much more than their own.

After the tour I walked to a nearby store and bought a few items before heading to the Metro station. Only the third day and I can find my way around without GPS. It takes me a couple of days before I get familiar with a new city.

For dinner I cooked a hamburger with a topping of cheddar cheese. Also asparagus and a couple of ears of corn. I snacked on some green peas I bought the day before from a street vendor.

I got the Apple TV hooked up and enjoyed watching a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey before going to bed.

Tomorrow I need to make more reservations for the next cities that I’m visiting. I have a few questions about getting from Copenhagen to Gothenburg.

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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Copenhagen, Denmark (8 House, Ørestad)

Today my primary goal is to visit “The Little Mermaid” statue. This statue has been an icon of Copenhagen for many years. I’ll visit the mermaid and decide what to stop and see along the way. The closest Metro stop is Kongens Nytorv (“The King’s New Square”) and from there I’ll walk to the statue.

Along the way I purchased a small dish of Oreo ice cream and enjoyed looking into the shops along the boulevard that leads to the harbor. A short distance from the statue I found an interesting church, St. Alban’s Church (Anglican) that sits next to the Kastellet (Citadel) and also near an interesting water feature. I went inside the church and looked around before continuing my walk to the mermaid statue.

I knew the statue was not very big, but I could see it from a short distance as I approached it. Mainly because of the number of people taking pictures. I was half interested in the statue and half interested in the people taking pictures with the statue. No guards or security from what I could tell. No gates or warnings. Like most places outside of the U.S., it is assumed most people understand the concept of being careful.

After the mermaid I made my way back to the nearby Citadel and walked around inside its walls. Several buildings within the Citadel looked like barracks to house soldiers and others buildings perhaps for senior officers. The Citadel looked very well maintained but few signs with useful information.

I took a number of pictures that showed the beauty of the city. Today was the first day when I didn’t feel overheated. It was a very nice day to walk around and I enjoyed my time outdoors without feel miserable. I’ve been in so much hot weather over the past month, I was ready for a cooler climate.

On the way back to the flat I stopped by a store to shop for a few groceries and then to the Metro. I’m feeling very comfortable with using the Metro. I’m still amazed that it is fully automated and that security to make sure everyone pays is minimal.

For dinner I ate chicken salad that I made from yesterdays roasted chicken. And for dessert I prepared bowl of trimmed and sliced strawberries. Not as good as Hood’s, but they were fully ripened and tasty.

I’ve been watching the second season of Victoria and will watch Downton Abbey when I hook up the other TV to my Apple TV, since I found the flat’s Wi-Fi box.

I’m enjoying staying in a quiet (and very modern) neighborhood of Ørestad. From what I can make out, this area was once used as an artillery training range that was created by a reclaimed sea bed in the 40’s. This development is progressing slower than expected, but I could estimate that the area is a third each of new development (business and residential), buildings currently under construction and the remainder is undeveloped land.

Tomorrow I’m planning to join a Segway tour to look around the old part of the city. It has been a few months since I’ve been on a Segway. I’m looking forward to it!

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