Browse Month

June 2017

Reunion in Riga

My visit is Europe is getting closer to it’s end – and for that I’m glad. What makes me even more glad, is that this stop was not a typical backpacker / tourist / traveler stop, since a good old friend from Norway visited me – or should I say; good new friend.

I would guess this is the stop so far with the least culture, history, exercise, hiking, photography etc. but I really didn’t mind. Not at all. Sometimes, and especially now lately, I’ve struggled to find energy to take photos and I actually think it’s because of the  destinations. I’ve said it before and say it again; Europe is the least adventurous continent. So then it was perfect with a weekend of socializing!

A guy I met at my last employer came to visit me in Riga this weekend and it was hilarious fun. Just stroll around, eat, drink, prank, people-watch and of course; share gossip of people back home (everyone does that, don’t even try!). It’s funny somehow that some of the people you connect best with; you meet somewhat late in life. Growing up in a very remote place, I couldn’t really choose my friends – since there were very few children living out there. I had to stick with the few “nearby” and with nearby I mean 4 kilometers of mostly uphill by bicycle. Eventually when I moved to town for high school, I had so many people within short distance so I could choose who I wanted to spend my time with or not. In that way I could spend time and build bonds with the ones I really had a chemistry with – and also people more like myself.  There I met some of the best friends in my life – and we still are. But also, it’s nice when you are 29 and a “new” person enters your life and becomes a truly good friend.

One more “civilized” stop coming up and then I’m finally off for some adventures again. Can’t wait!

Vilnius – the capital of Lithuscandinavia

Even though the Baltic states are just an hour flight away from home for me, I’ve never been to any of them – other than a transit but that doesn’t really count. After Prague with lovely visitors from home (mom, Nisse and my best friend) I set aim for the capital in Lithuania – or should I say; Lithuscandinavia.

Outside of Scandinavia, this is by far the place that reminded me the most of home when it comes to how it looked – both nature and architecture. There were also Swedish and some Norwegian brands and companies everywhere: Swedbank, SEB, Telia, Nordea, DNB, Narvesen and of course the obvious H&M, IKEA etc. so that also contributed to the home-feeling. I don’t know if it’s only me, actually don’t think so, but when we Scandinavians think of the Baltic states we often think of them as poor old “Soviet bloc” countries known for two things: cheap and ugly! Cheap it was, but far from ugly. Vilnius has a very cosy and good looking old town and city centre. I would say it’s a really good destination for a weekend getaway!

To be honest, there are not many things that I’ve missed at home (besides family and friends) – the only thing is probably the winter sports snowboarding and cross-country skiing. Besides those two activities, I don’t really fancy the winter. The summer in the nordic countries however, is the best in the world when the weather gods are on your side which unfortunately don’t happen too often. In Vilnius they were though, so I could enjoy some late summer nights with sunsets around 10.30 PM and that reminded me of the Swedish summers when you can be out all day (and night). Without even knowing it, I had for sure missed this. But since it’s been winter there hasn’t been much to miss in a way.

A good thing about traveling in Europe is that everything is so close and easy to get too. A couple of low-cost airlines in combination with buses and trains makes it easy, cheap and fast. Next up will be Riga, where I’m about to get my 4th visit from home on this trip. Excited? Indeed!