SCANDINAVIAN SAGA

HOLIDAY 2015, DUBAI, DENMARK, NORWAY, SWEDEN, MARIEHAMN

This is written partly in note form and partly in ordinary prose. Because I have divided it up into days, I have dispensed with paragraphs. It's slack for a former English teacher to do this, but because it is broken up into blocks anyway, it's OK, I think. Just don't hand me in an essay organised like that!

Wednesday June 3, 2015
Adelaide, to Arabian Court Hotel, Dubai

A huge queue at the airport where everyone was trying to get refunds from Emirates, since our flight the night before had been cancelled and we all had to go home. Received our $53 for taxis in cash without a quibble.
The plane boarded at about 8 pm. Food was awful and service poor. You can't even take your own water because they keep confiscating it. On arrival in Dubai we were supposed to be met by an Arabian Adventures rep. Of course, because of the changed flight, he wasn't there. Our hotel room was comfortable with a sensational view of the museum/fort across the road. After a rest we went for a walk but worried about missing our arranged tour, we returned and waited in the foyer. Sure enough, the guide came very early and we were whisked away in a small bus which went all over the place, picking up about 5 more people. We drove to a vacant block somewhere near the sea shore. It was 48 degrees. Eventually, more buses pulled in and when there were about 6 small buses a big bus came and we all got on that for the tour! They kept handing out water. Looked at the iconic hotel Burj Al Arab from the sea shore, taking pictures as much as we could bear in the intense heat. Visited a mosque, some parts of the old city where the original houses have been restored and the palace environs before coming to the museum opposite the hotel. It was very sandy and the sky a murky yellow. Ate Indian with sitar music at the hotel. They invited us to stay for the dancing and show but we were too tired. Lots of young professional Indians were arriving by that time-tables full of them-all men.

Thursday June 4, 2015
Dubai to Copenhagen and Vejle

We were ready for the bus when it came at 5.40 am despite a night illuminated by the hotel's neon lights and the street lights outside our window, and were dumped unceremoniously at the airport. We knew the drill in Copenhagen this time but it is not a friendly or attractive airport. Our sedan hire car morphed into a new dark blue Volvo SUV, as big as a tank and not convenient for someone of my short height or for travelling around narrow mountain roads as was our intention. They keep kindly 'upgrading' us to cars which are much admired but not suited to our purpose, in spite of us booking months ahead. Stopped at a service station to organise ourselves and have a beautiful hindbaer spandauer.
In the toilets I rested my handbag in the hand basin while putting on some fresh makeup. I didn't see there was an automatic sensor and hot water was flowing through my bag all that time. We arrived in Vejle about 6.30 pm on Fri 5 June and were happy to meet the family again, including 3 new babies.

Saturday, June 6, 2015 Vejle
Went to a market in Vejle then to the mall. There were people everywhere advertising the election so we scored a couple of roses. After that we headed for Middelfart and friends.

Sunday 7 June Vejle
To Strib for a family party. Present were 25 family in all. We had lunch of cold meats, breads, liver paste, asparagus, egg.
Later we walked to the water front to see their boat and back via pretty streets. It was spring and the azaleas and flowering shrubs were glorious.
For tea they had whole beef fillets, steaks and Danish sausages. Salads were potato and garden with pomegranate. We ate in a big white tent in the garden as the weather had turned cold. Dessert was fresh Danish strawberries with vanilla is. It was amazing looking at all the children, seeing the similarities and differences and especially the caramel coloured hair.

What a fabulous occasion.

Monday, June 8, Vejle
Did the washing then set off to see more friends in Middelfart. We had morning tea, lunch and dinner, all beautifully served and admired their lovely new house.

Tuesday June 9
Vejle to Hotel Dagmar, Ribe

Sad to say goodbye but we were off to explore Denmark. We drove to Gram and Fole
and looked at the farm where Peter grew up- or the empty space where his historic farmhouse used to be until it was allowed to deteriorate so much it could be removed.
Lunched at Gram Slot butik-nice restaurant but food pretentious. From there we drove to Ribe to the historic Hotel Dagmar-on 2nd floor up very steep stairs. The view from the room compensated as we were right in front of the Ribe Cathedral.

Wednesday June 10, Ribe
Shared a lovely breakfast with all the other pensionisters-cold meats, cheeses, salads, breads and fruit. Loved the cheese slicing machine.

The cathedral was magnificent apart from the modern altar which was out of tune with the rest. Took photos of points of interest from the guide, especially the pulpit with medieval decorations.

Walked up to the Viking museum, passing a fountain where we were told that the nazi cross in front was actually formerly the logo of the Carlsberg brewery, who had built the fountain. The museum had excellent displays of wooden Vikings and scenes from Viking life. Ribe was a big Viking centre.
Drove across to Rømø on to a beach about half a km wide which went on for ever. The wind was wildly strong and there were fantastic kites flying.
For tea we decided on the Peking Restaurant in Ribe. It was only after we committed ourselves that we realised how expensive and awful it was. There were salad ingredients and a couple of weird stew like dishes in a bain marie. For some reason Denmark does not seem to have good Chinese food.

Thursday June 11, Ribe to Ringkøbing Hotel
Found the house of Peter's grandma in Skads in the main street. Saw the grave of one Uncle but all others were gone. A lady tending her parents' grave said they remove garvestones after 15 years. After this it was the church at Mosevrå and looked at Peter's Father's mother's parents' grave.
The ground staff told us that the gravestones had been removed but we could apply to have them if we wanted- the stone was in the ground last time we were there but just standing loose this time. From here we went to Vejers Strand. Had a hot dog in a kiosk, parking where we did with Far and Mor in 2008, before driving to Ringkøbing. The town is very old and it was difficult to get to the hotel. We asked a girl and she pointed through a yard, so we drove through someone's shed. Our room was as far away as you could get from the main building which was very old and beautiful and in an excellent location on the town square. The entrance to our annexe had four very steep and narrow cement steps with no railing and on the way out later I managed to trip on a strip of metal on the threshold, narrowly avoiding a deadly fall. Up to the room was a new winding stair case with ridiculously steep risers. The room itself was large but the only cupboard was tiny, literally 3 coathangers wide. The bathroom was also large with vinyl floorcovering and no shelves, ledges or anywhere to put toiletries except the floor. The water was permanently set to luke warm. We ate at the hotel restaurant for tea and the food and service were terrible. Not a high scorer for hotels.com.

Friday, June 12, Ringkøbing Hotel
Time for some family history. Drove to relatives' house. There was a spectacular garden including a big vege patch, beautiful lupins and azaleas.
We had frøkost of handsome Danish open sandwiches.
Dorte and Holger had worked out a plan for the whole day. More family, Lars and Tina, helped with the tour. After the meal we got in a red BMW sports car and drove to all the family places of significance. The day was warm and cloudless-perfect for the sports car. We went first to Torsted Kirke which dates from 1150 AD. It was awesome and is next to the house where Lars was born. His mother was an attendant at the church and always rang the bell 2 times per day and an hour at a time at Easter-it is a hand bell. It makes sense that Lars would have a sense of history in this environment! After the church we drove to Tim to the farm, Nordestgaard, where Peter's grandfather, Peter Lind (father's father) grew up. We took photos near the big entrance stone. Peder Lind and wife Ceciliy later moved to Skads and bought a farm where Peter's father was raised, along with 10 siblings.
Next door were gorgeous free range pigs in a field with individual pig shelters. Tim church was much fancier than Torsted though about the same age. Old gravestones had been moved to make a winding circle of stones. We found more relations here. We called at a beach near Sidsel Strand. The thing that is amazing is the dimension of the beaches-they go on forever and are very wide- haven't seen anything like it in Australia. It was such lovely weather too. Back to Ringkøbing to meet Peter's first cousin and his wife and then on to a real Danish bakery with a real Danish baker as a family member! They had a huge range of goods and lovely cakes. From the bakery we returned to Holger and Dorte's house for a family tea of roast pork with steamed veges, including 2 whole steamed cauliflowers.
After the main course we went upstairs for coffee and tea and 2 of the lovely cakes- a Lemon Othello cake and a beautiful chocolate one which tasted heavenly-biscuit base with choc coating, layer of cream, layer of possibly passion fruit, a layer of choc mousse and ganache over all. It was decorated with slivers of passion fruit. Probably one of the best things I have ever tasted. It was a truly fantastic and memorable day and we slept well at the end.

Saturday, 13 June, Ringkøbing Hotel to Pinenhus
Bought a big exercise book at a Brugsen. Supermarkets don't seem to have stationery items like we do at home. Drove to Nørre Vosborg, a manor house. It was lovely, but you couldn't go inside. Since it was raining we didn't hang around. The next destination was Hjerl Hede, an outdoor museum where old houses have been brought from all over the country. The church was ancient and very impressive.
We ate at the kiosk-hotdogs and tea. The girl was furious when I asked for some more water for my tea-you pay the same price for a teabag as a brewed coffee and then they fill the small cup about halfway. She said, 'That is a cup.' I said, 'Yes but could you fill it up please?' She grabbed another cup and put water in that. I thought she would give it to me but she reached out for the cup I had and just topped it up. They were all angry in that place. Drove to Pinenhus hotel and conference centre and ate there for tea. The dining room was very beautiful, looking out over the fjord.

Sunday, June 14, Pinenhus
We had a fine breakfast and then did washing-20 kr per load and 20 kr for the drying. We had our own soap, otherwise that would have been another 15 kr. Drove to the Castle Spotrup and saw people re-enacting medieval life-they looked very authentic. There were even 2 in armour fighting, rather tamely. The castle was a little bare but still had many interesting artefacts.
We drove to Skive and bought an electric jug and two cups for suppers then back to town and checked out Nykøbing over the bridge and also Glyngøre for eating places. We saw a grill by the harbour that looked casual but neat. Went back to the hotel where I did the ironing and then we went out for tea to the grill. Both had half a roast kylling med pommes frites. The chicken was fried to a crust and there were hundreds of chips! Our room was comfortable because it was modern but the bathroom could have been cleaner. The worst thing was the curtains which were small, pale yellow with no lining and let in the light from the many streetlights in the car park and also the daylight from the sky. I was awake most of the night because it was just like daylight.

Monday, June 15, Pinenhus to Hitrtshals
Another excellent breakfast in the restaurant. From there we drove directly to Hirtshals. The drive was difficult because the speed is only 80 kph in the countryside and there were many changes of direction and roundabouts. We went straight to the hotel Nordsøen then to the bunker Museum on the coast to look at the bunkers built by the Danes for the Germans and used 1941 to 1944. Some of the buildings in the lighthouse complex were not open and bunker no. 2 was locked so we didn't see those displays but it was fascinating anyway.
On return to the motel we asked the lady about Danish home cooking and she recommended the Hotel Munch at Tornby Strand. It was out on the highway again but not far. It took an hour for the meal to be served. We were the only ones in that room and it was boiling hot as all the windows were closed despite the evening sun because there was a very cold wind blowing outside. The food was OK. Went to bed about midnight when it was still bright. The bathroom had mould in the shower, no benches to put anything on, minimal towels and a toilet which was wobbling on its stand. Very basic accommodation.

Tuesday, June 16, Motel Nordsøen to Bergen by ship-a sunny day at last
Woke up at 5 am with sun bright through the unlined white hessian curtains. Waited until 6 am and texted Simon for his birthday. He texted back immediately. Finished breakfast at 8.30 am. Got diesel at Statoil. Cost 445 kr @ 8.96/litre. Posters for election everywhere. Drove to Brygden in town and got cherries. Returned to oceanarium-cost 169 kr each but decided we would do it. The fish tanks were good and we enjoyed watching the seals being fed. The place was dark and writing was hard to read. One huge ugly fish seemed to be the main symbol. Drove down to Fjordline Terminal and found out re time to line up for ferry. We decided to go to the library where we went in 2005 to pass the time until boarding. It was closed for moving until June 24 so we stayed in the car park and later drove down to a car park near the ferry, finally queueing up at 6 pm . The ferry was late so departure was delayed from 8 pm to 9.15 pm. We were on deck 5 CC for cars and in cabin no. 8107, quite luxurious after our last few hotels. We had an expensive tea in the cafe with all the other hungry passengers on 'M/V Bergensfjord,' had a look in the shops and outside on the deck before retiring to our cabin. The shop was a disappointment- all brand names and expensive, as usual, nothing affordable. There was plenty of alcohol so I checked out the displays and there was quite a lot of Australian wine. We realised our cabin was at the very front of the ship.

Wednesday, June 17, ferry to Bergen
First Hotel Marin, Bergen

Woke at about 7 am after a really good sleep, saw us pulling into a port and presumed it was Stavanger-not sure as we seemed to be near towns for a long way. Coast line was rugged and rather ugly. Lots of boats, buoys etc . Had breakfast in Oasis restaurant. Everything priced by slice or piece-costly. We travelled the whole way between islands-the Coast is a mass of inlets. Everyone had to be out of cabins at 10.30. They opened the boat decks for 15 mins so that you could put luggage in your car and then we sat in the Oasis lounge. Arrived on time despite leaving one and a half hours late. On being let loose in Bergen we didn't have an idea where to go and the iPad was useless. I didn't have the settings correct so every time I moved it to orient myself, the map moved too. Finally found the hotel but could not check in for 2 hours. We left our luggage and parked down the street for 250 kr per day. Walked down to the Harbour, had more expensive food at Madame Fells
and then checked out a 3 mast school training ship called 'Statsraad Lehmkuhl' built by the Germans in 1914,


and then Hakon's tower. Visited a museum about Norway's heroic battles in WW2. From there we walked around the beautiful old buildings of Bryggen with overhanging houses and went into the Bryggen Museum. A man there told us a lot about the place and also about his brother who was in a Norwegian boat wreck and ended up in Adelaide where he married a woman from the seamen's mission at Port Adelaide but didn't write to his mother more than once in 55 years. Eventually the brother returned to Norway and started telling stories about our man, but they've apparently patched it up now. It was amazing how much family history he got through! Had a rest and then went out for tea to a bar called Pingvin, quite a walk from the hotel. Watched Danish election news on TV.

Thursday, June 18, First Hotel Marin, Bergen
Had a good sleep and at breakfast sat with two ladies from Stavanger. They were very cheerful. The food was good but with a limited selection of cold meat. There was hot food-bacon, potatoes, beans and assorted eggs plus all the usual cereals, yoghurt, fruit, waffles, good variety of bread, ample tea and coffee- probably the best we've seen. Set out for Hanseatic Museum-very old wooden building, dark and wooden on inside with remnants of decorated walls. Absolutely wonderful-you could feel the history, and the Hanseatic League was fascinating too.
All over the place were smelly dried fish-they didn't have to be preserved, just dried and when soaked they are delicious according to the museum guy from the day before. It was really interesting. Next stop was the other part of the museum down the road- not so historic-some interactive activities. The place didn't seem to have any staff. We were doing well for time so went back to the hotel and then headed off to the maritime museum which was about twice the distance we'd walked to Pingvin. The last part was the worst because we had to go uphill.
The museum was on the Uni campus, had a lovely view and lots of model boats. It looked very glamorous and interesting with fabulous views. Walked all the way back to Floibanen, the cable car to the top of the mountain-crowds of people. Had to stand but it was quite fast and smooth. At the top it was a sensational view; hundreds of Chinese, possibly from the 2 cruise ships we could see. In the souvenir shop we bought a tea towel and a small plate and saw our breakfast ladies.
Returned to hotel exhausted and had a long rest. Later the Danish results were coming in, so TV was quite interesting.

Friday, June 19, Hotel First Marin, Bergen. To Hotell Fjordland, Aurland
Had breakfast with same two ladies and some Germans who had been on a fortnight very stormy cruise to Spitzbergen. Peter went to fetch car while I waited. Cost for park was 450 Kr for the 2 days. Set off for E16 which we found without too much difficulty. The road went through numerous tunnels.
The longest was 11.1 km and another 5 Km and there were many others 1 to 2 Kms in length. The road was windy but through some glorious scenery. Some of the water was crystal clear with perfect reflections.
On arrival in Aurland we found it to be a small and friendly little town. Though early, got into our room and the view from the 3rd floor was fantastic from a little balcony. I found I had lost my shoulder bag. Sent an email to the Bergen hotel on the chance they may have found it. We went for a walk to get lunch. Went to a supermarket first and then had lunch at a greenie-type cafe bakery. Looked over the old Vangen church from about 1200s-has a foundation stone inscribed 1202 AD, but restored 1861 and 1926-walls about 2m thick-can't imagine why that was needed-who would be attacking them there?. The beautiful stained glass windows behind the altar were by Emanuel Vigeland, just like the statues in Oslo.
Went into tourist info to find out about ferries and down to wharf. Ate at hotel for tea. Buffet style-vegetable soup-an indeterminate green, boiled potatoes and rice, braised lamb cutlets, sliced pork, carrots, gravy and, strangely, lettuce salad. Dessert was a custard tart with rhubarb. Went back to our room and watched Graham Norton and then a terrible Mel Gibson movie. It was so nice to see something in English.

Saturday, June 20, Aurland Hotell on Sognefjord
Good range of hot and cold foods at breakfast. We talked to an American lady from Chicago because she was worried the cats at the church were being discriminated against-we had also seen a notice which said not to let the cats into the church. I told her I had asked and the desk clerk thought his mother might have written the notice because their cat wanders. Spoke with another American man who walked down to the ferry with us. He went to Noter (Notre) Dame and was a librarian for congress and got into a lively discussion with the cat lady about the Pope and the American Catholic Church. Her husband didn't talk at all. The ferry came in speedily and we sailed up to Gudvangen. Mostly stayed on the outside deck but it was very cold. Took lots of photos- huge Rocky Mountains, grey and ugly, lots of tree cover, dark green to pale green depending on the sun and constant snow and waterfalls, narrow and wide, continually pouring into the fjord.
When we got to Gudvangen we were glad we had not decided to stay as there was nothing much there but a tourist shop and buses. This time there were a lot of people waiting for the ferry so we lined up with them after a brief look at the souvenirs. We knew to go immediately to the food cabin and get a seat next to the window, which is what we did. Later we went out on deck to wait for the Aurland stop. There were no free chairs but a lot of young men were standing at the side with their feet on their chairs guarding them yet not sitting down at all-they seemed to be young intellectuals, very pleased with themselves, and very rude in not offering their chairs. Back at the hotel we had a free cup of tea and sat in the lovely sun.

Sunday, June 21, Aurland Hotell
Up a bit later, had breakfast and skyped, finishing at about 9.45am. Lena was very cute, maintaining the conversation herself for a lot of the time and getting things to show us. Drove to Flåm without difficulty and parked in the big car park.
Bought tickets for the next train at 12.20 pm and had a look at some souvenirs as we had about an hour to pass. Thought we'd check out where to stand and realised a huge queue had formed already so joined it. The train was modern and smooth-I was expecting something a bit more historical. The views were great with lovely waterfalls, lots of tunnels and wooden bridges. Eventually we got to the snow. It wasn't really a good idea to get off at the destination as there were piles of people waiting to get on. It was a trip of over an hour and the same back. At the biggest waterfall there were 2 magical girls dressed in red, dancing and singing near the water in a spectacular display which involved their sudden appearance and loud fairy music. Quite dangerous, I would have thought. They were apparently the beautiful spirits that try to lure you into the forest.
Drove back to the hotel and had a rest then walked downhill to the neighbouring hotel for tea-one of the few places in town where food was available on a Sunday. There we again met our American friend from the hotel. He is writing a book set around a family bar in New York called PJ Clarke's. We waited forever for our food, so long that we moved outside as tables became available. After about an hour and half when I had gone to ask what was happening, we got the meal and she brought us a free cake for dessert too. I had a cheeseburger and Peter had reindeer stew. The cake was lovely. After a talk with our new friend we returned to the hotel. I did some washing and Peter booked a hotel for Lillehammer.

Monday, June 22, Aurland Fjord Hotell to Geiranger Utsikten Hotel
Left about 9 am and got diesel at local service station. Drove through a tunnel 25 kms in length-major claustrophobia, followed by one of 6 kms and then caught quick ferry across fjord to Sogndal. Cool, cloudy but some patches of sunlight. We drove along much prettier valleys with farms, as opposed to the grey and ugly hills by the fjords. Went via Sogndal, Skei to a second ferry at Anda.
The towns near here were much prettier and more open with cultivated fields. The sun was now shining beautifully and some of the water was very still with perfect reflections. Proceeded to Geiranger stopping off for lunch at a cafe above a home hardware sort of shop. Had a pizza roll which turned out to be filled with mince. When we got near Geiranger we realised we had to get the ferry there-it was expensive but we had intended going on a Geiranger Fjord cruise anyway so this was it, with car instead of without. The weather was perfect and sunny and the ferry not very busy so we were very lucky. On arrival we drove to the Hotel Utsikten up a very narrow and windy road. Buses seemed to be tearing down without fear. As soon as I saw the hotel I was worried because there was an arrow pointing to reception up a steep flight of stairs-I knew I would struggle. We went round to the front and there were about 5 steep stairs with no railing going in the front door. Any hotel which shows so little consideration for its guests is a worry. We were in room 215 on the second floor. It was small with just enough room to squeeze around the bed and hardly enough room to put down our suitcases. There was no TV, no shelves in the bathroom for toiletry bags (and you certainly needed to bring your own toiletries) no glasses, no tissues. The water was nice and hot and the bed comfortable though not very glamorous with the mattress showing. Later we went down to Geiranger for tea at a bistro, a pepperoni pizza, seemingly almost a national dish. The whole country seems to be run by 24 year old blondes. Slept quite well.

Tuesday 23 June, Hotel Utsikten, Geiranger
We were a bit worried about what we would do for the day because we had already done the cruise and there wasn't much else down there. I woke up quite late after having a restless time in the early morning-both too hot and too cold. We decided to go to Westerås Farm and look at the menu for tea and also at the animals. It was wet and very foggy so we were not optimistic. The girl at the reception was most cheerful and pointed us up this track-narrow but plenty of passing points according to her. It was terribly narrow and had a sheer edge. At times it seemed like we might scrape the sides of the car on rocks. It was not a simple journey at all but a most terrifying one. At the top we saw 2 lamas but it was too misty to look for goats and the paddock went straight down the hill in a sheer drop. We went back down the path petrified that we might meet someone coming up, but fortunately they had more sense. Then we drove into Geiranger and saw 3 cruise ships, one of them massive, moored in the harbour. The fjord must be incredibly deep. We walked all around the harbour looking at the tourists and all the activity and over to the caravan park. I bought an expensive woven runner for the top of the pianola.
The customers were thick in the shop buying stuff and they had everything you could imagine souvenir wise.
We had lunch at a kiosk near all the tourist buses and then drove up to the Fjord Centre where there is a good museum about the world heritage listing of the fjords. After a rest later we headed back to Geiranger and it was a shock to see the ships gone. It looked like a quiet little country town again. We ate at the same place as last night as it was about the only choice apart from very expensive hotels.

Wednesday 24 June, Hotel Utsikten to Hotel Scandic Victoria Lillehammer
Left at about 9 am headed to Lillehammer. Took some pics of the fjord with yet another ship in after being so quiet last night. Then went up windy road through fog, clouds and misty rain. Road narrow and very winding, very cold and terrifying because of low visibility and great height.
About 800 metres above sea level started seeing cyclists-about 30 in all. If ever people had death wish cycling down those hills in the fog and rain, those people did. They were just average people and most looked terrified. The snow was all around and very deep and there was a lake, all frozen over. It was eerie. Gradually the scenery changed and became a little more pleasant and green. It was raining gently most of time. We over ran the turn off to Lillehammer and it was difficult to go back but we eventually made it. The hotel was traumatic to find because there were so many one way streets but it turned out the Scandic Victoria had its own car park which was connected to a public car park. We were tired and irritable. Went for a walk along the mall to check out eating places and ended up at the one in our own hotel called Heim. Mall wasn't very impressive and lots of shops seemed empty. Heim was busy with lots of female groups. It was impressively hip with cutlery in tins and the food good.
Watched 'True lies' on TV. The evacuation notice on the door was fluorescent, the TV was bright, light was streaming in through curtains and the smoke detector had a flashing light too so I had trouble sleeping and was forced to sticky tape brochures over as many lights as I could.

Thursday June 25, Scandic Victoria Hotel, Lillehammer
Woke up fairly late because of restless sleep. Had breakfast- a good supply of everything to make Peter happy. Drove to Mauhaugen, an open air museum. It was excellent. The stave church was fabulous
and the tour with the local post girl, an actress on her summer holidays, was really entertaining.
We enjoyed it a lot. All the houses were fascinating and some very, very old. There was so much to see and do.
When we got back to reception there was another museum about the whole history of Norway. We were only finishing as the museum was closing at 5 pm. Drove up to the Olympic park not far away to the ski jumps. They had the olympic torch there and one person did a jump on the green plastic ski jump.
There were lots of tourists and it was very exciting. Went back to Victoria Scandic Hotel for a short rest. I did some washing and then we went out to tea to Egon's Restaurant which we has seen on our travels, rather trendy and busy. It was a long wait but I enjoyed my lasagna very much. We had to move places because there was a freezing cold breeze coming in both the front and back door. Peter had spaghetti and wasn't as pleased. Back to the hotel, a lovely hot bath. Felt like it was a really good day with the visit to the museum and Olympic venue.

Friday, June 26, Lillehammer, Norway to Scandic Hotel Winn, Karlstad
Left about 9.30 after an average breakfast-so many people, mainly school kids on some sort of soccer carnival, they kept running out of stuff. We were able to get into the car as one parked very close had gone. The people driving the electric competition car were also in the car park getting ready to leave. We headed straight out of town on the E6 again but it was a pretty bad road-still one lane each way but with fencing to prevent turns. Peter was anxious about the route even though he had worked it out but the road signs were good and we headed first for Lillestrøm and then to Meysen to meet up with E18. We then crossed to Sweden, making it into Karlstad easily as the streets were laid out well and I was actually able to use Maps Me for once. The guy at the hotel desk was quite rude-speaking Swedish to Peter because his name was Danish and not swapping at all to English when he heard we weren't actually speaking Danish. He was most dismissive and didn't explain the parking without further questioning. Why they don't have a fact sheet to explain it is beyond me. We have repeatedly struck this. I understand it would get annoying explaining it, so do something about it. The room was newly decorated and quite nice though there were still not that many places to put things. After we were settled we went out to find some tea. At first it looked a bit depressing with only a few cafes along the next street-expensive but not appealing food. Then we went around a corner and there was a whole road of fantastic outside eating areas, all under the same style marquee, packed to the gills with diners at the side of a beautiful town square.
It looked fantastic. We eventually chose one called pitcher's (no capital) and were in the far back corner, but the food was lovely. I had a tiny chicken on summer vegetables with potato salad. The veggies were snow peas, fresh asparagus, radishes, arugula, red onion, capers, and the potato salad was small cold potatoes, that being my only complaint-I would have preferred them hot.
Our waitress was nice. Back to room and slept well despite all the kids racing around.

Saturday, June 27, Scandic Hotel Winn, Karlstad, Sweden
Hotel breakfast rooms crowded and they had trouble keeping up with cleaning tables. Most customers seemed to be Swedish-few foreigners. Skyped with home. We walked up to the Dom Kirke to have a look but many people were going in for some event-we didn't find out what was on. Then walked down to the water and along a path to look at the old stone bridge built about 1730s. Looked around the grave yard while Peter reflected on differences between Swedish and Danish language and then hobbled on to the Varmland Museum. It was quite good with a display of the 1950s and the usual display of history since the ice age. They had a lot about doing up old cars. Went back to hotel because my feet were killing me. Had a short rest and headed out to buy a hot dog down by the water. Asked receptionist where to go and she switched from Swedish to Scottish Englsih in an instant- quite amusing. Sat around a monument and looked at people and went to the beautiful town square again. Bought some strawberries. All very idyllic apart from the cigarette butts. Went to supermarket on way back to room. Went out later and walked down to the square where we checked out all the restaurants but decided on pitcher's again.
We swapped. This time I had schnitzel and Peter had the chicken. Back to hotel and had a look at the river nearby. Loud cars kept doing rounds of the towns- utes, long American cars, etc just kept going near hotel for some unknown reason. Watched NCIS on TV. Couldn't sleep for ages and stupid cars with doof doof music kept coming past.


Sunday, June 28, Scandic Hotel Winn, Karlstad to Hotel Roslagen, Norrtalje
Left hotel about 10 am after skyping with Michael. Road to Stockholm was good-2 lanes much of the way. We went round Stockholm and continued to Norrtalje which was well sign posted on E 18. We went into the old town, which was very crowded and full of narrow winding streets. It looked quite charming but I was relieved that we weren't staying in there but further out of town. Our hotel looked run down in a sort of industrial area but was quite comfortable. The receptionist agreed to do our washing for 90 kr which was good. She said they had a free buffet tea which also sounded good. It wasn't, but most people found something -2 casseroles were suspicious and cold meat looked like breakfast. Went for a small walk and then back to hotel. All the washing was done well and she hadn't tumble dried the polyesters even though I'd forgotten to mention that. Slept well as there was actually a blind-it didn't keep out all light because it was about a foot in front of the window, but it did do some good. The bath was a problem because it started draining all over the floor-obviously the volume of water was too much for the drain and there was a gap between the bath and drain. The whole hotel was pretty run down and old but they were trying.

Monday, June 29, Hotel Roslagen, Norraltje to Hotel Arkipelag, Marieham
Woke up reasonably early after a sound sleep despite the heat of the room. Had breakfast which was very good-cleanly and neatly set out. Tidied up and left about 9.20 am. Pressed the lift which said hit and hiss. Hiss stands for lift, we decided. Drove into Norrtalje but Peter was not very enthusiastic because we had trouble parking yesterday. First he couldn't remember whether he had locked the car, then whether he had set the timer and after he went back to set the timer, whether he had locked the car again. I took some quite pretty pictures before we set off for the ferry at Kappelskär. That was one big building site when we got there so we drove around to a camping ground and asked about cafes. The young man said to go to one of the nearby small towns so we did and had tea and coffee at a tiny kiosk where the young man was very friendly. After a while we left for the ferry terminal again and realised it was at the front of all the building work, which was a hopeless mess. It had a cafe but we wanted to wait for the ferry. Lined up at the Viking line for an hour or so and then went on board the ship which left on time at 2.45 pm. The ship was a red and white Viking Line vessel called the 'Rosella.'
Everyone went straight upstairs to the cafe and/or buffet to eat. The food was by weight and quite nice in the Seaside Cafe. It is quite well appointed with cafes, children's area, gaming room, disco but not any souvenir shops that we could easily find. Eventually found an info desk downstairs together with the tax free shop. It was full of people buying booze. I took some photos and started talking to a lady who has a holiday home on the island. She said that you have to have a family connection to get a place-her mother was from Åland. There weren't many Australian cask wines but quite a few bottles-Penfolds, Nottage Hill, Lindemans (also had the only Australian casks).
The lady liked Penfolds Chardonnay, she said, for 100 kr. Some of the casks were done in various shapes like handbags, barrels and some had modern or interesting styles. In my opinion, a winner would be to make the casks so that they are reusable as containers or canisters or boxes-perhaps with a lid effect or even compartments that can build up to make storage modules. The ferry arrived quite fast when the time came. I was just about to go and have a bit more of a look on deck when they made a short incomprehensible announcement and everyone started moving. On arrival we were among the first off as we had been among the first on. Peter had scoped out the route and drove us almost directly to the Hotell Arkipelag which was on the waterfront but on the opposite side of the island. We could see the masts of the 'Pommern' as we passed. The hotel was much more modern than I expected and quite nice with a nautical theme in decorating. It is attached to a big white building which turned out to be the island parliament the landting or something similar. I finally got my shoulder bag back from Bergen. We were quite worn out by our trip and the long wait and had a rest in our room before going out to eat. Peter, as usual, didn't really feel hungry but we suddenly realised we had the time wrong and it was an hour later than we thought-Finnish time. It was already about 8.15 pm on a Monday. Lots of the places were closed, too expensive or had food that did not appeal. We finally settled on a rather nice bar. I had a hambugare (chef's special) and Peter had an entree of lamb rosbif. We asked what it was and she seemed quite puzzled but assured us it was all lamb. We tried to explain that it was roast lamb, not roast beef but it was cooked like beef-half raw slices of fillet lamb. The burger was enormous and I felt sick just looking at it. My stomach was in uproar generally. Fortunately Peter was able to eat most of it. We had an ice cream at a stand nearby for dessert. The stallholder was quite friendly and interested in our accents. Said he'd just had English customers who sounded the same. Back to hotel and slept soundly with good curtains and the door open to let in some air-still too hot.

Tuesday June 30, Hotel Arkipelag, Mariehamn
Felt quite nervous and couldn't eat breakfast but we were at the museum by 10 am for the opening.
Met the director, Hanna, who showed us the great amount of stuff they had got out for us to see. It was 2 big files of scrapbooks belonging to the Eriksons in all languages about their ships, a file of stuff sent by Allan Payze of Port Lincoln, including photos, articles and letters, some loose photos from various sources, a number of ship day books, in Swedish, for various of the boats. They were all quite heavy and we found some entries about the time in Port Germein, but from what we could discern, it was only about doings on the ship, no outside stuff.
We had some lunch and went back to the books and then did a tour of the very good museum which had lots of artefacts from the ships of the grain races. In all, we spent 5 hours there and were worn out by that time so promised to come back the next day to do the ship.
Fortunately they said that was OK (didn't have to pay again). We ate at the ship museum cafe-Peter had a kid serve of sausages and chips and that was good. I had an Åland pankaka, more like a slice of quiche. They are very proud of their pankakas. Apparently there are many recipes but it is made with cream and is thick and heavy. Back to hotel for rest again. Did a tour of the streets nearby and then out for tea. Settled on a more informal place at the beach with good food. Watched a few bad crime shows on TV and slept quite well once the music quietened down.

Wednesday 1 July, Arkipelag Hotel, Mariehamn
Got up reasonably early-hot as usual even though we had left the door to the balcony open. Went down to the Sjøfart museum again and this time toured the 'Pommern.'
It was really fantastic and in the original state from about 1939. There were so many interesting things to see. I took hundreds of photos in the hope that I will be able to use them in my Port Germein endeavours.
There were quite a few references to Port Germein. One said that they loaded from ketches as there was not a crane on the jetty, just like Port Victoria, but I don't think this is true. They used the ship's hook to swing bags across and when the boat was low, sent them down a slide, according to what Arn Miller says. The area below decks was vast with display cases, ropes, examples of cargoes and much more.
I went inside and thanked the girl at the desk and Hanna for their work in putting out all the resources. I pointed out to the girl that it was a bit strong, in one of the books in their shop, to call the towns in South Australia 'godforsaken' and I think she had heard it before because she said that yes, they should have clarified that it was the words of a sailor, and not necessarily a happy one. Hanna said she would be coming to Adelaide in a year. I got her details for the visit. The girl at the cash desk said Hanna is really good at raising money and keeping the place going. She thinks that Mariehamn have neglected the old ship in recent years and it is showing it, but now they have a full time worker who repairs it and they have great plans for continuing improvement. It is very expensive and they will never make enough to cover it. She said that World Heritage were not interested which amazes me because there are just so few of the old ships left-everyone of them should be protected. I bought the CD that they showed on board as there was some great stuff on it.
After the museum we headed for Kastel Holm, a castle I had read about but which did not seem to get much publicity. It was about 20 kms away. It was a big castle with much of it ruined following many fires over the centuries but had been done up in places and was very imposing. There was a lady singing a song and using medieval instruments. The steps were steep so we didn't go to the top but the most amazing part was the thickness of the walls-at least 3 metres in places. We chose some food at a kiosk and realised we didn't have any cash, just the card and they didn't take card so we had to put the food back. We eventually got something to eat when we stopped at a terrific shop in a town-it had everything- groceries, clothes, hardware, haberdashery, electrical, a post office and a little cafe- a wonderful country shop which even had vinyl place mats in red with white spots. I so wanted to buy some but couldn't justify carting them around and our luggage was already enough. Drove back to the Arkipelag and had a rest then went out to see Gustaf Erikson's house in Storgaten. We passed a mass dancersize class on the way.
The house was quite imposing but we couldn't see much and didn't like to go in the yard as it looked like people lived there. Walked back down to the seafront via the Ting building and had a look at the notices on the posts re Åland's history. It has been owned by the Russians, Swedes and the Finns but the place is now autonomous and has its own flag and 'ting.'
Eventually decided to eat at the same place as last night and it was very good. I had blackened chicken and Peter had lasagna again. The chicken was moist and lovely and salad excellent. Then it was back to the hotel to write diaries and prepare for an early start tomorrow to catch the 9 am ferry. Had trouble with temperature as usual.

Thursday July 2 Mariehamn to Stockholm, Globe Quality Inn
Woke up about 5.30 am but went back to sleep. Hotel alarm was fairly quiet but worked via TV. Computer also worked well. Had breakfast at just after 7 am and left at 8 am. Posted 3 post cards at post office. When we arrived at the harbour the Viking ship 'Cinderella' was already there and we drove straight on.
It looked rather luxurious but most shops weren't open yet. Met an Australian lady who recognised our accents. They'd been travelling for 3 months. We went on the sun deck for a while. It was sunny but a bit windy. We had a wonderful view of the 'Pommern' as we were leaving.
Went down to bar near the Australians, Helen and Graham, teachers, from Perth, WA. They are due to leave on July 12 and are flying out of Stockholm to Bristol tomorrow. They had been in Estonia, Russia, Finland, said Hungary was beautiful. Trip was among hundreds of tiny islands, very close. It was a perfect day. We looked at details re public transport in Stockholm and at maps. The food was pretty ordinary unless you liked shrimps. I'm surprised there are any left in the world. The view of houses and small towns was stunning and I took lots of pictures through the windows on the camera and Ipad. Arrived in Stockholm about 3 pm. Raced down to the car when we realised that the people still standing around were probably foot passengers. Peter negotiated the way to the hotel very well, relying mainly on road numbers. He still had to be very daring and take sudden turns as they were not well marked. We went through a long tunnel and came to an amazing arena. Peter drove around the base and found the hotel. Parked outside and took our luggage in and then took the car to the stadium car park which was 'just around the corner' as usual. In fact we drove around for quite a while before we found the entrance to the car park. It was enormous with areas marked by light colours. There were no directions anywhere. We had to try about 5 times to operate the ticket machine and then struggled to get out of the place. Had a look at the shopping centre on the way back to the hotel. It was big but run down and a bit dirty like everything in the area. Went back to hotel, rested and then had tea at the hotel restaurant, which was very glamorous.
I sent my lamb entrecote back because it was uncooked and I didn't want to pay $40 for something I couldn't even eat. I didn't realise lamb would be served raw and the waiter didn't ask how I wanted it. Peter had meatloaf. We had tea and coffee but no dessert. The tea was half a cup of warm water and a tea bag-very high class for such a ritzy place. We went for a little walk and saw all the amazing buildings in the area but it was so littered that it was not at all inspiring. We were next door to the huge globe which would be the site of Eurovision 2016.

Friday July 3, Hotel Quality Globe, Stockholm
Woke up reasonably early and had a very good breakfast. Went to train station and caught the T bana to Gamla Stan Station.
Walked through Gamla Stan to royal palace. Looked at the treasury first and then at all of the palace. We had a great run as we weren't with a tour. The place was incredibly sumptuous-like Versailles and the Hermitage. I took lots of photos of chandeliers and other lovely things.

We managed to see the changing of the guard out the front briefly but the endless tour buses got in the way. The whole square outside the palace was a mess with buses. We had been going to the Vasa museum but thought it would be too much so we walked back towards transport passing various buildings on the way.
We had lunch at a hot dog stand where they mainly had French hot dogs (pop dogs). My feet were boiling hot and hurting as we had already walked a long way from the train station. It was very hot. We walked along the waterfront towards the town hall.
There was a tour about to go just when we got there but they let a tour group go in front of us and then said the next tour would be in about 35 mins-where they had implied that it would be the tour and then the rest of us could go. We watched a clever dog having fun repeatedly jumping into the water and retrieving a piece of wood.
Trudged back to the room the long way after getting off on the wrong end of the platform. Rested my feet as best I could. We went back to town a bit later and ate at a cafe just off the station. It had quite a good meny and was rather trendy though the table was dirty. I had grilled chicken and Peter had meatballs (again). Both were really good. We walked around the old town and then down Dronningaten Mall where we checked out a few souvenir shops. Caught the train from a busy and dirty square where there were all sorts of ethnic youth. Train back to hotel with no difficulty. Still very hot in room.

Saturday July 4, Quality Globe Hotel, Stockholm
Had a good breakfast again-even had some hindbaer jam this time. Skyped with Michael and Baxter. Caught train to Slussen and then walked to ferry and caught it packed full to fairground Tivoli. It wasn't far to the Wasa museum complex. Some young Australians were just in front of us. There were heaps of people at the museum but it all moved quite well. The ship was awesome.
We went on a tour and the girl was very good. Looked at all the displays and had some lunch at the cafe.
Walked towards the number 7 tram which we caught to the end and then walked down the mall to the central station again like last night. The train was packed and overwhelmingly hot. We were crammed like sardines. Of course, most people got off at Globen because there was a match on today. They were mostly dressed in double blue vertical striped T shirts and were swarming past out hotel to the arena. It lasted a couple of hours and then they were swarming back again.
It looked quite interesting from our room. We were going back to town but I couldn't face it so we went to McDonalds instead. There had already been some cleanup after the football but McDonalds was filthy and we had to wait ages. It was quite OK and we enjoyed watching all the goings on. The football crowd was replaced by the Christians from our hotel. Their slogan was "Copy Jesus." They had dozens of kids. Back to the hotel and did a bit of washing and computing. Peter worked out the route we have to take tomorrow using Google. If it is anything like last time it will not be easy because signage is not all that good. Room was terribly hot again and the windows didn't open.


Sunday, July 5, Quality Hotel Globen to Savoy Hotel, Jönköbing
Had a good breakfast-the best choice we've had at any hotel.
Most people were very serious and there wasn't much sense of fun. It all looked very clean and nice. Left about 9.30 am. Peter collected car from car park without difficulty and we loaded up right outside hotel. No one else there for once-it's been an endless stream of buses previously. The foyer was very crowded all the time with lots of Christian kids playing in a kids area. There was a Christian conference on the whole time. Made it out of city because E4 and E20 were clearly marked. Bright day with a cool wind-probably going to get hotter. Thank goodness we were out of that hotbox. Drove without trouble to Jönköbing, stopping to have lunch at a roadhouse on the way. It was packed with people and took forever and as usual the tables were dirty and there was stuff on the floor. I was going to get a Berliner but would have had to go to the end of the queue again, so put it back. We had a bit of trouble finding the hotel but got there in the end. It was right opposite a very beautiful church-not that old. Had to park the car elsewhere so went for a walk and saw an electric car charging
through a park, past the town hall and down to an international fair which was pretty high stakes with really fancy food from many countries. There was tons of it and they had to pack up by 4 pm so I am not sure what was going to happen to it. Back to room as I was feeling a bit faint. Room was sweltering-we could open the windows about 10 cms from the bottom out but still no air was getting in. After a rest went out to look for tea and settled on a Jensen's bøfhus. It was very good. We both had steak and baked potato and I had a salad. Back to the hot box where we watched a film about the Thai railway with Colin Firth. Had a bath but the room was hotter than I've had to put up with in years. It was a night from hell it was so hot. Peter went to sleep at once and snored merrily away all night. I tossed and turned and only slept by covering myself with a wet towel.

Monday July 6, Jönköbing to Sleep Tonite Motel, Helsingør
It was a relief to get up after such a bad night. The air conditioning in the central courtyard below our window roared all night, though I'm not sure what it was doing. The room was hot and airless and there were blue lights everywhere on all the electrical switches. Breakfast was nice and that room was actually cool. Hotel corridor was hot as hell too. We were on 5th floor. Left about 9.20 am and easily found road to Helsingborg. Got petrol with the last Swedish kroner. On arrival the roads led quite easily to the ferry. We hardly waited and then drove straight on. There was such a line up for food we just had time to get a pølse and then had to go down and get in the car. I managed to take a couple of pictures of the castle through the window, but it was quite a long way away. We drove straight to the hotel Sleep2Night only going down one wrong road. We were able to have our room straight away and the officious woman on the desk had quite a bit to say. After a rest we headed for the castle - we only had an hour and a half before it closed so we didn't hang around. We parked in the official car park at 10 kr per hour.
The castle was much better furnished than it was last time. The ball room was great and I thought the whole castle a terrific place to visit. I took so many photos but it is so hard to take in how beautiful it is. We had a look at Sweden across the strait and walked around a bit, taking note of the ship museum. Visited Holger Dansk in basement.
We got back earlier than expected so told the office that we'd like tea at 6.30 rather than 7.30. It was roast beef. I sent mine back and it was still pretty raw when it was returned to me but Peter's was totally raw and floating in blood. Next door were Norwegians. He was a retired sailor who had health problems. They come to Denmark and then down to Flensburg to buy cheap booze and cigarettes and then return via Helsingør because he can get parts for the boat he is building. Next time he hopes it will be in their boat.

Tuesday, July 7 Hotel Sleep2Night, Helsingør
Woke up reasonably early and had breakfast. Not much fruit and no ham, just rullepølse. Drove back to carpark at castle to see Sofarts Museum. As we were about to park, a local man walking his dog told us to park next door in a big car park inside a fence. It was free and a very good place to park too. We thanked him profusely. The ship Museum was spectacular in the way you walked down the ramp to enter-quite easy, which was pleasing given their weird love of stairs.
The displays were well done but I got a bit bored with them-too much about the life of a sailor, which I am sort of on about too, but not to the extent of focussing almost entirely on that. There was ship equipment but nothing about old ships. I was disappointed that the København didn't have its own display-all there was was a section of a film about the disappearance. Seems pathetic when they have such fascinating artefacts about it. Apparently the dispalys change so perhaps they will feature it at some other time. We had morning tea in the cafe in the centre quad which turned out to be the walls of the old ship yard.
It was truly a cool place but I think they have sacrificed style for substance. The museum at Mariehamn was much better. I didn't even see a library. It seems a shame to spend $34 million and still have to store most of your artefacts in a warehouse somewhere else in town.
We wanted to buy some souvenirs but who wants brand name white jumpers? Not me. I did get a film about 'L'Avenir.' We walked into the main part of town for lunch and ate in the town square. The sun was shining and everyone was in a happy mood. The old buildings were just amazing. We visited the most beautiful church where I met an English expert in medieval church art and he told me a lot about the iconography. Women were on the left and in the most inauspicious part of the church. He also explained that the booths I had been looking at were indeed like booths at the opera, for rich families at church.

There were beautiful shell carvings on the wooden pew ends.
Also looked at very old houses still in use on the way back to the car park. Returned to hotel for rest and sorted out some of the gear ready for returning the car. Went out and parked opposite train station.
Walked along mall which was quiet. Peter was grumpy so we ate at the first place we saw which was a cafe about to close. Had roast pork with purple cabbage and pickled cucumber. Walked around mall a bit more before returning to hotel. It was damp but still hot. A busload of people arrived and kept walking past and looking in our window.

Wednesday July 8, Hotel Sleep2Night, Helsingør to Hotel Opera, Copenhagen
Restless night because of heat. When we got up there was a power failure so couldn't use computer. It came good just before we went to breakfast. The bus group was gone and it looked like a bomb had hit the breakfast room but they kept replacing stuff so it was OK. Left a few things behind because we wouldn't need them any more-with a note explaining-shampoo, detergent, etc Drove straight to Copenhagen without problems but got on wrong road going in. We had to leave our gear in storage and take car back to Hertz first getting diesel, which was a pain in the neck- so many one way streets, no street signs or tiny ones-can't have anything so bourgeois that people can actually read them. The car was OK so we walked to Strøget and down it.
It was raining, crammed with people and buildings were being done up everywhere. They keep on using these stupid square cobbles leaving perfect places for the cigarette butts to collect. Checked out numerous shops for souvenirs. Couldn't find any decent T shirts. Souvenirs rather weak- not as good as Norway, and there are no funny souvenirs. Back to hotel, walking, so not using our very expensive transport cards, but it was a relief. Had a good rest before going out for tea. It started to rain so Peter threatened to go back and get his other coat. He was having a tantrum again so we went into the first place we saw which was a McCoy's pub.
Had a bøf between us, but when it came it was nearly raw and I couldn't eat it. Spoke to a couple next to us. They had been on a cruise to Russia and Scotland. They were poms who had lived in the US for 40 years and were going home on Saturday. He was a bit deaf and she kept getting annoyed with him. She wasn't that friendly. They had been to Adelaide on a cruise too. After tea we went across the road to the ice cream parlour we went to last time and had a single kugle. It was very good. Walked around a bit and then home but it was wet.

Thursday July 9, Hotel Opera, Copenhagen
Got up a bit later and found breakfast room was nearly full. People have no sense of humour in the morning and are not very nice. Got a table in the other part and struggled to find something I liked but it was still much better than last time we were there. Even the people at the front desk were much more pleasant. Walked to the bus stop near hotel and waited. It was very wet and uncomfortable. A lady told us the bus service was out because of something to do with Sct Anna Plads. Ironic because we had specifically chosen the hotel because of the bus service. We walked to another stop and caught a bus a couple of stops to the National Museum. There was a huge white entrance hall and lockers where we could leave our coats free of charge. We went first to the first floor which was Middle Ages and on. The displays were breathtaking with things up to 600 years old-so much stuff.
I went crazy taking pictures because there was so much that was old and interesting and attractive.
Eventually I got separated from Peter. I just thought he would be waiting up ahead but he wasn't and after a while I felt quite panicked as I couldn't get out of the display rooms onto the central verandah.
I had to return to the ground floor and then I saw him looking down. We went to the second floor but were getting pretty tired so headed off to have a lunch at the same Danish open sandwich cafe as last time. It was full so we had to use their canal side area which was not much fun in the rain and wind. We watched a trendy American couple who gushed discreetly about everything and were very moderne.

It was pouring but we walked to the Arsenal Museum where there were as many kids as at the other museum. The ground floor was the same as 1999 but the second floor was all smartened up and had been designed by the guys from the Sofarts Museum, or similar, as it was all about appearance and not about knowledge. They had information for some of the cases on wooden boards. Each case had many things displayed and you worked out what number it was on the board and found the title. It was too hard. We were getting pretty tired by then so walked to parliament aka Borgen.
We took a few pics but were too late for the guided tours. Trudged home slowly, had a good rest and then went back to the mall to look for souvenirs and somewhere to eat. Some of the shops were closed and not many had T shirts we wanted. We got a bike one for Michael and I commented that there were no funny ones. The shop owner said sarcastically, "We are not funny," the arrogant twit. Little did he know he spoke the truth. They make their money from tourists but they don't like them. I can understand their point of view but on the other hand, they need to get a wider range of shirts as the ones they have are pathetic. The eating places looked very average so after trying a side street we headed to Nyhavn, but then decided to try the Chinese restaurant on the way. It proved to be a good choice. Walked home and did a bit of organising before sleep.

Friday 10 July, Hotel Opera, Copenhagen to Dubai.
Had breakfast a bit earlier to beat the rush and went back to room to organise our gear. Left at about 9.30 am and wheeled luggage to Kongens Nytorv station where we caught the metro to the airport without difficulty. Couldn't check in until 12 noon but then did so reasonably quickly from a long line. They merely asked how many pieces of luggage and tagged all 3-I was worried about my extra shopping bag where I'd put my shoes but we were fairly sure it depended on weight not numbers of bags. They also weighed our hand luggage for the first time-mine was 6.2 and Peter's was 8.2 but they didn't say anything. We went straight to the departure gate. Sat in row c waiting section and boarded the plane without incident. Watched "Woman in Gold" and "When we were young" Both OK. On arrival in Dubai, had to catch a bus for a very long way to arrivals and walk a long way to gate B25 where we sat and waited. The toilets were a long way away and behind us were giggling African girls and their leader, a man who kept asking them questions and trying to be cool. The gate opened early but it led us to another waiting hall where there were not enough seats. I talked to a Dutch couple who had come from Sweden where they were visiting their daughter who had married a Swede in Upssala. The plane was full as usual. Watched another film called "Spare Parts" about a bunch of illegal Mexican students who win an underwater robotics competition. It was predictable but entertaining. When I checked the information it seems that we are getting in at 19.27. Hoped Michael was prepared as we thought it was closer to 22.00. Watched another film called 'Big eyes' about the artist Margaret Keane who did paintings of children with big eyes in the 1960s. Her husband claimed to have done them all but she eventually won the court case. Also saw some of a silly comedy called 'Accidental Love' where a girl has a building nail fired into her brain while being proposed to. The staff were quite good bringing around stuff but the place was a mess with so much unnecessary wrapping and cups. The young woman in the seat in front pushed her seat back as far as it would go almost immediately she sat down and for the whole trip and even had to be asked to put it up before landing. It was funny because she was so considerate of others that she made sure we couldn't get past before EVERYBODY in front had climbed out of their seats and left the plane on arrival- we were among the very last off because of her thoughtfulness. It was a trial getting out of the airport as usual. We had rung Michael and he was promptly there to meet us in the white station wagon. He looked very nice and we were so happy to get home and see the house and cats too. It wasn't as late as we expected so there was time to put everything away and even wash a bit of stuff and unwind. Overall, it was a tremendous holiday. We saw and did so many fantastic things. It will take a long time to get our heads around it.

ADVICE FOR HOTELS
It is noticeable that many hotels are a lot more responsive to customer feedback than they once were thanks to hotels. com and other internet accommodation services. Some places make no attempt to improve, however, and you wonder if the people who run the places have ever even gone on a holiday and stayed in a hotel to see what you really need. During this holiday we stayed at 17 different hotels so I think we know what we are talking about.

  • A double room is for 2 people. Have somewhere to put 2 suitcases-a bench preferably, off the ground. This is the first and most important need in a hotel room.
  • Provide a shelf or area in the bathroom for toiletries bags. EVERYONE has those and it is maddening not to have somewhere to put them.
  • Do not have a lot of unnecessary furniture as it gets in the way and uses up space.
  • Do not have a lot of unnecessary pillows or bed decorations-they too take up space.
  • Local tourist information is very helpful-have all the brochures at the front or in the rooms.
  • Have a good bench or desk where computers and devices can be placed and charged-and don't crowd it with silly advertisements or products.
  • Do not fill the fridge with drinks, chocolates and other inordinately expensive snacks. We do not want them but we do need room for our own stuff.
  • Tissues are very useful and most hotels have them.
  • Bath mats are a necessity-too many Scandinavian hotels do not have them.
  • Have simple and practical window coverings. They are either too light and let in all the light or too heavy and take up room while dragging on the floor. Simple holland blinds are the best.
  • If parking is an issue, supply a sheet with information about parking printed clearly and simply in the appropriate languages.
  • Have a supply of maps showing public transport in the area of the hotel.


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