21 September, 2007

leap in time

I didn't find a lot of time recently for blogging so one could say my blog is out of date. This is especially - unbelievable - true for one particular post that should have been written months ago. It's about the visit of my Mum and her friend Irene to Lund. While I was busy in Lund I did not really find time for a while afterwards folled a time where I did not want to write a shitty short entry and finally I felt the post being out of date. My Mum (understandably..) got angry about those kind of ignorance so here - finally - is the report(prepare for a leap in time now!):

My Mum arrived with Irene on Friday night in Lund which was a bit of a hazard since they lived in a bed&breakfast accommodation with an older woman(who stressed a lot!). She was also shocked when we decided to go for a drink at around 23h what we finally did. It was surprisingly hard to find a place to go in Lund on a Friday night without ending up at a nation :)

Saturday: We start the big Lund round tour, visiting all major attractions including the Dome, the university, all outdoor-shops and the whole inner city with it's beautiful buildings. Luckily we have nice weather! In the evening we all have been very tired, so we went to an Indian restaurant to get some excellent food and joined our bed right afterwards.

The main university building with us three

Irene(left) and my Mum(right) in front of the architecture building

Since we had only this weekend we got up early and explored the major attractions in Skane.

a nice castle close to Lund

The lovely city of Ystad where police officer Wallander from the books of Henning Mankell works.
After a walk through Ystad we continued along the coast to "Ales Stenar" a nice spot directly on the coast with big stones that form the silhouette of a viking ship.
The Sweden gang at Ales Stenar

Our last stop was the small national park Stenshuvud on the east coast with it's lovely sandy coast. Unfortunately it got windy here and we did not have much time left since my Mum booked a hotel in Copenhagen for this night. So there was not much more left than driving home and showing them our lovely mental hospital :)

Sandy Beach at Stenshuvud national park

On Monday we meet once more for our last day together which we spent walking around Copenhagen. Unfortunately I haven't brought my camera that day. On Tuesday my Mum and Irene left again back to Austria. We had a couple of really nice days together!

12 August, 2007

yearly- come back home anniversary

I just realized it has been exactly one year since we left Austria to head to Sweden. It's amazing how fast time passes by. I am really looking forward now to be back at home in 2 weeks.


I just realized that my last blog entry is almost 3 weeks ago. So it's really time for a update.

After our long trek along the Laugavegur we took the ferry to Heimay a small volcanic island south of Iceland. And when I say small I mean small: it's just 5*5km. It's a wonderful place and, we had awesome weather. Even better it's one of the main breeding grounds for Puffins which are really cute and not really shy. You can get up to a few meters until they decide it's time to jump off the cliffs. Puffins are really funny animals, although they are birds it's hard to believe that they can fly long distances. When they fly it always looks as if they are just about to crash, it just seems as if their body would be too heavy for their short wings. The rest of the time we climbed on the two volcanic craters that almost destroyed the whole island in 1976. The ground is still hot enough to bake bread on some places there.
The only REAL bad thing is that my camera(Canon Powershot A80) died here. It's a real pity, but the lens does not retract any more and it just gives error messages. I was so angry about that, you can't imagine. I don't think there is a high chance that I get it working again, since it's 4 years old it's not worth a repair. However I want to blame canon: It's seems this is a common problem for my camera and they don't give a damn about it. I found a blog with some repair instructions but none worked for me. Even still we will have plenty of photos since Aaron is still photographing like a maniac.

After 3 weeks out of civilization it was good to be back in a "real" city - the capital of Iceland. We spend a couple of days there walking along the shopping malls, visiting the national museum and meeting relatives of mine. The weather wasn't that good, but we made the best out of it. Reykjavik is a nice city but it did not meet my - high - expectations. Going out in Reykjavik is surely funny but since we are not swimming in money we skipped that part. But what we did instead was a visit to a really good Icelandic fish-restaurant. In our 7 weeks it will be the only time that we went to a restaurant since it's simply to expensive. But anyhow the food was delicious we all had a lobster soup and different kind of fish and mussels and we also tried whale-meat which was surprisingly tasty.

After Reykjavik we went on to the western parts of Iceland. We weren't too lucky with the weather here but still we explored huge volcanic caves and we have been on some very nice sand-beaches. And we also tried another Icelandic-speciality: Hakarl. It's rotten shark. It's one of the few animals that has no kidney, so the meat is toxic when you get it. But since Icelanders were always fighting against starvation they found a method so that they can still eat it: They bury it into the ground and leave it there for a few months until the earth has soaked up all the toxic substances from the meat. After eating it we are "real men who never ever have to prove their bravery again" (Lonely Planet) :).

26 July, 2007

Laugavegur trek


A long time has passed and we have been highly active in Iceland. The last 10 days we have been hiking the beautiful Laugavegur in both directions. We read it's one of the most beautiful hikes in the world and I couldn't say anything else. We started each packed with equipment and food for almost 2 weeks, so our backpacks weighted a whooping 23kg, but got lighter every day since we left food supplies for the way back on our way and ate the rest :). The hike is really amazing, we started at sea level, went up to 1100m along unnumbered beautiful waterfalls, crossed the mountain just in between two huge glaciers, went back down into the valley where big glacier-rivers flew down and made a nice delta-mouth(??). Then we passed through a very sparely overgrown plain until we reached a black-sanded dessert. After the dessert we were back in a very fertile mossy valley. We climbed up another mountain and came into a region that was very active in a volcanic meaning. We saw steaming (smelling!) springs and rhyolite-mountains that have all kind of colours from yellow to red. Later that day we reached a region that was fully covered with obsidian-stones that look like black-glass. The next day we crossed various treacherous snowfields and came to a huge block of black lava before we finally reacher our destinations at Landmannalaugur.
It's a really magical place and - you won't believe it - there is a natural hot pot. The water flows below the lava-field that is still cooling down is warmed up and pours into a basin where it mixes with cooler water. So within those basin you can have all the temperature you want, depending on how far you are away from the hot source. After 5 days of hiking there, we were really tired and so we spend 1.5 days there relaxing in the hot-pot before we hiked the same way back. Although I did not feel unlucky with the weather on the one way it got even better on the way back.
After 10 days of hiking it felt good to be back at our caravan, have a good(!!!) beer and put the backpack in the car instead of carrying it around, drink some milk, eat cheese and have a good steak!

07 July, 2007

We survived the ferry-journey over the Atlantic to Iceland, so we are finally there after traveling a month in Norway and Sweden :). The ferry was was huge as expected and very fast, so we only traveled for about 1.5 days until we arrived in Iceland. There isn't so much to report right now, it was mainly raining until now we did our first hike yesterday, along a uncountable number of impressive waterfalls with not much around expect high mountains and many, many sheep's :). Today we enjoyed the first time of wonderful Icelandic Hot-Pot which was quite necessary, after some freeze days...
I will write a more detailed report in a few days.

26 June, 2007


My internet is about to collapse in a mather of seconds, but I managed to load up a few of the pictures from Rondane national park and from our canu-week.

Hiking in Rondane National Park

16th of June till 22nd of June:
We have been hiking in Rondane national park/Norway for 7 days. Again we have been here at the perfect time, just before the main season starts and we had marvelous weather except from our last day. And most important we really enjoyed our time here, it has been a long, long time for me without mountains and any real hiking. So I was really eager to enjoy the scenery and we did not get disappointed. I did not have any real expectations, I just knew they had enough DNT-huts and several tops above 2000m and that Rondane is one of the national parks with the least snow in Norway, that is why it is accessable so "early". The real season does not start before July and lasts until the middle of September when the first snow can be expected. So we drove with the car to a parking-place close to the national park and made a round trip from hut to hut. Some of the huts are staffed in the main season, but since we were there too early all the huts were so called self-service huts. This means that there are cooking-facilities, beds, stoves including wood and proviant in case you forgot something or did not bother to bring food.
The first three days we went a circle from hut to hut around higher mountains but avoiding the peaks. The landscape all around was very nice, of course much more alpine than in Austria and we could not use enough sun-protection. The path was sometimes not so easy to follow, big snowfields had to be crossed, rivers to be passed and the waymarks were sometimes not too easy to find as well. We spend around 6 to 7 hours a day hiking and at the end of each day a nice hut was waiting for us, each with it's very own character. After a very long almost 9h walk on the third day we arrive in one hut that is somehow the center of the national park with all high peaks in day-distance around it. We are a little strained from our backpacks and plan to have a break-day but then in the morning when the weather is extraordinary nice again, no wind at all we make a day-trip instead leaving our backpacks in the hut. We head to our first peak over 2000m, walking up a very steap almost 1km long snowfield and then make our way through big stone blocks to the final peak. On the other side it's so steap, we don't dare to go nearer to have a closer look, but it's going almost 500m straight down. The view is marvelous I we see the neighboor national park Jontunheimen with it's even heigher peaks, all snow-covered of course. But we are sitting in T-shirts and enjoy our lunch :). On the way down, it get's even better! Once we are at the snow-fields we pick out our plastic-bags that we carried around for one purpose only: "Sackerlrutschen"(bag-drifting in engl maybe?). So instead of walking down the step snowfield we sit on our plastic bag and let gravity do the job. And it's unbelievable funny! We get faster and faster, the snow spreading all around us, the slope perfectly steep. We come back to the hut and feel perfectly relaxed and happy.
Next day we head further north but we make slow progress, Annina has some blisters that get more and more nasty, we get of the way (Abkuerzung....) and are altoghether tired, so finally a real break day. In the hut we meet two nice Tchech's and have a nice talk after being alone in the previous huts. The weather is getting worse the next two days, the forecast even worse, so we have to change our plan and skip two peaks that we had planned for the next days and head back to our car instead. The 7h walk with heavy rain and wind is the first real test for our rain-protection, but we keep dry. So finally no mid-summer in the huts there but rain, rain, rain.

From Arvika/Sweden to Lillehammer/Norway

13 and 14th of June:
We return the Kanu and the rest of the equipment and have a clean up day. We wash all the equipment, buy food for our next tours and I get bloody oily whilde doing some maintanence for the car. On the 14th we leave Arvika to head to Norway. Not until short before the border do I realize that we are REALLY leaving Sweden now. After Iceland we will be shipped to Danmark and drive home from there. I get a bit sad about that but we had a great year and especially the last two weeks made me remember why I love Sweden. It's kind of a shame that I liked the landscape more than the surrounding of Lund wherever we were driving. Once in Norway I check the petrol prices first. Diesel is currently between 1.2 and 1.3 Euro, Super more expensive of course. Still expensive, but I expected it to be worse. Well, maybe in Iceland then... ;).
We go on to Hamar, one of the three city's that hosted the Olympic Winter Games 1994 together with Lillehammer and Gjovik. It's a nice little town with an especially nice winter stadium that looks like a turned around viking ship.
Only one thing that I haven't written about so far really makes me wonder: There are so many pimp-my-car guys in Sweden and Norway it's unbelievable. After living a year in Lund, I almost tought the Scandinavians are just too smart to spend a whole lot of money to show their own lack of penis-size. But I was totally wrong, Lund seems to be an unreal, lucky island with that many(poor) students and only well educated people. And even more particullary, I am annoyed by the type of car those guys drive. It's not the Austrian VW-Golf kind of guys(@Kaufi; haha!), they mainly own huge American Pick-Ups, Hammers(!) and other cars of that size where you don't get anything more per Liter fuel you waste than in a normal car(even valid for cars in that size!). Considering the fuel prizes in Norway are the highest in whole Europe(together with the UK), I keep wondering how people can afford that lifestyle here.

15th of June:
We go on to Lillehammer, again a small but charming little town. Our main purpose here is to get more informations about our hiking tour in Rondane national park. There is a local office of the Norwegian mountaineering association here where we get all the required information, a topographic map and good advice for our tour. We become members and we buy a good topographic map. The landscape around Lillehammer is quite nice and beautiful, it remembers me of good old Austria(mountains!). We spend the evening planning our tour and finally decided that we will hike We around for probably eight days and we will also celebrate midsummer in one of the huts there. I just hope that will be fun and we will have good weather. They had unbelievable good weather here the last two weeks with sunshin all day long and up to 30°C(!!) but it recently snowed up there. But anyway there should be not too much snow left and I hope we can make it to one of the peaks there that have more than 2000m.

13 June, 2007

Kanu tour around Arvika

5th of June till 12th of June:
We set of for our kanu-tour. We booked the kanu for a week, the whole tour is around 110km, so we should do 15km a day. But no worry, everything is planned so that you are not stressed. With all the equipment we have with us we are quite heavy loaded, but our instructor says we can load up to 400kg in the kanu. He also says, the kanu is quite stable, 3mm thick aluminium, unsikable - like Titanic - he adds. I am still not sure wheter that is a joke or not. Anyhow, we start the tour with great weather and water as calm as possible. Kanu is a typical team-sport so you are lost if you don't work together. At the beginning it takes some time to get used to each other but after a while everybody knows what to do. On a good day with calm water and no wind you can row about 3 to 4 km within an hour. So we really had enough time to enjoy the landscape around. Our whole tour leads through almost uncivilised nature and a national park. The water is clear and you can drink it from most of the lakes. There are so many lakes in the surroundings here, many of them connected or only a few kilometers from each other away. If you are interrested try searching "Arvika, Sweden" in for example Google-maps and you will see it. But back to earth, the landscapes consists mainly of forests, sometimes you have small cottages for weekends or holidays that can often only be reached by water. And also quite common are huge rounded stones with a very smooth surface (dt: glatt geschliffen) where you can sit, cook or just lie there in the sun and let you warm up. All the lakes have many, many small islands that are just waiting to be discovered. And we did. Some of the islands are so small that only one or two birds can sit on them, others are a few kilometers in length. So we were just looking for a nice place in the evening, preferable on one of the islands to put our tent on, surrounded by water with almost no noise around. And sunshine till 22.30h. One should not complain but on the last days I was almost happy to have a few clouds back. We have been using sun-protection with a factor of 20, but with 18h of sunsihne a day and on the water that was almost to weak. So we got a light sun-burn on the first days. For the whole week we had around 20 to 24°C during the day so we could sleep with open sleeping bags during the night. Sleeping with so much daylight around in the tent is quite confusing. You wake up at 03.00 and think you have to get up because it's so bright outside. And then I wake up in the middle of the night, it's bright outside. I am not sure wheter I have been sleeping 1 hour or 7 hours. The sun does not say a shit about it.The more straining part about the tour was not the kanuing itself but more the land transports. We looked for a tour where we would end up at the same place as we left. So we had to carry the kanu and our stuff from lake to lake where there was no natural connection or it was blocked by a power plant. So we did 8 land transports. It's acutally not that bad, but it takes some time. We got a small transporter that was basically a metal construction with two wheels on it where we could lift thekanu up. Then you just had to push hard enough until you reached the next lake. But since since we had enought time that was alright. The rowing itself was only hard on the two last days: high waves and strong winds from the front (the wind always comes from the front....) made us row twice as hard to be half as slow as normal. With a weather like that even 2km become really hard work. But we did it, reached our last island with a small light-house, surrounded by water, enjoying the evening sun, eating a good meal with desert made an awesome connection of Barilla, Knorr and Primus. Life as it should be more often.

Trip to Stockholm along the Swedish south-east coast

26th of May:
Annina became a Rockstar by destroying the TV in our livingroom! She felled over the ever strechted cable and thanks to the shitty, instable construction of the tv-board the whole tv fell over and smashed on the floor. It was not just a little bit broken, so that you can maybe fix it - no, no - it was completely smashed with no chance to ever, ever fix it again. The whole inside of the TV was trans:"sprinkled" over the living room floor. It was somehow ironic that Annina who saved our TV from being thrown out of the window by our Swedish-Rockstars was the one who finally killed the TV.

27th of May:
On the night before our departure we had a very nice dinner with almost all the people from our corridor, Brice and Annina's parents(Maria & Helmut). After that we exchanged addresses, emails, msn- and Skype-contacts so that we can stay in contact. This sitting and talking with all the people from our corridor was very important for me and after some sad days before our departure I finally found a positive end with everybody. It was a kind of good-bye to all the nice people I met here and I am sure I will see some of them again. So finally some sadness about leaving Lund but even more happyness for our trip.

28th of May:
On Monday the 28th of May Annina and I left Lund definitely. There will probably be a comeback in the near future to visit friends like Brice, Kristina and Marie but for now we are done with the beautiful city of Lund. By the way: The 28th of May was the 4-year anniversary of the relationship between Annina and me. So after coming to Lund together, staying here for almost a year, living in the same room for half a year and still loving each other it was somehow "right" to end this year on our 4-year aniversary. We picked up Helmut and Maria, returned the keys to our rooms and started our holidays. On our first real travel day we visited the Skane-zoo, a place Annina and I have visited quite often during our year. This time we were lucky to see trans:"Moschusochsen" for the first time. Amazing animals! After that we drove on to Karlskrona which lies on the south coast of Sweden direct on the sea. It's quite a nice town with very steep straigt streets. It was also the first time in Sweden that I recognized lot's of trans:"Auto-Proleten", tuning up their cars with stupid stuff. Maybe the reason is that Karlskrona is the main base for the marine-forces of Sweden and therefore a lot of soldiers work here.
In the evening Helmut & Maria invited us to a really great Italian restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. The food was sooo good, you can't imagine. I had three kind of steaks with three kind of sauces and potatoes. Mhhhmmm.After that we slept on an lovely place we found last autumn. It was located directly on the beach of a lake, with toilets and a campfire and all that for free.

29th of May:
We made a tour through the "Glasriket", the swedish center of glass factories. This area exists since more than 200 years and has been the center for the Swedish glass production since then. The landscape made it a natural choice since there is only wood and water, both essential for glass production. Today there exist 15 factories, all within a very short distance. Of course it is a big tourist attraction but since we are still in pre-season it hasn't been to crowded. It was the second time there for Annina and me but we visited different factories than in autumn and the glass production is still so fascinating, it won't get boring too fast. Although there are 15 factories each of them has a very unique style and produces different items.
In the late afternoon we continued further on to Kalmar which lies on the east coast of Sweden and is the capital of Smaland (the south-east province). It was a suprisingly nice city with some very old houses and a really impressive castle.

30th of May:
We did some shopping for Annina and the car ;) before we went further north to a pleasing town on the east coast called Västervik. It's a summer paradise with the a wooping number of 5000 islands around it's coast and a very nice setting. The whole surrounding is very, very beautiful with lot's of sailing and motor boats all around. In the afternoon we have to hurry up a bit and therefore skip a nice coastal-road we planned to take and take the highway to a small village of Trosa, close to Stockholm. I am happy that this was the last day with a longer distance to drive. In the evening we found a camping place in an amazing beautiful setting. Surrounded by small islands, on the end of the street, sand beach and noise at all. If only the weather could change from grey and windy to sunny and warm, I would immediately go for a swim.

31th of May:
We head further to Stockholm. Thanks to a route-plan that we printed out before we left Lund we found the camping place immediately. We take the tube into the city and walk around the center, getting an overview of the city(Annina and I have been here before) and buying some souveniers. We are all quite tired that's why we think about a plan for the next day and go to bed as soon as possible.

1st of June:
Starting our "tourist-day" with a visit into the city hall. It's quite impressive and our guide has some interesting stories to tell about it. I am a little bit worried that we can't get into the tower because you would have an awesome view from there. Anyhow, the view from the windows to the opposite river-site is nice! But we have a tuff schedule, so we head on into the center of "Gamla Stan", the old city center, to visit the Nobel-Price museum. Some might know that the Nobel-prices are awareded in Stockholm in December every year. After the awards there is a huge dinner with all the price winners, the royal(snygg!) family and many other important people that is held in the city hall, so we heard some interesting facts about that as well. Again the guide in the museum was great and quite entertaining. While Maria&Helmut visited the Fram-museum we walked around and did some shopping. In the evening we gathered up for a good-bye dinner in a great Italian restaurant.

2nd of June:
Good-bye is seldom happy but it was not that bad since we will be home in 3 months anyway and we had a great week together. As a kind of a bad joke for Maria & Helmut the weather had changed to lovely warm and sunny on their last day. We were happy anyway. After we left the airport again, we went on to find a nice spot for us for one or two days to relax. Sightseeing is always quite straining. We found a really beautiful picknik place directly on a nice lake with a great view to the Skokloster-palace(old relatives of mine!) and never ending sunshine. The daylight is amazing right now! We are quite close to mid-summer, the sun is raising at around 03.15 right now and going down at about 22.30 but very slowly, so it never gets really dark.

3rd of June:
Sleeping, sunbathing, swimming(cold!) and reading. No more but it makes my day.

4th of June(Monday):
The weather should stay sunny and warm until at least the weekend. So we decide to head for Arvika and try to get our kanu a bit earlier to make as much use from the great weather as possible. The drive is quite straining, 400km but who was sleeping the last 2 days? We get there, everything works perfect, so we get our kanu a lot of papers to read, very good topographic maps and nice instructions how to avoid destroying the kanu :). We start tomorrow, so packing our stuff, preparing everything, getting fuel for the stove calculating food supplies and so on...