Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Quirky Places To Stay

I love road trip planning.
I love finding places for us to visit.
And even though we often use a tent at a campsite because it's the cheapest accommodation, we sometimes stay at hostels, too. Especially if we're only staying one night at a particular location, because putting up the tent and then packing it away takes more time and effort than we like for the sake of only one night.

BTW, when I talk about camping in a campsite, it doesn't mean 'roughing it' in the wilderness. The campsites I am talking about have communal showers and toilets, cooking facilities (as long as you bring your own pots, pans, utensils and food), even laundromats... Have a peek at if this sounds like a foreign concept to you.

But this time I wanted to tell you about a couple of quirky hostels.
For pictures, please click through to their websites. My pictures from these places were not very good, I'm afraid, and I don't want to snitch their pics (trying to respect copyrights here...).

Tågstallarna, Rättvik, Sweden

The name of the hostel means "train depots" - and that's literally what the hostel is. An old train depot. The showers and communal kitchen have been built into a huge depot hall, and the "bedrooms" are in old sleeping cars.

Sleeping in a sleeping car is not the most comfortable option, of course. The beds are narrow bunk beds, the 'room' is small, and there are just two toilets per sleeping car. But when we were there, there weren't too many other guests. And it definitely was an experience to remember for our young one.

There are several other trains built into youth hostels in Sweden, but this is the only one where we have stayed (this far).

If you want a bit more luxury :) - ever thought about sleeping in a prison renovated into a hostel? We have...

Hotel Gamla Fängelset, Umeå, Sweden

Gamla Fängelset = The Old Prison.
Good, clean, basic accommodation (bunk beds at least on the hostel side). I loved the surprisingly beautiful hall - heavy wooden doors, white walls, huge windows...

Långholmen, Stockholm, Sweden

Långholmen = The Long Island.
Ten points for the location: a picturesque island pretty near to the centre of Stockholm. Nice rooms. 

They try to capitalize on the history of the place as much as possible - selling prison-themed souvenirs etc. - and if you want to make the most of staying at an ex-prison, you could even do the "prisoner for a day" activity. We didn't do it. Didn't even have time to visit the prison museum, which is a pity - but perhaps we'll go back to Långholmen one day, seeing how much we like travelling to Stockholm

How about you? Any fun, quirky places you have stayed in? Any suggestions of where we should go, perhaps, one day, God willing?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Packing for a Road Trip (the Bookworm Edition)

The book-lovers dilemma of packing enough books for a road trip has become easier for me, now that I have a tablet with the Kindle app. But I do pack 'real' tangible books, too. I can't rely on just electronic devices.

I had to laugh when I looked at what I'm taking along this time:

Just read it as if it was a poem:

What is it like to be married to me?
Up close and personal.
I am potential,
Cycling home from Siberia.

No, we're not going cycling in Siberia. But reading about people struggling on their bikes in the Siberian winter does put the minor discomforts of a summer road trip life into perspective.

My Kindle app has Shauna Niequist's Cold Tangerines and Bread and Wine lined up, almost as if I was packing the cooler instead of the book bag. :)

Now the dilemma is my darling Junior Bookworm. He only reads in Finnish, which means there aren't a lot of inexpensive and suitable e-books available. (Plus we only have one device for reading e-books - mine.) So it's traditional, tangible books for him.

But how many will be enough? It'll be nearly three weeks. And he'll have plenty of time to read in the car, in the evenings before bedtime, etc.

This is the pile I have for him at the moment. I'll report back whether this was enough, too many or too few...

Because they're all in Finnish, for those who want to know:
We've got most of Enid Blyton's Adventure series (a three-in-one volume at the top, plus three individual books: two of the series are missing, because we didn't get them from the library yet, the hold queue is loooong). Then Jerry B. Jenkins's book about American schoolboys learning soccer. Winnie-the-Pooh plus The House at Pooh Corner: because he's seen the films, and I want him to read.the.original. Plus an assortment of other children's adventure books, mostly by a Christian publisher.