It's Friday the 1st of July at about 3 in the afternoon (Stockholm time) and we're about 2 hours away from boarding our overnight ferry to Estonia. We'll only be in Estonia for about 36 hours before moving on to Russia (so we probably won't post anything in Estonia). It's a bit tricky to post while traveling (time being limited at shared hotel computers), so we'll only write one post on Scandinavia.
We started by taking a ferry from Harwich in England to Esbjerg on Denmark's west coast. Emily says that (so far) this is her favorite form of transportation - so relaxed and comfortable (especially when compared to budget airline travel)!
We took a 4 hour train across Denmark to Copenhagen, where we stayed 2 nights. We had a great time touring that city, although our hotel was in a bit of a seedy neighborhood.
We enjoyed the colorful houses of the older parts of the city (above is the neighborhood of "Nyhavn," where Hans Christian Andersen lived!)
Copenhagen seems a bit obsessed with H.C. Andersen, as confirmed by the lines of tourbuses unloading in front of the "Little Mermaid" statue down on the harbor. We found it a bit underwhelming.
Overall, I liked Copenhagen. The downtown area was a bit seedier than Stockholm, but Tivoli amusement park definitely made up for that (at least for Brad).
Although we weren't able to visit the Legoland amusement park, we did visit their store in Copenhagen. The giant lego "statues" were especially exciting for Brad (who used to save up his paper route money as a kid so he could buy legos).
Stockholm has been a pleasant surprise for both of us. It's very clean (although definitely not as clean as Hong Kong!), a bit cheaper than Copenhagen, and quite a bit bigger. We've had a bit more time here, and have seen much more. One highlight: a trip to the "Vasa Museum" to see a perfectly preserved 17th century sailing ship. Its preservation is due to the fact that it sunk on its maiden voyage (about 1000 meters from the dock), and was only just raised about 50 years ago.
We've been blessed by sunny weather for all of the time that we've been in Scandinavia, and it's been very relaxing to stroll around the city.
We're not too sure of what to expect from Estonia. We're told that Tallinn's Old City is quite picturesque (it's on the UNESCO World Heritage after all), and we're curious to see how such a beautiful old city centre has weathered 75 years of Communist rule. Should be fun!
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