Vicki's Sweden

June 13, 2009   Southern Sweden 

We have spent two days in a very nice parking lot about 200 yds from the Baltic Sea.  We came to see the megalithic standing stones in a “ring” in the shape of a ship.  However the weather was so bad yesterday with gale force winds, rain, high of 55, that we just stayed in the camper and enjoyed being couch potatoes.  Today was just misty and this evening it has cleared up completely.  Being Saturday, the parking lot has been quite busy with about 200-300 cars and campers coming and going.  About 6 of us are spending the night again.  There are restrooms-which we actually don’t need- and free wifi and it is quiet and free.  A great combination.  Mark and I walked up to the stones on the cliff over the sea earlier and then through the small fishing village. I am sure it will all be posted on his blog.  I have been catching up on email and researching Stockholm.  It is supposed to be raining hard there for the next two days so we will take our time getting there.  We wanted to fly from there to St. Petersburg in Russia but it is very complicated to get a visa and the whole trip of 3-4 days would probably cost about 2 grand so I think we will skip it.

I realize that as of yesterday I have been retired one year.  I must admit that it seems much longer what with all we have done, and yet I only have to start to think about it and it feels like yesterday.  Memory is such a completely strange thing.  Retirement is a marvelous thing but I do miss all my family and friends.  Please write as you have time.  Vicki 

Stockholm—June 23, 2009

We have had a great visit here and the weather has been glorious—full sunshine but only about 70 with a light breeze. In a few minutes we will head for the cafe with its free wireless, post our blogs, back up TOM TOM and head out of town. I know Mark has talked about our “precious” Tom, but as the navigator of this adventure, I can't emphasize enough how wonderful he/it is. Having navigated 7 previous European trips, I know. If you are planning any trip to unfamiliar territory, get yourself a GPS.

We have walked over 20,000 steps everyday for several days (Mark adores his pedometer-he is on #3). City sightseeing requires lots of walking but the almost 12 hour day we put in on Sunday was definitely more than I want to do. We had a 24 hr Stockholm card which gives you free transportation and admission to all the museums, palaces, etc. Most cities in Europe have them but you really have to press yourself to get full value so this has been our first one. I don't think they are designed for the elderly! Admissions get to be terribly expensive though—averaging about $12 per person per site. In Ireland we got 20% off nearly everything for being over 60. However, there were no discounts in Germany or Denmark. Here in Sweden you have to be 65. It will be interesting to see what the different countries do—in New Zealand you had to be 60 but a resident of New Zealand. I guess they figured if you had the money to travel, you had the money to pay full price. Luckily, Sweden has been cheaper than Denmark so we are pretty much staying within our budget—especially when we can camp under the bridge (more about that in Mark's blog soon.)