Monthly Archives: June 2013

Water Flowing through Amsterdam

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Welcome back to this travel blog! It’s been some time. We’ve had bathroom renovation in our place, what a mess! We stayed at my mom’s during the ten messy weeks, while she was in Poland. Otherwise we would have to pee in a bucket in the kitchen, take a shower in a shed in the yard and cook… no, no cooking. So we took the cats, some clothes, cameras and went exile. It was better then the staying at home option, but not sleeping in your own bed for over two months is not nice. And when we got back, the internet was dead. What a joke!

Now we are back, the internet is back and the bathroom and fresh, new and nice. Pretty good. And I’m back on the blog! Have we been travelling, while on exile? Have we seen some world heritage sites? Oh, yes! We went to Amsterdam and visited several sites in Holland and I was to Budapest with my work for a day. So let’s go!

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Water everywhere

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City of cheese

Amsterdam, what a city. We went there quite early this Spring, considering Spring being pretty late this year. I think it was the first weekend with sunshine and you could actually eat outside and just enjoy the warming rays of the sun. With a jacket on, but still. We decided what we wanted to do and see, we bought a flight ticket and friends told us where to stay. And all the nice, cozy and cheap places where crowded, booked, finito. It was some kind of youth event in town and some concert. And all the cheap hotels? Forget it! But after some searching we fond a five-star hotel close to the train station with one cheap room left. It was supposed to be a small room, a shead, but still a room.

When we arrived at the hotel we were told: “We’re really sorry, your room was taken we have to upgrade you to our luxury site. No extra cgarge”. To bad breakfast was not in the price. But minibar was with free refills. And Nespresso machine with as much coffe as we could drink. Pretty good deal.

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Pretty city

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City of bikes

We started out with visiting the tulip fields. I’ll write another post about it. In Amsterdam we strolled around a biit. We had some beer, coffee and food. Mostly meat, nothing special and the most wonderful pancakes. And more beer. One night we found an African restaurant and had kudu and springbock and Savanah Dry. Oh, how I long for Africa! We passed several shops with cgeese and had to try some. Great cheese!

In Amsterdam there were bikes everywhere. The city is pretty flat, so it was easy to ride a bike, but we didn’t. We walked. And walked, and walked. It was a very cute city with old buildings and smiling people. The building were often leaning and were not straight at all. I wonder why?

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City of channels

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City of weed

We took a boat tour, of course. We saw the city from the water, going through the channels, exploring the city. We looked at the leaning houses, beautiful places and seeworthy museums. Places to visit on foot and places that could be good. The tour was very nice and we met an American couple, that was travelling around Europe. Some people say that Americans are stupid that go to several European countries in a few weeks, but I think that’s a perfect thing to do. If you don’t have much time, you should still make the best of it. Take all the best gems, the rest is for later if more time and money would show up. All my respect to these eople!

More walking in Amsterdam took us to the red light district that was more sad then happy, coffee shops and shops with weed. Maybe I’m too old but I was not impressed. I was not really impressed by people that was stoned and gone. And the smell of weed was not so nice either.  Some things are magnets for wrong kind of people and that’s nothing to be proud of. That’s my opinoin.

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Gay city

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Amsterdam by night

We visited also a cat gallery. It was a wonderful place with paitingsof cats, sculptures of cats and three living, attention demanding cats. So cool! We didn’t visit any more museums. It was just a lazy weekend. We walked across the town day and night. We walked across the channels, streets and squares. The city made us feel good and embraced us, made us feel welcome. We found gay streets with rainbow flags in every shop, pub and hanging from every house, showing that everyone was welcome here, no matter who he or she liked.

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Another night view

Amsterdam is a pleasant city. You can walk or hire a bike and public transportation is cgeap and every where. I liked it!

Link: Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht.

Grade for the Amsterdam channel system:

GlobeGlobeGlobeGlobe

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Making Swords for the Army at Wira

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Some time ago I wrote a post about Engelsberg iron works, that is a world heritage site in the middle of Sweden. I mentioned another place in that post, namely Wira iron works, which I find as nice as the former one. So why is the former a world heritage site, but no the second one, nor the other places just like these two, that must also exist.

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Green surroundings

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Museum

Wira bruk or Wira iron works is a village and an historic iron works in Österåker, near Stockholm in Sweden. Wira bruk was founded around 1630. On the basis on a monopoly granted by a royal privilege it manufactured most of the rapiers and swords for the Swedish army into the mid 19th Century.

The royal privilege lasted until 1775, but the forge continued to supply weapons to the Swedish armed forces into the 19th Century and later manufactured civilian products, such as axes and scythes, into the mid-20th Century. Wira bruk is now a museum.

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Inside the smithy

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Inside the smithy

Sounds pretty much like Engelsberg, maybe even better, so why is only Engelsberg mentioned like special and unique? Is it because Wira is too close to Stockholm and someone wanted to spread the special places? I agree that today Engelsberg is better preserved, maybe due to the place being a wUNESCO World Heritage site. But back in the days life and work here were pretty similar.

The village looks pretty similar, they both have dark red houses where worker lived, both have a small museum, although the one at Wira is as interesting, both have an old smithy. The one at Wira is older and more destroyed by time, but you can visit it. Engelsberg have a mansion that is private and not possible to visit and Wira has iron workshop, where you can buy real iron stuf. From small hooks and can openers to larfe grills.

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Mysterious grave inside the smithy

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The water wheel

The both places are located by water and both places have water wheel. The mosquitos where larger at Engelsberg and we saw more frogs there, at least when we went there and Wira had more ducklings in the lake.  Wira have also Wira games at the end of each summer with dance, song and old music.

While being in Wira smithy we discovered an old, mysterious grave. Why is it here? Who was he? Why was he burried here and not, as others, by the church? Did he do anything wrong? It’s interesting, disturbing and I’ve been trying to find answers. Maybe one day I will find out.

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Beautiful red smithy

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In the village

I have no idea why the one is a world heritage, but not the other. I mean there is another site that contains over hundred old houses in another part of Sweden, several miles apart, so why not these?

I’ve been to Wira several times at least. It’s cute, picturesque and beautiful place. It’s perfect for a summer excursion with or without picnic and the museum is really interesting. Last time we were here we saw a family of duckling with mother duck and the previuos time we saw cows in the field behind Wira. So near city and in the nature.

//Monika

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