Sunday, 17 September 2017

Saturday in Sweden

Saturday September 16, 2017

The stories will get shorter for the time being, as we will probably be busy doing other things than updating blogs...

We had a restful night and after breakfast I spent most of my time updating our financial situation, sorting pictures and getting some geocaches listed for the area we’re staying in. Also getting my travel SIM to work is always a problem overseas, but that was eventually sorted out too.

After lunch the three of us went to the shops and tried to find a few caches.  We were only lucky once.  One we will have to go back for, because it was hanging in a tree and we couldn’t reach it without a ladder...

This one we found:

#1690 - Mor & Far

This one was actually found by Patricia, as I was struggling with the compass on my mobile phone.  Never mind, I was allowed to sign the log and I have now found cachses in thirteen counries!

Dianne playing with the dog

After the shopping I updated my blog while Patricia and Dianne spent time moving stuff away and around the apartment.  Then it was dinner time and time for bed...

Travelling to Malmö, Sweden

Friday September 15, 2017

As we had to transfer to the flight for Copenhagen we needed to hurry, because we only had 10 minutes before boarding.  However, we quickly found out that our next flight was delayed by an hour, so we had time for a cup of cappuccino and a bit of a rest.  

The short flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen was quite uneventful, but as it was not a high altitude flight and the sky wasn’t very overcast I could see a lot, because we had been allocated a window seat.

Soon we landed in Copenhagen where Dianne, Patricia’s daughter, was waiting for us.  We re-loaded the luggage and were soon crossing the bridge from Denmark to Sweden.  

The bridge (in the middle) in the distance

As Dianne lives in  Malmö, and very close to the bridge, we were home in no time.  

See the yellow straps on Patricia's suitcase?  They were put there to show that the case had been opened by customs.  A letter with explanation was enclosed.  Patricia had not realised that she had packed her powerbank with lithium battery in her suitcase.  It was detected by the Xray machine and removed, because they are considered dangerous goods.  You're only allowed to take them in your hand bagage.  That was an expensive lesson, because she could only claim it back within 7 days within China!

We took our time settling in and having lunch and soon it was dinner time.  Dianne’s two sons came to see her as well as a few friends, because it had been Dianne’s birthday the day before. We spent the night chatting and playing a few games of Sequence.  Four people knew how to play, four people were new to the game.  The newbies won!

Eight people around the table in Dianne's tiny Swedish apartment

Dianne with Nelson, Maree, Emma, Philip, Patricia

Philip, Patricia, Nicklas, Thomas

Marion and Dianne

That's how you do it!

Couldn't decide on which picture...

Playing Sequence - No, I am not looking bored! I am just a darn serious player! :-)

A day in Guangzhou

Thursday September 14, 2017

The room was fine, the bed great, and we had an excellent night.  The next morning we got up early and found the breakfast room where we had a lovely buffet breakfast.  As usual the choice is too much.  Even ‘Muslim Food’ was included in the range, of which I tried something, but I can’t remember what it was. ;-)

Hotel restaurant

View from our room

Apartments at the back of the hotel

After checking out we were ready for our day tour and asked the hotel to confirm for us.  Patricia didn’t know and I hadn’t had time at home, so we’d left it a bit late, but the information in our papers said that if we confirmed within 72 hours before the tour we could ring such and such number.  There was no indication to tell us that we could not confirm any later than....  Anyway, we were told that the tour had been cancelled because of this and there we were: travelled all the way to China for a day tour that had been cancelled.  

We had a pretty nice concierge though and he told us to get a taxi to travel to the ‘Old Building’.  And here, to keep a long story short, I can tell you that we spend a lovely day catching a few taxis to create our own tour and saw the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, had lunch at a little local restaurant and visited the Guangdong Museum.  We had a ball!  (Find more information by clicking on the above links.)

Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

The concierge had given us a little business card from the hotel with ‘Old Building’ written on it in Chinese and with the hotel address on the other side, so we could show that to the taxi drivers.  The same happened in the afternoon, but then with ‘Guangdong Museum’ written on the card.  What a great adventure this was.  Trying to catch taxis and getting to places and nobody spoke English!

The same thing happened in the restaurant.  Nobody spoke English, but we got a decent meal and endless cups of green tea and they even ‘understood’ that we wanted a container to take the unfinished part of the meals home.   We had a chicken and a seafood dish with a serving of rice each.  The chicken, as well as the fish, still contained all the bones.  Imagine that happening in Australia or any other Western European country...  But it tasted good and must have been fresh, because we saw a container with live fish in the water being brought in!

Endless cups of green tea...


Chicken on the left - Fish on the right

Not bad at all...

Guangdong Museum

Terracotta stature

Open crab pot with crabs - woodcarving

Diorama about terracotta pottery wares


Natural history department

Impression of Guanzhou

Upon our return we asked the hotel staff to ring for our transport to the airport to pick us up a few hours early, which they did. In the meantime we ordered a cappuccino and you’ll laugh when I tell you how much the coffee cost in comparison with the costs for the whole day!  As we had ran out of cash Patricia wanted to use her credit card, which she had asked about before ordering, but..... the credit card wasn’t accepted.  So, in the end we didn’t only have to pay for an expensive cup of coffee ($8 in Australian currency), but also a percentage for the credit card and another percentage for whatever they did to get the money!  The coffee eventually cost us 110 Yuan.  Divide this by five and our coffee cost us $11!  Compare this with the $27 we spent for the whole day (without the coffee) on taxis, lunch, a small personal purchase, and a little workshop at the ‘Old Building’!  It’s indeed good for a laugh.

Soon it was 6pm and our transport arrived.  The driver from the night before was so happy to recognise us and waved an enthusiastic hello.  

The suitcases were loaded into the car and then we were driven to the airport.  At this time of the night it was slow going in peak hour traffic, but once we’d passed the toll gates the traffic thinned out considerably and we were at the airport in under an hour.

Checking in went alright and we were getting hungry and dying for a cup of coffee again.  We found a little Starbucks restaurant where we brazenly opened our take-away containers from the restaurant earlier in the day and finished our left-over lunch.  Coffee, unfortunately, was out of the question, because we didn’t have the 38 Yuan necessary to buy 2 cups, so we settled for a bottle of water each and a Sprite to share.  That all but finished our Yuans for the trip. :-)

At 11:30pm it was eventually time to board and, even though we did not have the Premium seating, we were happy with the leg-room that normal seating provided. Better than most of the planes.  We slept on and off during the long flight to Amsterdam, but were still not too tired upon arrival.