Chasing the Sun #2: Running from the Rain in June and July – UK to Finland

Nyhavn (Copenhagen, Denmark)

2: Running from the Rain in June and July

We are so happy with our decision to sell everything and travel we are beside ourselves with enthusiasm. What a great thing to do – take off and travel! We are enjoying each and every day on the road. Just to catch you up on our life on the road, here we are:

We spent the entire month of June running from the rain in England, Wales and Scotland. The World Cup Soccer matches made it all worth while. Our choice picks in the UK of things to do and places to go include:

  1. London – Great underground club called Cargo with Drum and Bass bands. Of course, there is so much to see and do in this huge city.
  2. Oxford – You just become smarter walking around here, fantastic campus!
  3. Burton-on-Trent – Home of Bass Beer, Bid’s favorite, need we say more. Although, Bass recently got bought out by Coors which makes us quite worried!
  4. Betws-y-Coed, Wales – We wanted to hike but it was raining so we will have to venture back there one day.
  5. Denny, Scotland – Not much to see here but Renee’s grandfather is from here and there are the not so famous Rankine Castle Ruins, good luck finding them.
  6. Edinburgh – Our favorite city, by far, in all of the U.K.. Very cosmopolitan and you can actually find good food here. The Royal Mile takes you up to a fantastic overlook of the city. The old town is a treat!

    Whitby, England

  7. Whitby, England – Our 2nd favorite spot in the UK, home of the Abbey where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula and definitely worth a visit. The Abbey sits on a great cliff overlooking the North Sea with an eerie looking cemetery with black tombstones eroded from the wind and sea. We even think we saw a vampire… yikes! We left the rainy days of the UK behind us and headed off for warmer days on the mainland.

Highlights from the mainland in July: Brussels is a magnificent city with the Grande Place, formerly home to the craft guilds whose rich guildhalls line the square. Don’t forget to rub the statue of Everard t’Serclaes (14th century) for good luck. And Manneken Pis, well he was much smaller than we expected. Belgian Waffles – once you try one, you will definately want another soon!

Maastricht, Holland is worth a stop. The St. Pietersberg Caves from the 11th century with 22,000 passages are quite interesting. Ahhh, the wonderful canals and cobblestone streets of Amsterdam – you just can’t leave this city off the list! And what a great place to people watch – there are some interesting people with interesting looks going on. The Van Gogh Museum is impressive and a must see; also don’t miss the famous Red Light District where “window shopping” has a whole new meaning. A great place to stay in the center of everything is Anna’s Hostel with friendly staff.

We continued north in mid-July to check out the Scandinavian lifestyles and beautiful people. Our first stop was Copenhagen. The Jazz Festival was going on and people were out in force. It is a lively city hoping with things to do from Stroget Street (the main walking street) to Nyhavn (beautiful pastel buildings line the water). The Mermaid Statue is where you will find all of the tourists and isn’t all that but if you walk off the beaten path there are extraordinary things waiting to be discovered. The Ny Carlsberg Glypotek Museum is free on Sundays and houses one of the finest collections in Europe of statues from Ancient Egypt. The old, colorful fishing village of Dragor is outside of the city at the end of Amager Island, and it is wonderful with tiny streets, ancient fisherman’s houses and wooden sailboats. It gives you an authentic taste of Denmark’s historical culture.

Vigeland Park (Oslo, Norway)

Norway was expensive but worth every penny! What an amazing life these people lead (in the summer) with their long days of sunshine. There is so much to write on Norway alone, I will have to really get into it later.

For right now, we suggest Oslo (Vigeland Park, Akershus Slott Castle, the Harbor, Royal Palace and Park). Vigeland Park was designed and carved by one man. The statues are all of the granite stone and are of naked people of all ages. It is remarkable the way he captured life – the attitudes and emotions of humankind. Truly awesome!

We took the train to Myrdol then to Gudvangen to Voss to Bergen to Alesund to Runde to Andalsnes to Dombas and back to Oslo. The scenery is spectacular. We were truly speechless in this phenomenal country. Everywhere you look there is more beauty. We saw puffins on Runde Island, so close you could reach out and touch them. They are the cutest little birds! There are as many as 170,000 pairs of seabirds breeding annually on this island It’s a bird lover’s paradise. Then there are the fjords and waterfalls and landscape of Norway – nothing compares to it. The Geiranger Fjord is gigantic with its breathtaking Seven Sisters Waterfalls.

We left Norway on a train to Stockholm. The Old Town or Gamla Stan is really nice and a wonderful walking area. The Saluhall (market) has the best meal in town. We tried out the Swedish Meatballs and they were great. There are tons of beautifully landscaped parks everywhere. Speaking of landscapes, we noticed a lot of Swedes trying to imitate the David Beckham haircut, which might not be the best look on everyone. The main library has FREE internet, by the way.

Puffin (Runde Island, Norway)

The Vasa Museum was really neat: this was the ship that was built in 1626 by the king and was so tall and ornate with 445 people on board that it didn’t make it out of the Stockholm harbour. It was at the bottom of the harbour for 333 years and was finally brought up and restored. Wow.

We boarded the Silja Line (huge ship that you can travel for free on with Eurorail passes) for Helsinki. The beds are really comfy! We stayed in the 1952 Olympic Stadium which is now a hostel. It is clean and cheap. There was an Electronica Music Fest going on at the beach. We relaxed and enjoyed the music, and our first time on a beach all summer. Check out the “Wrong Noodle Bar” for some good food. The city of Helsinki is clean and colorful. The people are quiet and friendly. Top places to visit on our list are the Stadium Botanical Gardens, the Library, the Cathedral, Temppeliaukion “rock” church. It is another great place to see.

Well, we are off to take in more on our journey around the planet. We’ll be in touch soon. Write us if you have any questions or need any further info on the places we’ve been. Peace and Travel safely!

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