Smyril Line connecting Iceland

For a meeting in Reykjavik on Iceland with friends that I made in the past as we all been part of the internet plattform VirtualTourist.com (bought and closed by Tripadvisor) I investigated options to reach and travel that country for a reasonable prize. Decision came to bring my own car and with it my outdoor equipment (cooking and tent). I came across that there is a ferry operating between Hirtshals (Denmark) and Seyðisfjörður (Eastern Iceland). It is not cheap, but in general Iceland is not a budget destination and I think with many options you end up at the same prize. Here it is important to know that staying overnight out of camping facilities with camping cars is not allowed anymore. Tents should also be pitched on official campsites. The tolerance of Icelandic people towards this kind of tourism has suffered from misbehavior of many. Seeing signs “Icelands nature is not a toilet” maybe explains a part of what I mean. Too many people ignore signs and behave really stupid… I have already seen several cases after three days but will refer to that in some other post.

On the ferry you have different options to rest during the nights. You can book in a 6 person cabin, 4 person cabin and double cabin (also single use). I couldn’t get a single cabin for my trip to Iceland, as I was too late. But we were three people in the 4 person cabin and had a good time discovering the boat. There are two bars, two restaurants, a shop and few other facilities to spend the time. You will be on board for three nights with a longer stop on the Färörn Islands on which Smyril Line has their headquarter. At that stop you can leave the boat for about four hours to explore the capital Torshavn. There is much to see for the time but that is another story.

If you are interested in taking the ferry, you can have a look at the webpage of Smyril Line which I added at the bottom of the posting (emblem). Here first some photos of the ferry, which is one of the only ferries operating on the high seas. As you see, I was quite lucky with the weather. Lets see what comes on my way back, as I am still on Iceland.

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The Atlantic Ocean Road

Looking for a very spectacular road? I can recommend you the Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway. It is a combination of 7 bridges and road pieces over a distance of 8.3 kilometer. Some of the bridges are twisted to fit to the geografics, it gives it a spectacular look. From time to time the road is used for filming advertisements or documentories, often by car companies like for example the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell and the Bentley Continental GT (embedded video below). But I can assure you also a cheaper car is perfect to experience this beautiful piece of asphalt.

The construction started in 1983 and it was inaugurated in 1989. By the way, in Norway they call the road Atlanterhavsvegen. It does not cost any toll.

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Here the video, you can start it at minute 12:20. Before is mainly technics and driving the Trollstigen Road…

Marstrand – Seafreshness

Today you can join me on a trip to one of the beautiful islands on the westcoast of Sweden, Marstrand! Not far from Gothenborg it is a perfect location for a daytrip to enjoy the summer breeze. My first I time I came here was during my studies at Chalmers in Gothenborg. Another foreign friend had his car with him and we decided to have a look as we heard that it is a nice place. And it was right.

Years later on my way back from my trip to Norway I remembered Marstrand and decided to stop by for half a day. As you can see on the photos, the weather improved drastically over the visit…

Marstrand is partly located on an island, on which it is not allowed for visitors to go by car. A ferry connects the island to the mainland where also the parkings are located. The ferry comes regularly, so there is not much waiting time. At the end of the blog check the link to the timetable of the västtrafik between the mainland and Marstand island.

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Marstrand is not only the village with its waterfront, but also a nice nature. There is a path leading along the coastline. At some points it is possible to go swimming.

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You can see the typical rocks that form the skerries in Scandinavia. A result of the moving glaciers during the iceage.

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From the fortress located on the top of the hill in the center of the island you have great views. It is a beautiful place!

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Beautifully colored wooden houses and cobble stone streets. Scandinavia at its best.

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Marstand is famous for sailing, not just the famous sailing events, but also for sparetime captains. During summer there is always something going on.

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Looking over the water towards the mainland.

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Obviously it is Sweden!

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At some point I had to take the ferry back… unfortunately. But next time I get into the region I will come back. For you it is not completely over, I will bring you to the Carlsten Fortress on Marstand in one of my next blog entries! Squeezing it into this blog I would not have given it the attention it deserves…

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Masthugget Church — A Personal Place

Today I will introduce you to a special place. Maybe, if you are a fond of Scandinavia and been to Gothenborg before, you might know the place. I write about Masthugget Kyrkan, the church of Masthugget. It is a prominent landmark standing on the hilltop above the Danish Stena Ferry Terminal. For me it is even more, cause the church was in the direct backyard of my student house and many memories are connected to it. Many tourists (even busses of sightseeing) are coming here for the magnificent views over the town and harbour area. We came here so many summer nights after studenthouse parties, for just some fresh air and talking or to just sit here on the rocks looking down on the lights of Gothenborg. Before christmas we even built the church from gingerbread 🙂

I will spare you a lot of discribing of its history, you can see a photo of the sign I took on at the church. Rather I want to show you some of the things you can see from here…

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This is the view along the Göta Älv (river) towards its opening into the North Sea (or already Baltic Sea?) In the far you can see the large bridge, which is a happening, when the ferries go underneath it. Only a very few meters between the chimney and the bridge are left. Don’t forget to have a look when you take the ferry… and keep breathing… it always works!

You can see the German Stena Ferry Terminal (or better said the German Ferry) behind the tiny church tower on the right of the bridge. On the far right you can see the huge iron crane of Ericsberg. In the past lots of ship yards were along the Göta Älv. With the decline of the ship industry, Sweden pushed for technology. The big time for Ericsson Telecommunication came. A lot of the former ship yards nowadays house technology companies. By the way, a few kilometers on the right behind the Ericsberg crane you will get to the Volvo car plant. That area is called Hisingen and is actually an island in the river.

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A zoom on the big bridge over the Göta Älv. You can go there and cross it by bike. There are bike and pedestrian lanes. Of course I crossed it many times.

In the very far you can see the beginning of the Göteborg Skärgard (the Gothenborg Archipelago) which stretches far on both sides of the river opening. On one of the islands close to town is the New Älvsborgs Castle, in the past a protection fortress for the town. It is hard to believe, but I never been there. It is on the top of my todo list for Gothenborg.

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This is the direct view on the Danish Stena Ferry Terminal and behind one of the few remains from the ship industry. I could actually hear the ferry engines in the student house… made me sleepy. On the right in the far back, you can see the tram and car bridge.

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Here you can see the prominent building colored in red and white… the lipstick. In front is the opera and in front of that along the river the ship museum.

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This is the only photo I have that gives you an idea about the rocky consistancy of the terrain in Gothenborg. During the iceage the glaciers did a hard job on the rocks by grinding them until they became very flat. You still can see where smaller rocks have beed moved over the large hill. The rocks here all have scarves from the iceage.

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Very close to Masthugget Church you will find this monument. It is the sailors woman waving for her man leaving the harbour and waiting for him to return safely. She is located at the Maritime Museum of Gothenburg, just down the street from Musthugget Church.

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If you (have to) leave Gothenborg and you take the ferry (German Stena Ferry Terminal), you will have this nice view on the Masthugget Church. Have to say it was pretty hard leaving from here with that view after spending 2,5 years just beside it on the hill.

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Here at least a glimpse of art from the building. If you look carefully, you see it reminds a little of nordic art. If you enter the church you will find nice models of ships hanging inside. It is an interesting church.

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Here what is written on the church about the church.

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I hope you liked this quite personal view on this place. As said, a lot of memories and all very positive are connected to Masthugget Church and the area around. Maybe you have a look on your own and get a sense of it…

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