tisdag 14 maj 2013

Adventure #4.1 - Cityweekend in Dublin

Can you call a cityweekend trip to Dublin an adventure? Well of course! An adventure is about discovering new things and exploring the world - so definitely an adventure!

Dublin is a great city - the size is perfect since everything is within walking distance. People are friendly and there are lot's of sights and history to explore. Of course we did the usual stuff - shopping, walking, walking, walking, eating, visiting pubs, sightseeing, visiting museums, just relaxing and then some more walking. Since this was a trip for my 15-year old, he decided the tempo and activities. A couple of times I left him in the hotel room and did some shopping of my own!

So, here are some of the highlights - and also things that qualify very well as adventures.

City Bike Tour
There are lot's of tour companies in Dublin, the hop-on hop-off buses, other bus tours, plenty of walking tours and of course the strange/fascinating/unique/appalling (you choose!) Viking splash tours... But we decided to go on a bike tour. We did that last year in Berlin and thought it was a great way to get a good understanding of the city and the history. We booked our tour with Dublin Bike Tour and walked to the meeting point on a rainy Thursday. There were only 3 of us going on the tour together with our charismatic guide Brian.

We had a great morning with Brian who showed us the main sights in Dublin and at the same time gave us information about the city and the history. Both informative and entertaining! I think this way of seeing the city is actually better for a teenager then just riding the bus which can get a bit boring. So we were both happy with the start in Dublin!

The sculpture Famine

Casper, Oscar Wilde and our guide Brian

Hiking in Howth
When we were approaching the airport on our way to Dublin, we could see Howth when looking down through the plane window. And Casper said "It would be great to go there" - so of course we had to do that! Howth is only about 25 minutes from Dublin on the DART (commuting train). Howth itself is a pretty seaside village with a harbour, piers and plenty of seafood restaurants.

Many people come here to go hiking on the trails around Howth's head, and so did we. We took a short trail which was about 7 kilometers which took a couple of hours. It was a great walk with nice scenery. There are four prepared loop walks, and we went on the Tramline loop. It was a windy day with mostly sun but also some showers. Typical Irish weather! When we got back into Howth we celebrated with a nice lunch at one of the many restaurants before heading back to Dublin.

We can really recommend this as a short adventure when you are in Dublin - the hike is easy with spectacular views.

(For our new blog readers who never heard of geocaching - check out Geocaching.com. "GEOCACHING is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online.")

This was not really a geocaching trip, but we tried to do some treasure hunting as well. We checked out the caches with most favourite points and just went for those. Here are some nice ones that we found:

  • The Loneliest Litter Basket in the World - located close to our hotel, a very charming cache in an abandoned litter basket in the middle of some bushes. We actually had to go there several times. We first picked up a leprechaun Travel Bug, but it turned out that it just arrived in Ireland and wanted to stay there. So, we had to go back and return it. (Travel Bug = hitchhiker that travels from cache to cache, often with a mission)
  • Iveagh Cache - was only 68 metres from our hotel room! Located in a very nice and secluded park.
  • Gardiner's Treat - a webcam, and nice since there are not that many webcams left since you are not allowed to create these types of caches anymore. 
  • Radio Ga Ga - the only cache we logged on our trip to Howth. Amazing view of the sea and the harbour in Howth. 
View from our window where you can almost see the Iveagh Cache.

That's it! Both of us had a great time exploring Dublin and it was nice to have some time together just the two of us. Stay tuned for Adventure #4.2 - Cityweekend in Moscow.


onsdag 8 maj 2013

On our way to Moscow and Dublin

OK, this might not be a "real" outdoor adventure... But we bought our teenagers tickets for a cityweekend as Christmas gifts. And since May is a busy month for this family, we decided that these city weekends would be part of our family adventure year. This also put some pressure on us to come up with ideas on what to do, and not just spend the whole weekend shopping and eating!

We do quite a lot of things together as a family, but sometimes it is nice to divide the team. So we decided to take one kid each and plan a long weekend somewhere in Europe. Annika planned the trip to Dublin with Casper.  The adults in the family have been there before, and I remember thinking "we need to come back here sometime when we have kids". So that seemed like a good choice. We found cheap airline tickets and a hotel close to the city on the south side. And we were ready!

CJ was in charge of planning the weekend with Ellen. He usually tries to find interesting places where not many people usually go on vacation. After a little search on the net and a few clicks the flight and hotel were booked to Moscow via Mr Jet. So far so good... Then he began to read a little more and it turned out that they needed a visa to travel to Russia. No problem, how hard can it be to fix a visa....

Well, it was not as easy as he had expected and it was actually quite expensive too (for a short weekend trip). In addition to the Embassy fees (nearly 600 Swedish kronor per person) there was a need for an invitation from a Russian tourist organization. The hotel he booked could arrange it and after a few emails we got a handsome invitation with stamps and only Cyrillic text for another 600 SEK per person. In addition, our insurance company had to send a “Russia” certificate which insured that we had travel insurance. 2 400 kronor and a lot of work (3 physical visits) we finally got our visas. Comparing to travel within EU you can at least see some benefits of being part of the EU.

Lot's of paperwork
It was actually much easier to enter Russia than getting the visa. The passport control in Moscow was very fast compared to for example the United States.

We will return with more detailed descriptions of our city weekends in Moscow and Dublin. This is written the night CJ and Ellen arrived in Moscow when the whole city were preparing for the celebration of the defeat of Nazism 63 years ago on 9th of May 1945. More on that in the next blog post!

/A and CJ

lördag 4 maj 2013

Friluftsmat: Grönsaksnudlar med lax

Detta recept är gjort för att tillagas utomhus på friluftskök eller över öppen eld. Receptet är tänkt för en dagstur när det går att ta med sig färska ingredienser. Sist i receptet finns lite tips om hur det går att anpassa för en längre tur med torkade ingredienser istället.

Grönsaksnudlar med lax (2 port)

1/2 paket äggnudlar
1 bit squash
1 paprika
1/2 gul lök
1 bit hackad ingefära
Sweet chilisås
Salt, peppar
2 frysta laxbitar

Gör så här
1. Hacka squash, paprika, gul lök och ingefära. För att spara tid kan du förbereda det hemma.
2. Fräs grönsakerna i lite olja i en stekpanna på gasolköket eller på en muurikka över elden.

3. Koka upp vatten och lägg i nudlarna, de blir klara i varmvattnet på 5 minuter (kolla instruktionen på paketet).

4. Stek laxen i olja (stekpanna på gasolkök eller muurikka). Lägg laxen åt sidan.

5. Blanda nudlar med grönsaker och tillsätt sweet chilisås, pressad lime, soja samt salt och peppar.

6. Låt grönsaksnudlarna fräsa en stund i pannan.

7. Häll upp och njut!

Variant med torkade grönsaker
Vi har gjort en liknande rätt när vi fjällvandrat, men då hoppat över laxen och ätit den vegetarisk. Det går förstås att torka lax, men det har vi inte provat. Squash, paprika och lök kan torkas enkelt. Se till exempel den här artikeln på Utemagasinet. Om du verkligen vill lära dig mer om att torka mat så är boken Torka mat från Calazo inspirerande! Där får man också lära sig att torka fisk om ni vågar er på det.

Lime är lite överkurs så det kan man hoppa över. Men sweetchili, soja och olja är lätt att ta med sig i små burkar. Skippa färsk ingefära och ta med mald istället.

Om man är ute och fjällvandrar och passerar STF:s fjällstugor så kan man köpa nudlar på plats så då slipper man bära det med sig.

Smaklig måltid!