Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Medieval times

When our friends from CA came to visit us, Eric and Erica, we were excited for some super fun medieval/viking fun.  Eric has been watching Game of Thrones on HBO and was super pumped to see some of the landscape in person.  Having never seen Game of Thrones, we were just excited to show Stockholm and some of the neighboring areas to our friends.

Eric and Erica are professional travelers and
were the most prepared people I had ever seen.  They know how to pack for a 10 day trip with clothes for 5 days, pack the appropriate footwear for all weather and forgo checking any baggage whatsoever.  I was duly impressed! We hit the ground running on Saturday after they landed at 9am and found some nice sights and lunch at Gamla Stan.

Awesome dragon statue

Ran into a random bachelor party in Gamla Stan -- hazing the bachelor is fun

Eric, pondering his alcohol choices at the Systembolaget

Drinks in Sodermalm -- soaking up the sun

Beautiful stop at Långholmen

Final stop at a playground to let Calvin play
We walked a nice loop around Stockholm and they got to see a LOT of different areas.  I'm sure they were mostly in a I-just-got-off-a-15-hour-flight-and-am-not-sure-where-I-am type haze but we have the pictures to prove that they saw a lot!

We HAD to check out the beautiful church and sights of Uppsala the next day.  The weather was so beautiful and perfect and Uppsala is so beautiful in the summer with flowers on every bridge.  The last time we were in Uppsala there was 3 inches of snow on the ground, so it was great to see it in the nice weather.  Fortunately, it is beautiful regardless of the weather.

In the botanical gardens

Crawling like a tiger!

Uppsala and Stockholm really didn't hold a candle to the ridiculous beauty of Visby, Gotland.  We braved a super long journey that involved the precise timing of buses, trains, ferries, more buses and a lot of walking.  We did this all with 4 adults, 1 baby and 2 dogs.  Are we insane or what?!?

The ferry ride in the animal lounge was surprisingly comfortable and all of the kids on the boat made sure to walk through and attempt to pet all of the dogs.  Aside from some random animal smells, growling and the occasional barking, it was really comfortable and had the best leg room of any of the other options on the boat.  Calvin slept through 2/3 of the boat ride, so we were happy relaxing with our beers and watching some Moneyball.
The weather was windy and cold but we didn't let that stop us from exploring the beautiful cliffs of Gotland and enjoying the views.

We rented a car and took it for a quick drive down the coast.  We didn't have too much time in Gotland to really explore (only a weekend) but we still managed to see some beautiful parts of the island.  One of the most impressive was these ship settings.  These are burial grounds for vikings and are historically a Germanic burial custom and date back to the Bronze Age.  They were surrounded by beautiful woods and situated not far from the sea.  It was incredibly impressive and interesting to be surrounded by so much history in such a humble setting.

Visby is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most well preserved walled towns.  It is incredibly beautiful from the outside and things were only more surprising once we ventured past the wall.  We spent two days just wandering the town and around each turn, we were more surprised and happy with what we found.  I don't know about the others, but my 16 year old self would have been super jealous if she knew that I would be twirling around medieval fields surrounded by stone towers and a beautiful wall.  It made me feel girlish again and I just enjoyed the moment.  If only I was wearing a long peasant skirt, I would have twirled away!

The ocean was this stunningly beautiful blue-green.  It was the type of color that you associate with warmer places, like Bermuda or the Bahamas.  It felt like a different world and not at all like we were situated off the coast of Sweden.

Without a doubt, we will return to Visby at some point only we will stay longer than 2 days.  It is the type of place where you can lose yourself, enjoy the surroundings and relax in one of the most beautiful places in Sweden.  Seeing Gotland with great friends made us so appreciative of our lives and the experiences we have had so far.  It has been rewarding beyond belief and we want to share it with everyone.


  1. This is AWESOME Lisa.
    Thank you so much for your generous hospitality while we were in Sweden. You guys really made this trip happen for us!
    Thanks also for your loving friendship, exploring unfamiliar lands half way around the world was fantastic, but doing it with your family made it AMAZING!
    Love you guys!
    Eric & Erica

    1. We had so much fun with you guys and we were so happy you could make it out to see beautiful Sweden with us! We love you guys too!!

      L, J, C, B&D

  2. Lisa -- if you ever decide to abandon epidemiology, take up travel writing! YOu make me want to hasten our trip to Sweden, and plan to stay a long time. Lovely photos, great descriptions. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Grandma! We had to take a brief respite from blogging due to our schedules but we will have more travel-related blogs coming soon! The stories and pictures will tide you over until you can see it for yourself! :0) Love and hugs!


Leave your thoughts here