A Travellerspoint blog

Stop 28 - Budapest

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Our next stop (after a fairly horrendous journey) was a three nighter in beautiful Budapest. Getting there took us 30 hours on various buses and trains (including a train that went on a boat) and did have us questioning our decision to complete this entire trip without a plane! The first leg, Gothenburg to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Hamburg was pretty relaxing and fun. From Hamburg onwards however, sat on Flix buses (European Megabus equivalent) driving on long dark motorways with some screaming kids and lots of other smellyish people with pretty weird habits, we were harshly reminded that night buses in Europe are really shit.


However on arrival we were greeted by a beautiful apartment and sunny weather and soon forgot our travel woes. A few hours later Mike's family arrived and we celebrated the reunion with a great lunch and a few beers in a pretty little square. We spent the weekend walking around the streets of Budapest, stopping for plenty of coffees and afternoon beer flavoured refreshments.


We also climbed up a pretty steep hill to the citadel for some brilliant views of the city!


Visited a cool old market hall which was full of sausages and random souvenir stands...


And, amongst other interesting sights, visited the Grand Synagogue, built for the Neolog Jewish population of the area. It was actually designed with certain elements, such as a stain glass window and the rectangular interior layout, that make it comparable to a cathedral. There is also an obvious Moorish influence in the design and decoration.

Whilst visiting the synagogue, we also randomly bumped into our mates Mila Kunas and Ashton Kutcher which was quite cool. We didn't want them to be too shocked to see us there, so we did the mature thing and hid behind a pillar whispering about the situation.

All in all, we had an amazing time catching up with everyone and being treated far too much and couldn't quite be bothered to board another 12 hour night bus to Milan.

Posted by Chloemillen92 06:44 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest danube bridge hungary tram citadel jewish_quarter 7th_district grand_synagogue Comments (0)

Stop 27 - Gothenburg

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We got back on the "most scenic railway in Europe" towards Oslo, but unfortunately, due to it being dark, there were no views this time. After a quick change in Oslo, we were soon rolling through the Swedish countryside to Gothenburg to meet our friends Karo and Tom. We were staying in student halls around the corner from Karo's flat which were a pretty great place to stay, other than the scent of vom that clung to our room no matter how many hours we left the windows wide open. We spent the next few days eating and drinking, interspersed with lots of fikas (coffee and cake). The best thing about Sweden, by far, is chocolate balls.


One day we headed out to the small island of Lilla Amundo, an hour or so out the city by bus and tram. It was a beautiful nature reserve, with great rocks for picnics and clambering, and little beaches for a cold swim.


The city itself was pretty and relaxed and as with a lot of Scandinavia, water was quite a big feature. Standing on the waterfront looking over to the port, you can even see seals (although we were very lucky to spot one by chance!). The huge, iconic cranes in the above photo have been bought by local celebrities, to prevent them being taken down and thus conserve the history of the area.

Posted by Chloemillen92 13:29 Archived in Sweden Tagged harbour sweden port seal gothenburg chocolate_balls fika lilla_amundo Comments (0)

Stop 26 - Norway

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Our very early train arrived into Oslo five and a half hours later, giving us time to chill out in our most spacious AirBnB yet, before heading into the city centre.


Oslo is pretty compact and it felt like they were building something new on every street, but it has a nice buzz to it and is on the edge of a beautiful harbour. There is a pretty river running down into the centre and the modern opera House is very photogenic. We went to the Nobel Peace Center (only the Peace Prize is decided on and awarded in Norway, the rest are in Sweden), a really nice museum with info about the prize and every laureate. The only downside to Oslo is the ridiculous prize of drinks... Like £10 pints....


The Viking Ship Museum is just outside the centre and has three boats, all over 1000 years old, two of which have been carefully reconstructed. The boats and the incredibly decorative items found with them were buried as part of the Viking funeral tradition.

Our next step was the Oslo-Bergen train, which is supposed to be one of Europe's most scenic. Although we did have to get a rail replacement coach for the final hour... the views really were pretty great; snowy mountains, fjords etc. We went straight to pick up our hire car (turns out Mike can't drive an automatic) and got jerkily started on our way into the fjords.


We were staying in a cosy cabin with beautiful views of Sørfjorden and a short drive away from a brilliant hike up to the edge of Norway's 3rd largest glacier, Folgefonna, part of a national park of the same name. Parts of the walk were pretty steep, so ropes were provided to haul yourself up and down for added adventure. The views back down the valley to the fjord were incredible. The cabin was very comfy and great for Carcassonne.


We drove back to Bergen and found our slightly odd smelling apartment, that made up for the smell with a huge balcony and views. The big attraction here is the Bryggen area on the waterfront, a collection of colourful, wooden buildings that were originally used by traders as warehouses and venues for big meals! The funicular up Mt Fløyen was also worth doing, allowing massive views of the surrounding mountains and water. This was sadly where our travel pals left us to fly back home and we got ready for a night train back to Sweden.

Posted by Chloemillen92 12:37 Archived in Norway Tagged trains bergen oslo fjords glacier norway vikings scandinavia bryggen hordaland odds folgefonna_national_park Comments (0)

Stop 25 - Stockholm

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After a cracking night on the ferry we headed to our shared apartment in Stockholm - our base for our next few days.


Stockholm has lots of good museums - the Vasa museum, which contains a huge medieval ship and lots of information about it, was supposed to be one of the best so we went to have a look around. It definitely lived up to expectations and was very interesting even for someone who has a grand total of zero previous medieval ship knowledge! Afterwards we chilled at a nice restaurant/bar on the museum island that had a cute sunsetty view of the water.


The next day we spent at another amazing museum, this time all about Sweden in the old times. We watched some nicely dressed people spinning in circles to folk music (Mike steered us quickly away before the interactive part of the dance session commenced) and learned how to make linen out of flax! We also learned a bit about Scandinavia's native Sami people and saw some reindeers and other cool animals !!


The last two days in Sweden were spent kayaking in the archipelago (of which there is a lack of photos due to our very unwaterproof devices) and cycling the length of a little island dowm to a very beautiful beach. Both were very idyllic and made us feel like wholesome nature children. The next morning was a very early 5am start to board a train to ... Norway!

Posted by Chloemillen92 12:08 Archived in Sweden Tagged stockholm kayaking sweden cycling scandinavia skansen meatballs stockholm_archipelago uto danaro Comments (0)

Stop 24 - Helsinki

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We got into the beautiful Helsinki Central Station mid-morning and met up with our new travel pals, Ricky and Amber. Hitting the ground running, we chucked our bags into the station lockers and walked down to the waterfront to catch a ferry to Suomelina.


The star-shaped Suomelina Fortress is on a beautiful island about 10 minutes boat ride away, and had been passed backwards and forwards between various nations, as well as being used as a prisoner of war camp. It was a beautiful day for saving Chinese tourists who had slipped off a rock into the Baltic Sea, pizza and beer in the sun and creepy dolls heads in the Toy Museum....


Just outside the city is the Nuuksio National Park, a pretty quick train and bus ride away. Finland seems to be full of national parks, have a relaxed approach to free camping and provide fire pits with grills and firewood for you to chop yourself. We spent a few hours hiking through the park and trying to find wild blueberries - there were so many Finnish people out foraging with baskets!


For our final day in the city, we found a massive lunch buffet with brilliant salmon soup, bought some Moomin souvenirs and had a look at the famous Rock Church. Built in the 60s, it was cut straight into the rock which forms the walls of the large space and boasts a beautiful copper dome.


We eagerly boarded the Viking Line M/S Mariella, bound for Stockholm, checked out our cosy cabin without a window but complete with a fake porthole, and joined the locals in getting a bit drunk on the tax-free alcohol on board.

Posted by Chloemillen92 10:20 Archived in Finland Tagged helsinki finland ferry scandinavia rock_church nuuksio_national_park suomelina_fortress moomins viking_lines Comments (0)

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