Greetings from The Netherlands!
It’s great to be back here, and everything looks familiar from my last trip here 6 years ago for the anniversary.
I arrived yesterday evening, and Karlijn picked me up from the airport and we went to a bbq party with her rowing club. Very fun! And it’s soo great to see her again, and to be with family! She and I tried to decide if we still look alike… not as much as before, but we can see it a little bit!
Today, my first full day in Holland, Karlijn and I stopped at the house that Oma grew up in, and I recognized it from last time we visited. It was so neat to see it :)
Then, we stopped at the wonderful church of the big wedding! After that, we stopped in to see oom Piet in his apartment. He was busy playing billiards, so we visited with the whole group, and then had tea with oom Piet in his room. It was so nice to see him!
Tonight we will have a bbq, and tomorrow we’ll gear up for the big soccer game. I better get my orange on!
oh, and i learned a new Dutch word… howdu! haha i know i’m spelling it wrong, but that’s how ‘goodbye’ sounds in Tilbourg!
so… howdu for now!
I’m in DUBLIN!! It’s an amazingly lively and crazy city, and I’m having so much fun here so far! I can’t type for long, since the time limit on this hostel computer is quickly ticking….
I got here on Friday, with my friend Nick, and we’ve seen lots of the city. The Irish people are so nice and very humble. We had a fun pub night last night with some Irish people, complete with a live Irish band!
Yesterday, we visited Howth, a sweet little fishing town. So beautiful!
Before coming to Dublin, I visited Nick in London. I LOVE LONDON! I fell in love with the city! And I visited the British LAMBETH! :)
That’s all for now… time’s almost up!
But… one more thing…. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DAD!!!!! I LOOOOVE YOU!!!
This weekend has been a perfect summer weekend here in Karlstad. It finally feels like summer here! It’s still not a smokin’ hot 30C or anything like it is back home, but the whole weekend’s events were quintessentially summertime :)
Yesterday was the big Karlstad soccer tournament that I was in with a bunch of my indoor soccer buddies. It was a great day… exhausting, but great. We started at 1030am with 2 back-to-back round-robin games. The games were only 20 minutes each, but it still really tiring, since it was full-speed the whole time. Plus, I was the only girl on our team, so I had to be on the field at all times! After a short break, we had two more games. Of our round-robin play, we won 3 and tied 1. Moving onto the quarter-finals, we just barely squeaked by in a dramatic shoot-out. I was the 4th to shoot for our team, but the goalie stopped my shot :( It wasn’t high enough to hit the top corner. Oh well, we won, and moved on to the semis! Unfortunately, we lost that game, a frustrating 1-0. And it absolutely POURED half-way through it. We were all completely SOAKED. At one point, I couldn’t see, for all the rain and sweat stinging in my eyes! Anyway, it was a really fun tournament, and it reminded me how much I miss playing soccer. I definitely plan on joining a rec league when I come home! By the end of this, I was exhausted, and my legs were BURNING after playing 6 games. Needless to say, I’m really sore today. There are muscles in my body that I didn’t know I even had, let alone use. But now, I know about each and every one of them, because they’re all sore haha.
As I mentioned before, yesterday was Campus Fest. And thankfully, the rain stopped and we were able to have the party outside all around campus. It was pretty wild! Just about every student at Karlstad was outside - some bbq-ing, some having dance parties, and some burning things (yes, a mattress and some chairs were definitely on fire in the middle of the street!). It was amazing, and a really fun night! We finished it off with a trip up to our roof to watch the sunrise. Now, when I say “watch the sunrise,” this would normally indicate that we pulled an all-nighter and stayed up until about 630am. But no no, it was definitely only about 245am, and it was getting fairly bright out. I guess officially, the sun doesn’t actually rise until about 4am, but it’s really light out far before that. It’s basically stopped getting dark here at night. It gets dark, but not reallyyy dark. Like, you could play football at 11pm and totally be able to see! (I haven’t done that yet, but I fully plan to!).
After that crazy Saturday, it was sooo nice to have the laziest Sunday possible today. The sun was out alllllll dayyyyy longgggggg, so my floormates and I definitely took advantage! We laid out in the warm sun for a few hours (and, miraculously, I’m NOT looking like a lobster! Yet!). I threw the frisbee around with a few friends, then Matt and I rode bikes down to the grocery store to get a popsicle, and also got some sausages to grill later on the bbq on our res balcony. The whole weekend felt like summer! Yes, summer has finally arrived in Sweden :)
Tomorrow I leave for my final excursion with my environmental class. We’re following the Klarälven River up to Norway! I shouldn’t get too comfortable in my shorts and bathing suit, since I think it’s supposed to be quite chilly up there, since we’ll be heading north. I might even pack my toque… just in case. Crazy, eh? I’m looking forward to it, I think it’ll be really beautiful!
I better go pack… I’ll be back on Saturday! :) Enjoy the summer weather!
On their last day in Sweden, we packed up our stuff (with an extra huge suitcase-full of stuff I was sending home), said goodbye to Mälte, Birgitta’s cute Lab, and went to the Karlstad train station.
One trainride later, and we were in Stockholm. That night, we stayed at a hotel near the airport. We all felt like we were at camp, since it was composed of neighbouring cabins! Me-Me and I had a photo-shoot from our windows. I love this picture of Me-Me :)
We treated ourselves to some fancy hotel dessert and chatted about our week, and my future travel plans, and did some gossiping too :) It was really nice, and one of the highlights of my trip. It was such a perfect ending to a wonderful week :)
The next morning, after a tearful goodbye filled with lots of hugs, Mom and Me-Me flew home… What a fabulous time we had! I keep thinking about how wonderful it will be to see everyone when I’m home on August 1st. I’ve got lots more traveling to do before then, but I’ll be sooo happy to arrive back home :) I think these next two and a half months will flyyyy by! It meant the world to me to have them here, visiting me, and I’m so lucky to be able to show them my adopted country!
So if anyone else feels like visiting Sweden… you know where I am! :) haha
I’m exhausted now from all this blogging! :) Bed time… and I feel the need to point out that it’s 230am, and there are birds chirping, and you can tell that dusk is soon approaching. It’s pretty crazy how early the sun rises here! By 4am, it’s full daylight! But somehow, I can still manage to sleep in… :)
The next morning, before going to the bus station to leave for Karlstad, we walked up the street to the Royal Palace. Everywhere in the city, preparation were underway for Norway’s Independence Day, which was Monday, May 17. It’s a HUGE all-day, all-night party in the streets, with concerts, dancing, traditional costumes, etc. The funny part is, they’re celebrating their independence from Sweden! haha. We didn’t tell too many ppl that that’s where we were heading…. haha.
Behind the palace, there was a beautiful park with a nice little pond. Scuttling around the pond were two ADORABLE little ducklings, with their mother! Some of the cutest little creatures I’ve ever seen… so sweet :) It was fun to see this cute little boy watch them (Even though he almost accidentally ran over one with his trike! Close call!).
Even though it was a rainy day in Oslo (I NEVER have good weather in Norway haha), we made the best of it! The Nobel Peace Center is located right by the boardwalk along the harbour. It’s a neat part of Olso, with lots of restaurants looking out into the harbour, which is always busy with ships coming and going. We were lucky enough to see a big ship coming in! If you look at the ship photos, you’ll see a castle in the background. That’s where I was standing when I was here in February!
I didn’t realize at first that like Stockholm, Göteborg also has an Old Town! It was beautiful! Not as magical and lively as Stockholm’s, but it was really nice. Although I’m not sure any city can really compare to Stockholm :)
We walked around here for a while, enjoying the little shops (especially ones with Marimekko patterns!), while poor Me-Me covered the whole city on foot while looking for in-soles for her poor sore feet!
A little later, we went to… wait for it… are you ready for this?… the BIGGEST mall in Scandinavia! Not to worry, no major credit card damage was done - just one pair of shorts, I swear! (since it’s FINALLY warm enough here to wear SHORTS!)
After a nice dinner at a little Greek place, we went back to our B&B and got in our matching PJs (thank you, Me-Me!). Ans shared with us some photos from Tante Jo’s funeral. I thought it was amazing how strong Ans was (and is!) for being able to tell us about it, and share the photos and stories. Thank you, Ans :)
The Palace leads right into Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town), which was our favourite part of Stockholm. It is absolutely amazing. I know I’ve blogged about Gamla Stan before, when I was in Stockholm in February for Super Bowl weekend, but every time I go there, I love it even more. It was especially awesome to be able to see it in the warm weather. The three of us had so much fun here, stopping in at little Swedish shops, going for a fika in a little cafe as we people-watched, and taking pictures. These are just a few of my favourite pics from Old Town :)
(By the way… notice the abundance of bicycle-in-alley-way photos? To me, that is quintessential Old Town. Everyone rides bikes here, and there are so many little narrow side streets. It’s very European, and there’s something so charming about it to me!)
As always, I’ve left my packing until the last minute.. great. It’ll be a surprise tomorrow, when I open my big backpack, reach inside, and discover what random outfit I’ve absentmindedly packed at 2am.
I’m leaving Karlstad again tomorrow morning to go to HOLLAND!! I fly into Amsterdam, and will then be lucky enough to spend lots of time with family :)
I get to see where my lost long twin, Karlijn, is living, and visit Berkel-Enschot again! We’ll also be sure to watch the Uruguay vs Netherlands soccer game on Tuesday! I don’t have any orange clothes, but I’ll need to pick some up so I can fit in during the game and get my cheer on. Uruguay’s going downnnn.
It’s been a nice week in Karlstad (hot though!!), but full of planning and booking and stuff for this upcoming trip! I’ve also had a chance to relax and do nothing after lots of traveling through London Dublin. Tough life, I know.
I’ll be in Holland until July 10, at which point I’ll fly to Nice! (and let the “nice” jokes flow in… haha) I’ll meet Sonya and Layne there again, which will be awesome, since we had such a great time in Dublin together! After a few days, I’ll return to Sweden again and then I GET TO SEE MY SISTER SO SOON! Carly will arrive in Oslo on July 17, and I’ll be there waiting! So excited :)
It’s time to finish packing! Holland, here I come! :)
I arrived back home to Karlstad yesterday, after a really fun excursion to Norway and Northern Värmland with my environmental studies class. It was so much fun!
We did lots of hiking (which meant super-soakers for my running shoes haha), climbed a mountain, tobogganed back down part of a mountain (yup, SNOW! In JUNE!) went early-morning canoeing, jumped into a freezing cold Swedish lake (my first swim of the summer!), and visited the oldest untouched forest in Sweden! It was a really cool trip!
I took lots of good pictures, which I’ll load onto here soon, after I go through them all.
Today is a gorgeous day, and I think a bunch of us are going to head to the BEACH! :)
I keep hearing about the amazing summer weather you’re having at home… it’s been really nice here too, but still fairly cool. The sun is gorgeous, but there’s still a chilly breeze, which means it’s still sweatshirt weather.
This weekend is Campus Fest here at Karlstad, and it’s gonna be really fun! There’s a soccer tournament going on as well, which I’m participating in! I’m playing with a bunch of the guys who I played indoor soccer with here. It sounds like we’ve got 4 games tomorrow… I’m really excited to play, I think it’ll be pretty awesome! Plus, thanks to Mom, I’ve got all my soccer gear here now, and - thanks to Dad :) - my cleats are all polished up! Ready to play :)
After that, there’s a campus-wide party going on - going to be awesome! Have a great weekend, everybody! :) (oh, and please send some warm weather over here if you have a chance!)
After Oslo, we finally arrived in Karlstad - my city!!
We settled into Birgitta’s B&B, just a short walk from downtown, and then I showed them around my adopted city :)
The next day, I brought them to my residence. It was sooooo awesome to show them around, and show them where I live! It was so special to share this with them. I’m always telling people back home about this place, and these people, so for them to meet my floormates and see my room was so wonderful. And, my room was clean!
Next, we walked to my university, just a 10-min walk if you take the short-cut, which we did, through the woods! I love this university, it’s so neat and modern.. it makes me sad that I only have one term here!
After that, we went back downtown and I showed them around a bit more. That evening, we met up with Matt and his family, who were visiting at the same time, and Lucas. We all went out for a nice dinner, it was a lot of fun!
We had a beautiful sunny day on our last day in Karlstad (finally, I could show them why Karlstad is “The Sun City”!). Being here, and showing them around really confirms how much I love this wonderful city. It’s perfect :) Also, even though knowing that Mom and Me-Me were leaving the next day made me sad, I was happy that I wasn’t leaving Karlstad just yet. I love this city too much to leave just yet! I’ve got lots more time here :)
Another must-see in Olso is the Vigeland Statue Park. It’s a huge park full of amazing sculptures, designed by Gustav Vigeland. He devoted his life to this series of sculptures, which depict the struggles and triumphs of life. It’s really amazing how he was able to evoke such emotion out of clay. The whole park is so well put-together, and it makes for a really interesting city site. We were all glad we visited the park. And, although the dark sky was threatening heavy rain the whole time, it waited until we were on the tram to start its downpour!
The first time I went to Oslo, which was back in February, I went to the Nobel Peace Center, and absolutely loved it! So, once we arrived in Oslo, I was excited to show Me-Me, Mom, and Ans this amazing museum devoted to the Nobel Peace Prize, with amazing exhibits and a special exhibit each year devoted to that year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner. With that winner being Obama this year, I knew that Me-Me would especially love to the see the center :)
When I was here last time, there was an exhibit called “From the King to Obama,” which went through the many struggles of Martin Luther King Jr in the civil rights movement, and how it all led to Obama’s presidency. It was really amazing, and so well done. While this time, the exhibit all about Obama and the ideas behind his winning the Peace prize (called “A Call to Action”) was still up, “From the King to Obama” was no longer there. The current exhibit is all about the 4 Peace Prize recipients from South Africa, and the struggles that South Africa has endured throughout history. Again, it was really well done.
If anyone goes to Oslo, they HAVE TO see the Nobel Peace Center. Amazing.
Next stop: Göteborg! (We had lots of fun with this pronunciation…. it’s pronounced “yeh-teh-borhee”…. or something like that haha)
The next day, after meeting up with Ans in Stockholm central train station, the four of us got on the train to Göteborg. We stayed at a really nice B&B (sooo nice to NOT be staying in a hostel!) which was right by Liseberg, a really popular amusement park. Although we didn’t go to the amusement park, we could definitely hear the rollercoaster-screams of those who did.
The next day, our one full day in Göteborg, we took a cool boat tour to see many of the sites of the city.