To the Land of Pippi

8.5.2017

We finished our time in Oslo toting all our gear along with us since we were catching the bus to Gothenburg, Sweden mid-day.


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Coffee was beckoning us, so we tried some at Stockfleths. I sat outside with the kiddos while the girls enjoyed a more quiet downstairs seating area with free wifi.

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Lunch was another kebab restaurant right near the city central and that’s where Natasha chased pigeons and Lincoln was assumed to be Norwegian by a local artist with a gallery there. She was chatting away to him and when she directed a question to me, I responded in English. She then exclaimed, “Oh! I was speaking Norwegian-he looks so Norwegian!”

The bus ride was approximately 3 1/2 hours long and memorable, to say the least. There were several young children and 3 of them screamed/cried/and didn’t nap for the majority of the ride. One of them, being our youngest. If Lincoln wasn’t crying, the one or two in front of us were alternately crying. Sometimes Lincoln and one of the other youngsters got into cahoots and decided to match tones simultaneously. It was one of those parenting moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I chose to laugh outwardly and cry inwardly. Lincoln finally fell asleep in the carrier, but wow. That bus ride wore me out.

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A rare calm moment on the bus.

Our arrival in Gothenburg was still eventful. The bus terminal is right next to a mall, so we left our luggage near a play area so Natasha could play, while Daniel went in search of groceries and the girls went in search of bathrooms. This in itself was quite a feat. The bathrooms required payment, but wouldn’t take credit card. That meant coins were needed, in the Swedish krone. However, since we just arrived, we didn’t have any and the mall bank ATM had just closed. They finally found a ATM which provided the needed $, but then had to purchase something in the mall to break down the cash. What an ordeal to simply use the WC! Meanwhile, my eyes were busy darting back and forth between our two piles of luggage, my two children, a random dog with its not-so-attentive owner, numerous other children and people who I felt were sitting too close to our bags. It was crazy.

I was so glad to see the girls and Daniel reappear and we quickly headed out to the bus to take us to our next AirBnB house. It was about 25 minutes outside of Gothenburg in the small village Kvisljungeby and so much more peaceful than the chaotic mall. We got off a bus stop too soon and it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We weren’t, but it did require extra walking to get to our house.

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Teamwork, folks. That’s how we carry groceries.

Thus, we met Sweden. The AirBnB house was so spacious compared to the tiny Oslo apartment; it was a welcome relief to spread out for our stay. Here’s a picture from later in our visit:

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Photography Session and New Friends in Portugal

The second surprise Daniel had for me was a private photography session in Portugal with Kali Jade Photography. Maya and her husband Miguel were very accommodating and drove us all around the area for fabulous locations to shoot at. We started at the Palace of Monserrate at Sintra, where we toured the gardens complete with waterfalls and moss covered rocks. The palace itself was stunning too of course. From there we went to the western most tip of Europe and admired the sea at Cabo da Roca. Oh my was it pretty. Green, green grass, the bluest water and sky… We finished up with a spontaneous stop on our way back to Cascais, along the side of the road at a ruins for some last minute pictures with the sunset.

So, because I’m lazy, I’ll just send you over to Maya’s blog to see these pictures they took! Please click here. :)

Before catching our train back to Lisbon, we snapped a picture with Miguel, Maya and their children after having supper with them at a local restaurant in Cascais. It was such fun to get to know them and now we have connections in Portugal! It’s really fun having friends all over the world.

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6th Anniversary Surprise

Now that I finally finished up the family trip we took to Germany last fall, it’s time to share some pictures from a trip Daniel and I took alone  for our 6th anniversary back in February. He knows me pretty well by now and has figured out that surprises are the way to go. But I still love trying to guess what the surprise is, so he supplied me with a few clues of our anniversary destination:

Clue #1: It’s near an ocean.

Clue #2: It’s famous, but used to be more famous than it is now.

Clue #3: The weather would be about like it was in Austin for our 5th anniversary. (Springish)

I guessed California. But yet, not all those clues matched up properly, so I still didn’t know till a few weeks before we left.

Turns out, we landed in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Folks, this is a city you’ll want to visit.

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There are fun red trolley cars. What more can you want?

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Even the world famous trolley car that goes up and down a steep hill, all while keeping the passengers quite level. We rode it and it worked just fine.

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The food, and this meal in particular, was bursting with flavor.

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Our hotel and “home base” was in Lisbon (or Lisboa in Portugese) for the week, but we took the train for a couple day trips down the coast. Our first outing took us to Cascais which had a large fortification, an older couple walking in the rain {holding hands nonetheless}, lots more tiled buildings which I fell in love with, and yet more tasty food. I had squid for the first time and liked it. :)

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Holten, Holland

{October 1, 2013}

Suddenly, there were thatched roofs. :)

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Since we were flying out of Dusseldorf to return home, we stayed at a hotel near the airport. But we still had the rental car and wanted to see Holland since we were so close. Therefore, we drove across the border and spent part of the day in Holten.

We walked around town and fed some goats in a…petting zoo? of some sort. Not sure what the purpose of this little menagerie was. There were a few turkeys, some guineas, and goats in a pen across from a miniature playground. While we were watching this dear lady came up with her walker and emptied a bag of old bread slices over the fence for the goats. We couldn’t help but wonder if goats were really created to eat bread…

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Here’s where I confirmed my desire to own a lovely European bicycle.

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Why are there not more roundabouts in the States?

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So, I know this is a very dark picture. This is what happens when you’re riding along at say, 70 km an hour, and the camera is in your lap, turned off, on the manual setting, when you suddenly need a picture right. now. I had to do some serious lighting adjustments to even get this picture as viewable as it is.

But it’s a good example of what I’m learning the more I travel: There are plenty of methods of transportation that don’t include carseats.

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I had to include it, because it reminded me of another momma in another bike riding town. This was taken when we were in Bocas Town back in 2012. Now why can’t I rig up something for my one child and ride my bike around town? If the Netherlands and Panama can do it, certainly I can!

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