After spending some time exploring Copenhagen, I was keen to spread my wings and make my way over to Sweden for the day. If you didn’t catch my Copenhagen recounts, check out Part One and Part Two here.
The Oresund Bridge
From Copenhagen, it is surprisingly easy to cross the sea into Malmo, Sweden’s third biggest city. This 16 km combination of bridges, tunnels and island crossings was established in 1999 and has replaced ferries as the main way to get from Denmark to Sweden.
I loved looking across the Sound, which is a busy section of waterway just north of the Baltic Sea. In 39 minutes I had transported myself from Copenhagen train station to the one in Malmo. Being a lover of Scandinavia and its culture, I was super excited to arrive in Sweden for the first time.
Before spending time in Malmo, I wanted to visit Lund, a gorgeous little town nearby. So I nipped on the train to have a look at this quaint historic town. I had hoped to see Lund Cathedral but there was a service on so we weren’t allowed to go in. Also it happened to be covered in scaffolding due to renovations. This tends to be a theme everywhere I go these days. Just my luck.
I did find time to pop into a lovely bakery for lunch and was well looked after. It felt as though Lund was a very welcoming place, with friendly people, a quiet feeling and some incredible views. I would love to move somewhere like Lund. Maybe one day…
Looking around this very modern town, I enjoyed the layout and flashbacks to the past, such as Malmo Castle, which was sadly closed on Mondays. Nevertheless I had a good walk around this beautiful city which had extensive parks, plenty of shops and eateries, and even the Swedish capital of Ikea.
The city of Malmo is easy to navigate by foot and has great transport links. With a thriving university, trendy restaurants and bars, and incredibly clean streets, Malmo is well worth visiting. I was impressed by its architecture, friendliness and all round welcoming vibe.
Back to Copenhagen for tea
After my trip to Sweden, I was soon back in Copenhagen for an evening meal. My mind was swimming with story ideas based on what I had seen that day. I absolutely loved my first taste of Sweden and decided I would go back again a few days later.
Thank you so much for reading about my travelling by rail. I am keen to encourage people to travel by train rather than flying because planes are such huge sources of atmospheric pollution. I hope that you will consider following my blog for more of the same type of content.
After writing about my arrival in Copenhagen, I wanted to spend some time enjoying it before I began to document my experiences in more detail. Now, as I sit on a train back to Hamburg I can reflect upon such a wonderful holiday. With two years of pandemic awfulness, it was so refreshing to travel to Scandinavia. This holiday has secured my love for such a brilliant and modern group of nations.
Before I came to Copenhagen, I knew a little about the Vikings, had an awareness of the Hygge concept which is often referred to on blogs and was aware of the geography of Denmark. That was about it though. I had no idea just how impactful my travels to Denmark were going to be.
Doing that tourist thing…
Of course, you have to start somewhere and when I did my initial research, one of the most intriguing historic buildings suggested was Rosenborg Castle which was slap bang in the middle of gorgeous Copenhagen. Originally the seat of King Christian IV, this 400 year old building was stunning and you could book a time slot to look around its well-preserved interior.
This place is so beautiful and has a good tour brochure that briefly describes each room in Danish and English. Every room was a new discovery as we walked into it. From bedchambers to a basement packed full of the Danish Crown jewels, I was very impressed by my visit.
Entry cost 125 DDK (about £14) and it was definitely worth it. The gardens were also impressive and it was an easy walk from the centre of the town.
That evening we had a lovely meal at a Chinese restaurant and then tasted some of the incredible gin recipes on offer at Two Socks Gin Bar.
The man running Two Socks was really friendly and gave a detailed history of how each Gin came about. I had one with a peach flavour and went back for a pear based concoction. As someone who rarely drinks gin, I was really taken in by the drinks there. Best of all, it was just a short distance from our hotel.
I hope my blog has given you a taste of Copenhagen. Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget to follow my blog if you want to know more about my travels or about books, TV shows and the environment. There will be more about Copenhagen soon.
Having seen the beautiful Norwegian countryside on television, I had it in my head that I needed to check it out for myself. So, I decided to go on my very first cruise and made sure that the Norwegian Fjords were my destination.
Have you ever thought about visiting Scandinavia?
If you have, then perhaps a good place to begin your exploration is Norway. This historic nation with its Norse Gods and stunning glaciers, is jam-packed with eye-opening scenery.
Here are five reasons why you should take a trip to Norway, preferably by cruise ship.
1) Cruise ships are packed with fun
Taking a voyage on the open sea had always appealed to me and so I was in my element after I’d checked into my balcony suite on the P&O Azura. The suite was spacious and had a butler service as well as plenty of technology available. On the balcony were some chairs on which we could sit and enjoy a drink whilst watching the sun set.
Activities on the ship were varied and I made good use of the gym, a massage, the casino and live music at nighttime. A shopping deck, choice of restaurants and a theatre all helped to pass the time, especially during the full day at sea.
After a day on the waves, you then get to spend every day on land, at a different venue. You literally wake up in a new port every morning. If you travel by cruise ship, the actual travelling part mostly happens while you sleep. Then you are ready to spring into action and explore the attractions on dry land.
Stavenger was my first stop off and I absolutely loved it. Most cruises stop off at this popular destination on the south coast of Norway. Such a snug town with a large port and plenty of shops and eateries, is a way to acclimatise with Scandinavia.
I really enjoyed buying gifts here, taking in the art and architecture and getting a feel for Norwegian life. Surrounded by steep hills, this picturesque town was great for photos and had a really friendly vibe.
Throughout the trip I got to experience elements of Norwegian traditions and history. For example we visited an intriguing wooden church which was introduced by a guide and gave us some insight into village life as well as a deeper understanding of myths and legends.
As a bit of a geek, I am always intrigued by Norse mythology and so making that link to the place where such stories evolved was brilliant. Carvings, pottery and furniture often gave nods to those mysterious Gods and added to the fascination factor that Norway possesses.
4) Bergenand a nearby glacier
Bergen is another beautiful town located by the mouth of one of the stunning fjords (wide rivers). It has shops and restaurants as well as museums. When I visited Bergen I also drove off into the mountains and walked up a pathway that led to a stunning glacier.
As a geographer, one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Norway was to witness its incredible landscape with enormous valleys forged by ice. This particular glacier sits high up in the hills and there are markings showing that it has slowly retreated in recent years. Nonetheless it was an interesting spectacle which was fascinating to learn about in the museum/ shop at the bottom of the walkway.
5) The general friendliness of Norway
There is a certain warmth about Norway. I could sense it everywhere I went. It seems as though the people who live there are extremely welcoming and are great at putting everybody at ease.
I sensed this in the hospitality and just generally out and about. One such friendly town was called Voss where we had lunch and spent time in a local library as well as taking in stunning views by a lake. We always felt very safe and comfortable and the people we came across were eager to help and didn’t mind speaking English when we wanted directing or more information about something.
In Voss there was a beautiful body of water which really took my breath away. Exploring the quaint little town, I genuinely felt like I could see myself living there happily one day. Certainly Norway is a place that has a caring attitude to the environment and harnesses its natural wealth cleverly. For instance, most if its power is now generated by hydro-electric stations and most of its cars are electric too.
In fact I loved Norway so much that I now find myself watching Norwegian programmes on Netflix. I’ve recently enjoyed a series called ‘Ragnarok’ which is a modern day take on the Norse God stories.
If you travel to Norway, you are sure to want to come back. It has a certain magnetism which is magical, mystical and just incredibly beautiful. If you get the chance, definitely travel there on a thriving cruise vessel like the wonderful P & O Azura.
All in all, there were two important elements to my trip. These sum up my reasons to go to Norwayand may motivate you to consider a trip there soon.
1) The cruise itself was wonderful and is a slightly cleaner way to travel when compared to flying. Also you get to soak up the atmosphere of a floating community of holidaymakers.
2) Norway is intriguing, beautiful and steeped in history. Its heritage is fascinating and most of all, its people make you feel so very welcome.
I hope this blog article has made you consider visiting wonderful Norway and also got you thinking about joining a cruise. If you enjoyed the reasons to visit Norway post, please leave a comment or perhaps follow my blog.