Monday, December 26, 2016

Heading Home

I'm not so sure why I'm writing this. It doesn't seem like a meaty subject to blog about. It's just a plain road trip back home  "Plain." Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes, even the seemingly uneventful long drive can become anything but boring. This is especially true for one whose eyes are constantly roving about the passing scenery, not wanting to miss any interesting things along the way. and then capturing them with the camera.

Okay, this is also wanderlust in reverse order. It is another opportunity to view the landscapes in the opposite perspective. I do see new sights of the same places from another angle.

So let me start this road trip narrative from the time we left Skagen. We had to head off to Fredrikshavn Havn to take the ferry back to Sweden. We stopped by this smaller harbor before moving on. I couldn't help photographing these colorful boats in anchor.

We boarded the ferry at the Fedrikshavn harbor and went up to the restaurant. After we located a comfortable space for us to while away the hours during the voyage from coast to coast, I made my way up the deck and took a few photos as the ferry left the dock, then took more pictures of sections of the ferry that caught my attention.

After hours of traversing the open sea, I began to spot some scattered lands. It was again time  to step out and view the waterscape, with my camera always ready to capture anything that tickled my sight. Lighthouses and rock formations are always my favorite sea objects.

Here are some views that riveted me as we got closer to a harbor in Gothenburg,

Finally, Sweden's coastline rushed toward us and we found ourselves driving out of the ferry and onto the road leading northeast.

One of our original plans was to stop by this city and spend a few hours in a recreational park called Liseberg, but then, the other family veered to another park close to Silkeborg, and so the plan was thwarted again. My inner child has always been wishing to take some rides in this park and that wish still remains a wish. So we just drove past this city towards our destination.

We stopped by this rest area to take our lunch before driving on.

Night fell, and we had to find a campsite to pass the night. We found this along the road in Torsby.

We hired this snug cabin with two double-decked beds where we three slept.

Late in the night before retiring to bed, hubby and I took a little walk in the neighborhood to savor the bright summer night.

We kept moving on the following day, this time a straight drive all the way to our city, with a couple of stopovers for picture-taking and lunch.

this house in Dalarna has never failed to attract us all those several times 
we passed by it

a lake view that I shot from our speeding car

We paused here for a while to eat our lunch. 

We met a couple here, our spiritual brother and sister. We conversed for some moments, and then I toyed with my camera by taking this reflection on our friend's sunglasses.

It was still a long drive home, with hubby and Dennis driving alternately. Meanwhile, I sat snugly at back,  alternately reading a book, watching the passing scenery, shooting and musing. 

I've always wondered why the people here don't travel in caravans during convention seasons. For me, that would be safer and more fun. But then, I recalled others' experiences that after traveling together, good friends started to drift away from one another and their friendship eroded as they noticed one another's flaws that created conflicts between them. Okay, that sounded normal in connection with the saying "Familiarity breeds contempt." But then again, I changed my point of view and have always tried to defy that idea after reading a celebrity's opposing statement, "Familiarity, truly cultivated, breeds love." And on this journey, the latter quote made a stronger impact on me. I saw our co-travelers' flaws, of course,  as they saw mine. But what I saw made me understand their situation better, which in turn gave me a reason to reflect on how best to deal with them and what I should do to encourage and comfort them. Such constructive thoughts bred in me love for these fellow imperfect beings. Of course, my familiarity with their good qualities is the main attraction. Hopes of strengthening our bond of friendship filled my heart.

Reaching this bridge in the Höga Kusten always means "home", which is the Norrland. It would just take over an hour to finally be back in the comfort of our own very home sweet home.

The whole journey became the catalyst to a newly forged friendship that I want to keep forever.  

And the journey came to a halt. 

Home. At last! Umeå.  A place where a new dimension in my life awaited.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Tent - An Amusing Return-policy / Warranty Story

Last September, hubby and I had to purchase a new tent, a four-season mountain tent, that we were going to use on our hiking expedition later that month. The original price was beyond our budget, but then, right when we urgently needed it, the tent was put up on sale, which was within our budget. Hubby bought it without hesitation.

A few days later, we set about hiking in a nearby nature reserve, called Kont,  to test our new tent. Of course, this was not just a try-out trip but also an opportunity to connect with the outdoor and indulge ourselves in the richness of the well-protected forests. Every now and then, we stopped in our tracks to take a look at some plant species, especially fungi.

When we emerged from the woods, the land narrowed, jutting out to the sea. The area is equipped with picnic tables, a shade, a grill with long benches around it, and a stack of firewood.  Here we pitched our tent to see how it looked like, and we were satisfied with its quality and  functionality. We took a few pictures before dismantling it.

I explored the area and kept my camera clicking here and there. Characteristically me! Here are just a few of my voluminous shots.

We also grilled sausages and bread for our snacks with coffee. The fire and the coffee kept us warm in this cold day by the sea.

Days later, we set out on our well-planned trip to the wilderness, which I'm going to write in another post.

Now, here's the interesting part. About a week after we came back home, the store from which we purchased the tent advertised a new sale price on the same tent, this time almost half the price we bought it for. Hubby got in touch with the store, saying that we bought that same tent a couple of weeks ago with a higher price, and then, they put it up on sale again in a strikingly low price. Sounded unfair. But the response caught us completely by surprise! We were told that those who purchased within a month are still subject to that warranty or open purchase policy, and that we would just show the receipt to have the discounted amount refunded. Just like that, not a whit of hassle! Unbelievable, especially after we have already used it! I'm taking my hat off to such generosity.

I've always been amazed by the Swedish return policy since I immigrated here. I wrote my earliest experiences in this post: The Swedish Return Policy. Check it out, very intriguing!

Will there be more surprises coming my way? I keep myself on the lookout.

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