A Travellerspoint blog

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.
large_95c4dfc0-2ce2-11ea-9e7c-617c50ab5591.jpg

The park and waterfront by the town hall.
large_9653b240-2ce2-11ea-9e7c-617c50ab5591.jpg

The historic Gamla Stan island buildings.
large_968f0d90-2ce2-11ea-9e7c-617c50ab5591.jpg

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
large_03357830-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

The dramatic landscape from the land - hiking around Trollfjord
large_0c27d050-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

Ulvagfjord
large_c49233b0-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

rainbow during a sail and a hot tub with a view once we got to a destination camp on an island
139d7380-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg 2204bcd0-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

Our glamping site with multiple beach options
large_263260f0-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

The famous Henningsvaer soccer pitch and a sunset with some pizza
92e18f50-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg 9eee94f0-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

A lonely but picturesque church in the countryside and some local beach graffiti art
a78e6040-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg ae401730-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

The stair hike up Reinebringen
large_b8b36a00-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

The view of Reine and surrounding towns and islands from near the top of Reinebringen
large_b4272b20-d806-11e9-b29e-e7349ea0174d.jpg

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:

large_c5d5fe20-d7e1-11e9-9b9c-01e658dafd9b.jpg

large_cf58fd80-d7e1-11e9-9b9c-01e658dafd9b.jpg

large_e91e47c0-d7e1-11e9-9b9c-01e658dafd9b.jpg

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 - Blanca - Colorado USA

more hiking up tall mountains

rain 60 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

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.
large_04e2cc40-f3a0-11e9-a9b4-c1b4d1f9c11b.jpg

Chasing the sun up the mountain
large_05b69700-f3a0-11e9-a9b4-c1b4d1f9c11b.jpeg

One of the many lakes we hiked by
large_05fe7570-f3a0-11e9-a9b4-c1b4d1f9c11b.jpeg

Climbing up Blanca's ridge, with Ellingwood in the background
large_0649af40-f3a0-11e9-87ad-2d903a73ec2b.jpeg

Proof at the top
large_06958550-f3a0-11e9-8817-69164fe96bbf.jpeg

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)

2019 14ers - double take - Colorado USA

climbing the Gray-Torrey duo

sunny 60 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Gray's & Torrey's

These twin peaks are a somewhat close drive from Denver, but I heard horror stories of the road leading from the highway to the trailhead. If you don't have a high clearance 4WD, then it's another 3 miles each way before and after your hike. These are a couple easier hiking options, but I didn't ever want to add 6 or more miles of gravel road walking. Now that I have the 4Runner, Chris and I decided to knock these peaks off the to do list.

A semi early departure of about 5 am got us to the road. It certainly was rough, but did see some lower cars made it up part of the way. They must have some adventurous drivers. We got near the trailhead for parking and saw quite a few people had camped there over night. Good idea for future trips. The most used path up to either peak is straight forward and has a consistent up hill grind. There's also a Kelso Ridge route option that gets more into class 3 to 4 rock climbing, but we decided to wait on that for a future trip.

The most exciting part of the trip was on the way down. We had to cross a snow field. Previously hikers had crossed and worn down a path, enough so that we could slide down part of it but on a gradual descent section on the trail. We thought that was it, but next saw some people just off the trail, sliding straight down the mountain in a valley. What I came to learn was 'glissading'. Before I knew it, Chris jumped into the snow and started sliding down too. So I followed. It was slick, steep, and scary. We slid for several hundred feet, and then dropped off a ridge and onto an even steeper part. It took a few minutes to probably drop down 700-800 feet of elevation. Quite thrilling, and only ended up with some soaked pants and jackets.

Relive video of the hike

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

the moon is still out
large_c7a5a770-f3a0-11e9-87ad-2d903a73ec2b.jpg

the sun is on the way
large_c75bf440-f3a0-11e9-87ad-2d903a73ec2b.jpeg

view farther into the Rockies
large_c7feeb00-f3a0-11e9-a9b4-c1b4d1f9c11b.jpg

celebrate
large_c7c1baf0-f3a0-11e9-a9b4-c1b4d1f9c11b.jpg

at the top
large_c7809340-f3a0-11e9-8817-69164fe96bbf.jpg

an easy section to walk/slide down
large_c6b74fd0-f3a0-11e9-8817-69164fe96bbf.jpeg

the steep section we glissaded down - you can't even make out the few little specks of people at the top or the path we slid down
large_c700b4e0-f3a0-11e9-8817-69164fe96bbf.jpeg

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 18:18 Archived in USA Tagged me trees snow nature hiking colorado sunrise usa hike denver challenge 14er murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

the Great Sand Dunes National Park 2019 - Colorado USA

highest sand peaks in all of North America

sunny 100 °F

sand everywhere

We went down to southern Colorado to check out a strange natural phenomenon. First, there's just this great big pile (30 square miles) of sand sitting in the middle of a circle of mountain ranges. But in May, June, and July, the melting snow runoff creates a temporary river right beside the sand. And there's some 4WD only off-road paths to take, which made the 4Runner happy.

But be warned, the water also brings out the bugs for those months too. and the sand gets HOT during mid day, so the best dune hiking is early morning or late afternoon. We also were lucky to even get a camping spot at the national parks campground. I checked 6 months before our trip and they were all sold out except for a few spots. We even had to move between sites the two nights we were there (luckily they were close).

And it was HOT during our stay (got to 100 degrees), so make sure to have shade and plenty of water. Good time to take a nap in the middle of the day in the tents and then drive around a bit in the vehicle with the A/C blasting.

Recommend:

  • bring water to hike up the first peaks of the dunes (will take about 2 hours)
  • reserve your campsite as early as possible ... or check out campgrounds that are outside the park
  • bring bug spray and sunblock
  • enjoy the river during the spring/summer months
  • if going off-road, make sure you have a high clearance 4 wheel drive (not AWD) vehicle and a way to deflate and inflate your tires
  • cardboard and regular sleds don't work to slide down the sand, but there's a place that rents boards just south of the park entrance

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels - National Parks album

large_436239d0-9e94-11e9-8da6-4f59708e5975.jpg

large_49801530-9e94-11e9-8da6-4f59708e5975.jpg

large_4cf71380-9e94-11e9-8da6-4f59708e5975.jpg

large_4f91e2a0-9e94-11e9-8da6-4f59708e5975.jpg

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 12:26 Archived in USA Tagged mountains hiking colorado usa camping nationalparks murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Leadville Marathon 2019 - Colorado USA

the highest, roughest, toughest marathon in the US

sunny 50 °F

overview / intro

After a lot of races in 2018, I only agreed to one this year. But it was a tough one. It's in the mountains near Leadville, Colorado. It starts at over 10,000 feet of elevation, climbs up and down several mountains, one of which gets over 13,000 feet of elevation.

The views were absolutely amazing. That's one of the main reasons I still get out and challenge myself with these runs, despite limited training time and some injuries. Seeing the mountains and open sky as you run through forest and up gravel roads until they're closed by snow that's still around in mid June is sweet.

Relive video of the hike

link: watch my race

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels - festival and races album

large_8d506610-9e8b-11e9-af61-c947936f7018.jpg

large_8d0b94e0-9e8b-11e9-af61-c947936f7018.jpg

large_8ccd2c50-9e8b-11e9-a4e9-8542d7f30541.jpg

large_8cc75ff0-9e8b-11e9-af61-c947936f7018.jpg

large_8c207190-9e8b-11e9-af61-c947936f7018.jpg

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 10:46 Archived in USA Tagged me mountains colorado race challenge 2019 Comments (0)

(Entries 22 - 28 of 73) « Page 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »