The mine itself was a lot of fun. A young girl was our guide, and she took us on a long, cold, drippy wet tour down in into the Earth.
I don't know how those long-ago miners could face each day working down there in the bowels of the Earth. I think it had to be terrible.
The mine was a long way from town, and the miners had to go live at the mine for a week at a time. When they went home for the weekend, they had to take care of their farms. Wow. It makes me thankful that I was a school teacher all my life.
Look at this -- Jessica, finally, on our last day, got to see a moose. It was something she really wanted to do. It looks pretty much like ours in North America, doesn't it? Later on, when I was on my motorcycle, the man in the car ahead of me hit a deer. I myself hit a huge hare when I was driving the rental car with Jessica. I also saw a fox run across the road. After years of traveling in Europe, now I am seeing wild animals. That tells me I had better stay alert. I sure wouldn't want to hit an animal of any size while on my motorcycle.
On our last day before we returned the rental car, a rock hit our windshield. Bam!! I think someone threw it off an overpass, but I am not sure. It looks like I am going to get to find out how good the insurance on our credit card is.
So, Jessica headed on home to Holland, and I returned the rental car and picked up my bike from long-term storage. Time to say goodbye to Oslo, one of my favorite cities. But first, I wanted to go to the maritime museum. It was something I tried to do before Jessica came, but I ran out of time. It is something I really wanted to do (I love adventure and sailing). Here is the original Kon Tiki, the balsa wood boat Thor Heyerdahl and his tiny crew sailed across the Pacific Ocean to prove that it was possible early sailors might have sailed boats like this from South America to colonize the Pacific Islands.
And here is the Ra,which Thor Heyerdahl sailed from Africa to the Caribbean to prove his theory that Egyptians in boats made of reeds might have reached the Americas many years before Columbus and the boys.
There were also ships at the Maritime Museum that had been used by some of the early Arctic and Antarctic explorers. It was all very interesting to me.
I kind of hated to see Oslo receding in my rear-view mirror, but it was time to move on. Also, I very much wanted to fine better weather. I was very, very tired of helping the Norwegians suffer through their worst early summer weather that anyone could remember. So, look out Sweden, here I come. You better have some sunny weather for me.
Southern Sweden, where I was riding on my way to Stockholm, is heavily forested. It is part of the great northern pine forest, the Taiga.
It looks a lot like Canada with beautiful farms wrested from the forest, and many, many lakes. I bet those lakes are just chock full of fish just yearning to be caught.
It was cold my first night camping in Sweden, but I met a nice young couple from California, biologists like me, who were riding their bicycles across Sweden. They reminded me of a website that I had forgotten about, but which Patrice and I have used before. It is Airbnb.com , and it lists some good bargains on rooms. I immediately got on the internet and found a nice, $35.00 per night room to stay in while I am in Stockholm. Wow. A warm bed, no wet tent, and only about $10.00 per night more than camping. I am in tall clover.
And here they are, my hosts (hostesses?). This is the owner, Noemi Ferrando, on the left. She is from Peru, but she has lived here in Stockholm for 25 years. And that is her mother on the right. I don't know her name because all I ever hear her called is mamacita.
And this is my cozy room. I love it. But please ignore my messy bed. I sleep kind of feisty.
Noemi drove me around and showed me how to get a subway/train/boat/bus pass, and she showed me what lines to take to get into town and back again. Meanwhile, Odysseus has to cool his tires in Noemi's garage.
I like Stockholm. It is built on several lakes, and on a lot of arms of the Baltic Sea.
I had quite a time getting oriented when I got off the subway. Surfacing again after traveling through the earth can make it a challenge to get your bearings figured out. I wonder if moles and earthworms have the same problem? It worked out fine, though, because I just happened to find the Royal Palace, and I got there just at the right time to see the changing of the guard. Look at this guy. I bet he is ready for a break after standing there for hours.
I'm not sure how many guards there are that need changing, but I do know there is one at each entrance to the Palace, and there are a bunch of entrances. It takes quite a while for everyone involved to circumnavigate the palace and get all these guys replaced. A lot of the ceremony involves horses.
It also involves a lot music playing. All the people, men and women, up there on those beautiful horses, had some sort of brass instrument. I don't know how they were able to play those things and still steer their horses around.
That guy on the left is on a big draft horse because he is playing huge drums. You can see them sticking out on both sides of the horse. I guess that drum player steered his horse with foot and leg signals.
It took a good hour of marching and playing horns and scooting horses here and there, but they eventually got the guards changed. Ta Da!
I took a tour of the palace, but quite a lot of it is shut off because the King and Queen and their flock are getting ready for a big wedding in just a couple of days. The Prince is getting married. I wonder it they will have a parade and ride in one of these old beautiful coaches.
Speaking of coaches, what do you think of this thing? A woman put her shopping into it, got into it herself, and just drove off. Pretty cool I think, but not too practical for my home town in Illinois.
I wandered all over the place, and I just happened upon a party. Well -- I am not sure if it was a party or if it was some kind of a club where everyone plays lawn games and drinks beer. I was thirsty and very hungry by that time, so I just joined in. Nobody seemed to mind. I had a great sandwich and a very tasty and welcome beer. Ahhhh!
Getting back home was an adventure, but fortunately I had good directions. I had a little trouble locating the bus when I got off the subway, but it all worked out. So, now it is 10:30 -- time for a shower and a long nap. It was a beautiful sunny day today. I hope it is nice again tomorrow.