Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Heyda* Sweden!

Well, I hung laundry on a line I didn't put up, I used a FULL SIZED towel to shower, and it's only 10pm and already dark outside. Hot damn! I must be back home!

After a plane trip which started sometime last millenia, going through Stockholm-Helsinki-Bangkok-KL, am finally reunited with my family and my shoes. *sniff* I missed them so...Not necessarily in that order!

Some thousands of pix to sift through and digest for your easy consumption..coming sooon-ish.

*Pronounced hey-daw and meaning goodbye in the Svenska!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Hello from Herrang

Is the last night of the one week experience at the dance camp and I'm trying to use up the last of my internet time.

I don't know what to say about this yet. I really wanted to like it and it didn't turn out that way.

More when I get home. For now, I'm trying to top up my one hours sleep before the big final party tonight.

Lots Love,

Monday, 14 July 2008

Norwegian Coast-Bergen-Oslo

Oooh finally managed to get that most coveted thing of all: FREE internet! Wooo! The rate onboard the cruise was akin to just taking the kronor and chucking it in the sea, so I decided against.

I'm going to do pix and write-up at home I've decided, so I'll just jot notes here. Internet jsut costs too bloody much here for anything else! Last I left you in Saariselke. From there we took an enormously long busride to Kirkenes, which is pretty much the top of Norway. On the way there was reindeer and Sami excursions...we saw Russia...that's just how far north we were.

Kirkenes was the beginning of our 6-day cruise down the west coast of Norway. The line began as the postal carrier for that region, and has since added on passengers. Suffice to say it's nice, but it's not the Fairstar Funship. Probably a good thing.

We'd drop off in the little fishing villages along the way for anywhere from 15min-1hr. The landscape is pretty dramatic. The route weaves in and out of the thousands of islands and fjords off the coast above the arctic circle.

At each scheduled stop we all collect at the foyer and wait for the gangway to be put down. Then as the harbour workers go about delaing with the post and cargo, we rush out in a frenzy and madly snap pix. They are pretty much all quaint and have traditional architecture and colours.

The weather is harsh but the houses are cute. Who'd figure?

Hastily cobbled thoughts so far: Sweden, which used to be the home of an empire, looks by far the most affluent. Finland, which began life as an outpost of Russia, kind of still looks a bit homely. We've spent most time in North Norway, which is fish fish fish. Oslo so far has been kind of disappointing. More like a regular city--dirty, homeless people, dodgy people, police patrols etc.

Onto Copenhagen next. Wish me luck with handling the 26 tour aunties and my little rascal of a cousin another few days!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Macktastic Arrives in Scandinavia

A big Hej to my fives of readers!

In the last few days I've survived nearly 30 hr trip to Stockholm, via Bangkok and Helsinki, where we spent a couple days in awe at how hot Swedish people are (ok that was mostly just me). Then hopped an overnight ferry to Helsinki (again) for a quick gander at some of the world class architecture and record-breaking drinking going on there.

Right now am in Saariselke, a town deep in Lapland, the top bit of Finland--Hello to my geography PhDs out there! It's home to Sammi people, reindeer, the Real Santa Claus, and tonight if I'm lucky, the midnight sun. Whilst waiting for aforementioned heliotropic occurence to, umm, occur, have decided to spring for the 8 euro net connection. As there's only so much I can sigh at the "closed" sauna sign before the receptionist send me to the wolves.

Thoughts so far: I finally get why designers go weak in the knees for Scandinavia. These people have been creating things beautifully and thoughtfully for generations. They even thought to colour code the centuries on Swedish buildings!! It's all very beautiful in an unassuming kind of way. The things, like the people, look great, but also friendly.

BUT it's expensive in a way I never thought possible. You should know, I've got spendthrift tendencies. You couldn't teach me the value of a dollar for nuts. But I got a train ticket to Stockholm from Denmark and felt financially and emotionally violated. I had to go and sit on the beautiful timber chairs in the Central Station and have a few deep breaths.

I'm writing this on a wireless keyboard using a flatscreen TV, but the whole impossibly high-tech set-up left no room for a USB drive! So pix must wait.

Seeya later, or as they say here in Finland, Nahdaan Myohemmin!