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The Boat across and Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden

Mark, hope this one works better... It's appropriate for the Finland post only though


After hitting up the internet cafe for the previous entry we walked down to the port and jumped on our accomodation for the next 15 hours or so i.e. the boat across to Sweden.

We got on on the 7th deck, even though we were staying in the cheapest possible rooms on the 2nd deck... The boat was massive, it went up to about 13 decks... We knew that we would be safe from the seasickness of the Osaka to Shanghai debacle...

We were, we stayed up and had a few bevvies, slept and were awoken by the captain telling us we were an hour and a half from port...

We arrived at the hostel which was a former prison after following the directions (well written, but they underestimated the walking time by about 300%)... Of course, as we had arrived in the morning, we couldn't check in yet, so we had to leave our bags and do sightseeing as we were...

We visited the main sights of Stockholm, much like Helsinki a beautiful old city, some really cool museums and old buildings... I got frostbite as it was about -140 degrees... We walked around until about 5:30 when we went back to the hostel to check in... Smallest room ever!

I guess as it was designed for prisoners, there wasn't much chance of a suite at the Park Hyatt, but it was a real 8'x3' job... The 2 of us slept in a bunk bed, at the end of it there was a locker and on the side there was a small table and 2 chairs...

We decided to forego the guidebook for our dinner location tonight and walked around and see what we could see and we found a restaurant/bar in this cool part of Stockholm... The food was good and the service was really cool... I have started to appreciate that much more since Moscow, where if you ask for help, it is like you set their Grandmother on fire...

Next morning was Adam's birthday, and we were going to do 2 things from my 1000 places to go before you die book. First, we got up and visited the Vasamuseet... A museum that houses the Vasa a gigantic warship from the 17th century that sank after 1 nautical mile... It is 95% intact and one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen...

After that we ate for lunch what the Swedes are famous for, Smörgåsbord! We headed about 10Km north of Stockholm to a lovely country inn that is famous for it's smörgåsbord... Even the King of Sweden has been known to eat there, and we know he has a diamond car with platinum wheels (subtle movie reference there)...

The food was awesome, and again we ate reindeer! The Finnish reindeer was better, but that was specifgically prepared and much more expensive... This was on a buffet table...

We left, headed to the port again for the ferry to Latvia... This time, the boat was pretty big, but a rain started just as we got on and this was not a great sign... I felt OK most of the trip but at about 11PM we were having a beer on the top deck and the constant up and down of the boat started getting to me...

Adam could notice I was getting a bit green in the gills and suggested we head back to the room... We did and within 30 minutes we had both passed out... We would have the birthday dinner at another time...

permalink written by  Big_T on September 9, 2008 from Stockholm, Sweden
from the travel blog: Big_T's Travel Blog
tagged Boat, Museum, Birthday and Sweden

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Riga, Latvia

Get to Riga in the morning and the Hostel lets us check in early. The guy at the counter is very friendly and helpful... The room is very spacious indeed too...

We do the Riga walking tour, lots of 17th and 18th century buildings, most in quite good condition and then we arrived at the Occupation museum...

This is the place that explains the constant occupation of this country by foreign invaders from 1940-1991... USSR, Germany, and then USSR again... Pretty much had their way with this country and no-one did anything to help them... When the Germans came, the Latvian people thought that they had been liberated from the Soviets, until the Germans started exterminating people they didn't like... When the allies beat the Germans, the Latvians thought they would be independant again, until They were handed back to the Soviets and it took until 1991 to gain independance...

We left the Occupation museum in a cheerful mood and found a traditional Latvian place to have Adam's birthday dinner... Adam drank a local booze called Latvija Balzams... Looked, smelled and tasted hideous! (but a great treatment for Scruffula) He couldn't look straight after drinking it either, but he had a good time for his birthday dinner and that's all that mattered...

Slept and now we are awake, about to head to the bus station for our bus across to Lithuania... This will be the 4th country in 6 days, we are there for less than 24 hours before flying to Poland... Things start to slow down a little there...

permalink written by  Big_T on September 12, 2008 from Riga, Latvia
from the travel blog: Big_T's Travel Blog
tagged Bus, Museum, Birthday and Balzams

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Day 0

San Diego, United States

Suze is the bestest Slurker any Slurk can ask for in any dimension possible in all of possible existences. This wonderful lady picked me up and drove me to bliss at a real honest to god awesome Mexican diner in Berkeley. I cried in my Horchata. She grinned and at her salad.
Her domocile was home base for the few days I was in the East Bay juggling all my shizzle. She is the red haired fiery creator and we talk in LOLspeak all day long.

It was odd not going through passport control in the airport, not hearing a dozen languages from passers by, and these thin little green bills are atrocious. And, oh my, the free Wi-Fi. Free as in beer. Free at last.
Up in the air, during take off I was witness to the bruised red full moon set above the fungal growth like circut diagrams gone mad of the city below. I wanted to stay up there forever, witness at five thousand feet to the noise and fury below.

Like many families we have traditions. This particular one stretches back to my own first birthday where I devoured my cookie monster cake with my furious fists and even got a little in my mouth. Ever since then and with the enthusiastic participation of the babies involved we have reveled in the cake destruction. NOM!

Simply focused on the birthday boy, all attention and joy. Oh, family, I love them so. To be in such an extended tribe here is me and witness to the continuation plain and simple. Sorry to poetify, but is so precious.

Box of playa dusty ducks my sister brought me back from the 2008 burn. I hope I wasn't too harsh in refusing them, or showed disgust. It seemed in good humor, but white elephant gifts I will refuse when possible. The smell though, wow, brought back some serious memories and the heat and the dust.

permalink written by  kleer001 on November 15, 2008 from San Diego, United States
from the travel blog: Tijuana to Vancouver
tagged Birthday, SanDiego, Day0, T2v and PlayaGift

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