Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out!

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.

Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out!
Alnwick Castle is a fantastic day out!

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.

Harry Potter Broomstick flying lessons
Harry Potter Broomstick flying lessons

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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.

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Knowing me knowing Stockholm

Knowing me knowing Stockholm; Ah Ha!

Ah Ha!
Ah Ha!

Knowing me, knowing Stockholm!

Knowing me knowing Stockholm
Knowing me knowing Stockholm – we found new jewels in the sunshine!

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.

BBBrrrr...... Stockholm 30th December 2009 Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 18mm, f7.1.0, 1/180 sec, ISO 1600
BBBrrrr……
Stockholm
30th December 2009
Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 18mm, f7.1.0, 1/180 sec, ISO 1600

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!

You need a big coat in Stockholm 30th December 2009 Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 38mm, f11.0, 1/500 sec, ISO 1600
You need a big coat in Stockholm – looking out to City Hall
30th December 2009
Nikon D200 AF-S DX VR 18-200 f3.5, 38mm, f11.0, 1/500 sec, ISO 1600

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.

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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.

There is always time to fit in a hot dog

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.

Slussen and the Hilton
Slussen and the Hilton
Beers with a large dog are essential.....
Beers with a large dog are essential…..
A glass of sausages, overlooking Sodermalm withould the need of a huge coat…

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 drink shop - not easy to find!
The drink shop – not easy to find!

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

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Then it’s the Photografika museum for me

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And the Royal Palace and City Hall for Kay

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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…

http://www.modernamuseet.se/

Moderna Museet
Moderna Museet

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A special treat for Anniversary – the ABBA museum

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I also got a very special pair of socks….

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then a lovely lazy afternoon loving Stockholm, reflecting on this amazing place

You think you know somewhere?

Think again!

Knowing me knowing Stockholm has taught me that here especially. the climate makes Stockholm at least two cities….

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Knowing me knowing Stockholm
Knowing me knowing Stockholm

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I will need to add more comments/links and snaps, but just wanted to get it out there this morning before the next trip …

Travel dilema – where to today?

 

 

 

 

Anything goes in Gothenburg

Time to move on…Gothenburg beckons, and I am reliably informed that anything goes in Gothenburg.

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Gothenburg is beautiful
Gothenburg is beautiful
The people in Gothenburg are beautiful
The people in Gothenburg are beautiful
nice bit of canal anyone?
nice bit of canal anyone?

Anything goes in Gothenburg

let’s find out…

The Poseidon Adventure
The Poseidon Adventure

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……?

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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….

Plenty to watch
Plenty to watch

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!

A city made of ships
A city made of ships

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.

Posh houses along the central canal, from the boat trip
Posh houses along the central canal, from the boat trip
Everyone looks down on you as the low boat passes under the even lower bridges - health and safety look away.
Everyone looks down on you as the low boat passes under the even lower bridges – health and safety look away.
Our guide was very good - she alos had a big coat (unlike us) which came n handy once the rain started.
Our guide was very good – she also had a big coat (unlike us) which came n handy once the rain started.
Or was it Hull Docks from 1974?
Or was it Hull Docks from 1974?
Gothenburg boat trip
Gothenburg boat trip
Gothenburg boat trip
Gothenburg boat trip
The sensible people bought a poncho....
The sensible people bought a poncho….
Hiding under some very low bridges to keep out of the rain...
Hiding under some very low bridges to keep out of the rain…

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That rain certainly caught us out!

wet wet wet
wet wet wet

Time to move on – August is the month of a major cultural festival seemingly all over Sweden

It's quite easy to buy that little something for the party season!
It’s quite easy to buy that little something for the party season!

So it’s time to dress up as a giant crayfish again Gothenburg is not going to miss out!

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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….

THE MISSION

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.

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Johan Zetterquist, was in residence – cue some crazy modern art.

born 13 April 1968 in Arvika , [ 1 ] Zetterquist is a Swedish artist . He works in Gothenburg and studied at Hovedskou Art School 1988-1989 and at Valand at the University of Gothenburg 1989-1994 [ 2 ] .

Kill the Poor Eat the Rich
Kill the Poor Eat the Rich
This is Sweden's first bank-robber, a hero seemingly?
This is Sweden’s first bank-robber, a hero seemingly?

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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!

poor man’s wall – looks like our back garden
He likes his crosses the other way up...
He likes his crosses the other way up…

 

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He debuted in 1994 at Galleri Rotor in Gothenburg. Since then Zetterqvist had exhibitions both in Sweden and internationally, including at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco , the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin , Witte de With in Rotterdam , Galerie Rudiger Schöttle in Munich , Julia Friedman Gallery in Chicago , Suite 106 in New York . Along with Staffan Boije of Gennäs curatade he Nordic Darkness on Kristinehamn Art Museum in 2011 [ 4 ] 

Great work from Göteborgs Konsthall this solo exhibition from Zetterquist is certainly worth a trip!

Next it’s Carnival time!

Some amazing dancing, music and parading through the streets next as the Sunday afternoon carnival gets underway.

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OK I got a bit trigger happy with the Kiriaka Drum band – but they were amazing!

Anything goes in Gothenburg
Anything goes in Gothenburg

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What a fantastic place – music, happy people, international food fairs, and a couple of great meals out – Heaven 23 and the French Bistro around the corner – as below

The whole cast from the Poseidon adventure are here….
View from Heaven 23 restraunt – easy to jump when the bill comes

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All in all, a lovely town, you can walk safely everywhere, lots of nice bars and things to do.

Haga is also a lovely district to have some lunch and when it’s all too much, just sit back and soak up the multicultural vibe….

Light lunch in Haga

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Goodbye Gothenburg.

I will be coming back  -if they allow me after reading this drivel.











Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

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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.

Louisiana

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.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art can be found at http://en.louisiana.dk/visit-louisiana

We visited this museum with friends five years ago this week, yet it has taken me until now to stumble across these pictures and get them out there. For that I am truly sorry!

This is a great Museum, i feel a blog post coming up Nikon D200
This is a great Museum, i feel a blog post coming up
Nikon D200

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Louisiana Museaum of Modern Art, Denmark
Louisiana Museaum of Modern Art, Denmark

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Barcelona, Catalonia

Barcelona, Spain

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!