Stockholm part 2

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May 212017
 

By luck and interesting corporate policies, we were “forced” to have a hotel in Gamla Stan, the oldest part of Stockholm. Wonderfully clean, incredibly well preserved, very very touristy. A few doors down from the hotel was Kungliga Slottet, the King’s Palace – precisely like Buckingham Palace, complete with a changing-of-the-guard ceremony.

I didn’t figure it out, but on this side of the building they had what I presume were “traditional” uniforms and rifles. On the other side were real active duty soldiers in modern uniform with automatic weapons…. doing their own changing-of-the-guard thing.

Apparently the King has cats that play with ping-pong balls too. He even had statues made.

A few blocks over is Stortorget – Market Square – the original real market, centrally located between the docks and the local villagers. They still have a market there in the winter. The ground floors of all the buildings in the area are now restaurants, cafes, and stores; the upper floors are most likely offices, or flats for very rich folk. There is NO parking to speak of, and no grocery store in the entire neighbourhood.

Right on the square is the Nobel Museum. One fact I didn’t know: Alfred Nobel, the originator of the World Peace Prize, earned his substantial fortune by…. inventing dynamite.

This is a typical Swedish restaurant, also right on the square. They all have blankets so you can sit outside even when it’s cold.

We ate there, I had the meatballs. (No, really, I had the meatballs – when in Sweden you may as well try them once –  not bad, but the moose carpacchio appetizer was better).

 Posted by at 21:09

Stockholm

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May 202017
 

Your first hint that things will get interesting: your boss asks “do you have a passport”?

Being the honest soul that I am, I said yes. Next thing I knew I was off on a whirlwind trip to Sweden. When your plane takes off mid-morning Saturday, and you land at your destination late on Sunday….. turns out that Sweden is #2 in the world in coffee consumption. Good thing.

Stockholm is a series of islands, off the Baltic Sea. There is water everywhere, and ships, and bridges – and historic buildings; that’s the opera house in the distance. On the wall is one happy seagull – he’s just caught a live salmon:

(Yeah, bad pic…. I’ll save you my rant about the quality of cell phone cameras). Bird was pretty happy about this; fish did not look happy at all.

This was right across the water from my hotel, on another island; that’s a museum on the left, and the ship is apparently now a hostel. I meant to get over to check it out, but it was about a 1 km walk and didn’t have time.

There are some very very familiar sights in Stockholm; this is the square right in front of the Royal Palace, complete with a statue of Admiral Nelson on his horse, the Lincoln Memorial, and some random church. This is a public street – but with the cobbles and masses of tourists, there are very few cars.

And being Sweden there are lots of tulips…. wait, that’s wrong. It did snow twice while I was there (which the locals swore was the first time it’s snowed in May) but there were flowers blooming.

One thing about Sweden….. it’s north. Far, far north. This is the view out the front of the hotel….. at 3:00 AM. No camera trickery – it just never really got dark for the week I was there. On the other hand, I do NOT want to go back in February, where I suppose it won’t really get light for a week.

 Posted by at 20:15

ZooLights

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Dec 032016
 

We went to the Christmas “ZooLights” thing at the Phoenix Zoo. Compared to Boston, this one had many many more lights, but fewer animals. They also had several amazing Lego sculptures – there’s a Legoland in Phoenix, so a kind of an advertising tie-in. Each scuplture had 50,000 or so bricks and took well over a month to build.

zoolights_1

And, completely unrelated…. this is Turtle Rock, a car-sized rock beside one of our bike trails, that just happens to look like a turtle.

turtlerock

 Posted by at 10:45

Pics from the road

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Sep 012014
 

RoadPic_1

Interstate in Colorado…. 3 lanes, low traffic, and actually *paved*. Scenic too.

RoadPic_2

We’re not in Kansas any more.

Final statistics: 2392 miles at 58.4 MPH = 41 hours driving. 28.7 miles per gallon average (on the big car, not sure about the little tractor that kept tailing me).

Gas is a lot cheaper in the west – maybe $3.60 a gallon, versus $4.00 in New England – so rough fuel cost is about $320, far cheaper than $1500 to ship the car.

 Posted by at 03:11

52 MPG

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Aug 312014
 

52mpg

Who says 400 horsepower V8 engines can’t get good gas mileage?  Take that, Prius owners.

 Posted by at 03:11