Hello everyone! I’m terribly sorry I have not made a new post for a while, but I’m afraid not much has been going on in Sweden besides the usual college life of studying and socializing. I did just get back from a nine day dream trip through Europe though! I went to six different countries, with stops in Göteburg, Københaven, Amsterdam, Bruges, Luxembourg, and, for the ultimate finale, Munich for the last weekend of Oktoberfest. I took over 500 pictures, so I have decided to split the trip into two posts: this one for the first half and another for the second half. (WARNING: Both posts are extremely long, so you might want to take them one section at a time if necessary. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Stop #1: Göteburg
My trip technically started Thursday night with a pint of Guiness with my dutch friend Marc in Karlstad at my favorite pub, Pitcher’s. I say it started then because I was going to try as many European beers as possible on my trip in order to educate my beer-tasting palate before I return to America for my 21st Birthday, and if you are going to compare beers, Guiness is the standard by which all other beers are judged (so I have heard). The next morning I had to run to catch the train to Göteburg, which I jumped on as it was pulling away from the station. Three hours later I found myself in the second largest Swedish city, and I decided to head straight for the coast of the North Sea. At 9am on a Friday, the streets were fairly empty.
I was hoping to see the open ocean, but instead I saw some pretty huge boats in the docks.
I didn’t really enjoy my first hour of walking around because the streets were empty and bare near the ocean. I did end up finding the last standing part of the wall that used to surround the city, so I climbed to the top to see what I could find.
From the top of the wall I must say I was impressed by the views.
Once I descended to the other side of the wall I found inner Göteburg to be a beautiful, inviting city. Here are some pictures from my walk.
What I realized on this trip was that I was traveling to all of these European cities in the peak color seasons for the fall. Although it may not of had the overwhelming power of autumn in the Elk Range, it was still pretty beautiful and I was lucky to be there for it.
I found my way to what they Swedes planned to be their version of the Champs Élysee, and instead of the Arc de Triomphe there was a statue of Poseidon and a history museum.
I then walked to the Latin Quarter, where the University is located, and could not get enough of the trees there.
The only place I had read about in Göteburg was this place called the Fish Church, which used to be a church but is now a fish market. It was the best sushi I’ve ever had.
After lunch I continued my walk through the parks that line the canal. The art and the nature was fantastic, and, although I came to this conclusion after I got back from Munich, I am falling in love with Swedish nature.
I made it back to the train station, and four hours later I arrived at
Stop #2: Københaven
Københaven, or Copenhagen, is a pretty cool city. I planned to spend the night at my friend Will’s place (he is a DU student spending the semester abroad in Copenhagen), but he was on the night train back from Munich. Being the incredibly nice person he is, he told his friends that were in Copenhagen to let me in and take care of me, which they did extremely well. I wanted to experience some Danish beer while I was there, so after I dropped off my things at Will’s dorm, I rode the tram back into town. Copenhagen is a great place on a Friday night, and my first stop was at a great pub that had some folk music playing and where I met some Icelanders (meaning I met more people from Iceland in Denmark than when I was in Iceland. Go figure).
After this pub I walked even farther into the heart of Copenhagen where I found another pub, and it was here that I actually met some Danish people! It was the first time that I have traveled to a country and met locals, so I was very stoked. It was after this, however, that my luck finally ran out in terms of the solo traveling I had been doing. Here is the story:
At midnight, I decided that I should head back to the train station because the last tram to Will’s dorm was at 12:30. As I turned the corner of the pub, I saw a map that told my my location was much, much farther away from the station than I though. I tried with all my ability to make it back in time, but I ended up missing the train by ten minutes. Looking at the schedule, I realized that the next train to Will’s dorm didn’t leave until 5:10am. With no other options, I decided to walk around the city for the four and a half hours I had to kill. I also thought it would be an opportunity to take some night pictures, but only a few came out decent. Here are some of the pics (but the story is far from finished).
So, after a long walk, I found myself back at the train station at 5:00am, ready for the train. As soon as I boarded the train, however, I immediately found myself fighting sleep. Sure enough, I suddenly awoke with a start as the train was coming to a stop, exactly one stop further than the stop I was supposed to get off at. I got off, of course, and to my dismay, there were no trains back to the correct stop for another hour. So, seeing how I was well prepared for walking, I thought it would be an easy task to walk back to the last stop as long as I stayed in view of the train tracks. I followed my ears in the still-dark Zealand countryside, and I kept hearing what sounded to be a train, or at least a large, quickly moving object pass every 20 minutes or so. When I came to clearing, however, I saw before me a highway, and the large, moving objects I was hearing were actually semi trucks. Having no idea where I lost the train tracks, I cut to the direction I thought was east, both because that is the direction the tracks were supposed to go as well as the fact that is where the sun was rising. After an hour of walking and no train tracks, I discovered a beautiful lake which made for an amazing sunrise.
It was at this lake that I realized “Holy cow, I’m completely lost in Demark,” as well as “Holy cow, how many people get lost in Denmark? That’s awesome!” I then retraced my steps, rather chipper from this newfound realization, and on the way found this cool tree-tunnel path that led me straight to Will’s dorm.
After 4 hours of sleep, followed by the arrival of Will fresh from Oktoberfest with pictures and tips, I returned to the city to do some sight seeing in the day. Here are some pictures of Copenhagen.
Seeing how I was on a trip for beer-education, a trip to the Carlsberg Brewery was in order. And no, unlike they clam, it is probably NOT the best beer in the world.
After the brewery, I made my way back to the train station for a delightful 14 hour night train to
Stop #3: Amsterdam
(So I just realized this is an obnoxiously long post, but keep reading! Or just keep looking at the pictures! Or just stop, go outside for some fresh air, and pick this up again later when you need to procrastinate some more)
In Amsterdam I was able to meet up with Cate, who is a student from Canada spending the semester in Karlstad with me. She wouldn’t arrive until that evening, however, so I made my way to the hostel, taking pictures along the way.
Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Bruges all claimed to be “Venice of the North” but the only one that came close (in my mind at least) was Amsterdam.
After finding the Hostel, I did some exploring, and found Rembrandt Square and the Rembrandt house.
That evening I was able to meet up with Cate at the train station, and we were treated to a nice sunset on the way from the train station.
We were also treated to some spectacular lights on the canals that evening, featured at the top of this post.
The next day Cate and I went on a tour of the city where we saw all there is to see in Amsterdam. No pictures were allowed in the Red Light District, however, so you’ll just have to go yourself to experience it.
After the tour we went to the Anne Frank house, which was a very serious place, one that made me realize that Europe has had some hard times. I’ll never forget how I felt in the tiny apartment that two families lived in for two years before being dragged to a concentration camp where they lost their lives. It was pretty strong stuff.
After the Anne Frank house we went to the Rijksmuseum where we saw “The Nightwatch,” which is considered to be Rembrandt’s masterpiece. We also saw some cool architecture, most of which looked like it was about to fall over.
And so I will end this extremely long post with me in front of the “I AMsterdam” sculpture. If you want to read another novel about the second half of my trip, click on the link “Part 2” below.