Sweden, continued

The final days of our trip were spent on the island of Lokholmen, which was about a two-hour ferry ride outside of Stockholm.  This was a very neat experience for us!  The island was a fairly secluded spot and we absolutely loved the rustic, adventurous experience.  Our friends planned a really fun evening for us – a crayfish party!  (Check this out to get an idea of what we were going for: https://www.thelocal.se/20140807/swedish-crayfish-party)  It was a blast!  We also enjoyed the saunas and jumping into the Baltic Sea.  We loved getting the privilege to have such unique and fun experiences.  It was a true blessing to us to have these guys host us so well.

Also, super cool, check out who joined us for our crayfish party: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kjell_Oscarius

The following day was our final day and my birthday!  I had the longest birthday ever, since it started in Sweden and ended in Denver…it lasted extra long!  Mike and I had a breakfast date that morning (boys went to our friends’ house) and then we all enjoyed time at the park, my birthday cake (thanks, E, for making it for us!) before saying goodbyes and heading to the airport.  Such a fun way to celebrate my birthday!  Thanks, friends, for making it such a memorable one!!

We really enjoyed our time on the Scandinavian peninsula.  Seeing our friends made it extra special for us and we were so thankful for that opportunity!  Mike did a fantastic job planning it from start to finish and I am SO thankful for him!

Sweden

Our final country to visit on this wonderful whirlwind vacation was Sweden.  We chose these countries partly because of friends of ours who are living there.  Mike had met them back in his Bermuda days with IBM and we’ve stayed in touch over the years.  We also checked in with our friends from Switzerland and we were able to see them while we were in Sweden, too!  They happened to be on their summer holiday and were traveling in their VW van throughout the Nordics at the same time that we were!  Unreal!  We were thrilled to spend a couple days with them, too!

We stayed at an airbnb a couple blocks from our friends.  We joined everyone at a park nearby for a picnic dinner, playing sports and Kubb.  (We are thankful to Uncle Jason for having taught us the game, by the proper rules, a couple years ago!  Our friends didn’t think Americans would know the game. ;))

The following day we spent with our Swiss friends exploring Stockholm.  Our Swedish friends (well, technically they are Canadian and German, but we’ll call them our Swedish friends for the sake of this blog) fed us all a delicious breakfast and gave us helpful hints and directions for our adventure.  We met all together that evening for a fantastic pizza dinner.

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The next morning some of us walked (while others biked and others drove) to the king’s old hunting grounds nearby.  We chatted and enjoyed the beauty, while the kids played games.  This is where we said goodbye to our Swiss friends.  We are hopeful that they will travel to Colorado in two years to keep up our every other year plan. 😉

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Stockholm.  It’s an absolutely lovely city and the company was lovely as well.  We really enjoyed getting to know them better.

Final days in Sweden will be in the next post.

Thankful for friends who have stood the test of time.

Norway

Norway was gorgeous.  In terms of sights to see, this was my favorite country.  It may be because of the laid back, less crowded activities of the couple days we were here, but mostly…just look at these pictures.  It was stunning.

– Day 6 – 

We spent a couple of hours in Oslo, Norway before taking the most beautiful train ride imaginable over to Bergen.  Oslo was under a lot of construction at the time, but it was still a lovely city.  Ethan and I explored the Opera house building – such neat architecture!  Micah was more interested in chilling than in exploring, so he took turns with one of us just enjoying the sights from a seat somewhere in the city.

We loved the 7-hour train ride to Bergen – it is hard to put into words how beautiful it was.  I kept trying to read my book and needing to put it down because everything out the window was stunning.  There were waterfalls and tunnels galore!  The boys took some naps, read some books, enjoyed the views and ate some food.

We arrived in Bergen, walked in the rain to our hotel, ate dinner, played legos and wrote in journals and went to bed. =)

Day 7 –

The following day we enjoyed a fjord tour.  I believe this was the longest and deepest fjord that Norway has to offer, but I might be mistaken.  I can tell you for certain that it was gorgeous.  The boys spent a lot of time playing legos and would take turns going outside to look around with Daddio.  Mike was outside most of the time – he couldn’t get enough of it!  He was standing outside taking pictures and enjoying the scenery even when it was raining!

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Stunning.  I kept thinking of the verse, “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere” and finding myself excited to see what heaven is like because the views here felt hard to beat. =D

Next we spent a too short visit in Flam (we’d stay here longer if we ever return) and then took an amazingly picturesque train ride .

That evening we had a break from the rain in Bergen, so we opted to have a picnic lunch at a park up in Floibanen.  SO much fun!

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The following morning we were so thankful that we had gone up to the park the night before because it was pouring.  We walked around Bergen in the rain for a bit and then headed to the airport for our next adventure: Sweden.

Denmark to Norway: Overnight Ferry

I’m not exactly sure how to best categorize this day and night of our trip.  After we spent some time at Legoland, we took a train back to Copenhagen in order to catch our overnight ferry to Oslo, Norway.

We spent a fun night on board the overnight ferry from Denmark to Norway.  It was bigger than we had imagined and we had a lot of fun.  We both regret not just letting the boys just stay up and experience the ferry until they were too tired to explore anymore because the walls were pretty thin and there was some serious music happening somewhere near-ish to our room.  While I loved the views and eating our meals while looking at the ocean, I’ve confirmed that cruises are not my thing.  Still, this was a super exciting way to travel from one country to the next!!  =D

Are you noticing the Lego theme happening?!  We did our best to give them some time to just chill and play Legos most days and they were always eager to see what Legos were for sale everywhere we went. =)

Thankful to see Mike’s joy when he is by the water.

Legoland

 – Day 4 –

We surprised the boys with an overnight at Legoland!  This was a major splurge activity, but we don’t regret it!  The boys loved seeing everything lego and riding on the rides.  We had a fair bit of rain, but that didn’t stop us!  We spent several hours at the park on the first day and then spent an additional one or two the following day before packing up for our next adventure.  This was operation no-regrets.  We rode on water rides while it was raining and cold simply because the boys were interested in them.  We stayed at the park until closing and maximized all of our time there.

Pics from the train and bus ride to Legoland (almost missed the train, but relaxed once we got settled) –

Hotel Legoland (oh my word, so much cleverness!) –

Adventures inside Legoland (day one) –

Adventures inside Legoland (day two) –

Mini versions of places we’ve been before (definitely my favorite part of Legoland) –

After an hour or so at Legoland that morning, we headed for our next adventure.  More to come later!

Denmark

Copenhagen is a beautiful, busy city.  We spent three days exploring in and around it and really enjoyed it.

The first day, however, was pretty low key since some of us (read: Micah and me) were pretty jet-lagged.  We spent some time resting at our airbnb (Mike and Ethan got in an extra walk to the botanic gardens while Micah and I slept an extra hour) and then we all went for a walk to explore the awesome and famous Nyhavn area.  We had a delicious dinner of street food and saw the outside of the Rosenborg Castle.

– Day 1 –

 

– Day 2 –

We had a nice, slow start to our second day in Copenhagen.  The boys slept in, played some legos and then we headed out for a delicious breakfast nearby.

We explored the Round Tower – a very cool place, as you can see!

We walked the city a bunch – visited a beautiful church, found our first Lego store (Legos began in Denmark, for those of you that didn’t know), and ate lunch on the go.

Next up, we went on a boat tour where we saw the city from a different view and were able to snap a pic of the famous “Little Mermaid” without being with the massive crowds!

Then we checked out the palace and some ruins of a previous palace (that the current one was built upon).

We finished our day at Tivoli – the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world.  We played some games (Mike won a fidget spinner!), rode a boat ride and ate some food. Definitely a neat experience!

– Day 3 –

We enjoyed a very peaceful morning at the botanic gardens on our third day.  We grabbed breakfast from a local bakery to eat there and then walked the gardens for a while.

Then we did some more exploring of the city.  We got to see another beautiful church and watch the changing of the guards.

That afternoon we took a bus to the Experimentarium.  We had an excellent time there – it’s a really wonderful kids’ museum that we would highly recommend!  (This is also the location of Micah’s horrifying experience of being lost – thankfully it was incredibly short-lived and he did the right thing!)  Before exploring there, though, we touched the Baltic Sea – gorgeous and chilly!

I’ll save our final day in Denmark for the next post…it gets a post all by itself since it was pretty epic. 😉

Thankful for safe travels and safe boys.  Thankful for Mike’s preparation.

The Nordics: an overview

Consider yourself warned: we have a lot of pictures and stories to share from our time in the Nordics.  I thought I’d start with a brief overview and a thank you to Mikey. Then I think I’ll split my posts into the 3 countries we visited.

We traveled from Denver to Iceland (for 2 hours) to Copenhagen, Denmark.  Next, we enjoyed time in Norway.  And then we finished our trip with friends in Sweden.  We had another layover in Iceland on our way home (and someday we’ll plan to spend more time there because it looks incredible!!).  In total, we were traveling for 14 days!

Mike is the mastermind behind our trip and did an excellent job planning everything for us.  I can’t speak more highly of his itinerary and all of the work he did to make everything run so smoothly.  (Side note: he knows me so well – he planned quieter, less busy days for me mid-trip so that I could fully enjoy everything.)  Thank you, hubs, for spoiling us with a wonderful chance to see some more of the world!

Traveling day 1 – Denver to Iceland and onward

Thankful for boys who travel well and for Mike’s organization.