A Travellerspoint blog

Day 75

Snow in June in Norway

sunny 24 °C

We woke to bright blue skies and warm temperatures. We went to the hotel-supplied breakfast and enjoyed the feast once again.

Today we drove north and west toward a mountain ski community called Geilo. Our planned lodging is an apartment in a ski village.

Distance view along highway - snow still in mountains

Distance view along highway - snow still in mountains

We stopped at lunch time in a small community. We had an excellent lunch in a small restaurant. We found one of Reta's favourite signs.

Eat Cookies

Eat Cookies

The restaurant had interesting signs on the ladies and gents and also on a wall nearby.

Ladies

Ladies

Gents

Gents

Family picnic

Family picnic

Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing

Jay and Jill

Jay and Jill

As we left the restaurant we found this wildlife display. We have commented as we drove along that we have seen very little wildlife on this journey so this made up for it in a way.

Wild life display at restaurant

Wild life display at restaurant

We resumed our travels and Reta kept saying to Art that she was seeing yield signs with what looked like sheep on it but every time one of those came along Art was reading a map or looking the other way so he was skeptical that there were such signs. Then, sure enough, domestic sheep on the highway. Reta slowed the car down and took a couple of photos. It looked like a ewe and two lambs that crossed in front of us and Reta was careful to make sure they got across safely as there was little traffic right at that moment.

Sheep crossing highway

Sheep crossing highway

Made it

Made it

We found our mountain-side lodging. There is still some snow on the higher mountains (hills). These are two of our views.

View one from lodging

View one from lodging

View two from lodging

View two from lodging

The temperature when we left Oslo was 24 C (75 F) but by the time we reached our lodging the temperature was 19 C (66 F) due to the elevation.

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:27 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 74

Oslo, Norway (Norge)

sunny 23 °C

We were blessed this morning by awakening to a clear blue sky and warm temperatures.

We had breakfast here at the hotel. The breakfast was included in our hotel cost. The breakfast was a feast. We were very impressed.

After breakfast Art went out to take the car to a Ford Dealership to have the engine light issue resolved. He was surprised when he turned the car on that the engine light was out but we wanted to make sure that the car would be reliable and get us through the next 8 days before we return it to Auto Europe in Stockholm. We will be flying to Helsinki on June 22, 2016 and will rent another car for the Finland part of our trip.

Art found the Ford Dealership and the service department ran a diagnostic scope on the engine and found no reasons for concern. We did have an oil change done and the usual maintenance for the mileage on the car. The dealership found that one of the tires was damaged but they did not have an exact replacement so they sent Art over to a tire dealership that carries that line of tire.

Unfortunately, they did not have one of those tires either but said they could get one in 2 days from Bergen. Art told them that we would be in Bergen on Wednesday so an appointment was arranged for us to appear there and have a new tire put on the car.

Reta had stayed behind at the hotel and tracked down an iron and ironing board and got the ironing up to date and then spent the rest of the morning reading.

Art was back at the hotel by lunch time so we walked over to another one of the local outdoor restaurants and enjoyed lobster salad.

After lunch we walked 1.2 kilometres to the Munch Museum. We found out that the museum was between exhibitions so there was an informational movie to watch and one room of Munch paintings so the admittance fee was free. We learned that in Norwegian the name Munch is pronounced what sounds like Monk to us. We enjoyed the paintings we got to see and started to walk back to our hotel.

Entrance to Munch Museum

Entrance to Munch Museum

There was a park along the way with a botanical garden so we stopped and wandered around there for some time.

We enjoyed seeing apple halves sculpted out of twisted cable.

Apple halves made of twisted cable

Apple halves made of twisted cable

We also enjoyed the waterfall and lily pond in the botanical garden and the mother duck and her ducklings in the pond.

Waterfall in Oslo Botanical Garden

Waterfall in Oslo Botanical Garden

Mother duck and ducklings

Mother duck and ducklings

At this northern latitude of 60 degrees we are enjoying the approaching summer solstice. This morning the sun rose at 3:55 AM and tonight it is scheduled to set at 10:45 PM. We have really long days.

We have had a warm sunny day. We enjoyed supper/dinner at another outdoor restaurant. The high temperature today was 23 C (73 F).

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:40 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 73

Goodbye Sweden for now, Hello Norway

semi-overcast 21 °C

We awoke to a bright sunny morning with a temperature of 18. This was an immense improvement from the last few days.

We had breakfast at the hotel and watched an English movie with Swedish subtitles called "Baby's Day Out" which was pretty funny. We then wandered out onto the street and purchased some food to have for a picnic lunch later.

We found the troll in Trollhatan

We found the troll in Trollhatan

We then drove to the Tanum World Heritage site. They have a museum that discusses Bronze age lifestyle, rock carvings and verbal history. They also have 45 square kilometres of petroglyph sites and displays. The museum is very well done as is their introductory film. The closest panel of petroglyphs to the museum is called the Vitlycke-Hallen site. There is a large petroglyph display there. We were not able to capture all of it in one photo but here are two examples.

Bronze age petroglyphs

Bronze age petroglyphs

Wedding petroglyph

Wedding petroglyph

The wedding petroglyph is the one that is most famous from this site.

The signage from the petroglyph site describes the time period when these petroglyphs were created.

"The rock carvings in Bohuslan are part of the world's finest historical treasures comparable to the Egyptian pyramids, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Acropolis in Athens. Nowhere else in Europe is there such a numerous concentration of vivid, beautiful and varied rock carvings as in Bohuslan. Most of the carvings are to be found in and around Tanum and in 1994 the area was accepted for UNESCO World Heritage status.

The great number of prehistoric graves in Tanum shows that the area was already heavily populated in the Bronze Age (1800 - 500 BC).

Most of the rock carvings in Bohuslan were from the late Bronze age." Quoted from the signage at the site.

We had our picnic lunch and then drove on to another petroglyph site. The sun was shining on the rock face so the carvings are faded out in the photos. We did see the most important picture that is described on the information board.

Description of important carving

Description of important carving

This is the description on the sign board. "Here at Asperberget, on the upper right hand of the carving, is one of the most remarkable of all the sun-symbols in Bohuslan. It is a circular disk with forked outgowths. The disk is held high by two female figures and opposite them, two figures whose sex cannot be determined. This carving is unparalleled in all of Scandinavia."

We continued our journey to Oslo. We crossed the bridge that separates Sweden and Norway. Traffic was slowed as we crossed the border but no one was stopped.

Good-bye Sweden, Hello Norway

Good-bye Sweden, Hello Norway

Norway has an automatic toll system. Before you enter Norway you can purchase an AutoPASS online that allows you to go through all toll sites. This is a lot easier than stopping to pay tolls.

Along the way we had sunshine, clouds and rain but at the end of the day we had sunshine and warm temperatures with a high of 21 C (70 F). We had a delicious supper/dinner at an outdoor restaurant near our hotel.

Posted by A-RPoulton 12:13 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Day 72

Stockholm to Trollhattan

semi-overcast 18 °C

We stepped out of our hotel in Stockholm to a bright, sunny day with a temperature of 11 C ( 52 F).

We drove for a little over a half hour to a city called Mariefred. Mariefred is known as the home of Gripsholm Slott or the Griffin Castle.

Gripsholm Slott or Castle at Mariefred, Sweden

Gripsholm Slott or Castle at Mariefred, Sweden



The first version of this castle was built in 1370 by Bo Jonsson Grip. This castle was named after his heraldic shield which portrays a Griffin (grip). The tower of this castle was built in the 1540's. At the beginning of the 18th century a wind vane in the form of a griffin was installed.

The two cannons which are in the first courtyard are trophies of a battle with Russia in 1623. These cannons are known as "the Boar and the Sow" as one cannon is bigger than the other and the decoration at the exit end of the cannon reminds one of wild boars. The Russian script on the cannons shows that they called these cannons the wolves as you can see from the other end of the cannon.

Cannons seized from Russia known as the Boar and the Sow

Cannons seized from Russia known as the Boar and the Sow

The Russian words on the cannons call them the wolves

The Russian words on the cannons call them the wolves

Boar's head decoration

Boar's head decoration

Wolf with cannon ball in mouth

Wolf with cannon ball in mouth

We find it interesting that all these different castles have their own shape and history. This is a brief tour through the Griffin castle. This castle, like the others, had a first courtyard and then after you walked through that courtyard and another thick wall you came to an inner courtyard.

Inside first courtyard

Inside first courtyard


Statue in room off first courtyard

Statue in room off first courtyard


Inner courtyard of castle

Inner courtyard of castle

Water well in inner courtyard

Water well in inner courtyard



We were able to walk through the inner courtyard and out to the back of the castle. This castle sits on Lake Malaren which is the same lake that is in Stockholm.

View from castle to town across Lake Malaren which stretches to Stockholm

View from castle to town across Lake Malaren which stretches to Stockholm


Back of castle - view from the lake shore

Back of castle - view from the lake shore



There are two rune stones out in front of Griffin Castle. Rune stones often told stories or were tributes to those who had passed away. The expression "rune" to us meant that it had a story on the rock but we have learned that "rune" was also an alphabet.

This is the first rune stone that you come to as you walk to the castle. This rune was erected by Tola (?) in memory of her son, Harald. This rune is from the 11th century.

Rune story

Rune story



It is translated as "They fared like men far after gold
and in the east gave eagle food
They died southward in Serkland"

It is explained that the expression "gave eagle food" means to kill enemies.

This is the second rune stone that you come to as you walk to the castle. This rune is also from the 11th century and was raised by Halgulv and Oulv in memory of their brother, Kaitilmund. As we do not know very much about Swedish history we do not know who these people were.

Rune stone

Rune stone



We spotted these iris growing in swampy land between the castle and the parking lot.

Irises growing in swamp

Irises growing in swamp



We had stopped in the town of Mariefred to do a little shopping. When we got back to the car and started it we found that the check engine light was on. We drove about two blocks to the parking lot for the castle and opened the hood of the car and checked the oil. It was a little low so after walking around the castle we drove over to the closest gas station. There were no mechanics on duty but a woman who seemed to know her way around motors came out and looked things over. She agreed with us that the oil was low so we purchased a litre of oil for the equivalent of $30.00 CDN. We also topped up the liquids in the car and the check engine light did not go out. The woman suggested that as the car was running well and nothing was evident that we should continue our journey and on Monday when we are in Oslo that we should go to a Ford dealership to have this checked out. She also suggested undoing the battery for a short time to reboot the electronics but we have no way to do that. We drove another four hours with no problems other than that the check engine light is on. Reminds us of an episode of "Big Bang Theory" where Penny has driven her car for a year with the check engine light on before she actually has a problem.

We found our hotel for the night in this town of Trollhattan and did not find any trolls so we guess we are OK.

We notice that even at 8 PM the sun is still high in the sky. Last night we went to bed at 10:30 PM and it was still bright out. We are at about 60 degrees latitude which is equal with the northern border of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. This explains why at this time of the year it is light so late in the day. It also explains why it is much cooler than one would expect at this time of year. Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen and Helsinki are all at about the 60th degree north.

Today we had sunny weather, cloudy weather, rain and a high of 18 degrees C ( 65 F).

Posted by A-RPoulton 13:11 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Day 71

Looking around Stockholm

semi-overcast 12 °C

This morning we went in search of the only laundromat in Stockholm that allows self-service. We found it quickly and a parking spot (yahoo) about two blocks away. This laundromat is attended and the lady who runs things had all of her customers in order and moving along. She only had four washers and four dryers. She also had three commercial units that she used to do laundry for her customers who left their laundry to be done. We had to wait about 20 minutes for the first washer but after that things moved right along and we were out of there with our laundry done in about one and 1/2 hours.

We returned to our kinky hotel room and put away our laundry and ate lunch.

After lunch we decided to do our sightseeing bus examination of Stockholm. We found that all the different sightseeing bus companies stop by the City Hall.

Stockholm is a city built on several islands so there are a lot of bridges. This afternoon we were stopped on a bridge while the the roadway was raised to allow a larger ship to pass by.

Roadway raised on bridge to let large ship pass through

Roadway raised on bridge to let large ship pass through

We found the city hall and even better a parking spot nearby. We found this little girl statue near the city hall. We have not been able to discover why it is there or who created it. It is also interesting that someone left flowers there.

Golden girl

Golden girl

We noticed this symbol in a number of places around city hall. We discovered that this female face is part of the coat of arms for the municipality of Stockholm.

Version of Coat of Arms of municipality of Stockholm

Version of Coat of Arms of municipality of Stockholm

Our city bus tour took us past many interesting parks and buildings.

Gate in old town

Gate in old town


Birds enjoy statue of Karl XII in the Kings Garden

Birds enjoy statue of Karl XII in the Kings Garden

This statue decorates a pillar on one of the bridges. It represents a character from Swedish folklore.

Heimdallr, with his horn Gjallarhorn

Heimdallr, with his horn Gjallarhorn

We also saw this white ship which has been re-purposed as a hostel. This ship was originally called "Dunboyne" (1888 - 1915) and then the "G.D. Kennedy" (1915 - 1923). It is now known as the "af Chapman". It is a full-rigged steel ship. It was a naval training ship which was last sailed in 1934. It was re-purposed as a youth hostel with 285 beds in 1949. It was last refurbished in 2005.

af Chapman re-purposed as a hostel

af Chapman re-purposed as a hostel

Our car was parked by Lake Malaren which is the third largest fresh water lake in Sweden. It flows into the Baltic Sea at Stockholm. We liked the colourful buildings along the shore.

View across Lake Malaren in Stockholm - third largest fresh water lake in Sweden

View across Lake Malaren in Stockholm - third largest fresh water lake in Sweden

Posted by A-RPoulton 11:47 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

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