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A Duck flies north - to Sweden and Norway

OZDUCK

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The two flights to get to Stockholm went pretty well with only a few bumps - mainly over the Bay of Bengal. It always seems to be bumpy there and it is where I was most scared on a plane. Flying through a monsoon at night on a British Caledonia DC8 in 1976. Plenty of big drops twists and shakes.

For the fourth time on this trip QR changed our seats to put us together in the middle row. We changed them back to window seats at check in. To teach us a lesson the flight was then mostly above clouds. I had the back facing suite and, as other people have said, after takeoff you don't really notice the difference. My only problem was getting so relaxed and forgetting which way things would move on touch down and thus depositing my camera in the aisle - but no damage was done.

I really like the suites except for the foot room. I am 6' 3" - old money - and my toes were a bit squashed until I reclined.That vent is in the wrong place.

I never tried it in bed mode but I think it might be a bit squishy then as well.

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The view of my fellow pax I liked best

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The menu for Sin - Doha

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I started with the mezze

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followed by the noodles. They were fine but really didn't take my fancy that much and I left a few noodles behind.

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I haven't had much Austrian wine before so I tried this one. I will not be rushing back to try it again. It was pretty insipid.

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I was going to try their 'gourmet' ice cream but they told me they had run out of it. However, they told my wife that it had melted ---?

The J cabin was barely 25% occupied.

We spent about 90 minutes in the lounge in Doha and it was very quiet. I doubt if it was filled to much over 15% capacity. You can see how empty it was.

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OZDUCK

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The flight from Doha to Stockholm was just over 6 1/2 hours. There were only 12 pax in J for this leg. The window shades were lowered about halfway there. Nothing was said when we popped ours up about half way - no-one was near us and the setting sun was on the other side of the plane.

We flew over some (in)famous places like Baghdad and Mosul. I hadn't really realised how rugged the country was in the Caucasus area.

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The menu

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A little taste of beef to start - I had already eaten the garnish

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I had the carrot and coconut soup. It was delicious. The stain on my napkin was from me bouncing the meatball starter into my lap.

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I tried to order the veal but it had run out so I had the pasta which was actually also very nice

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A few hours later I had the date and walnut pudding which was also very good. The catering on this leg was excellent except for the missing veal.

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We flew over Eastern Europe and crossed over the Baltic near Riga but again it was mostly cloudy. As we tracked into Stockholm from the north we passed over some lovely wetlands. This was at about 20:45 and there was still plenty of light about.

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Just before touchdown

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Interestingly, on takeoff from Doha they slaved all the monitors to the tail camera view. It was fine for us but some nervous flyers may have not liked it.
 

OZDUCK

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As we arrived pretty late we stayed at an airport hotel. It was about 1/2 the price of the city centre ones and offered a free shuttle transfer. The rooms were fine if small. But check-in & out was rapid. You checked in & out on-line and your card was waiting on the front desk to be picked-up thus avoiding the queue. At checkout you just threw the room card in a box. While basic, the hotel offered an excellent breakfast.

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The City Hall

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Around Gamla stan - the 'Old town'.

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The cruise ships disgorge people in floods.

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Who said I can't speak Swedish?

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The correct sign for a Science Fiction bookstore.

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OZDUCK

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Drottning Slott. Construction began in 1662 in the Renaissance style. Many baroque features were added plus a bit of redesign in the 19th century. Since 1777 it has belonged to the Swedish State and not the reigning monarch. The Royal family is "allowed" occupy part of the palace.

It does not have the magnificence of, say, the Wurzburg Residence but it has not been bombed out or burnt down so there are no reproductions. The tour guide also made the point, several times, that what looks like gold is gold.

As you approach it

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The main staircase area

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Typical ceilings

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The Queens formal bedchamber

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The library, it still contains over 4,000 of the original books. The Queen selected the books with help of Carl Linnaeus - "the father of modern taxonomy"

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The view out the front of the palace

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And out the back. Looking over the Baroque Garden

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Views of the rear of the palace

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OZDUCK

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A few more of the palace.

The porcelain 'Chinese ' stove- made in Russia

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These three paintings are of, from r - l, Queen Victoria, King Oscar 1 of Sweden and Napoleons nephew, and Emperor of France, Napoleon 111. King Oscar 1 was the son of Marshall Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's Marshalls, who had been 'elected, to the position of King due to the lack of a heir of the Wasa dynasty. Apparently Oscar 1 was not respected around Europe as he was not of 'real' Royal descent. So his wife wrote to the major monarchs of Europe asking for portraits of a nominated size. They were then arranged in this room so her husband could be seen with 'his' Royal equals.

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Next to the Baroque Garden is an English Garden. It can be easily recognised by its lack of formality and the use of long sweeps of grass and water features.

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OZDUCK

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The 'Vasa". If you intend to go to the museum do it as early as possible. We got there about 0915 and got in straight away and chad a 'generally, uncrowded look for about 1/2 an hour. After that the crowds poured in. When we left a couple of hours later there were about 10 - 30 tour buses lined up plus more circling the block. Stockholm, in general seemed to have more tourists than I thought it would. I guess the 'Baltic Cruise' loop is part of the cause.

As most of you know the story of this ill-fated ship I will add little commentary.

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Some of the carvings from the ship. They have been restored to the original colours except for the ''brown' parts

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The stern - as is

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And as was. It was certainly not a monochrome vessel.

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Pretty much the state we saw it in 1976- being spayed with polyethylene glycol. It was basically in a big shed in those days. The new museum was built in the 1990's.

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OZDUCK

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(Back after a couple of days without internet.)

After the Vasa, we did what we often do and just hopped on a tram with no destination in mind. After passing by, no stopping for us, the ABBA Museum the conductor made an announcement and a lot of people got off - so we did too. We discovered we were at Skansen The world's oldest open-air museum | Skansen. The Swedes claim that this the 'worlds oldest open air museum'. However when we were in Oslo the Norwegian Folk Museum also claimed that they had the 'worlds oldest open air museum' - so who knows?

Anyway we went in and it is a mixture of very old - several centuries in some cases - buildings that have been relocated and a zoo.

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The insides of an 18th century farmhouse

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One of the re-enactors, who are around the park,- showing how to make linen thread

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A Lynx & her kitten - a big bigger than I realised

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The Lemurs were fun to look at. i was amazed at how close they walk to the people in their cage. I heard the attendant talking to one of the visitors and he said the Lemurs just walk around the people and his job was merely to stop people trying to touch them.

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OZDUCK

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You hiring an EV or ICE car in Norway?
I actually did think about for a minute. If I remember correctly they were about 30 - 40% dearer. I was a little scared about range even though they do apparently have a good charger system. I have certainly seen more electric cars percentage wise here than anywhere else - lots of Teslas.

I booked a Auris (Corolla) Auto but got an upgrade to a Golf Auto. There are lots automatics to rent in Norway and it does make it easier on the narrow, step winding roads. It is petrol and there doesn't seem to be the preponderance of diesels like we saw in Germany/France in 2011 & 2013
 

OZDUCK

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Vaxholm is an island in the Stockholm Archipelago north of Stockholm itself. On our last day in we Stockholm we paid a visit to it. To get there we took the T bana a couple of stops from Central and then took a bus for about 45 minutes - all on our 'travel card'. Coming back we took the public ferry which cost around A$9 each and took about an hour with a number of stops at various islands. It was a nice trip.

Typical houses in the village

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The old fortress

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You get to it on a cable powered ferry The trip only takes a couple of minutes and costs a few dollars

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The fortress has a B & B and a small museum and weapons display

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Including some tank turrets

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Vaxholm from the fortress

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The channel between the village and fortress is pretty busy. Our ferry is the nearest one to the camera

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There were some old ferries on this run

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OZDUCK

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The way back -

It was a bit grey and overcast but the islands reminded us of our cruise in "The 1,000 Islands" on the St Lawrence River in Canada/USA.

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A typical public ferry stop

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What is this strange building?

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Oh!

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She followed us a lot of the way to Stockholm. I am sure that a few of you have been on cruise ships doing this transit.

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You see some nice sights on the trip and it costs a fraction of fare of the tourist cruise boats.

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You end up back in the centre of Stockholm

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OZDUCK

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I know that I am way behind with my TR but I have just been too tired to catch up at night. Driving for 6 or 7 hours a day on roads like this - in a left hand drive car - certainly tires me out and creates plenty of nervous tension. I have dozed off well before my normal bedtime for the last week or so.

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OZDUCK

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Thunder and lightning and torrential rain has given us an excuse for an early rest today. So a bit more of Stockholm.

The Royal Guards on their way to the Palace.

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On guard outside the Palace

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A slightly curved Royal Place - mea culpa

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A Swedish S Type tank outside the Military Museum. I was fascinated by these in my youth. They are much smaller than I thought.

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When one barrel is not enough. It was a Russian Gun captured by the Swedes. Note that it was designed to be used on snowy ground.

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When even more barrels are needed.

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This 'super yacht' was moored in the harbour. If you look closely you can see that it is flying 'The Boxing Kangaroo'. The yacht is only a year or so old and is registered to a Bahamian yacht leasing company. So I don't know who was on board.

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OZDUCK

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We are hiding in our apartment in Stavanger on a wet Sunday afternoon so I can finally update the TR a bit By the way there are not many places I have visited that are as 'dead' on a rainy Sunday afternoon as Stavanger.

So onto the last of Stockholm.

Some of the waterfront

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Stockholm's T Bana has some unusual decorations in it stations. A common theme seemed to be caves

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The modest Italian Embassy

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We were trying to translate a menu and got stuck on the word planka - doh

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The plush but empty airport express train. It was cheaper than a taxi for 2. It was operated by Macquarie Bank for many years and has a terminal access fee like Sydney Airport to keep prices high.

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On the way to Oslo with another new airline for me SAS. For the one hour hop it was only about $108 per person for an early purchase non-refundable ticket, including 23kg baggage and a cup of tea or coffee. So pretty good value. However, it meant I met my old enemy - the B737-800 with its high seating position which jams my shoulders into the fuselage wall and means I have to virtually bend down to look out the widows. Unfortunately they revealed only clouds for most of the trip. These seats have 32" leg room but I was once again reminded why I use the kids inheritance to upgrade for long flights.

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lovetravellingoz

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We are hiding in our apartment in Stavanger on a wet Sunday afternoon so I can finally update the TR a bit By the way there are not many places I have visited that are as 'dead' on a rainy Sunday afternoon as Stavanger.
There are some good bars, cafes and restaurants tucked into the back streets in the waterfont area. None are cheap though.

Stockholm's T Bana has some unusual decorations in it stations. A common theme seemed to be caves
Just cheap paint to cover up the shocrete. Still better than the alternative of the all grey and rough spatter finish.
 

OZDUCK

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Now for the Norwegian part.

We caught the 'regular' train from the airport instead of the Airport Express. The regular train leaves every 20 minutes rather than every 10 minutes and is 3 minutes slower but costs about $15 instead of $30. They both leave from the same station. As you can see there is plenty of room on this train.

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The old station building has been transmogrified

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Our first walk around of Oslo was a foretaste of the type of weather we have experienced a lot here. This is looking from the steps of the old station.

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The Oslo Opera House, as featured in Captain Halliday's TR a few days ago.

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My best side - walking up the roof of the Opera House and trying not to slip.

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The sauna swimmers, also seen by Captain Halliday, were still there

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Some sort of pop concert was being held and this floating stage spoiled the view while we were in Oslo.

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I liked the look of the foyer of the Opera House.

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OZDUCK

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The next day we bought a 48 hour 'Oslo Pass'. It paid for itself after our museum visits and a few tram rides.

Firstly we took the ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula to visit the museums there. There was some nice sun this day.

The Fram museum is on the left, the Kon-Tiki Museum on the right and the Maritime Museum on the far left.

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Firstly we went to the Viking Ship Museum and its historic vessels

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They projected some nice animations on the curved walls every 1/2 hour or so

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Some grave goods

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OZDUCK

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We then worked our way through the other three museums on the Bygdøy peninsula.

Firstly, the National Folk Museum which claims that it and not Skansen in Stockholm is the oldest.

A village street

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Inside a 17th/18th century farmhouse

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A stave church originally constructed around 1200 and modified over the years. There are still some runes inscribed on the walls

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Then onto the "Fram Museum' The Fram is the ship that carried Amundsen on his successful voyage to be the first person to reach the South Pole. The disastrous Scott expedition was briefly mentioned in the museum. Amundsen was an experienced and capable explorer of both the Arctic & Antarctic who carefully planned his explorations. During his voyage to Antarctice and back the members of his expedition actually gained weight.

The Fram itself

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The bow was strengthened but it was not an Icebreaker but designed to pop up out of the surrounding ice so as not to be crushed like Shackleton's "Endurance".

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On the deck

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Then onto the Kon-TiKI museum.

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The Ra 2, Thor Heyerdahl 's even more quixotic attempt to prove that the Atlantic could have been crossed on Papyrus boats was also in this museum

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