Hi there friends!
Lots to talk about and my fingers can only type so fast. I just got back from an incredible journey one might call a vacation! It all started about a month ago when Anna-Lee and Kaitlin joined me at the Casa de Ryan in London England. Matt 'the entertainer' Ross was not far behind and joined us for a few quiet (deafening) days/nights in the city that never sleeps (or talks to each other on trains)!! From here we took our Euro Rail passes and made our way to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the centre of the Scandinavian Universe Pitea!!!
One highlight of the trip was the many train rides that ranged from two to fourteen hours! Instead of being bored, we decided to play cards, eat food, drink the occasional beer, and meet the rest of the train. We met some new friends from all over Sweden, France, Germany, Denmark, and America. We brought these people into our many random singalongs, dance parties, rock paper scissors matches and so much more. Heck we even tried to help our friend TJ through a bit of a tough time when somehow her friend got off the train at the wrong stop without out her and was, as a result, lost and alone in Europe with nothing but the clothes on his back! (ouch) TJ if you have ESP and somehow are listening, I hope it all worked out for you guys!!! Basically after TJ lost her mate, we missed our stop in Brussels, and then managed to miss another one shortly after that! So when the train stopped unexpectedly to fix the breaks, we took it as an opportunity to jump off the train with all of our luggage onto the tracks and over to the train waiting to go back to Bruxelles! We brought TJ with us to Brussels where she was meant to get the train to Amsterdam...
We were so fortunate to be able to see so many parts of the world that are so different in so many ways! Sweden was most certainly the highlight of the trip for me as we got to see some awesome friends that we now see on an annual basis! 2005 was in Florida, 2006 was in Canada, and 2007 was in Sweden... Pitea to be exact. We timed our trip so that it coincided with the Pitea dansar festival which was a festival unlike any I have ever seen, and that includes the world famous Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival!!! This festival involved music (five stages playing any type of music you could possibly desire), dancing (like it was 1999), sports (beach volleyball, soccer, basketball, triathlon), midway, and some of the best food I have tasted! Among other delicasies we tried Suova's which is reindeer in a pita... Langos is this hot pastry with sour cream and pizza toppings... and a plate that is traditional and unique to Pitea called Palt which is potato based ball with some type of ham in the middle which is eaten with butter and jam. (Big cheers to Erika's mom and dad for having us over for such a great meal)
The 'girls', as they are affectionately known, were amazing!! They put us up in their apartments, served as our tour guides and basically made sure we were always taken care of. It was great to meet all of their friends as well... the Swedes are very good hosts as people we had only just met invited us for meals at their houses, bbq's at their parents farms, wakeboarding at cottages, pre-festivals at the festival and even gave us goody bags for the train ride home! I can't say enough about everybody that took care of us... I will start with THANKS / Tack... and will leave it at, you are always welcome in London! Man, I miss Sweden already!
My travel partners:
Matt... you have a way of making light of any situation and making even the most boring of things into barrels of fun and excitement!! Gonna miss ya buddy! Start planning the next road trip which will happen when I get home for Christmas.
Anna-Lee... I must say I saw another side of shy Anna-Lee on this trip!! Was so great to see you and makes me miss home and family a little more... can't wait to see you at the Baker family Christmas!!
Kaitlin... was a slice meeting you and getting to know you! Seems like I have known you forever, we have all seen and been through so much together now. All the best to you!!!
If you have never traveled, seen the world, experienced other cultures... you need to now! I have been bitten by the travel bug and am quite happy to pass it on to others! I am off to Dublin Ireland next weekend for work which will be my 8th country visited! Can't wait!!!!
Wishing everybody all the very best!