Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out! Having not been here since I was a small child, I was pleasantly surprised by how much there was to see and do here – and I am not even a Harry Potter fan.
The Castle is in fantastic condition and still lived in half of the year by the Duke of Northumberland and his family. You are not allowed to take photographs inside but there is plenty to see outside with activities and demonstrations ranging from archery to falconry.
Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out!
There are photo opportunities for young and old – even if you don’t need a lesson on flying your broomstick, you can’t help but be charmed by this magical place and the effort the staff obviously put into their work in entertaining visitors young and old.
Or that’s what we thought – we know this place, returning here for our third time will be such a rewarding experience, especially as we will be here in the summer months with sunshine, a new experience – not the previous winter blasts of snow and ice.
And we were right, this is an amazing place to visit, such a beautiful region and city, and the people are fantastic – but did we know it as well as we thought, probably because there was so much more to see and do; things that are just covered in snow and ice in the winter!
So let’s get our bearings and get to know a sunny Aughust Stockholm, who knows after a few days it may all comes back to us just like a classic ABBA song!
A good way to start is always a boat trip under the ridges and around the many islands that make up Stockholm – as it is a tricky place to navigate around, being spread over so many connecting masses.
After that, it’s time for a hot dog, some local beer and a glass of mini sausages in Gamla Stan, old town, just up from the underground station and looking out to the Hilton in Slussen where we have stayed before.
This whole area is to change with a major upgrading of the complicated road, rail and boat canal lock that intertwines with the connecting islands and bridges between Gamla Stan and Sodermalm.
Another feature of Sweden for the weary traveller, is how hard it can be to buy alcohol from a shop – I don’t want to sound like we have a drink problem, but it is very different to the UK in terms of purchasing.
The search for alcohol became an important part of the trip, with only two bottles of wine purchased in 7 days, certainly the state run hidden store strategy is working!
OK, time for one of my highlights for the week – a cycle sightseeing tour with bike Sweden
Then it’s the Photografika museum for me
And the Royal Palace and City Hall for Kay
Then meet up and over to Moderna Museet, one of our favourites!
This is a very special museum with a great collection – many pieces I had seen before, especially good to be reunted with Robert Rauschenberg’s sheep – last seen at the Louvre in Paris…
Time to move on…Gothenburg beckons, and I am reliably informed that anything goes in Gothenburg.
Anything goes in Gothenburg
let’s find out…
Seemingly my hypothesis is true – this ‘Little London’ cosmopolitan metropolis (compared to sleepy Malmo), would appear to be a veritable den of vibrant celebration, an explosion of cultures and differneces; a celebration of every shape, size and shade of humanity – or is that just the about vodka and bag of nuts that I have had……?
Anything goes in Gothenburg
No it was not just the nuts – this is a crazy place; at least it is so in August, a couple of days here and you will be ready for a rest….
Sweden’s second largest city is a busy bustling one, the harbour and the ocean from the backdrop for a multitude of nautical activity, and there is plenty going on on land as well!
Let’s start with a boat tour – all the guidebooks suggest this is the best way to find your sea-legs, however they don’t tell you go out in a tee-shirt, just as a major weather front is moving in; here is to the first soaking of the trip.
That rain certainly caught us out!
Time to move on – August is the month of a major cultural festival seemingly all over Sweden
So it’s time to dress up as a giant crayfish again Gothenburg is not going to miss out!
In August every year there are over 1,200 activities with free admission for all tastes and ages. Streets and squares turning into party places where you can indulge in a rich variety of culture – opera, art, music, carnival, street theater, crafts, theater, literature and film.
The Culture Festival intermingled various cuisines along with international artists and local bands – we got caught up in two events that will stay in the mind for a while….
Gothenburg Culture Festival will sacrifice an annual party That Contribute to a warmer, more human and fun community. The event’s force attention and strengthens the rich cultural offerings and Helps to Gothenburg and the Västra Götaland region Becomes even more attractive to live and work in and to business. It is the City of Gothenburg and the Västra Götaland behind Gothenburg Culture Festival, along with a range of partners in the municipal, business and other organizations. Project Göteborg & Co.
Firstly we stopped by at the Gothenburg Concert Hall, or to give it the correct title; the Konsthall.
Johan Zetterquist, was in residence – cue some crazy modern art.
Zetterquist creates among other projects to public works, often in the form of gigantic monuments. The visions are both utopian and dystopian but also irony and humor. Proposals portrayed with great concreteness and precision in a variety of techniques, not least as sculptures and installations. He appears in the joint between the design and installation. [ 3 ]
This was an interesting exhibition – Kill the Poor Eat the Rich cerainly hits a cord with me!
LOUISIANA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART is a leading international museum of modern art. Located on the coast it strikes that rarest of balances between landscape, architecture, and art in a unique interaction that attracts visitors from around the world and makes a visit to Louisiana something special throughout the year.
The museum, which is located 25 miles north of Copenhagen, with a panoramic view of Sweden across the Sound, presents six to ten special exhibitions annually and has a distinguished permanent collection with over 3,500 works.
Louisiana is also a vibrant cultural centre open in the evening Tuesday to Friday until 22:00 and offers a rich variety of activities and events.
Barcelona is a city I have been to many times, as part of a European tour with the family, or just a short break with my wife on a couple of occasions, and even years ago with my work in more of a jolly capacity.
I must be due another trip – as looking at some of these snaps, I have not been for a couple of years at least…
As the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain, Barcelona always seems to offer something new, a protest, a march, a demonstration and some good old fashioned shouting normally suffice (a loud-haler is mandatory if you are visiting this place!)
Essential components of any visit would include the following for me at least –
A visit to the amazing Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, often simply referred to as La Boqueria, a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district and one of the city’s foremost tourist landmarks, with an entrance from La Rambla, not far from the Liceu, Barcelona’s opera house.
The market has a very diverse selection of food and drink, a fantastic place to spend the morning watching the world go by
The second mandatory excursion in my humble opinion would be to pop into MACBA – the Museu D’Art Contemporani De Barcelona
(or to us – the Modern Art Gallery, tucked away behind the market)
My third chosen activity would be to chill out, do some serious people watching, and have a swim in a rooftop pool at the 5 star Grand Hotel Central, somewhere we have stayed a couple of times and really enjoyed.
so there you have it, some simple Barcelona ideas – always a great place to be!