Scott MacNeill

Back In Stockholm

Today was the first day we actually had a sunny day in Visby or for that matter Sweden. After I posted my last blog entry last night we got slammed by a storm in Visby that brought in wind gusts at almost 100mph and we were right on the water. The wind was so bad that you could not even stand on one place. The roofs in Visby are all made up of clay shingles and shingles were flying around everywhere. What a killer night! Well this storm brought some beautiful weather in today making it a great day to remember Gotland.

We left Gotland early this afternoon and arrived back in Stockholm at 2:00pm. We spent the remainder of the day walking around the shopping district, taking pictures, and sampling more local cuisine. We had an early dinner at a total dive then spent the remainder of the night bar hoping in search of some killer Swedish micro-brew. We found some good beer, but at $10-$15 a beer we were quickly cashing in.

Tomorrow we leave Sweden for home. We could definitely use another week here if not a month. Sweden is a huge place! I will post a blog once I am home that will sum up our trip to Sweden. I will also post some pics that highlight the experiences we had.

Sweden is such a fun place. We will definitely miss it!

Here are a few pics from today:

Beautiful Day in Visby
Finally Some Sun in Visby
Leaving Visby
More Stockholm
One of The Many canals In Stockholm
Sweden Parliament at

We Found A Hidden Staircase in an Underground kafe
The Moon Over Stockholm
The Oldest Street in Stockholm
Stockholm from our Balcony

Date: 2008.02.23


Scott MacNeill

Fårö, Gotland

Today we left Visby and drove to the far north end of Gotland to an island called Fårö. Notable things about Fårö: Ingrid Bergman (model / actress) is from here and the island is surrounded by strange rock formations called Raukars. These rock formations are caused by erosion over history and little other is known about them (from what I can tell). So this was the topic for today. Travel to some of the less traveled spots of Gotland and find Raukars.

The conditions of todays travels were much like what we experienced in Iceland. Very windy, cold, and baron. The Baltic Sea coastline sustains a strong northern wind and it is very cold. We has some sunshine today while we traveled which has been a rarety on this trip so far.

While searching for Raukars we also saw a lot of traditional Swedish life. We found a small fishing village albeit abandoned, many old (and new) windmills and old ox pulled mills. Most roofs were covered in some sort of moss or organic material and all this was reachable only by ferry.

At the end of our day we traveled to the Fårö lighthouse which has many rocks with fossils in them. Jessica actually found a rock with a fossil! We also found a strange spiral rock formation in the woods near the lighthouse that has no description that we can find briefly. After leaving the lighthouse we traveled back to Visby by interior roads and saw some of Gotlands churches and farmlands.

Fårö is quit a desolate place in the winter but rest assured in the summer it is a huge local tourist trap. This
differentiates greatly from Iceland which is just desolate.

We arrived back in Visby a little after dusk and searched long and hard for Saffranspannkaka which is a popular Swedish saffron pancake. We were about to give up when a friendly tavern owner happened to find one in the freezer. The Bomb!

Tonight we are staying at a Bed & Breakfast right on the Baltic Sea and about a block from the Visby wall. We can see and hear the sea out our window.

Tomorrow we are heading back to Stockholm at 2:00pm and will spend an evening sampling traditional Swedish cuisine and shopping in the madd style driven streets of Stockholm's shopping district!

Here are a few pics from today:

Large Raukar Formation on
cliff with man-made structures on beach

Horses we saw and were interested in us.
Ferry to Fårö Island
Windmill on Fårö Island
Raukar Formations at

Raukar Formations at
Dijerhuvud 2

Raukar Formations at
Dijerhuvud 3

Raukar Formations at

Raukar Formations at
Langhammars 2

Raukar Formations at
Langhammars 3

Raukar Formations at
Langhammars 4

Raukar with Scandinavian

A Small Fishing Village on
Baltic Sea

Strange Circular Rock Formation we
found. Dunno

Fårö Lighthouse
The Baltic Sea at North Fårö
Saffranspannkaka is the Bomb!

Date: 2008.02.22


Scott MacNeill

Visby, Gotland

Today we left for Gotland at 7:35am and arrived at 8:05am. We took a little plane with propellers over. Gotland was our plan B in the event that Kiruna (arctic circle) did not work out. Well what a score! We may have missed dog sledding and the aurora but we got to hang out in the medieval city of Visby which is an old Hanseatic viking town that is surrounded by a huge fortified wall. The best way to describe this city is The Lord of The Rings or The Legend of Zelda. I have felt like Link for the past two days. Visby is one of about 400 cities on the World Heritage List.

The first thing to notice about Visby is the old mixed in with the new. Gotland is known for its masses of old Medieval churches and Visby has its fair share. Everywhere are the remains of old 13th century churches with the more recent (past 300 years) buildings erected around them. All the streets are cobblestone and its easy to get lost on the narrow windy roads and hills.

Visby also has a botanical garden situated in the rear center of the city. This botanical garden is obviously not in bloom but still retains its beauty. In this garden are more medieval ruins that are covered in different ivy's and vines. The city is surrounded by a wall thats almost fully intact and the back of the city walls are right on the beach of the Baltic Sea. Outside the wall facing the sea is a catapult. This is the first real catapult I have ever seen. I don't think I can try it out though.

Today we walked around the entire outer and inner perimeter of the Visby wall and conveniently got lost amongst its streets and pretended we were lost in the town of Bree. We had lunch in an old Kaffe next to a fireplace and then had coffee and pastry in an old kaffe that was build over a cemetery and the tombs are visible in the
basement (so they say).

There is so much about this city that it is hard to write it all briefly. This city will be the most memorable of this trip!

Note: I will be posting another blog right after this post to bring the journal up to date.

Here are a few pics from today:

The Visby Wall

Entrance to The City of Visby
Inside St. Catherine's Church. 1233
Drotten Church circa 1200
Drotten Church 2
Drotten Church North Side
House in Visby
Gazebo in Visby Botanical Garden
St. Olafs Church circa 13th century
St. Olafs Church with roots in stonework
Jess and I right inside the Visby Wall
An actual Catapult
Catapult and outside of Visby Wall
Outside The Visby Wall
Outside The Visby Wall 2
Outside The Visby Wall

Inside the Visby Wall
Visby Wall Breached by past Attacks
Visby Wall Tower and Gate from inside the city wall
The Medieval City of Visby
The Medieval City of Visby

Sankta Maria Kyrta circa
14th century

St Catherine's at Night
Swedes only show the time in Swedish cities (which are all in same timezone).

Date: 2008.02.21


Scott MacNeill

Stockholm Day 3

Today was a very event filled day. Jessica and I started our day off early and set out for Djurgården. Djurgården is one of the larger islands that make up Stockholm and is considered a quick retreat for local weekend travelers. While in Djurgården we visited the Vasa Museum (Vasa Museet), and Skansen.

The Vasa Museum was a quick stop for us that ended up being one of the highlights of the day. The Vasa is a ship that the Swedish king Gustavus built in 1625. The ship was supposed to be the mightiest war ship ever build. Upon completion of the ship many of Sweden's citizens came out to see the maiden voyage of this huge ship. But a few minutes after setting sail the ship flipped over and sank in Stockholm's harbor. This happened because the keel / hull was not deep enough for the height of the ship. In 1961 the ship was salvaged in one piece and brought to the museum where it would be restored. This museum was extremely fascinating and full of information. The Vasa is listed as one of the seven wonders of Sweden. Also, this ship is huge! The pictures will not do the size justice.

After a very educational visit to the Vasa Museum we went to Skansen. Skansen is a sort of park that has settlements that represent traditional Swedish lifestyle and culture. Skansen also has a Nordic zoo! We spent most of our time at Skansen in the zoo area. This zoo was way more natural then most zoo's we have been to in the US. We were able to interact with the animals inside their habitats and the animals habitats are developed to offer a suitable environment for each animal.

After leaving Skansen we set off for the Nobel Museum for another try. This time we were able to visit and found the museum quick educational and inspiring. We learned a bit about Alfred Nobel, the different Nobel prizes, and the selection process. We also were able to watch / listen to the interviews with past Nobel prize winners. This was my favorite part considering that some of the Nobel winners are the most inspiring people in history (*opinion inserted).

We left the Nobel Museum a little after dusk and walked around the city for a while. There is so much to see in Stockholm that one could not take it all in over a week more or less 3 days. After walking for a while we stopped back at Chutney for a relaxing dinner. We could not find the absinthe bar and that is good because we were so beat!

Tomorrow we are heading out of Stockholm at 6:00 am and heading to Gotland. Gotland is an Island off the southeast coast of Sweden in the Baltic Sea. We are crashing early tonight considering we have a very early flight to Gotland in the morning.

Note: I am actually a day behind in my blog. One night this week I will add 2 entries and bring the journal up to date.

Here are a few pics from today:

The Vasa Bow
The Vasa Port Side
The Vasa Port Side Stern
The Vasa Starboard Side Deck
Skansen Graves in Church yard
Skansen Stables at Zoo
Reindeer. They do exist!
Grey Owl. We are inside the bird cage.
A Lynx
A Wolf and left over bones
Dome Shaped Library
This is an Ice Cream Truck. In February

Date: 2008.02.20


Scott MacNeill

Stockholm Day 2

Stockholm is an ethnic mecca full of just about everyone, everything! The blond hair, blue eye stereotype is
whatever. I have seen maybe 10 people that match that description. Most people that live in Stockholm are ethnic
minority, some South American, others Arabic or Middle Eastern, and many African. This is actually a popular
media topic here and these ethnic minorities are called "suburban". Yet these "suburban" individuals are setting
the trends in Stockholm and perhaps Sweden. They have their own lingo that is being adopted as the "hip" way to
greet your crew.

So we have a small change of plans. After tireless hours of attempted planning and calling and scheduling, yadda
yadda. We eventually realized that the arctic is sold out. SOLD OUT! A lot of suck is what that is. Apparently we
are in the middle of a Swedish winter Holiday that involves winter sports and how well one partakes in them. So
everybody heads north to the arctic for a week. Needless to say we can't get a place to stay above 66° north.
So we decided to go with plan B.

We spent the day today in Gamla Stan (The Old Town). Gamla Stan is a very small part of Stockholm in the center
of the city. Stockholm is made up of little islands on the eastern coast of Sweden. The island in the middle is
Gamla Stan. Notable places on Gamla Stan: The Nobel Museum, The Royal Palace, and the oldest bakery in Stockholm. This part of town reminded me a lot of Budapest. The tall buildings screaming medieval, Renaissance and the
narrow alley ways all lined with cobblestone streets really brought out the feel of an old European city. We
visited the Royal Palace and had an early lunch at the bakery. we then attempted to visit the Nobel Museum but it
was closing early for an event. Tomorrow we will visit again. As evening rolled in we strolled out to some
shopping spots in Norrmalm district and then went shopping for dinner at a local supermarket. We finished off our
night with a few drinks at a local pub discussing the benefits of the metric system and beer making with the bar
tender chick. It was a very event filled day and we are beat.

Tomorrow we will wrap up our Stockholm experience and then early Thursday morning we are off to Gotland for a few days (plan B). On tomorrows list: visit Nobel Museum, Djurgården, and an Absinthe bar on Fleminggatan.

Also, Sweden is a little apprehensive about photographs of government or private establishments. Since that is
everything it is difficult to get good pics.

Here are a few pics from today:

Gamla Stan
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace
Swedish Parliament
Jessica in her royal garb
Scott wearing a little

The Nobel Museum
Sergels Torg
Gamla Stan at Night
Gamla Stan at Night
Making Dinner
This Beer tastes exactly like mine!

For those who requested, here are a few:

Swedish Chics
Swedish Chics
Swedish Chics
Swedish Chics



A map of our traveled path.