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Whistler

Published 15/01/2014 10:13

Do you love skiing, too? Do you love the scent of newly fallen snow? Do you lie awake wondering how much snow has fallen during the night? Or do you, like me, live in Sweden having a rainy and windy winter ….. still dreaming away, though, to a genuine winter with snow and skiing, a fireplace and a cup of some warming beverage. Or maybe you have never gone skiing and are not longing to do so either …? But I can promise you that if you get the chance of testing skiing in Canada, you will not regret it. And if you don’t like winter, this will change your mind. …. Whistler is just a fantastic place.

Whistler is located in the province of  British Columbia in Canada. It’s a two-hour drive from the beautiful city of Vancouver up to Whistler. Having snow tyre chains fitted to your car is something to be recommended. Vancouver is a remarkably nice city, the third most populous area in Canada. Vancouver has most advantages, e.g. a long-stretched lovely beach in the summer, and at wintertime you can take the opportunity of skiing. There are slopes closer at hand than Whistler (Grouse Mountain, for example), but I can assure you it’s worth the two hours of travelling there. Whistler was moreover honoured to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.

You get to Whistler by driving Highway 99 from Vancouver. The road to Whistler is winding and steep, and completely wonderful. You drive through the most beautiful landscape and wherever you watch little peaks appear, or calling them little is wrong, they are quite impressive. Make sure you don’t have to drive the car, so that you can wholeheartedly enjoy the gorgeous scenery around you.

Whistler and Blackcomb are two large mountain ranges close to each other. Connecting these mountains there is a cable car, PEAK 2 PEAK, carrying the skiers between the two. And this is not a gondola for those afraid of heights. It’s very far down to the valley. My favourite area was no doubt Cloud 9.

Here you’ll find everything for those who are fond of snow and winter, but likewise for those who favour trekking fine hiking trails are available at summertime. I for one, as you might understand, prefer winter. There are as many as 216 ski runs to choose among and the longest slope is more than 10 kilometres (6 miles). Amazing!

So to all of you skiing fans who have not yet discovered this resort, all I can do is warmly recommending Whistler. It’s worth every saved penny.

Love
Jenny

Popular hotels to book in Whistler:

Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Landmark hotel just a stone´s throw from the nearest ski lift.

Coast Whistler Hotel
In the heart of Whistler Village, steps away from all of the shops, restaurants and nightlife. Located across from the Whistler Golf Course.

Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa
Located in the heart of Whistler Village and mere steps from the chairlifts of the Whistler/Blackcomb resort, and world famous Whistler golf courses. 100% Nonsmoking hotel.

Listel Whistler Hotel
Located in the Whistler Village only 100 m from the ski lifts.

Delta Whistler Village Suites
4 star hotel close to the Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain gondolas.




Beautiful Ven

Published 08/11/2013 14:26

Located in the middle of the Strait of Øresund, between Denmark and Sweden, a wonderful pearl is to be found. The island of Ven is often referred to as “The Pearl of Øresund”. This is an incredibly picturesque and fine island, and I love coming back here. You might have noticed that some people spell the name Ven with an H in the beginning, i.e. Hven. That is the Danish spelling and likewise the old Swedish spelling.

During the summer season the island is filled with tourists from all parts of the world. Personally I find it just as enjoyable, if not even more so, to go to Ven in late summer/autumn, when the island is not so crammed with tourists. Then it’s easier to get around, you’ll see more of the island, you can avoid the queues and just enjoy the situation.

The island of Ven and bicycles go hand in hand. Riding a bike is the easiest way of getting along. If you come from Sweden by boat (ferries depart from Landskrona and Råå) you just walk up the little slope that you encounter, and on the top of the hill you’ll find the bike rental. There are well over 1,200 bikes to rent here. You can book a bike from home, but only half the number of bikes can be reserved in advance. There are bikes of all shapes and sizes. Bikes with baskets, bikes with trailers, tandem bikes, children’s bikes, bikes with dog trailers, bikes with child seats and even electric bikes. By bike you will experience the best of Ven, and moreover it good for your health.

One of the cosiest cafés in Ven is the Pumpans café. Here you sit outdoors in the lush garden and at once sniff the aroma of freshly made coffee. The Pumpans café serves dishes made from organic raw materials. Their home-made apple juice is very tasty, so take the chance to bring one bottle home, or why not some coffee from their coffee roastery?


The island of Ven is 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) in length and at present it has 361 inhabitants. It’s so incredibly beautiful to ride a bike along the coastline of Ven. But it’s essential to stay on course, for sometimes it’s very narrow, and when meeting someone it is occasionally necessary to stop and wait. Certain passages have precipices close to the bicycle trail, going sheer down to the rocky beach. The precipitous coastline of Ven is called Backafall.

Being a whisky-fancier I certainly make a halt at the “Spirit of Hven Backafallsbyn”. Since the spring of 2008 whisky is produced on the island and you can easily grant yourself the pleasure of having a break to test the own-brand whisky. They have a wide assortment, and not only their own whisky brand is on sale here. If you feel like it, you can have a guided tour in the distillery, or why not join a whisky tasting? If you want to buy the whisky you have to fill in an order form and later collect it in one on the wine and liquor stores of the “Systembolaget” in Sweden. It’s a perfect gift to someone who is fond of whisky.

As from November 28 you can also go to Ven for the traditional Christmas buffet. You can combine it with walking around the island enjoying the lovely scenery. Afterwards in the evening you indulge in the Christmas buffet at the Backafallet Restaurant. I have visited Ven in spring, summer and autumn but never in winter. Maybe time has come to test it this year? So, who knows, we might meet at the Christmas buffet in the island of Ven.

Unfortunately there are not many lodging options in Ven and the few existing are rapidly booked up, so consequently one can book a hotel on the mainland, for example in Malmö. From there it’s easy to take an Oresundtrain to Landskrona and then the ferry to the marvellous island of Ven.

Love, Jenny

Popular hotels to book in Malmoe:

Mercure Hotel Malmo (ex Ibis)
It’s a reasonably priced hotel in a lovely park area located by the Malmö Stadium and The Baltic Hall, about 20 minutes walk to the centre.

Rica Hotel Malmo
Situated in the heart of Malmö City on Stortorget close to the Central Station.

Renaissance Malmo Hotel
Stylish full service hotel with great location at the popular and vibrant Lilla torg, in the heart of Malmö.

Radisson Blu Malmo Hotel
The hotel is located 1.5 km from Malmo Castle, 2 km from Malmo Concert Hall and 5 km from Oxie Golf Club.

First Jörgen Kock
Located 400m from the Malmo Central Station, 1.5 km from Malmo Castle and 800m from St. Peter’s church in Malmo.




San Francisco

Published 17/09/2013 11:42

San Francisco

I lean back in my seat, gaze out of the window and see the San Francisco Bay. Unreal and at the same time quite fabulous. We are about to land after a flight of about 11 hours. My body is aching and I look forward to stretching my legs at last. The safety belt sign is lit in the ceiling and it’s just some minute till we’ll touch down. I see water. I see still more water. We are approaching the ground, but all I can see is … water. I lean over my fellow passenger who has a window seat, to find out where the ground is. Only water .. and then suddenly a bump and the brakes of the aircraft screeching. We have landed.

San Francisco is located in northern California and has a population of just over 800.000. Living here is dense, in fact to a degree that San Francisco is regarded as the most densely settled large city in the United States after New York. My very first road trip went from Vancouver, Canada, along the coastline all the way down to San Francisco. I remember that me and my companion wanted to be a bit like “Thelma & Louise” (from the film of the same name), though unlike them who were trying to get away from the city out in the countryside, we did the opposite. We tried to get away from the countryside into the city, The City: San Francisco.

Golden Gate
This fantastic suspension bridge across the bay makes me breathless. This bridge is radiating respect and pride. In my opinion you haven’t visited San Francisco if you haven’t seen the bridge. There are many ways of crossing the bridge; you can do like most people and go by car, but you can also ride a bike, run or walk. The Golden Gate Bridge has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World.

Lombard Street
I for one find it the coolest street in the world, others find it the crookedest street in the world. The hill where Lombard Street is located has a natural 27% grade, so here it’s necessary to stay on course when driving. On the top of the hill you have a stunning view of San Francisco. And if you walk up the hill, like we did, it’s refreshing to have a break and stand admiring the city from above, before going on.

Alamo Square
Alamo Square is a park and residential neighbourhood in San Francisco. It is characterized by Victorian architecture. Many pictures from San Francisco have been taken here and the typical houses are easily recognized. Serenity reigns here and you can sit down on one of the benches placed in the park and gaze out over the city while talking to your new-found companion sitting on the bench.

Alcatraz
I have always been fascinated by prisons, so visiting Alcatraz is a matter of course. The word Alcatraz is Spanish and means ‘pelican’. The name refers to the native birds nesting in the island. The prison was closed in 1963, and today it is open to tourists. It is said to have been one of the top escape-proof prisons in the world, much so because of the cold water and the strong underwater currents.

Fisherman’s Wharf
Down here in the waterfront area everything is a bit more expensive and touristic, but it’s well worth it. Have a glass of wine in one of the open-air restaurants and listen to the street performer playing, watch the tourists looking for Pier 39, and have yourself carried away by the tide of history when looking out across the water and watching the old Alcatraz prison. I might add that this is the only place where I haven’t been able to eat up all the lobster, and naturally I don’t mean Alcatraz, but one of the many seafood restaurants on the waterfront.

Dining

Views
One of my favourite bars is “The Starlight Room” in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel (in Union Square). Take the elevator to the top floor and enjoy the marvellous view of San Francisco Bay.

Garlic
“The Stinking Rose” which boasts the motto: ‘We Season Our Garlic With Food’. You don’t need the address, just follow your nose … but you’ll have it anyway: 325 Columbus Avenue.

Seafood
Try a seafood restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf. If you have seen the film “Forrest Gump” you just have to test the “Bubba Gump”, cheap, good and originating from one of my favourite movies.

Meat
The best meat restaurant by far in San Francisco is  the “Harris” located  in 2100 Van Ness Avenue. Test ‘The 49er Cut’, named after San Francisco’s American Football Team.

Interesting Facts

The Golden Gate Bridge attracts more suicidal persons than any other place in the world. It is so common that emergency telephones have been installed to call for fast help.

Joseph Baermann Strauss, the German-American engineer who designed the Golden Gate Bridge has also designed the railway bridge across the Trollhätte Canal in Vänersborg, Sweden.

Some people think that “The Big One”, i.e. the earthquake many people are anticipating, will strike California and with the worst scenario pull the whole California Peninsula down into the sea.

One of the smallest pubs in the world is to be found in San Francisco: the Black Horse London pub (1514 Union Street).

Popular hotels to book in San Francisco:

Oasis Inn
Budget hotel located minutes for most of the city´s attractions.

Renoir Hotel
Located on Market Street within a short walking distance from Union Square.

Embassy San Francisco
Located close to the opera, the Asian Art Museum, state and federal office buildings, the California Culinary Academy and a variety of restaurants.

Whitcomb Hotel
Situated in the cultural and theater district, smokefree hotel.

Powell Hotel
Nice hotel steps away from the Cable Car turnaround at Powell and Market streets in downtown San Francisco.




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