Denmark: Sun & Fun (not your typical pairing)

Spring Break found familynomadic packed back in the prius, this time with as much sand toys and snacks as they could fit.  Destination…Skagen, Denmark.  From the Oresund Bridge, across the Storebaelt Bridge, and finally across Den Ny Lillebaeltsbro, we managed to reach “mainland” Denmark and took rest in the town of Aarhus, which is the second largest city in Denmark.  Seeing that I have two little boys and that Aarhus was not our destination, I unfortunately have nothing to report, except that the Scandic hotel on the outside of town had a great fussball table that K fell in love with, especially as two older boys invited him to play with them.

Our morning destination on day 2 of our drive was the largest “tropical” rainforest in Europe, located in Randers, Denmark.  Randers Regnskov is a great place to spend half a day with kids.  A small, but nice, aquarium on the bottom level, two bio-spheres catering to two different climatic zones, a very cool bat cave and a nice outdoor playground makes this place a must stop place when traveling through Denmark with kids.  So, after watching the monkeys, the alligators, and the bats, it was time to pile back into the prius and push on to the top of Denmark.

Skagen, Denmark is somehow a picture perfect, sleepy Cape Cod/Martha’s Vineyard, small beach town tucked away in the rolling dunes of northern Denmark.  Made famous by countless impressionist artists who have come to capture the bleak, and at times surreal, landscape of where sand meets both the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.  Skagen also claims the title of the sunniest place in Denmark with an average of 223 days of sun (thank you Wikipedia)!  Coming through Denmark, we were under very consistent cloud cover and light rain the entire way…until we made it half way up the peninsula where the clouds seemed to hit an invisible wall and let the sun shine on in.

The theme for Skagen is sand and sun.  As it was still April, the temperature was not conducive for swimming; but, at times the continuous sun shine made it feel like a perfect summer day.  We spent our days in Skagen walking the beaches, taking small hikes along the numerous dune trails, and taking in the two major sites of the town: the Grenen (which is where the two seas actually meet…and some say you can see the different colors of the seas at this point), and The Buried Church (Spoiler Alert…it is not even buried).  We had picnics on the beach, skipped stones in the sea, attempted an ill-fated fancy family dinner on the harbor (I will spare you the details, but let us just same Momma S says it was one of the worst experiences she has had as a parent thus far), and played in the sand.

After a few days of fun in the sun, we hopped onto a fairy back to Sweden and home.  All pretty uneventful until we got caught behind a circus caravan on a nice small two lane road crossing Sweden…only delayed our arrival home by about two to three hours.  We all came back relaxed and sun-tanned, exactly what was needed for our Spring Break.

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An Arctic Road Trip

Back in February, Momma S and I packed the prius with as much winter clothing and snack food that would fit strapped the boys into their car seats, and hit the road heading north.  Destination…the Arctic Circle.

Day 1-2:  A quick 6hr drive to Stockholm.  Meet with a good friend, celebrate Momma S’s birthday, and take in a ferry ride to a toy museum.

Day 3: Visit the US Embassy to apply for a new passport for K, then a long haul up E4 till we reach Umea.  Recently featured in the NY Times 52 places to go in 2014, Umea was a great place to stop.  Good college town vibe, snow castles build in the center of downtown for sledding purposes, and a pretty good art & music scene.

Day 4:  The Arctic!!

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Day 5:  Dog Sledding.

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Day 6: The Arctic Road.

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Day 7-8:  A long haul home, made possible only with the magic of Harry Potter.  By this point, K & M were done with being in the car.  From Almhult to Porjus, where we stayed in the Arctic, alone was over 1500 kilometers, not counting all of the extra driving we did to go dog sledding, to drive up a mountain in the middle of the night to get above the clouds so we could see the Northern Lights, and just to see the Arctic.  So, the long road home was proving to be very long with two cranky boys in the back.  Luckily, we picked up an audio CD of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and introduce K & M to the world of wizards and witches and broomsticks and magic.  That CD lasted a good day and half, which allowed us to arrive home all in one piece.

Looking back on this trip, I have to say that a road trip to the Arctic, in the dead of winter, was the perfect adventure for this familynomadic.

Burma Bound

It’s May 24th, the day before Mother’s Day in Sweden and here I sit in an airport lounge in Stockholm waiting to board a flight to Bangkok…and I am flying solo. I can’t say that the prospect of taking a 16-hour flight by myself does not appeal; in fact it feels like a well needed vacation from life. On one side of the flight, I leave behind two loving, demanding, self-centered, caring, tender, temper-tantruming, moody, funny, and sweet boys. And I leave them with my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, supportive, and uber-nice wife who has agreed to let me venture off on a new adventure…leaving her solo with the afore-mentioned children of Jekyll & Hyde proportions. On the other side of the flight awaits a country in the grips of a coup and martial law, a painful visit to the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, and then three weeks working with some great people to pull off a pretty monstrous national forum on disabilities, and a chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues from yesteryear.

So, for the next few hours I will allow my self to nap, read WIRED magazine (of which I am only 11 issues behind the most recent edition), and enjoy the silence of loneliness. It is a guilty pleasure, and one for which I seriously owe Momma S a huge debt of thanks…a debt I am sure she will cash in.

Thank You Momma S. I love you very much…and the boys too!!

Some Prague Graffiti & Other Works of Art

At the end of October, my family spent four pretty awesome days in the medieval and romantic city of Prague in the Czech Republic.  I highly recommend a visit, and while it was a little tough with kids it was still well worth it.  Here I am only sharing some of the graffiti and other art we found (carrying on from what I shared from Barcelona, Spain). More about the trip to come…eventually.

Family European Vacation Pt 2: Dinkelsbuhl and Environs

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This is the long awaited sequel to European Family Vacation Pt 1: Bavarian Alps.  We are out of the highlands and down in the lower Bavarian farm land.  Our center of operations was the delightfully medieval town of Dinkelsbuhl.  And … Continue reading