Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland)- June/July 2017
-- Travel Routing--
Fly from LAX to Arlanda Airport near Stockholm, Arlanda Express Train to downtown Stockholm, overnight first-class train to Boden, day train to Kiruna, two nights in Kiruna, train to Narvik, then bus to Bodo (great scenery and a ferry ride), two nights in Bodo, train to Trondheim, two nights in Trondheim, Hurtigruten ferry overnight to Bergen, four nights in Bergen, train to Oslo, two nights in Oslo, commuter train to Goteborg, transfer to express to Copenhagen, three nights in Copenhagen, commuter rail to Malmo, express train back to Stockholm, commuter rail to Arlanda, three nights at airport, rent car one day, drive to Kapellskär port - park car - take Viking Line ferry to Mariehamn (rent bicycles) and back, train to Uppsala, antique train ride, train back to Arlanda, flight back to LAX. Trip length: 23 days.
-- Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries--
Start at purple dot, follow the Red engines.
The top urban areas in Sweden and Norway with more than 72,000 inhabitants as of 2010/2015,
according to Statistics Sweden/Norway are:
The top urban areas in Sweden and Norway with more than 72,000 inhabitants as of 2010/2015,
according to Statistics Sweden/Norway are:
-- Sweden Cities --
Rank, Urban Area, Population, (Comment)
(The train routing passed through all except Vasterås and Örebro.)
- Stockholm, 1,372,565 (Capital and seaport on the Baltic Sea)
- Göteborg, 569,839 (Volvo, seaport on North Sea)
- Malmö, 280,415 (Across from Copenhagen, Denmark via bridge/tunnel)
- Uppsala, 140,454 (University town near Stockholm Arlanda Airport)
- Västerås, 110,877 (On Lake Mälaren, 100 km West of Stockholm)
- Örebro, 107,038 (Castle, inland transport hub, 200 km West of Stockholm)
- Linköping, 104,232 (Saab, among other -kopings)
- Helsingborg, 97,122 (Across the closest point to Denmark)
- Jönköping, 89,396 (South end of Vartern Lake)
- Norrköping, 87,247 (On a large Baltic Sea inlet)
- Lund, 82,800 (University town next to Malmo)
- Umeå, 79,594 (Northern port on the Baltic Sea)
-- Norway Cities --
- Oslo, 958,378 (Oslo/Akershus/Buskerud)
- Bergen, 250,420 (Fish Town)
- Stavanger/Sandnes, 210,874 (Fjord Town)
- Trondheim, 175,068 (Old Church Town)
- Drammen, 113,534 (West of Oslo)
- Fredrikstad/Sarpsborg, 108,636 (93 km Southeast of Oslo)
- Porsgrunn/Skien, 91,737 (152 km Southwest of Oslo)
-- Denmark area visited --
Copenhagen- Population 1,181,238- the capital and largest city in Denmark. Famous places visited were Tivoli which is next to the main train station, the Little Mermaid statue on the water, the Aquarium overlooking the strait tunnel/bridge to Sweden, Rosenborg Castle, the canals.
-- Finland area visited --
(from Wikipedia) The Åland Islands or Åland (Swedish: Åland, IPA: [?o?land]; Finnish: Ahvenanmaa) is an archipelago at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea belonging to Finland. It is autonomous, demilitarised and is the only monolingually Swedish-speaking region in Finland. It is the smallest region of Finland, constituting 0.49% of its land area and 0.50% of its population.
Åland comprises Fasta Åland on which 90% of the population resides and a further 6,500 skerries and islands to its east. Fasta Åland is separated from the coast of Sweden by 38 kilometres (24 mi) of open water to the west. In the east, the Åland archipelago is contiguous with the Finnish Archipelago Sea. Åland's only land border is located on the uninhabited skerry of Märket, which it shares with Sweden.
Åland's autonomous status means that those provincial powers normally exercised by representatives of the central Finnish government are largely exercised by its own government.
-- Aland Flag and Coat of Arms --
-- Sweden --
Stockholm proudly displays Sweden flag colors, even on street rerouting signs
------ I suppose every large city has to have a clock tower
Stockholm Alley Artwork
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasa_(ship) The ruler of Sweden demanded a ship with two gun decks, oak wood decorations, a particular width, and a particular length. The ship architect complied with the ruler demands. The ship was launched and sank 25 minutes later. Another shipbuilding error: In the 1980's, a ferry was launched in Lake Powell named the John Atlantic Burr, What? A ship in the desert? Yes. Utah Department of Transportation operates a ferry service across 3.1 miles of open water between Bullfrog Marina and Hall's Crossing on Lake Powell. When the catamaran ferry was launched in front of the celebrating Utah State officials, it slid into the water, rolled over and sank. The manufacturer had neglected the ballast on one side of the catamaran to balance the engine on the other side. After repairs, he ship was relaunched quietly without fanfare.
This one is for Charles who made a movie entitled Bread and Salt. It is a restaurant on Sockholm Harbor opposite the docks and amusement park.
Wikipedia: The Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family. Built on the island Lovön (in Ekerö Municipality of Stockholm County), it is one of Sweden's Royal Palaces. It was originally built in the late 16th century. It served as a regular summer residence of the Swedish royal court for most of the 18th century. Apart from being the private residence of the Swedish royal family, the palace is a popular tourist attraction.
Wikipedia: Stockholm Central Station: The station was built between 1867 and 1871 with Adolf W. Edelsvärd as the architect. Until 1925 the tracks led into the station but during a renovation 1925-1927 the tracks were moved to the west and the former track hall was converted into a 119 meter long, 28 meter wide and 13 meter high waiting hall. During the renovation the station was extended to the south through the construction of the southern pavilion. This part of the station currently houses a conference facility. Next to the conference facility is the Royal waiting hall where the Royal Family waits when travelling by train. In 1951 the facade towards Vasagatan was changed and given a more simplified look. In 1958 an underground passage to T-Centralen was opened. Louis: The commuter trains now stopping there are scheduled to be moved to a new terminal interface with the Stockholm Metro Lines. A similar (but much larger) structure is the old Reading Terminal in downtown Philadelphia which is now part of the Convention Center. The commuter train traffic there was also moved underground to better interface with the Pennsylvania Railroad and Metro lines
------ At the Uppsala station, there is a one meter antique train line off into the woods. How can I resist an orange train?
------ Bicycles parked in front of the Uppsala station. Much bicycle traffic was found in many large cities, especially university towns like Copenhagen, Lund, and Uppsala.
Sweden - Kiruna: The LKAB iron mine is toured by taking a large bus from the town center directly into the mine and down large two-way tunnels into the mine museum. The mine is expanding under the town, and half the town will have to be relocated to avoid dislocation.
Monument to railroad track.
-- Norway --
Fjord leading from Narvik into mountains. The train goes down the side of the fjord. The Iron Ore line was built for the transport of iron from north Sweden to the coasts of the North Sea in Narvik and the Baltic Sea at Lulea. It was originally completed in 1902 and electrified later.
------ The bus passes some steep mountains on the way to the Bodo.
------ This is the Midnight Sun on June 22 in Bodo with the Lofoten Islands in the background.
------ Bodo has a large air museum. The reception area is on top of the road. One side is military aircraft; the other side is civil aircraft. The airport was built by Nazi Germany when the town was occupied during World War II. The airport takes too much of the flat space in town, so the plan is to move it one kilometer towards the inlet and rebuild. This then gives the town room for expansion.
------ Artwork on a building in town. Interesting? Meaning?
Outfit for Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) ride.
Largest Maelstrom (whirlpool) in Norway when the tide changes in the fjord.
The spectacular diesel train ride from Bodo to Trondheim. This special excursion train was the subject of a six part documentary on Norwegian public television. The scenery along the route is varied and interesting.
Trondheim was established where the Nidelva River empties into the Trondheim Fjord.
1300 AD - Nidaros Cathedral, built as Catholic, then Church of Norway (Lutheran). People are welcome to come and worship together.
The old harbor in Bergen from our Admiral Hotel room. Note the plastic covering on two of the buildings to maintain appearance.
The Bergen fish market offers all kinds of seafood including this authentic paella. Workers there came from all over Europe. Tourists seem to get proficient service in their own language. In Norway now, children start English training in Kindergarten, so just about everyone speaks good English.
Sushi made to order. I ordered a special non-spicy sushi selection from the Fish Me market in Bergen. The sushi chef from Lithuania did an expert job making four take-out boxes of sushi, and then I noticed that there was an older Japanese couple who were watching the process. I took one of the sushi boxes, and then the couple happily went up to the counter to get two of the boxes.
We took the interesting Norway in a Nutshell tour from Bergen. This involved a train ride from Bergen to Voss where there were many buses waiting. The bus ride to Gudvangen was spectacular with hundreds of waterfalls and a very steep drop down to the back end of the Sognefjord. The Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. The road had a very steep 18.5 degree downgrade. The driver got a loud round of applause from the passengers at the bottom. There was then a ferry ride to the village of Flåm. I was astounded to see the size of cruise ships that could get to Flåm. There we all boarded the Flåm railway with its steep one hour rise to the train stop in Myrdal. It is rated as one of the most scenic and beautiful train rides in the world, but I prefer the 10 hour Bodo to Trondheim ride, but that does not make any top 10 railroad ride lists.
This waterfall is on the Flåm Railway. The lady in red leaves her log cabin for every train to attempt to entice you into the mountain.
View from the funicular of the modern Bergen port.
Snowy mountain side on the Bergen railroad line to Oslo on July 1.
------ In front of the Oslo Main Railroad Station
Historic buildings are accumulated in a park in Oslo
Before there was Disneyland, there was Vigeland, a sculpture garden in Oslo
It seemed to start with the Sydney Opera House on the harbor; now both Oslo and Copenhagen have an Opera House on the harbor.
-- Denmark --
The Little Mermaid statue is the symbol of Copenhagen.
Copenhagen Opera House on the main canal.
------ Side canal modeled after Amsterdam canals.
Rosenborg Castle is the former residence of the Denmark royal family. It is now a period museum and contains the royal jewels.
------ No Drones sign in front of military barracks.
Tivoli is the famous amusement park next to the railroad station.
Tivoli offers many types of shows.
-- Aland --
Mariehamnn autical museum dedicatd to large sailing ships.
-- Flight back scenes --
-------- Sight seen above the cloud level on return flight from Arlanda north of Iceland. This is an obvious volcano, but where is it? The flight track is too far from cloud-covered Iceland, where there are many volcanos; not just one (the highest is 2110 meters). There are no tall volcanos in the Faroe Islands which are too far south of the flight track. After some research, I find that this 2277 meter tall volcano is on the isolated Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, and it is called Beerenberg.
Map of location
-------- Glaciers in Greenland
Scandinavia Trip: We were very fortunate on sunshine after the snow at midnight in Kiruna. Days were generally sunny with reasonable temperatures. Hair color is different there, I sort of regarded Norway people as gray; Sweden as yellow; and Denmark as red. Cities were generally quite dirty with discarded gum and tobacco littering every street. Non-smoking hotels and restaurants have become much more common in the last 15 years. There is unfortunately still a high incidence of public tobacco use, which in my opinion should be outlawed as in Barbados. No Smorgasbord was found in Sweden; no Danish was found in Denmark, but I did find a Berliner, which is a jelly-filled doughnut. According to Dave, that means the famous Kennedy statement: "Ich bin ein Berliner" -- translates as "I am a jelly-filled doughnut". Scandinavia is an expensive place to visit with high costs for most tourist activities, especially hotel rooms and food. Included hotel buffet breakfasts were outstanding: six kinds of fruit, various types of herring and salmon, eggs(hardboiled, softboiled, scrambled, omelette), bacon, sausage, pancakes, yogurt, cereal, juices, and a large variety of breads and pastries. The typical English items of baked beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes were usually available. I liked the homemade jams that were offered, especially the lingonberry.
Transportation: The only non-stop airplane from LAX for the days we wanted to fly was SAS to Stockholm at a cost of $1100 per person. Norwegian Air also flys nonstop to Oslo or Copenhagen. WOW airlines offers low-cost one-stop service to several cities through Iceland. Originally, I thought we would take the 12 day Hurtigruten trip from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, but the $1000 per day price tag for two was discouraging. After my one day on Hurtigruten, I found that the service is substandard, the beds are a thin mattress on a hard wood surface, and cabin temperature can not be regulated well. The AAA refusal to book Hurtigruten indicates problems there. The first-class Eurail pass for two for 7 days in Scandinavia was a good deal at $750. Reservations are required on first-class routes, especially for the night trains.
Currency: All the Nordic countries have their own currency. Fortunately, it seems that every shop has a portable credit card reader, so cash in any country is mostly not needed. There were three exceptions:
1. Restrooms at the railroad station do not accept foreign credit cards. Not having a 10 kroner coin handy was an unwanted problem. 2. Gas station pumps do not accept credit cards directly, do not get frustrated, go to the office. 3. The ice cream shop at the aquarium had to give me a cone for free. See article -- https://www.tripsavvy.com/currencies-in-scandinavia-1626462
Country, Currency Exchange Rate - July 2017
- Sweden, 1$ = 8.32 Swedish Krona, SEK
- Norway, 1$ = 8.19 Norwegian Krone, NOK
- Denmark, 1$ = 6.49 Danish Krone, DKK
- Finland, 1$ = 0.87 Euro, €
- Iceland, 1$ = 104.4 Icelandic Krona, ISK
- Great Britain, 1$ = 0.76 British Pound, £