A Travellerspoint blog

2019

a year in review

all seasons in one day 77 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 & Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

Looking Back

2019: It's been another fun year, what else can I say. I continue to travel the world and experience awesome unique cultures. I also travel a bit around the US for work, family, camping, or other adventures. I continue to push myself with physical and mental challenges, as well as trying new potential hobbies and building up my skills.

This year was marked by a lot of newness. I have a new lady in my life, the lovely Sharon and her 9 year old Lucien (and Felix the cat). I got to witness a cousin get married and bring in a new family member. I met my brand new niece Cara, a newborn life from Renee and Matt Klein. I took dancing lessons, handgun safety classes, passed work certification tests, and had a first sailing based vacation. There was new tattoo work, new camping and hiking adventures, new add-ons to the 4Runner, a new home, a new pet, and new entertainment. I completed my first ski trip and successfully went down a mountain (a short green run, but didn't fall on one of the attempts, so I'll consider that a victory). Also met new co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Played some new board games, card games, and Xbox games.

I look forward to more of the same in 2020. Already have a trip planned to Israel. Hoping for others to either France, Morocco, Philippines, and around the US. I hope to continue to enjoy work, family, and life in general.

Activities

Things that happened in 2019:

Big Travels

Quick Trips

Challenges

Events & other activities

  • Breckenridge retreat weekend
  • Chicago Open festival : concert of Tool, System of a Down, Prodigy, Meshuggah, Gojira, and 9 other hard rock / heavy metal bands
  • Denver concerts: Gojira, the Roots, Slipknot
  • Denver RAW artists - support Gabby
  • Denver Travel and Adventure show
  • Elitch Gardens amusement parks
  • Jury duty
  • Movie on the Rocks (Red Rocks)
  • new family: Cara and Chelsie
  • volleyball leagues
  • Ski trip to Eldora
  • Universal Studios Hollywood amusement park
  • Water World water parks
  • work certification : Agile Product Owner

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 15:28 Archived in USA Tagged hiking japan sailing sweden concert run usa rockies camping norway denmark nationalparks 14er murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Copenhagen 2019 - Denmark

Danish capital

overcast 60 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

the Danes

What a very cool city. I can't even quite put into words the experience I had of exploring Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. The Scandinavians use the hygge term to refer to a comfort and cozy feeling; it was like that but more hip, exciting, freedom, everyone's equal type vibe.
What makes Copenhagen so cool? It doesn't seem to try, but it just is. It's just enough classy (Tesla taxis) and enough trashy (the Christiana free town squatters) to make it all work together. There is an abundance of transit options: subway, commuter trains, boats, buses, walking, cars and the king of the road known as the bicycle. All of these seem to just work together.

I had almost no plans or research into the city. I knew I was staying near the center, and wanted to just see what I could stumble upon. I rented a bike for a few days to live like the locals. And even though there were several heavy rain downpours that I got caught in, I saw some interesting areas and sites. With minimal fanfare, that list of sites include among others:

  • the Kastellet fort
  • Rosenborg Castle
  • Kings Garden
  • King's New Square
  • Østre Anlæg Park
  • Ørsteds Park
  • Amalienborg Palace
  • the Free town of Christiania
  • Opera house
  • Amager strand
  • shopping streets
  • canals and islands
  • Tivoli amusement park
  • central station

Recommend:

  • renting a bike
  • Amager strand beach and park
  • Nyhavn
  • Strøget pedestrian shopping street
  • bars and restaurants of Westerbro

Some of my favorite photos:

One of the many waterfront picture scenes you can see around town
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A waterfront neighborhood near Christiana Free town
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The New Harbor - Nyhavn
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Trip Map

related:
Malmo Sweden
Stockholm Sweden
Lofoten Norway
Oslo Norway

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 14:51 Archived in Denmark Tagged me trains museums travel castle capital europe denmark copenhagen murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Malmo 2019 - Sweden

a Swedish city

overcast 55 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

the stopover

I took the early train from Stockholm (6am) to Copenhagen and decided to take a pit stop in Malmo. It sits right across the water from Denmark and Copenhagen city. I spent most of a day there and you can easily see the highlights within that time. Although I had a little more trouble that I thought I would storing my bag for the day as I walked around town. The train center has plenty of luggage storage, there just a little hidden.

That's what I thought of Malmo. It seems to have plenty to offer, you just need to find the hidden gems. The easiest to see from almost anywhere in the city is the twisting torso tower (picture below). I didn't get to tour it, but saw it from afar and walked right by it. Also easy to find on the map is the beach, piers, and park called Ribersborgsstranden, east of the city center.

Other touristy areas that I checked out were the Malmo castle (kinda bland) and the nearby Slottsträdgården and Kings garden (a little more interesting with the windmill pictured below). They have a technology museum to counter the old street cars used for public transit, and St Peter's church to mark the city center. There are 2 town squares providing shopping, food, people watching, and space for festivals. They're also conveniently right next to each other and known as Stortorget and Lilla Torg.

Recommend:

  • walk around Ribersborgsstranden park and piers
  • Stortorget and Lilla Torg
  • shopping on Södergatan street

Some of my favorite photos:

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Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
Stockholm Sweden
Lofoten Norway
Oslo Norway

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 14:11 Archived in Sweden Tagged me skylines trains markets sweden europe murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Stockholm 2019 - Sweden

Swedish capital

sunny 60 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

the median

I'm going to make a disclaimer right away, that I do really like Stockholm. It may not seem like it from the post, but I would take the opportunity to go back. Seems like a fantastic city to live in and experience for a longer time. I was only there a day and a half.

My initial thought as I was walking around the metro is that Stockholm is Europe's most average city.
• Its clean but not sparkling. Dirty but not trashy. Somewhere on the scale between Copenhagen and Naples.
• There are green spaces but not excessive in quality or quantity. Above Antwerp, but it's no Dublin.
• You'll see some sculptures and fountains, but nothing that people flock to like Trevi in Rome.
• The Royal places are spread around town, mostly plain looking and among other buildings; no Buckingham Palace experience.
• The cityscape is generally the same level with homogeneous looking blocks and structures. It doesn't match the endless supply of spires like Prague, but there are a couple.

The people thrive in mediocrity too.
• Not taller like the Dutch, but not shorter than average either.
• They're nice but not in an outgoing manner like. Straight forward but not bluntly British.
• They stroll and live casually but don't shut down for Spanish-esque siestas.
• A fair number of the populace enjoy their fashion, smoking and cafes, but pale in comparison work the Parisians.
• Its a mix of socialism and consumerism. Ikea style shops for electronics, home improvement, clothes, sports.

I only had a day, so I made the most of it and walked all around the city center. Stockholm is a bit of a shopping haven and there's lots of pedestrian streets with shops, mega malls, and little out of the way center. The main ones are: Drottninggatan, Biblioteksgatan, Birger Jarlsgatan, the Gallarian, and NK Stockholm, which are generally in the Norrmalm neighborhood and east of the main train station.

Although most of the Gamla Stan island, also has a lot of shopping, but it's more known for the royal buildings, nobel museum and views of the surrounding harbor and islands. In nearby neighborhoods are the city hall, kings garden, observatory, history museum, modern art museum, Vasa museum, and Skansen. I would easily recommend them all.

While I was there, the city marathon was taking place so I got to witness a bunch of runners throughout the town and several markets and exhibits set up for that. There was also a large food truck and music festival going on. There was some delicious food from all over the world represented and I had several meals there.

Recommend:

  • Drottninggatan pedestrian mall
  • Gamla Stan island
  • park by City Hall

Some of my favorite photos:
The city panoramic view from a hike I found.
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The park and waterfront by the town hall.
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The historic Gamla Stan island buildings.
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Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
Malmo Sweden
Lofoten Norway
Oslo Norway

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 13:34 Archived in Sweden Tagged me bridges churches art boats museums stockholm sweden castle capital europe cold murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Lofoten 2019 - Norway

Norway, above the arctic circle

storm 45 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

link to the related Norway post from my time in Oslo

overview

My first sailing journey.

I headed from Oslo to Svolvaer in northern Norway, above the arctic circle. This is in the Lofoten region consisting of a pensinula and lots of islands sticking into the north Atlantic. It has a long history of islands, sailing, fishing, incredible natural environment, and fjords. Myself and a small group spent a week on board a sailing catamaran.

We checked out several fjords; which of course are long, narrow, deep inlets of the sea between high cliffs typically formed by submergence of a glaciated valley. The first and most impressive was Trollfjord. The last and equally beautiful was Ulvagfjord. The entire landscape of the region is unique with the dramatic rising of steep cliff walls onto rocky and jagged peaks. All of this is wrapped in a vibrant green coating of trees and moss and shrubs. On the few areas that are a bit flat are the coastal towns, the occasional sheep farm, or even a few beach sites. But since the locals thrive on the fishing industry, you'll see lots of harbors, ships, fish drying racks, and water based businesses.

One of the nights, we spent glamping in teepees. Even woke up at 2 in the morning to catch glimpses of the northern lights. There we also got treated to an amazing meal from a local chef - cod and mackerel caught that day, some herbed potato mash, and the worlds best cake for dessert (it's actually named that; search it and be amazed).

Another couple of days were filled at the town of Henningsvaer. It's an artsy and hipster town, that got a bit of viral Instagram fame for it's soccer pitch on a rocky island. There's also several art shops, local craft and clothing stores, and a brick oven and sauna pub to spend time at. There's even about 25 posters around town that provide information on the history; most in Norwegian but they also have a code to scan to get translations.

Near the very end of the chain of islands is the town of Reine. It has a few places to check out in town, but the real draw is the hiking and views around the town. Despite some strong winds and rain, we trekked up to the top of Reinebringen to be amazed at the sight of islands, seascapes, towns, and mountains. The entire drive on Lofoton is covered by the E10 highway. If you take it, you can find some hidden lakes, fields, additional hiking, and some surf spots.

Recommend:

  • glamping on Skrova island
  • Reinebringen hike and views
  • Henningsvaer sights
  • Trollfjord and Ulvagfjord
  • fresh caught fish

Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
Malmo Sweden
Stockholm Sweden
Oslo Norway

Relive Video

A hike around the fjord

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
or for this Lofoten trip: Norway album
some of my favorites:

The dramatic landscape from the water - sailing to Trollfjord
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The dramatic landscape from the land - hiking around Trollfjord
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Ulvagfjord
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rainbow during a sail and a hot tub with a view once we got to a destination camp on an island
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Our glamping site with multiple beach options
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The famous Henningsvaer soccer pitch and a sunset with some pizza
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A lonely but picturesque church in the countryside and some local beach graffiti art
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The stair hike up Reinebringen
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The view of Reine and surrounding towns and islands from near the top of Reinebringen
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 14:53 Archived in Norway Tagged waterfalls lakes boats travel sailing camping europe boating norway challenge 2019 Comments (0)

Oslo 2019 - Norway

Norwegian capital

semi-overcast 80 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

link to the related Norway post from my time in Lofoten

overview

What a fun little city.

Well, it' not exactly a small city, because the greater urban area does have over a million people in it. However it does have a welcoming neighborhood feel. The main downtown area is very walkable. You could get from the Opera house on one side of it to the Royal Palace on the other side in 25 minutes. A little quicker with their multiple public transit options (subway, street cars, buses ... and technically boats, but that wouldn't help in this situation).

There's a pedestrian shopping and entertainment street. There's a few parks, random art, the hidden gem pubs and the typical chain restaurants. You have great views of the harbor (especially from the mentioned Opera house) and can still get into the natural environment quickly away from shore. There's a few cool neighborhood areas just outside downtown (also walkable), which include Bygdøy, Frogner, and Tøyen to name a few.

I spent part of my first arrival day checking out areas around my hotel. That included the harbor, Opera house, Royal Palace, and the new luxury neighborhood of Aker Brygge. It has sculpture gardens, bars, restaurants, art stores, a walking tour path, a beach and swimming area, among other public spaces.

The second day was a big museum and park day. I got the Oslo 24 hour pass and it was completely worth it. It covered all the city transportation, and I took them all. It also included entry into most of the tourist sites around town. I started with a ferry ride to the Bygdøy peninsula. It includes museums galore: Fram, Kon-tiki, Maritime, Norwegian Cultural History, Viking ship, Holocaust and Pharmacy museums. I saw the first 5 of that list and they were all entertaining. The Viking ship was the smallest and had the least to do, however it was so packed. I think most big tour buses and paid packages include that. If you go, it's fine to skip that one because you learn and see so much more at the rest of them.

Probably the most impressive of those that I saw in the morning was the Cultural history. It has indoor displays about the local nature, clothing, art, and history. But the amazing part is the outdoor sections covering over a 1000 years of the past. There are a ton of old buildings from towns and villages around the country. Some of them are the originals that have been moved, and others are replicas that have been rebuilt using only the tools that would have been available at that time. A countryside area includes a working farm with livestock, gardens, mills, textile machinery, and other tools from 17th and 18th century living conditions.

In the afternoon of my big tour Olso pass day, I continued with some more local displays. First up was the Oslo city museum with all the information you could want about how the city came to be. There was also the Vigeland museum, about a local sculpture who carved average everyday people in the buff, and a display of all his works in the nearby Frogner park. Also visited the Munch museum for the local artist, most famous for the Scream painting. Next up was the Natural History and Zoological museums. Right next door was the botanical gardens, so I walked through them back towards the city center. I closed out the day with a visit to the Nobel Peace museum.

There's definitely more to do that what I covered as well. You could check out the Astrup museum and center, Akershus fortress and castle grounds, Ekeburg neighborhood and it's sculpture park, the ski jump and winter Olympics training grounds, the National theater, day trips to islands in the harbor, or eat and drink all day from the best chefs in the country at the Mathallen.

Recommend:

  • Fram museum
  • Norwegian Cultural History living museum
  • Frogner park and Vigeland sculptures (free)
  • Nobel Peace museum
  • Botanical gardens (free)
  • Aker Brygge food and drink
  • Opera building with harbor and city views from the top
  • Mathallen

Trip Map

related:
Copenhagen Denmark
Malmo Sweden
Stockholm Sweden
Lofoten Norway

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
or for this Oslo trip: Oslo Norway album
some of my favorites:

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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 01:52 Archived in Norway Tagged landscapes art museums oslo capital europe boating norway 2019 Comments (0)

2019 14ers - take 2 - Colorado USA

more hiking - Blanca

rain 60 °F

Blanca

This peak is part of potentially 4 that one could down in southern Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes. Again, this is a hike that I needed the 4Runner. There's 7 miles of road up to a lake to where the real hiking trail begins. I drove about 4 miles of the road before it got really rough - the truck could have handled it, but my off roading experience isn't quite up for that challenge yet. We camped out overnight in a protected pull off site and starting early the next day.

Even a 6 am start was tough going to cover the 3 miles of rough rock road, and then another 4 miles up what is basically a big pile of rocks. There were definite steep drops off some cliff faces, and exposure to high winds as we climbed up a ridge to the top. One section was pretty much boulder climbing and many minutes I just laid low and hung on to whatever rocks were closest.

The goal for the day was to also do Ellingwood, which shares part of the same approach, and there's a ridge connecting the too. However, we were exhausted, it looked even tougher to climb and we couldn't find where the path split off (remember that it's a pile of rocks with a rock path going up it and piles of cairn rocks to guide your way, so it's tough to spot which are the real rocks to follow). Later, we're glad we headed down early as we got a downpour of water for the last 2 or so miles of hiking. What a fun challenging hike, one of the toughest ones I've ever done.

Relive video of the hikes

Grays & Torreys link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vr63JEV23dO
Blanca link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vRO7GpVG5KO

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and 14ers album

One of the easier sections of the road to the trailhead. This is after we parked, and didn't see any vehicles after this point.
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Chasing the sun up the mountain
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One of the many lakes we hiked by
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Climbing up Blanca's ridge, with Ellingwood in the background
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Proof at the top
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 18:24 Archived in USA Tagged me waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes trees snow nature hiking colorado lake sunrise sunsets usa rockies hike denver roadtrip 14er murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

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