Outings: Ångaren Thor.

For my birthday, Per got us tickets to travel with Ångaren Thor, Sweden’s oldest steamer still in use, on the Helgasjön lake. I’ve wanted to go on a ride with it for years but it hasn't worked out and I thought I'd missed my chance this season too, so it was a nice surprise when I learned we'd be going on one of the last tours of the year :)

Ångaren Thor was built in 1887 and the same year Sweden's southernmost lock in Åby was completed. The tour we went on included passing through the lock to the Skavenäsa lake & back. We embarked the steamer by the Kronoberg Castle.

It was a chilly cloudy day, and as per usual I didn't bring enough clothes, but I stayed warm by sitting by the engine. On the way to the Åby lock we enjoyed the little picnic we'd brought along.

Passing through the lock was really cool, and much quicker than I'd expected.

The little village on the other side was so picturesque.

An hour later we could see the Kronoberg Castle getting closer again... All in all it was a great outing, and I am so glad I got to go this year rather than having to wait yet another year for the chance to go.

Life lately: August 2014.

Watching | Most notably, we went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at the cinema while on vacation. It's really not my kind of film, but I have to say I enjoyed it. It's really well-made and okay, I have been drawn in by the plot. Another film I enjoyed in August was Labor Day which I found surprisingly endearing.

Listening to | Zorba the Greek. There is something about Greek music :P

Consuming | Greek food of course :) And then after vacation I've tried to eat a bit healthier but I guess it's gone so-so.

Reading | I finished The Snow Child on the beach in Parga. Such a contrast to read about the harshest of winters in 30+ degree heat :) Then I moved on to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I didn't really get the hype. I liked The Last Brother by Natacha Appanah better. Fascinating to read about a place I knew very little about.

Visiting | My family and P's family towards the end of the month. Cissi in Lund on the 17th, to prepare for her move to Poland.

Enjoying | In August I enjoyed Greece above all, obviously :) And being on vacation. Can't believe it's been over four weeks since it ended already.

Making | I put together a quick photobook with some photos from Parga because I got a "free offer" for one from the travel organizer we used. (It turned out to not be completely free and the quality isn't that great either, but it was what I expected. Definitely sticking to Blurb if I'm going to pay full price.) I might show you the book if I find the time to photograph it in daylight anytime soon.

Looking forward to | Going to Stockholm for our company-wide kick-off at the end of the month, and taking the opportunity to stay a little bit longer. Can't wait to hang out in the big city again. Also I'll be attending this photo class and hopefully meeting some cool people I admire :)

Around here: Mum's 60th birthday party.

A couple of weekends ago, namely on the 23rd of August, we celebrated mum's upcoming 60th birthday with the family. After what felt like months of planning and going back and forth the big day finally came around. It'd been a rainy week but to our great relief it was sunny for most of the day, which was perfect for our late summer garden party. The location was my aunt's place, and was supposed to be kept a secret from mum, but she figured it out anyway. She did her best pretending like she didn't know, though.

We are ever so grateful to my aunt for letting us hang at her place, and for taking care of the majority of the preparations. The guests were our closest relatives; 18 of us altogether, so it turned into the close-knit family affair mum had wished for. The food was delicious and we had a lot of fun solving the quiz my aunt had prepared. The present opening was another highlight, and included more surprises for mum than the location of the party :)

Mum's actual birthday is this Wednesday, and she's spending the week in Croatia. I'm more than a little bit jealous :P

Trips in 2014: Parga, part 3/3.

Day 5.

Since we'd hardly spent any time at all at our hotel so far we decided to hang out in the hotel's pool area for most of our fifth day. It was very calm there most days and we had it mostly to ourselves. There were so many exotic flowers and plants in the hotel garden and I took some time to photograph them. I don't remember ever seeing olive trees up close before. Also pictured: drinks on the hotel balcony, one of my favourite holiday traditions :)

In the evening we replaced our swimwear with something fancier and headed downtown for dinner. We picked the restaurant I mentioned in my previous entry, the one that has an incredible view of Parga. I tried moussaka and found it surprisingly delicious because I remember trying it for lunch in school when I was little and not really liking it (but then again I hated all meals at school).

Day 6.

The next day we went on a boat tour to the nearby islands of Paxos and Antipaxos. We got to swim in the bluest water I've ever seen in Europe, look inside a couple of caves and visit the town of Gaios which is one of the warmest places I've ever been. Because of how it's situated with high hills on two sides there wasn't the slightest breeze and I measured 36 degrees in the shade. I was quite relieved when it was time to get back on the boat.

Day 7.

On our 7th and final day in Parga we went back to Valtos Beach and hung out there most of the day. I took the time to really soak up the sun and took as many dips in the sea as I could, knowing our Greek adventure would soon come to an end. It looks like it was my last time going swimming this year, since it had cooled down significantly when we got back home to Sweden and doesn't seem like it's going to get much warmer anymore, so I'm glad it was such a memorable day. In the evening we bought some gifts for people back home and then it was time to pack up our things. The next morning after breakfast the transfer bus came to pick us up and after lunch we left Greece and headed back north again. This might have been my first trip to Greece, but it was definitely not the last. It's been on my list of places to go for many years now and I knew I'd like it, but I think it even surpassed my expectations and I can't wait to go back there again.

Trips in 2014: Parga, part 2/3.

Day 3.

On our third day in Parga we walked downtown after breakfast. We didn't have any specific plans so when we stumbled across a ticket both selling tickets for the tourist train to the Castle of Ali Pasha we knew that was where we would be going. The previous evening we'd seen the castle in the distance from the Castle of Parga. Never did we think we'd actually get the opportunity to head up there, given how far away it looked, let alone that we'd travel up the steep hills leading there in a little tourist train. I have to admit I was a bit sceptical, but the train climbed the hills slowly but steadily and on the way we passed through lush olive groves as well as the little village of Anthousa. From the castle we had the most incredibly view of the Parga, the Ionian Sea and both Corfu and the Paxos Islands. Due to the heathaze my photos don't really convey how stunning it was, but I think you can get an idea. The castle itself was interesting to explore too, and definitely worth the journey. As we stood there at about 1,000 metres above sea level we couldn't help but laugh at ourselves the previous night, thinking we were so high up when we climbed up to the Castle of Parga. Parga was just a speck in the distance, far below were we stood.

When we returned to Parga we went out for dinner, accompanied by some traditional Greek beverages. The dessert was a given, just one of maany times we visited the frozen yoghurt place during our week in Parga :)

Day 4.

The next day we took a boat to the nearby Lichnos Beach. You could actually walk to Lichnos Beach from central Parga, but seeing that it involved climbing a high hill and would have taken 45 minutes in the stifling heat we much preferred to take a boat. It also meant we got to see Parga from the sea:

Once we got to the beach we rented us some beach chairs and stayed there until the late afternoon.

I had my first Greek salad for lunch at a nearby restaurant. A cute kitty kept us company for a bit, one of many stray cats we saw during our trip.

Once we got back to Parga we rested at the hotel for a while before heading downtown again. Some boat must have dropped some of its cargo of lemons because the beach in central Parga was filled with them :)

After we'd had a bite to eat we went up to the Castle of Parga again. We got there a bit earlier this time so I was able to take some more photos before it got too dark. In the first photo you can see the restaurant where we had dinner the next day, but more on that in my next entry :)