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Sweden

We found Pippi Longstocking, but where is Wallander?

all seasons in one day 20 °C

Sweden was a bit of a leap into the unknown. We were tossing up between Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia, and it was only some super-cheap flights with SAS (remember them?) into Stockholm that swayed it for us.

Speaking of which, we enjoyed possibly the perfect airport travel experience from Arlanda airport (45 kms north of the capital). Pick up luggage from the carousel, take lift down 2 floors, walk 20 metres to waiting Arlanda Express, leave platform 2 minutes later, reach a top speed of 200kms/hour 5 minutes later, enjoy a pristine carriage with TV, magazines and multi-lingual announcements, exit train 20 minutes later in the center of Stockholm. Unbelievable experience ... but can it be replicated down under??

A whirlwind day and a half in Stockholm gave us the merest taste of its charm and beauty. A city made up of 14 islands - with 30% of the city area consisting of waterways, and 30% parks and green spaces - obviously has a huge natural advantage. Throw in the well-earned reputation for design flair, and a surprisingly strong multicultural feel, and this all adds up to an entertaining and interesting visit.

very flash Ostermalm from our ferry trip

very flash Ostermalm from our ferry trip

downtime in Gamla Stan (old town)

downtime in Gamla Stan (old town)

Lisa heading into Riksdagshuset (Parliament House)

Lisa heading into Riksdagshuset (Parliament House)

our Stockholm hotel ... a pleasant slice of Swedish style

our Stockholm hotel ... a pleasant slice of Swedish style

We had however made the decision to 'do as the Swedes do' in summer, and thus a visit to the beautiful island of Gotland off the east coast beckoned. Figures vary, but they say that at least 50% of all Swedes visit this island at least once in their lifetime. It is hard to think of an Australian equivalent ... possibly Byron Bay ... but this place has a strong emotional hold over many carrying the blue and yellow.

A one hour bus ride to Nynashamm, followed by a 3 hour boat ride on the massive 'Destination Gotland' ship (carrying over 1400 passengers plus cars) was seamless and enjoyable. The Swedes are big pet lovers, so there was even an allocated area on board where you could sit with your canine friend!

sailing the high seas ... and braver than their parents!

sailing the high seas ... and braver than their parents!

Our accommodation was in a large camping area called Kneipbynn, and we elected to rent an apartment rather than expose our limited camping abilities. This campground is famous for being the site of Pippi Longstocking's house when they made the movies many years ago, and they still hold little plays on-site which young and old enjoy. The other main activities were visiting the two fantastic onsite parks - Vattenland (Water Land) and Sommarland - and cycling the short distance into Visby, the island's main town. We were fortunate to run into medieval week at Visby, which was re-enacted with some vigor by the locals. Visby is a stunning town ... right up the top of our list of belle citta.

view from our apartment in Kneipbynn

view from our apartment in Kneipbynn

Pippi's house

Pippi's house

we only touched on Gotland's beauty due to the weather ... next time ...

we only touched on Gotland's beauty due to the weather ... next time ...

locals at play in Visby ... Lisa had a crush on the bloke with the long prong

locals at play in Visby ... Lisa had a crush on the bloke with the long prong

Despite pretty ordinary weather throughout, we had a fantastic week, and returned to Stockholm with our fellow Swedish holidaymakers keen to return again another day.

Note : for TV (and literary) buffs, the answer to the question posed in the sub-heading is Ystad, in the south of Sweden. I was tempted to do a day trip from Copenhagen - via Malmo - but bike duties called!

Posted by happellfamily12 07:36 Archived in Sweden

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