lördag 29 juni 2013

Hagby-Mörtsjöns vandringsleder

Förra året upptäckte vi att det hade dykt upp tre nya vandringsleder i skogarna runt oss, mot Täby. Det är tre leder runt Mörtsjön, Käringsjön och norrut mot Karby. Det är skogar som vi rör oss i en del, så naturligtvis ville vi prova de här lederna. På Täby kommuns hemsida finns en karta som kan vara bra att ha med sig - Hagby-Mörtsjöns vandringsleder. Slingorna är oftast bra markerade, men vissa partier var lite svåra att hitta.

Sjöslingan är ca 6 kilometer lång, och den gick A ensam en eftermiddag för något år sen. Det är en fin slinga som går runt Käringsjön. I början följer stigen ett motionsspår och sen kommer man in på Roslagsledens första etapp en stund. När man rundar Käringsjön norrut så viker leden av från Roslagsleden och går söderut. Vid västra sidan av Käringsjön finns ett vindskydd med fin utsikt över sjön. Och på andra sidan sjön finns ytterligare en grillplats.

Fornslingan och Skogsslingan kombinerade vi till en tur för ett par veckor sedan i juni. Alla tre leder möts nämligen vid en knutpunkt, så det går då att byta och kombinera lederna på lite olika sätt, beroende på hur långt man vill gå. Fornslingan är 5 km och Skogsslingan 4 km, så tillsammans så blev det en bra förmiddagstur.
Vid starten vid Hagby
Fin promenad i högt gräs
Knutpunkten, här bytte vi slinga 
Fika bland myggen

Fornslingan börjar vid Hagby och går via hästhagar och över fina fält med flera fornminnen. Den här första delen av leden var definitivt sämst skyltat, och här var stigen inte så markerad heller så det var svårt att se vart man skulle gå. Men det gick att skymta orangea markeringar framåt på träden så det gällde att ta sikte på de markeringarna. Vi passerade gamla odlingsmarker och torpplatser.

Vid knutpunkten bytte vi sen till Skogsslingan. En trevlig skogspromenad utan några märkvärdigheter. Man rör sig hela tiden ganska nära hus, men det kändes ändå som om civilisationen var långt borta. Det finns inga direkta rastplatser runt Skogsslingan, så det fick bli fikapaus på en sten bland myggen. När vi klarat av den här slingan så anslöt vi igen till Fornslingan och gick på en ridstig tillbaka mot Hagby.

På väg mot parkeringen passerade vi ett flygfält - för modellflygplan
Det här är helt okej vandringsleder, bra omväxling till andra turer i området. Inga märkvärdiga upplevelser direkt men ett trevligt sätt att tillbringa en förmiddag.


söndag 9 juni 2013

Adventure #5 - Kayaking in the Stockholm archipelago

Our family adventure for May took us to one of our favourite places in the world - the nature reserve at Östra Lagnö on the island Ljusterö. We left early on Friday and took the car-ferry to Ljusterö. Our first stop was at an old and forgotten military fort. Since CJ is very interested in military history, we often end up visiting bunkers and forts on our adventures... But actually the whole family usually enjoys these excursions, which often involves "urban exploration", exploring abandoned buildings. This fort was in the middle of the woods and it has been sealed off by the authorities so you can't go inside. But there was plenty of things to discover anyway. And of course there was a geocache there!

Underneath this articificial rock (concrete) is the fort of Lagnö
After lunch at the fort, we drove to Östra Lagnö. This nature reserve is very well maintained, it's also accessible with wheel chairs. Nice paths, informative signs and plenty of picnic tables. There is only a short walk from the parking place to Brännholmen, which is where we wanted to stay the night. So, this time we didn't really pay much attention to packing light.

Map from Skärgårdsstiftelsen
The weather was great, finally the summer has arrived to Stockholm after a really long winter this year. So, we spent the afternoon bathing in the ocean, relaxing on the cliffs and just enjoying the amazing views of the archipelago.

For dinner, we made Spagetti Bolognese on our Primus kitchen, this time in two versions since we have a vegetarian in the family. Maybe this cooking is a bit too advanced if you go on a longer hike, but this time we had the time and we didn't have to worry about carrying too much weight. Not only did we enjoy a nice main course, we also had Gino for dessert! (Gino = warm fruit covered with white chocolate)

When we went to bed in our two tents at eleven, it was still warm and light outside. The Swedish evenings in June are really amazing! After a good night's sleep we got up early and had breakfast out in the sun. When you live in a country where you spend 8 months freezing you really appreciate having breakfast outside in the sun wearing sunglasses!

Preparing lunch
Then the main attraction for this adventure was to try kayaking for the first time. We met our instructor Joel from Hemviken Kajak in the morning. It turned out that Joel actually went to the same schools when he was young as our kids go to now, what a coincidence!

We spent a couple of hours on the ocean with Joel, getting to learn the basics. Since we haven't tried kayaing before, we really wanted to get a good start so that everyone felt safe and wanted to try this again. And we had such a good time, this was a perfect first time for us. Joel took great care of us! After our introduction we had lunch and then spent some more time paddling by ourselves on the ocean.

This was our first time kayaking, but definitely not the last. There are plenty of places around Stockholm where you can rent kayaks, so we well try to do this again a couple of times this summer. We really need some more practice before really feeling confident out on the ocean. For example, Joel demonstrated how to do a kayak roll, but that seemed a bit too advanced for us beginners... We'll be back for his advanced training session!

torsdag 6 juni 2013

Getting ready for kayaking

Today on June 6, it is the Swedish National Day and we have beautiful sunny weather here in Stockholm. Our National Day was "invented" in 1983, and is not really a big celebration in Sweden. We are spending the day relaxing at home, going to an outdoor concert to listen to one of our neighbours sing songs by our local celebrity Ted Gärdestad, and then we also will do some planning for our next adventure - kayaking.

We are not really "boatpeople"... And we have actually never gone kayaking before. We borrow a "Canadian canoe" sometimes, for scout hikes and just canoeing on the small creeks in Sala. But kayaking seems more challenging and difficult...
Canoe trip in Sala 2011

So, going kayaking is definitely an adventure for us! It looks like something we would really enjoy, so now it's time to find out. In order to make sure that this will be a nice experience we have booked an instructor for the first hours, at Hemviken Kajak. I am hoping that will make at least me feel more secure!

We are going to go to the northern part of the Stockholm archipelago, to the island Ljusterö. It is actually one of our favourite places in the archipelago, since it is easily accessible even if you don't have a boat. On the northern part of Ljusterö there is a nature reserve at Östra Lagnö which we have visited several times before. The plan is that we go there, have dinner at a cliff overlooking the ocean and then sleep in a tent the night before. It looks like we will have great weather so it sounds like the plan will work!

onsdag 5 juni 2013

Adventure #4.2 - Cityweekend in Moscow

While half of Team Vildmark went west to Dublin, the other half went east to Moscow instead. When going to Moscow, doing all the preparations is almost an adventure in itself, as you can read in our previous blog post.

To maximize the adventure we of course had to choose the Russian airline, so we went with Aeroflot from Stockholm to Moscow. The sky was clear and we could see the ground all the way. We landed at Sheremetyevo airport and from there we took the aeroexpress train to a Moscow Metro station and then on to the hotel.

The Moscow metro was one of the best Metros we have ever used. Clean, inexpensive and very effective. We never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a train. However, it is not that easy to find the right station to get off at since all the signs are in the cyrillic alphabet. Before we left home we printed the metro map in both English and Russian, so we had two versions which helped us find our way.

We had selected a perfect hotel, Mercure Arbat Moscow (thanks all you reviewers on TripAdvisor!). It was quite new with good, clean rooms, wifi and an excellent breakfast. But the best was definitely the location, close to the area Arbat and within walking distance from two different metro stations.

Moscow is a huge city, with lots of things to do and explore. We spent a lot of time just sitting at some café and watch people pass by. Very fascinating! We lived close to the pedestrian zone Arbat so we walked there for dinner each night. It was a bit of a challenge since no one spoke English, but at least most restaurant had English menus.

Hmm, what to get?

We didn't do much shopping. It is quite expensive in Moscow, and to be honest we didn't really find much we wanted to buy...

The first day was dedicated to the big Victory Parade, which is an annual tradition on May 9 to celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany in the 2nd World War. It was impossible for us "simple tourists" to get to the Red Square this day, but there were plenty of other places to stand and watch the parade. We waited together with loads of Russians to see all the military personnel and vehicles of all types.

If you want to get an idea of what the Victory Parade is all about, you can watch the "official video".

And this is what a Victory Parade looks like:

The parade was both impressive and scary at the same time... Apart from the Victory Parade - here are some other highlights from our adventure in Moscow.

Sparrow Hills (Vorobyovy Gory)
We took the metro to Sparrow Hills where you have an amazing view over Moscow and you can really see how enormous the city is. Here we logged our only geocache in Moscow, Pioneers Palace

We found a geocache!
Kreml, the Red Square and GUM
Of course no visit to Moscow is complete without a visit to Kreml and the Red Square. We arrived early and there were still lot's of traces from the Victory Parade. There was a looooong queue to get into Kreml so we decided to skip that. Instead we went to explore GUM, the classic, big department store. Very expensive and we couldn't see many customers there. We didn't buy anything but relaxed with a cup of coffee.

Flea market
The only shopping we did was at a flea market where CJ bought a Russian airplane. Nice souvenir!

Great War Museum
Since the weather was really nice we decided to take a picnic and went to the Great War Museum which is located in the middle of a big park. The museum was not that impressive (even though CJ is quite interested in military history). It was quite difficult to understand anything when all the signs were in Russian... But we had a nice picnic in the park in the summer weather!

Pancakes with nutella - perfect picnic food!

The last day we made a trip to Kolomenskoje, which is a museum/park a short trip from Moscow. We took a long walk to try to find a geocache, which turned out to be missing. But it was worth the trip, the park was beautiful with all the fruit trees blooming.

To sum up, here are some words that we now associate with Moscow: Clean, Complicated (to get there...), Fascinating, Warm, Impressive and Expensive.