Happy New Year. Had a great last day with Andreas and Annika. Did some laundry, went ice skating and did some shopping. Andreas did stick and puck. In the evening, we launched lots of fireworks – I don’t have many pictures of that! The entire community was busy with their fireworks. We also launched some hot air balloon lanterns. They had exciting launches with a lot of fire as the lanterns barely made it out of the yard. But once in the sky, they were beautiful.
Our sleep schedule is really messed up. It stays dark till maybe 8:30 or 9:00 and gets dark at 3:00. Combined with the +6 hour change from the U.S., we’re confused. Pretty much getting up at 10am these days…
We went into Göteborg (yo-teh-bohr-ee) or better known as Gothenburg in English. We walked around the central area and had dinner in a British pub.
We finished the evening by watching a hockey game at the Scandinavium. The local team Frölunda Indians played MODO. This was a SHL or Swedish Hockey League game. It was really a good time. Frölunda won 2-0.
Today was extra special for us not just because we got to visit Liseberg and not just because we got to visit with family and friends. It was extra special because our luggage finally caught up with us. This has become a bit too common for us. We had a short connecting flight in Frankfurt and that’s where our luggage stayed. And with Frankfurt getting snowed in, we were without our luggage for 2-1/2 days. No worries, we rolled with it.
Liseberg is a theme park that opened in 1923. It reminds me of the spirit of Cypress Gardens in Florida. It is a historic park with many traditions including a medieval village, Christmas village and several story-themed areas but stays current with modern roller coasters, a Scandinavian market emphasizing the latest designs of home goods and shows.
Today, we watched an ice show called Snödrottningen or the Snow Queen. It was very good. It ended with a fantastic fireworks display.
Below are some pictures. Cheryl and I are very fortunate to be able to spend time with our daughters and their boyfriends Andreas (Ashley) and Noah (Tara). And we enjoy having Cheryl’s sister Tonya with us too. And Andreas’ mom is a fabulous host going above and beyond for us. Thank you Annika!
So first, I have to apologize to anyone who is following my blog because of prior soccer trips and now finds that I’m blogging about my current trip in Sweden. I don’t think there will be any soccer. I know, I’m sorry. And if I knew how to tell you how to unsubscribe, I would. But I don’t. And maybe, you’ll be interested in the hockey game I’m going to in a few days. And maybe not…
We decided to go to Sweden to visit Ashley’s boyfriend Andreas and his mother Annika. Flew out of Orlando the day after Christmas, through Frankfurt and into Göteborg. As usual, our luggage stayed in Frankfurt. We made it to Fjärå where Annika is absolutely spoiling us. We’ve eaten ham, pickled herring, cheeses, eggs, etc… Big dinner last night after arriving and a big breakfast today.
Below are some pictures from last night and today (Sunday or Söntag) our first day in Sweden. We’ve walked around a bit, visited a national park with a Viking graveyard and toured Tjöloholm Castle
Visited a small club in a favela with about 60,000 residents. The club has 350 kids who come from very poor homes. We watched U10s train and then two matches: U17s and U15s. We noticed several of the U15s walk onto the field in their socks where they met up with some of the U17s who had just finished their game. —They had to exchange cleats because the kids don’t have their own.— Wow, makes you think.
We gave out some Rockledge Soccer Club jerseys and the kids loved them. The coach collected the jerseys – he will use them as uniforms and training colors.
Also enjoyed the pickup futsal. No adults, some with shoes, some barefoot. But very spirited and skillful.
Went back to Botafogo today to sit in on a coaching symposium given by STFP – Sindicate dos Treinadoreo De Futebol Profissional do Estado do Rio De Janeiro. The class included 8 students from Angola. We enjoyed comparing this course with how our American courses are presented. We also had the chance to give out some of our jerseys to the kids playing futsal at the camp.
After lunch, we had the afternoon off and visited the Tijuca Forest National Park where “Christ the Redeemer” or Cristo Redentor is located. Cristo Redentor is the largest Art Deco statue in the world completed in 1931 with a height of 98 feet (30m). The base of the statue is located on the peak of Corcovado mountain at 2300′ with amazing views overlooking Ipanema Beach, Copacabana Beach and the Maracaña.
Spent the day with the Botafogo Football Club. Their headquarters are in the Botafogo neighborhood very near Copacabana while their training grounds are at the “almost newly completed” João Havelange Olympic Stadium. This new stadium with construction started in 2007 will hold the opening ceremony, field & track and closing ceremony for the 2016 Olympics.