Trip Start Jan 08, 2010
Trip End Sep 27, 2010

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Where I stayed
Krukmakarens Hus (Frälsningsarmen) Potter's House, Salvation Army

Flag of Sweden  , Gotland,
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

After a couple of days in stockholm we ventured back to the centralterminalen and caught the bus to Nynashamn (south of stockholm) and then took the ferry across to the island of Gotland where Visby is.  We were expecing the ferry to be a sydney ferry sized thing but it was huge! it was the titanic by comparison! that meant i didn't get sick but we didn't get a very good view.  the ferry had a big ball thing o front to break through the ice which was pretty exciting.

After the 3 hour trip we were met by Peter Woode, the administrator here who has been helping us to organise everything over the past year or so.  it was great to  finall meet him.  It's warmer here on the island but still very cold and snowy.  i can get away with one pair of gloves here but we're still both wearing two pairs of pants every day when we go outside.

the house/church is amazing.  It was built in the 1100's and was originally two houses with a lane down the middle but has been joined into one big one.  Back in the early days of the Army in sweden the room that is now the church was the nightclub of the town where people would come and drink their wages away.  The army started having meetings here and was eventuall able to buy the place and have owned it ever since.  So it has been a church for that long and a few years ago Shell and Ankie (spelt phoenetically), the officers here, had the idea of starting this training school and it has been running really successfully since then.

The house is quirky and comfortable, we're going to take some pictures and do a virtual tour for you guys with the video bit of our camera probably on saturday. some of the doorways and ceilings are so low that dad and ben would have to be lopped off at the knees to live here.

the house is in the old town which is surrounded by the city wall, also built in the 1100's.  we went for a walk yesterday around the outside and inside of part of the wall. it's amazing to see something so old which is still part of everyday life.  In some parts the wall is in the backyard of the houses and sometimes it even forms the back wall of the house itself!  It's a beautiful sight to see the old wall covered in snow with the ocean in the background, the photos don't quite do it justice.

We did a supermarket shop yesterday as well and we would still be standing there trying to work it out if it weren't for our friend Owen who lives in the room next to us.  He is from Zambia but has been living in Uppsala just north of stockholm for 2 years.  He speaks excellent english and swedish so he has been a huge help for us.  The fruit and veg in the supermarket is really expensive (would you buy a 5dollar zucchini?) and it's none too fresh, but what can you expect when the country is knee deep in snow?  They had dark green mangoes for a huge price, but i think we have been somewhat spoiled by the ripe mangoes we get at home.  It will take a while to get new buying and cooking habits but all good fun.

This city is full of stunningly coloured buildings, even more so than stockholm so needless to say i couldn't help taking hundreds of photos.

don't know what sort of news you're getting there but over here they keep talking about 'europes big freeze' and everyone assures us that it's not usually this cold.  i think we're lucky to see the extreme of winter, makes it more interesting.

the course started today at midday with a nice hot lunch where we met everyone. it will take a bit to remember the names because there are 15 or so students and 4 staff.  when we get some pictures of everyone we will have to write the name phoenetically because the spelling is really confusing.

It looks like the course will be really challenging and interesting, speakers are coming from all over the world from different organisations and churches and the students so far are from lots of different countries so it should be really interesting to hear all the different points of view.  Language has been interesting so far, the course is officially taught in english but some people speak it better than others so some people fall back on swedish and then get translated by someone else.  We seem to be picking up some words here and there and hopefully we'll be able to practice speaking a bit more.  Owen has been helping us remember some words so that's good.  Everyone here knows at least 2 languages, most of them 3 or 4 so it's a bit intimidating!

Peter Woode is taking us all on a guided tour of visby on saturday so more then. 

Hope you're all jealous by now,

Myf and Pete 
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Angela on

So good to hear from you in snowy/sunny/overcast Sweden - and it is full of Ikea Stuff! It all sounds really different and stimulating. And so beautiful (especially when you can look at the pics and not breathe that cold, cold, super dry air... ). Thank you so much.

Lulu on

Had your blog forwarded by Penny. It is wonderful and I can just hear you talking! Yes, we have been hearing of the big freeze, including tales of the chunnel being affected. You sound just like me on our trip a couple of years ago, for the first time seeing in person the incredible history of Europe portrayed in art, architecture etc. Your photos are brilliant and give us a sense of your experience but would love to see you guys in more of them, a reminder in the future for you as well. Enjoy!

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