Monday, August 3, 2015

#5 Sweden Goodbyes, to pickles, to Sturgis

Abby, Becca, & Bunny in a selfie.
Our goodbyes are never easy! Us living in the USA, Becca, Jesper, Scout, & Bunny living in Europe! Having to get up early to leave on the morning flight is real hard! Becca and Bunny are up but not Scout. Becca tells us later when she wakes, she's puzzled as to wear Gump and Grabby are. This will never get easier, but we cherish the time we do get.
Scout and Bunny in the morning!

We fly home on a Friday to Minneapolis, drive home, getting in Watertown around 9PM.

2015 Pickles
Saturday brings unpacking and hopefully a chance at a little rest. Matthew from Mayfield Colony calls and tells Abby he has some pickles available. Well, you have to make hay when the sun shines, the same goes for pickles. So off to the colony for some pickles and dill. Back home get the jars and canning supplies out and here we go. Now just to set the record straight, Abby did probably 95% of the work, but I did pitch in to help. 55 quarts later and the job is done. Looks like a great batch!

My bike loaded, waiting for Donny
and Kevin to show up.
Donny and Kevin in Sturgis!
Marlene & Ken French meet up with
me in the Black Hills.
No rest for John, four work days, then taking off on Friday to the 75th Sturgis Bike Rally. Riding out this year is Donny Meyer, Kevin Dunn and myself. Destination is Hot Springs, SD to our friend Joe Cronen's lake Cabin. Our route is Watertown to Highmore, South to Winner, SD, West to Hot Springs. This takes us over roads never seen by our bikes. It also takes us through the heart of one of the largest Indian Reservations in South Dakota, Rose Bud! 458 miles later we arrive in Hot Springs. The roads were great! The traffic was light! The weather was hot and dry! Just a perfect day for riding.

I had received a message a while back that Marlene & Ken French, friends from Marlette telling me they're heading out to the Rally. So we meet up with them on Sunday, have a little breakfast, take a nice ride through the hills to Sturgis. We show them some of the sights and enjoy each others company. It's sure nice to have friends like Marlene & Ken!

Main Street in Sturgis

Joe's Cabin

and some more
Just one of the nice bikes in Sturgis!

Sights at One Eyed Jacks, my
favorite bar in Sturgis!

and more
Abby on the same Horse

John riding Beth's Horse.
Abby and I during pickling take a break to take a ride on Beth's horses. Beth is Diane Chenoweth's sister up for the summer from Virginia. We did this so Scout could see that she is not the only horse rider in the family, lol.

The busy month of July ends for us, spilling over slightly into August. Abby takes off this Sunday for LasVegas. She won a trip for two to play on the Millionaire Game show. Lucky her, cross your fingers, maybe she'll win a Million.

Until my next blog, thanks for reading...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

#4 Skansen, Mariefred, & more

Abby & Scout outside Skansen.
Since my last post it seems like we've been just on the go! We don't have a personal vehicle so we rely mostly on public transportation. Becca has been a great source of information on how to get around but we do run into some challenging moments!

Since Helsinki we've made trips to Skansen & Mariefred. We've traveled by subway, rail, ferry, steam train, & steam boat!

Swedish Meatballs w/lingonberry's
Going to Skansen has been one of our favorite activities with Scout & Becca. Becca couldn't make this time, so a return trip will be made this coming week. Skansen shows us Sweden life of yesteryear and shares the animals of Sweden. Of course there is also a cafe we like getting our favorite Swedish dish, meatballs & potatoes, with lingonberry on the side.

Speaking of food takes us to a two day event at Mariefred, the Nordic Food Truck festival was held Friday & Saturday!

Merry go round with Grabby.
Steamboat to Mariefred!
This small town is west of Stockholm, about an hour by train or car. We took a Steamboat, which took us about 3 hours. This particular boat has been steaming for over a 100 years now. Of course there is food to be bought on board and they also have a dining room that the serve noon lunch and evening dinner.

Mariefred, a small village with a population of 3750, has started the street vender festival last year. I think there was around 23 venders serving all types of food from wraps, grilled burgers, with all types of different flavors from Cuban, Jamaican, to local taste. This festival probably doubled the size of this little village to maybe triple. All was having a blast and the venders truly looked exhausted by the end of the day.

Stallgarden B&B where we stayed Friday night.
So, steam boating out to Mariefred, to Steam Training for maybe 5 km, to the over country rail that probably runs at 100-120 km/hour. All we had to do is sit back and relax...
Abby and Scout on the Steam Train.

Swedish barn, note the traditional red paint.
Gripsholm Castle.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#3 Helsinki, in 2 nights and 6 Hours!

Ship to Helsinki.
Finland in 2 nights and 6 hours. Yes, you heard that correct. This is the ship we traveled on to Helsinki, leaving on Sunday and overnighting for a mid morning arrival, for a 6 hour stay in Helsinki, Finland. As per custom for Abby and John, we get on a Hop On-Hop off city tour bus to view this city.  Complete trip is 1 1/2 hours and we get a quick overview and insight to the highlights of Helsinki. Population of Helsinki is just over 500,000, which equal 1/10 of the countries population. The adjoining metro area makes up to 1/5 of the countries population. So we're seeing a large chunk of Finland.

Grabby & Scout gets a warm
welcome aboard!
Scout in the kids playroom on
the ferry.
One of the first things we notice, is that Helsinki is a very clean city! Which we have not always found in Europe. Another great thing about these side trips we take with Becca & Jesper are they always take us off the beaten path to find places to eat. Helsinki was no different, I can't remember the name of the place but we had Finnish meatballs and mashed potatoes. Surprisingly, they were similar to the Swedish version.

Tourism in Europe is big! Asians are a large bit of the tourist you run into. As the rest of us who are traveling, they're having a blast and are very friendly.

Open air markets are also very big in Europe. Communication in Finland was a little bit harder, but with a credit card available, instant communication takes place.
Back on dry land and waiting for
transportation to get us home.

Abby up early to enjoy coming into
the Helsinki port!
To get to the ferry we called a cab. When we got back to Stockholm we took the rail home. Transportation is very easy in Europe with lots of choices.

Open air dining.
City view of Helsinki from the ship!

Friday, July 10, 2015

#2nd Post from Sweden 2015

Right place at the right time.
Sometimes on trips things come up that you just can't pass up. Paul McCartney just happened to be in Stockholm at the same time we are. The arena he played in just happened to be no more that 15 minute walk from us. There were seats available, at a good price, up in the nose bleed section, but with jumbotron's, the seats were great! Now, I'm not a music critic by any means, but over all the concert was good in my book(concerts to me are either good or bad). The Beatle's stuff was good, his new music was not real recognizable to me, but it looked like Sir Paul was having fun performing it.

Morning Love.
Morning's in the Park
Daily routine's for us is getting up, not at the crack of dawn, because in all reality at this time of year in Stockholm it doesn't get totally dark. Morning hugs are ever so special and now they're double the pleasure with Scout & Bunny!

After all has had breakfast's have been served,  off to the park we go. Scout loves going to the park and if there are other kids she warms right up with them to play. This is good stuff to see from Gramps prospective!

The most important part of our trips of course is the family time we get. The moments in the parks, the walks, the sit down dinners. Walking the neighborhoods, finding new parks to play, new routes to walk, small shopping areas to explore. Old world remains old, neighborhoods still have small shops. For instance, from where we are staying now, within a 1/2 mile walk we have at least two bakery's, two markets, and numerous restaurants. Near hear are thai, sushi, pizza, and more.

Side trips to come, a ferry trip to Helsinki, a steam boat trip to a small village in the Stockholm Archipelago...
Becca, Scout, and Bunny in the morning!

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015 Enskede Kyrka, Stockholm, Sweden

Lunch at MSP.
Great trips for us usually start with a toast, skoal, to all of our friends we'll miss for a few weeks, skoal, to our family we're going to visit and to the new friends we'll meet in the next three weeks.

July 3rd, 2015 is our start to our 3 week visit to Becca, Jesper, Scout, and our newest family addition Bunny. Bunny was born 7 weeks ago, May 16th, 2015 is Bunny's birthday and what a great addition to our family.

Resting the Eyes!
Our trip starts at MSP and we fly to Amsterdam on our first leg. Sitting in the middle two seats of the inside four is not my idea of ideal flying, but it gets us to where we're going. Take off time was 3:15pm our time, and we arrived around 7am, no sleep for me, Abby was able to catch some nap time, but needed more at Amsterdam Airport.

A 3 hour lay over and off to Stockholm we are in the air again, in this 2 hour flight I'm able to get some shut eye!

Selfie with Bunny!
This time we taxi to our Air B-n-B home for the next three weeks, our Swedish family awaits us.
The girls looking good!

Selfie with Scout

more to follow....