Ankor på vift

A freedom-oriented travel blog

Author: Ulrika (page 2 of 23)

In the Swedish “”

We had to enter the Swedish bubbla, but fortunately for us we have our own “” with family and friends that we like to be inside when we are in Sweden. The big day for us is coming closer so we want to spend this last time with family and friends before we will go and welcome our child. This time around it was going to be all about bubbles with a name giving ceremony, meet up with Boris and a wonderful wedding. 

Vi var tvungna att åka in i den svenska bubblan, men lyckligtvis har vi vår egen “” med familj och vänner som vi tycker om att vara inne i när vi är i Sverige. Den stora dagen för oss kommer allt närmare så vi vill spendera denna sista tid tillsammans med familj och vänner innan vi ska åka och välkomna vårt barn. Den här gången skulle det handla om bubblor med en namngivningsceremoni,äff med Boris och ett underbart bröllop.

Back on Swedish soil and we realized that we were close to the most Southern point in Sweden – Smygehuk. Also, Ulrika is showing off her week 29 belly.
We visited Smygehuk in the early morning before we headed North, it was going to be a long day on the road for us.

We had lunch in Kalmar and decided to tick another thing off the bucket list. Ulrika has never seen Ölandsbron, the 6 kilometer long bridge that connects the island Öland to the mainland.

We came back to Sweden for Ulrika’s nephew Filip’s name giving ceremony, the secular version of baptism, and to spend time with our families before we need to focus on welcoming our girl to this world.

We celebrated Midsummer, the Swedish feast that is the closest to a national day Sweden has. Here we danced to classical Swedish ballads around a leaf- and flower-covered Phallus.

We got the opportunity to meet and speak with Boris, one half of the podcast “radio”. Here he is with Ulrika’s nephew Filip. We also bought a signed copy of his book ” Inte mitt krig” about the death of the Swedish leftist movement during the 70’s and how they instead infiltrated the institutions causing the Swedish state to swell into an enormous bureaucratic and socialist apparatus, which is the main reason why today’s Sweden is collapsing.

You can find the book here at Cultura Aetatis,  the publishing house under the umbrella.

We also got the opportunity to dress up to celebrate the union of our friends Martin and Sofia, the founders of project and radio Ulrika found a dress that she could wear at 30 weeks of pregnancy.

It was a lovely ceremony in Stockholm and Boris was the marriage officiant. Thank you Martin and Sofia for letting us be part of your special day.

the first dance as a married couple!

We headed back to Ulrika’s family to spend more time with them. Filip loves water so we took him to Högbosjön one day.

He didn’t hesitate to get in the water even though the water temperature was far from the indoor baby pool he is used to.

We also spent one day at Furuvik, an amusement park and zoo, near Gävle and we chose a nice day to be here, Sweden played against South Korea at the World Soccer Championship, so we were almost alone in the park.

We had a barbecue party with a few of Ulrika’s cousins.

and “det lilla livet” got her first pair of shoes from Linnéa, one of Ulrika’s cousins. Thank you Linnéa!

” Det lilla livet” has gotten a lot of things from both mormor (maternal grandmother), moster (maternal auntie) and friends, so it was time to organize our girl’s things.

It was time for our girl to get her own back pack and for us to gather all her things. It is only two month left before she will be here, so from now on her back pack will travel with us.

Prague – Křivoklát castle, Libertarians and Bitcoin

We were back in Prague with a busy schedule. It was going to be intensive days with the King family, Křivoklát castle, libertarians, meetings and just enjoying being in a bitcoin-friendly environment
The King family are close friends to us and we enjoy going on adventures with them. This time they showed us the Křivoklát castle located in Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area. There is a small premium enclave here in Prague so we wanted to meet up with them as well. Our days here in Prague were so busy so Ulrika actually had to make a schedule for our time here so we didn’t double-book anything. 

Vi var tillbaka i Prag med ett ganska fullt schema. Det skulle bli intensiva dagar med Kingfamiljen, slottet Křivoklát, libertarianer, viktiga möten, samt bara njuta av att vara i en bitcoin-vänlig miljö.
Kingfamiljen är nära vänner till oss och vi gillar att komma ut på äventyr med dem. Den här gången visade de oss slottet Křivoklát som ligger i “Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area”. Det finns också en liten premium-enklav här i Prag så vi ville träffa dem också. Våra dagar här i Prag var faktiskt så intensiva att Ulrika var tvungen att göra ett schema för vår tid här så att vi inte dubbelbokade något.

Prague is a place that we keep returning to. This time around, the King family took us to Křivoklát Castle – a 13th century castle one hour outside of Prague.

The whole crew inside the castle.

They have a medieval setting in the court yard where we could try shooting with crossbows.

We could choose between different crossbows, even modern ones were available.

We took a look around before we went for a trekking in the surrounding landscape. Křivoklát Castle is located in Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area, an area with rich biodiversity.

Caroline snapped a pregnancy photo of Ulrika – here just before entering week 29. (Photo by: Caroline King)

Usually we don’t end up in the same picture, so it was nice to have Caroline take one of us! (Photo by: Caroline King)

Near Křivoklát Castle lies Roztoky, a small city surrounded by forrests, rivers and mountains.

Remnants of the Soviet era are still present and it creates a spectacular contrast to the life-fullness of the surrounding nature.

Our goal was to hike to a waterfall that ended up being really small, but we had a fantastic day anyway with the King family.

There are a lot of blood sucking insects in Czech Republic nature, both ticks and deer flies were trying to get a meal from us. Pontus found this tick on him a few days after our hike even though we carefully checked ourselves after the hike.

It is nice that the older King boys feel comfortable enough with both Pontus and Ulrika, so we can look after them. Pontus spent a couple of hours playing with them while we other grown ups had different missions – Thank you Caroline for helping Ulrika with finding appropriate clothes 🙂

Henry has a special taste in clothes and he loves his suit – we think he looks awesome!

It is also interesting to come visit an unschooling family and see what kind of projects they are working on. Arduino is the focus right now and it seems to be a great education tool for children (and adults). Arduino is an open-source electronic prototyping platform and the purpose is to enable users to create interactive electronic objects – robots in other words.

We had a really busy week in Prague, but we could manage to attend a meet up while we where here. We invited our newly found Llbertarian Australian friend to join the Swedish enclave here in Prague. (Photo by: Caroline King)

Our main reason for coming back to Prague is the bitcoin-friendly environment and the cryptoanarchy hub found here. This two-way bitcoin ATM was found in one of the local malls here in Prague, so it is so easy to exchange to the local currency here. There are also places in Prague where you can pay with cryptocurrencies directly.

we found this poster at our favorite place in Prague, Parallelni Polis, which shows the organic growth of the Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency communities in the world.

Our time in Prague went really fast so it was a bit sad to say good bye to the King family for this time. Thank you Caroline an Paul for all your help and advice we got from you this week! We are grateful for having you and your children as friends.

We needed to head to Sweden for important family things and celebration of love, so we tried a new way of getting to Sweden. We took the ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg and it was a smooth and cheap way to get from Germany to Sweden. We can really recommend this route!

We found the best slogan ever for an invest company on one of the trucks doing the same journey as us – “Putting capital to work in Southeast Europe”

Technical Windecksattel and entering the third trimester

Windecksattel was our main goal before we left Austria for this time. Sandra and Markus had told us to leave this, more technical, hiking trail until the end of our stay, so the snow cover would have a chance to disappear before we hiked up to this part of the Alps.
 We felt that it was time to try it just before Pontus birthday  – the weather was a major factor and the weather forecast said that more unstable weather was to come during the following days. We packed food and water, which Pontus were responsible for carrying up the mountain and Ulrika, who just entered the third trimester, were responsible for carrying “det lilla livet” up the mountain. It was going to be a long day out in nature.

Windecksattel var vårt huvudsakliga mål innan vi lämnade Österrike för den här gången. Sandra och Markus hade berättat att vi skulle lämna den här, mer tekniska, vandringsleden till slutet av vår vistelse, så att snötäcket skulle ha en chans att försvinna innan vi vandrade upp till denna del av Alperna.
Vi kände att det var dags att försöka oss på denna led precis före Pontus födelsedag – vädret var en viktig faktor och väderprognosen hade sagt att mer ostabilt väder skulle rulla in under de kommande dagarna. Vi packade mat och vatten, vilket Pontus var ansvarig för att bära upp på berget och Ulrika, som just gick in i tredje trimestern, var ansvarig för att bära “det lilla livet” upp på berget. Det skulle bli en lång dag ute i naturen.

Last hike for us in Riezlern and it was going to be an epic one – incredible landscape and Ulrika entering the last trimester (28 weeks pregnant). We chose to head up to Windecksattel and crossing the border to Germany .

This time we would have this view over RIezlern. It was going to be a 750 meter ascent with more or less trail to to follow. Our total distance hiked would be 15 km.

First part was through a fir forest, but we would soon leave the conifers and the easy hiking trail behind us.

Parts of the trail were more technical than others, but it was no problem to hike the trail while being pregnant.

We soon found a sign that should be followed, especially during the winter months when snow hides the terrain.

There are an extensive cave system underneath the mountains in the valley and one of the entry points can be found on this trail. It is a 90 meter deep hole and you don’t want to fall down there while skiing down the trail.

First mission was to reach Mahdtal and eat lunch there before taking on the last part up to Windecksattel.

We did a pregnancy photo shoot in Mahdtal, capturing Ulrika during week 28 on her way to reach her goal at the Windecksattel.

Mahdtal during spring.

Just south of Windecksattel is the Torkopf peak (1930 meters). It is a reachable peak, but we felt that it was better to save this adventure for another time when Ulrika is not pregnant.

We reached the part of the trail where snow still was present. We saw a mountain goat coming down the mountain to lay down on the snow, probably to cool down.

More snow was present the higher up we went and we had to walk over snow covers during the last part of the trail. It became quite steep as well.

We finally reached Windecksattel and got a nice view of the landscape on the other side of the mountain.

Our original plan was to follow the trail through Obere Gottesackerwände, but it was to much snow left on the ground. We decided to turn back here, but we were still impressed with ourselves, hiking 7.5 km and ascending 750 meters. In the end, we kept a pace of 18:04 min per kilometer and maximum altitude was 1840 meters.

We celebrated Pontus 36th birthday while we were in Riezlern. We had a few days of unstable weather before we left this place, so it was a quiet and peaceful celebration this year. After the birthday we had to leave Austria for another central European country – the Czech Republic.

Trying altitudes – Schöntal and above

Our next goal was to see how Ulrika’s pregnant body handled altitudes so Schöntal was our option when we wanted to hike an easy trail and reach higher altitudes. Schöntal is a peak that we have seen from Sandra and Markus place every time we’ve visited them, so we felt it was time see how the valley looked from that part of the Alps. Ulrika was in week 27 so we were also curious how she could handle the ascent and the long trail – it was going to be a 18 km hike in the end of the day.

Vårt nästa mål var att se hur Ulrikas gravida kropp hanterade höjder så Schöntal var vårt alternativ när vi ville ha en lättare vandringsväg, samt nå högre höjder. Schöntal är ett ställe som vi har sett från Sandra och Markus plats varje gång vi har besökt dem, så vi kände att det var dags att se hur dalen såg ut från den delen av Alperna. Ulrika var i vecka 27 så vi var också nyfiken på hur hon kunde hantera stigningen och den långa leden – det skulle bli en 18 km vandring i slutet av dagen.

Pontus and the meadow. We started easy and we have to say that coming here during late spring is wonderful. The flowers fills the valley and the weather is great.

The first part of our 18 km hike was through the valley and not so much increasing in altitudes. Our mission was the green peak right in front of us.

We took a few breaks, because we knew that we had a long hike to manage, and waterfalls are always a reason to stop for.

Soon there were altitudes to climb and it went quite well.

We reached Schöntal and Ulrika still felt good to go so we continued and soon we had a nice view over Riezlern.

Finally, we reached a satisfying altitude at 1500 meter above sea level, a 500 meter ascent compared to our starting level at 1000 meters. The total ascent during the hike was 1000 meter.

Ulrika was very proud of herself. The pace during the whole 18 km trail was 14:50 min/km – it was not the best, but it didn’t matter. 27 weeks pregnant and still going strong! “Det lilla livet”  seems to like being carried up on mountain tops.

The view was incredible and we could see the snow still on Hoher Ifen, a peak/plateau we reached last year with Sandra and Markus.

Our adventure on Ifen!

Our way back was on trafficked roads, it was in case Ulrika should start having pains or cramps, so our back up option was to jump on a bus back to our place.

But the landscape was still absolutely stunning.

The roads around Schöntal are steep and narrow.

Ulrika still felt awesome so we abandoned the trafficked roads for more nature walk for the last part of our hike.

Soon back home, we just had a small ascent left.

Our last waterfall on our hike, so we had to capture it on camera. After this successful hike we decided it was time to try a more technical trail.

Road trip to Riezlern and hiking while being pregnant

Riezlern, we have been here before to visit Sandra and Markus, friends to us who have taken us on adventures on mountain bikes, hiking, climbing Aggenstein and doing klettersteig on mountain ridges.
This time around Ulrika was going to be a bit bigger and be less fit, so we had to find a pace comfortable for her. Ulrika has noticed that her walking pace slowly has declined from around 8.5-9 min/km to around 11-11.5 min/km on a flat surface, near sea level, and now we would be on 1000 meters above sea level and higher, hiking up on mountain tops. Pregnant in week 26 and fortunately enough Ulrika hasn’t experienced any negative pregnancy symptoms during the second trimester that would keep her away from being active.

Vi har varit i Riezlern förut för att besöka Sandra och Markus, våra vänner som har tagit oss på äventyr på  bl.a. moutainbikes, vandring, klättra Aggenstein och klettersteig på bergskam. Den här gången skulle Ulrika vara lite större och ha mindre kondition, så vi var tvungna att hitta en takt som var bekväm för henne. Ulrika har märkt att hennes gånghastighet sakta har minskat från ca 8,5-9 min/km till omkring 11-11,5 min/km på plan yta, nära havsnivå, och nu skulle vi vara på 1000 meter över havet och högre för att vandra upp på bergstoppar. Graviditetsvecka 26 och lyckligtvis har hon ännu inte upplevt några negativa graviditetssymptom under andra trimestern som kunde hålla henne borta från att vara aktiv.


After some intensive weeks, we were really longing for nature and mountains, so we hit the road down to Austria to once again have this view at the door step.

On our way south, we took the opportunity to pass Bamberg and visit our friend Michi! We had time to eat franconian food and catch up on each other’s lifes.

Finally in Riezlern and our friends Markus and Sandra have gotten a ping pong table. Pontus and Markus played well into the dark and had to use headlamps.

Sandra and Markus are going on their own adventures, so we said goodbye to them and we will do our best to keep their plants alive and the squirrels away from the bird feeding table.

Ulrika loves the overflow of non-alcoholic beer in southern Germany. Weissbeer, pils, lager etc can be found in a non-alcoholic variant and many of them actually tastes like beer. We stocked up and then returned to Riezlern.

There are so many hiking tracks to explore in Kleinwalsertal where Riezlern is situated, and we wanted to be out in nature and relax after a couple of busy weeks.

First we took borrowed bikes and biked through the center of Riezlern.

The main road through the town that continues further in to the valley.

Riezlern, a tiny Alp village, even has their own casino.

We were soon in between villages and the view is magnificent.

Ulrika’s stamina is not what it is used to be, but we managed to go for a 15 km bike ride in our new “Ulrika is pregnant”-pace.

The thunder and lightning are often rolling in during the evenings and nights, creating an amazing light show. This picture was taken one of the nights here and it felt like watching the”war of the worlds”. We wouldn’t be surprised if a silhouette of a tripod fighting machine would show up on the horizon.

The breakfast view is a favorite.

We didn’t want to go out to strong, because we didn’t know how Ulrika’s body would respond to longer and more technical hiking trails. Therefore, our first mission was to hike through the valley and reach Oberwäldele. It is a nice and easy trail through the Kleinwalsertal landscape and it was no problem for Ulrika to handle.

Spring is one of the best periods of the year to come here for hiking. The flowers bloom and most of the snow is gone.

We found a glade covered in freshly bloomed cow parsley.

The houses in the area look like traditional Alp houses and they are often nicely decorated.

The trail takes you through open landscapes and forests. There are a few waterfalls hiding in the forest, so we took a few breaks along the way.

The trail was easy and Ulrika had no problem hiking 10 km, so  next up was to try to hike up on one of the mountain tops surrounding the valley. This adventure will be covered in our next blog post.

One day in Helsinki and Bitcoin-related things

We’ve been busy, but we now felt that it was time to update what we’ve been doing after our stay  in Tallinn and our week 20 ultrasound there. First we spent one day in Helsinki. It was the cheapest option for us when we wanted to travel from Tallinn to Sweden. Ulrika has never set her foot in this neighboring country, and Pontus has never been to Helsinki so we took the opportunity to see the Finnish capital on foot. We calculated that we walked about 15 km this day, so we managed to see a big part of Helsinki. Then there were Bitcoin and freedom-minded meetings on our Sweden agenda, and to meet family and friends. 

Vi har haft fullt upp, men vi känner nu att det var dags att göra en uppdatering om vad vi har sysslat med efter vår tripp till Tallinn och vårt vecka 20 ultraljud där.  Först spenderade vi en dag i Helsingfors. Det var det billigaste alternativet för oss när vi ville åka från Tallinn till Sverige. Ulrika har aldrig satt sin fot i detta grannland och Pontus har heller aldrig varit i just Helsingfors, så vi tog vara på möjligheten att få se den finländska huvudstaden till fots. Vi räknade ut att vi promenerade cirka 15 km denna dag, så vi hann se en hel del av Helsingfors. Därefter var det bitcoin och frihetliga möten på vår Sverigeagenda, samt att träffa familj och vänner.

A bitcoin ATM greeted us when we arrived to Helsinki, so it was easy for us to get the local currency (Euro) here in Finland.  0 confirmations, no need to sign in and give out personal information and we were ready to spend a day in Helsinki. The ATM can be found in the ferry terminal at Västra Hamnen and you can change the language so you don’t have to know Finnish to use it.

The second thing that greeted us in Helsinki was the Bad Bad Boy, the 8.5 meters tall urinating statue.

And a visualization of the mean depth of the Baltic Sea – only 55 meters.

We had taken the morning ferry from Tallinn so the sun was still rising when we came to Helsinki. Ulrika thinks that these sorts of cranes look like dinosaurs.

We found a beach, but it was to cold to jump in.

We took a walk through Kaivopuisto park and found a small hill from where we got a nice view over a few of the islands just outside of Helsinki.

There we also found a memorial for all seafarers and the deceased at sea.

One district in Helsinki is called Ulrikasborg, which translates to Ulrika’s castle in English, so we had to go there. Ullis is a nickname Ulrika and this district have in common.

It was funny that we found Pontus café in Ulrikasborg.

Finland was until 2009 the only country in the world that had Swedish as one of their official languages, since 2009 Swedish is also an official language in Sweden. Therefore, signs etc. in Helsinki have both Swedish and Finnish written on them, like the academic book store in the picture.

Finland has their moomins (by Tove Jansson) and we had to take a picture of one when we where here.

Atlas Obscura got us to see the Pohjola Insurance building – the company that wants to remind their customers that witches, bears, and gnomes are present so you better be insured. The building was built by architect Eliel Saarinen in 1901 and the name “Pohjola” is from the Finnish epic saga called the Kalevala. According to the legend, Pohjola was a Northern region ruled by an evil witch where you could find the roots of the World Tree.

We walked passed Helsinki train station, which has an interesting architecture.

Djurgårdsviken was still covered by ice, when we were here. It looked fragile so we strolled around the lake to get to Berghäll, another district of Helsinki. We used google maps and Atlas Obscura (link to the site can be found in the end) to get around here and we think that we were able to see quite a lot of Helsinki by foot before we had to board the next ferry.

Churches are interesting and we think that the architecture, both exterior and interior, often reflects the culture and the mindset of the people in that country. In Finland, the embellishments and colors are stripped of the church, whereas churches in Central America are much more colorful and full of decorations.

Hanasaari Power Plant is apparently a coal-consuming power plant.

We found a lot of beautiful wooden ships in the Northern harbor. More pictures from Helsinki can be found in the slideshow below.


Helsinki Cathedral was one of our last stops on our walk before we left Helsinki.

Skatudden seems like a nice place to chill out during the summer months in Helsinki. Our ferry departed from Skatudden so we had to go to the ferry terminal.

We went with Tallink to Tallinn, but we couldn’t book a ticket back to Sweden at the same time, because we didn’t know how long we needed to stay in Estonia. So when it was time for us to go to Sweden, it was cheaper to take the morning ferry to Helsinki and from there, take the night ferry with Viking Line to Stockholm. This was the reason we had an unexpected, but pleasant, day in Helsinki.

We came to Stockholm the morning after and Gröna Lund, the amusement park, greeted us. Unfortunately, no bitcoin ATM was present here when we came to Stockholm.

Back in Sweden and Pontus had a lecture about Bitcoin and the current economic system at the E-Commerce and Shop Tech fair.

Pontus has been voted in as a member of the board for the Swedish Bitcoin association so that was why he ended up on stage at this kind of fair. Link to the Swedish Bitcoin Association can be found in the end.

We also ended up meeting up with our old Bitcoin meet up group in Linköping.

We were able to attend this years Freedomfest in Stockholm arranged by the Swedish Mises Institute. We were able to meet a lot of like-minded people and the rumor is that the record of attendants was broken this year. One of our favorite lectures this year was the comparison of Sweden and Switzerland and why Sweden is much more vulnerable than Switzerland by Stellan Abrahamsson. All public lectures can be found in the link below (in Swedish).

Hitting the halfway mark – week 20 ultrasound in Tallinn

One of the reasons we went to Tallinn was to get the week 20 ultrasound done, where you can scan the organs of your fetus etc., for any anomalies. We found a private company, specialized in ultrasounds during pregnancy, in Tallinn and we called them and got an appointment within a week for half the price (100 Euro) we would have paid if we had done it in Sweden.

En av anledningarna till att vi åkte till Tallinn var att få vecka 20 ultraljud gjort, där de scannar fostrets organ m.m för eventuella anomalier. Vi hittade ett privat företag, som specialiserat sig på ultraljud under graviditeten, i Tallinn och vi ringde dem och fick tid inom en vecka till halva priset (100 Euro) jämfört med vad vi skulle ha betalat om vi hade gjort det i Sverige.

This is Ulrika with “det lilla livet” at twenty full weeks in to the pregnancy.  We got a new date of birth and it is now set to 5th of September. This is a correction of six days since the last ultrasound in Torrevieja, but only a two day correction if we calculate the birth date from the first day of the last menstruation cycle Ulrika had.

Detta är Ulrika med “det lilla livet” vid tjugo hela veckor in i graviditeten. Vi har ett nytt födelsedatum och det är nu satt till 5:e september. Detta är en korrigering med sex dagar sedan det sista ultraljudet i Torrevieja, men bara en tvådagarskorrigering om vi beräknar födelsedatumet från den första dagen i den sista menstruationscykel som Ulrika hade.

Loote Ultraheliskriining OÜ is where we did the ultrasound and the company can be found in a large glass building here.  The entrance can be seen in the right corner of the picture and inside their is an information desk where you can ask for directions. It is really easy to get here from old town in Tallinn (buses 5, 17 and 23 are recommended) and the journey takes around 30 minutes and tickets can be bought from the driver (2 Euro per ride) or buy a QR-code ticket here (1 Euro per ride).

Loote Ultraheliskriining OÜ är stället vi gjorde ultraljudet och företaget hittade vi i en stor glasbyggnad här. Ingången kan ses i bildens högra hörn och innanför dörrarna finns en informationsdisk där du kan be om vägbeskrivning till entrén. Det är väldigt lätt att komma hit från Gamla stan i Tallinn (busslinjerna 5, 17 och 23 rekommenderas) och resan tar cirka 30 minuter. Biljetter kan köpas från föraren (2 Euro per tur) eller köpa en QR-kod biljett här (1 Euro per tur).

Loote Ultraheliskriining OÜ are situated at the fourth floor in the same corridor as Nova Vita (an IVF-treatment company) and other companies. Dr. Marek Šois, who is the gynaecologist here, is excellent and very professional, and he is fluent in English, which is exactly what we were looking for here in Tallinn. His receptionist speaks poor to none English, so we did all of our communications through e-mail and it worked really well.

Loote Ultraheliskriining OÜ ligger på den fjärde våningen i samma korridor som Nova Vita (ett IVF-behandlingsföretag) och andra företag. Dr Marek Šois, som är gynekologen här, är utmärkt och mycket professionell, och han talar flytande engelska, vilket är exakt det vi letade efter här i Tallinn. Hans receptionist talar dålig till ingen engelska, så vi skötte all vår kommunikation via e-post och det fungerade väldigt bra.

The waiting room where we could relax after the ultrasound. We are really pleased with all the information we got during the 45-minute long ultrasound and organ screening. Here is a list of the things our doctor examined during the ultrasound:

  • Finger, toes and all the organs in the right place.
  • Measurements of I) the brain: Cerebellum, Falx Cerebri, the Ventricles, Corpus Callossum, the Optic Nerve, Plexus Choroideus, II) the head: Nose bone, distance between the eyes together with checking the lenses and the pupils, and looking for cleft lip and cleft palate, III) The spine and all its segments IV) the heart (the axis, septum, chambers and heart valves), V) other organs: diaphragm, lungs, kidneys, liver, spleen and the femur bone.
  • Blood flow in Willis circle, common carotid arteries, heart, aortic arch with branches, lungs, abdominal aorta, liver, spleen, kidneys and vena cava.
  • Filtration rates in the kidneys, the lung capacity and breathing
  • Esophagus and swallowing function.

Also, the volume of the amniotic sack and fluid, the placenta, the umbilical cord (the blood flow), cervix length and distance between the cervix and placenta were measured.

Väntrummet där vi kunde slappna av efter ultraljudet. Vi är väldigt nöjda med all information vi fick under detta 45-minuters ultraljud och organscreening. Här är en lista över de saker som vår läkare undersökte under ultraljudet:

  • Fingrar, tår och att alla organ är på rätt ställe.
  • Mätningar av I) hjärnan: Cerebellum, Falx Cerebri, Ventriklarna, Corpus Callossum, Optiska nerven, Plexus Choroideus, II) Huvudet: näsbenet, avståndet mellan ögonen och kontroll av linserna och pupillerna, samt tittade efter gom- och läppspalt, III) Ryggraden och alla dess delar IV) Hjärtat (axeln, septum, kamrar och hjärtklaffarna), V) Övriga organ: diafragman, lungor, njurar, lever, mjälte och lårbenet.
  • Blodflöden i Willis cirkel, karotisblodkärlen, hjärta, aortabågen med dess grenar, lungor, aortan, lever, mjälte, njurar och vena cava.
  • Filtreringshastigheter i njurarna, lungkapaciteten och andningen
  • Esofagus och sväljningsfunktion.

Läkaren gjorde även mätningar på volymen på fostersäcken och fostervattnet, placentan, navelsträngen (samt blodflödet), längden på livmoderhalsen och avståndet mellan livmoderhalsen och placentan.

The best things were that everything looked good and that we got to see a 3D picture of our little girl! We paid an extra 15 Euro to get a photo copy of this picture.
She was sleeping and didn’t really want to wake up and change position (she seems to like to snuggle her face in towards Ulrika’s spine), even though the doctor was shaking her. Ulrika had to lie on her side to get “det lilla livet” to turn towards the stomach. She was laying really deep down in the pelvis so the measurements on certain structures in the brain had to be performed using the vaginal ultrasound.

Det bästa var att allt såg bra ut och att vi fick se en 3D-bild av vår lilla tjej! Vi betalade en extra 15 Euro för att få en fotokopia av denna bild.
Hon sov och ville verkligen inte vakna och byta position (hon verkar gilla att gosa in hennes ansikte mot Ulrikas ryggrad), även fast doktorn skakade henne. Ulrika var tvungen att ligga på hennes sida för att få “det lilla livet” att vända sig mot magen. Hon låg riktigt djupt ner i bäckenet så måttet på vissa strukturer i hjärnan behövde utföras med hjälp av ett vaginalt ultraljud.

We can really see whose mouth our girl has inherited when comparing child pictures (Pontus top left and Ulrika bottom right) 🙂

Vi kan verkligen se vems mun vår flicka har ärvt när vi jämför barnbilder (Pontus uppe till vänster och Ulrika längst ner till höger) 🙂

So how is Ulrika feeling? I’m feeling much better comparing to my vomiting and nauseous weeks between week 6-7 and 12, but now I’ve gotten to experience how it feels like when you have low blood pressure. My symptoms now are dizziness, bad head aches, fatigue and feeling weak and like I’m about to faint.
Interestingly, I now have lower blood pressure than when I got dengue fever and had to have two IV-bags of saline to get my blood pressure up. Apparently this is completely normal during the second trimester, so I rest, drink water and take my supplements and add extra magnesium. The lowest point of blood pressure is in the middle of the second trimester, so I’m waiting for the blood pressure to naturally rise during the second half of the pregnancy.

This was the second report of our pregnancy journey, which just hit the halfway mark. The pregnancy feels more real now after this ultrasound, while before it just felt artificial and unreal. It also helps that I’ve started to feel more real kicks than before. So we are just waiting for the autumn and to have her here with us.

Så hur känner sig Ulrika? Jag känner mig mycket bättre jämfört med mina kräknings- och illamåendeveckor mellan vecka 6-7 och 12, men nu har jag fått uppleva hur det känns när man har lågt blodtryck. Mina symtom är nu yrsel, tråkig huvudvärk, trötthet och känsla av svaghet och att jag är på väg att svimma (ser stjärnor).
Intressant är att jag nu har lägre blodtryck än när jag drog på mig denguefeber och var tvungen att ha två IV-påsar saltlösning för att få upp mitt blodtryck. Tydligen är detta helt normalt under andra trimestern, så jag vilar, dricker vatten och tar mina tillskott och lägger till extra magnesium. Den lägsta punkten i blodtrycket är i mitten av andra trimestern, så jag väntar på att blodtrycket kommer att öka naturligt under den andra halvan av graviditeten.

Detta var den andra rapporten från vår graviditetsresa som just träffade halvvägsmilstolpen. Graviditeten känns mer verklig nu efter detta ultraljud, innan kändes det bara artificiellt och overkligt. Det hjälper också att jag nu har börjat känna mer riktiga sparkar än tidigare. Så nu väntar vi bara på hösten och att ha henne här hos oss.

Oldest pharmacy in Europe – visiting Tallinn

We ended up in Tallinn after a short stop in Sweden for family reasons. We went from Barcelona to Sweden and therefore we could take one of the night boats, a.k.a party boats, over to Estonia. We have been in Tallinn before in 2014, before we departed on our big journey, so it was familiar grounds to walk on for us.
We had important things to do here, but we also wanted to explore the city, so we used our favorite web site, Atlas Obscura, to find interesting and unexpected places to see here. That is how we ended up at the oldest pharmacy still operating in Europe. 

Vi hamnade i Tallinn efter ett kort stopp i Sverige av familjeskäl. Vi åkte från Barcelona till Sverige och därför kunde vi ta en av nattbåtarna, a.k.a festbåtarna, till Estland. Vi har varit i Tallinn en gång förut år 2014, innan vi påbörjade vår stora resa, så det var välbekanta marker att promenera på för oss.
Vi hade viktiga saker att göra här, men vi ville också utforska staden, så vi använde vår favoritwebbplats, Atlas Obscura, för att hitta intressanta och oväntade platser att se här. Det var därför vi hamnade på det äldsta apoteket, som fortfarande är öppet, i Europa.

We took the Tallink boat “Baltic Queen” from Stockholm to Tallinn. One night sleeping on the Baltic Sea before arriving to Estonia.

Tallinn greeted us with immense fog and we could barely see land while approaching Tallinn.

We spent our first morning eating breakfast at Reval Café – Reval is the old name of Tallinn.

We walked passed the Opera in Tallinn on our way to our accommodation and they had suitable parking barriers. Ulrika got sick during our travel to Estonia so we didn’t do much the first couple of days here in Tallinn.

A few days later a pregnant Ulrika felt better, and the weather had gone from rain and snow to sunshine, so we took our first short walk around town and visited the oldest pharmacy in Europe and Tallinn’s oldest Café.

We found this sign while walking to old town of Tallinn. There is a public wifi available in town, which only works during certain hours of the day. The public transportation system in Tallinn is easy to figure out and cheap.

We got to old town and now it was time to find the Raeapteek pharmacy museum. We had found the museum through our favorite web site, Atlas Obscura.

The Raeapteek has been in business in the same house located at the corner of the town hall square since the early 15th century.

The oldest records of the Raeapteek found state that the Raeapteek was already on its third owner in 1422 and historians think that the opening year of the pharmacy was around the year 1415.

Today the Pharmacy is still in business, but it is also a museum that you can enter for free to learn about its history.

A movie, English subtitles can be chosen, about its history is well worth your time in the pharmacy.

The Burchart family is the people associated with the pharmacy’s history. The family had the business for over 325 years, spanning over 10 generations, from around 1582 to 1911.
Around 1580, the Hungarian Johann Burchart moved to Tallinn and he got the chance to lease the pharmacy. He started the family tradition of giving the first-born son the name “Johann” and the first-born son was expected to carry on the family business.

Johann Burchart the IV could finally purchase the pharmacy from the city council In 1688. The Burchart’s family pharmacy business came to an end in the 1890 when the last male heir of the family, named Johann X Burchart, died and his sisters sold the pharmacy in 1911 to a C.R. Lehbert.

Sadly for C.R. Lehbert, communists entered Estonia and the pharmacy was nationalized in 1944 when the Soviet Union re-occupied Estonia.

The pharmacy has had a interesting history of products for purchase.
Customer have been able to buy mummy juice (powder made of oversea mummies mixed with liquid), blood-sucking leeches, burnt hedgehogs powder, burnt bees, bat powder, snakeskin potion and unicorn horn powder for treatment of their illnesses through out medieval times.

With “modern” times came modern medicines.

The Raeapteek is conveniently placed right at Town hall Square, where restaurants have their outdoor seating area. Not so much tourists now, which we like.

The town hall in Tallinn was built right next to what was then the market square and the building was completed in 1404. Today the market square is called the town hall square.

We (or Ulrika) had to rest, so we ended up at Tallinn’s oldest operating café, the Maiasmokk café.

The café has been in the same location since 1864 and the interior has remained unchanged for almost a century.

We ended Ulrika’s first day out of the apartment with an estonian cinnamon roll bun and some kind of coffee cake. We were glad that Ulrika now felt better, because we had things to do here in Tallinn.

With Gaudi in Barcelona and friends from Guatemala

Gaudi’s Barcelona was our next stop, and unlike Picasso’s paintings, we really enjoy his imaginative work. We have been to Barcelona before so we first didn’t think of planning to go here, but when it turned out that friends from Guatemala where in town we changed our minds an took the train from Alicante.
We met Anna and Mike in Guatemala two years ago, when we where hiking up to 4000 meters to reach the top of the volcano Acatenango from where you get a great view of the active volcano Fuego, on good days we might add. We weren’t fortunate with the weather that time, but we got two new friends that we now wanted to visit in Barcelona. 

Gaudis Barcelona var vårt nästa stopp och till skillnad från Picassos tavlor så njuter vi verkligen av hans fantasifulla arbete. Vi har varit i Barcelona förut så vi tänkte först inte på att planera att åka hit, men när det visade sig att vänner från Guatemala var i stan så ändrade vi våra planer och tog tåget hit från Alicante.
Vi träffade Anna och Mike i Guatemala för två år sedan när vi vandrade upp till 4000 meter för att nå toppen av vulkanen Acatenango, där man kan få en fantastisk utsikt över den aktiva vulkanen Fuego, på bra dagar kan vi tillägga. Vi hade tyvärr inte tur med vädret den gången, men vi fick två nya vänner som vi nu ville besöka i Barcelona.

Back in Barcelona, a city we like very much because of the architecture you can find all around the city. Most of the spectacular buildings in Barcelona can be attributed to Antonio Gaudi and his patron Eusebi Güell.

We wanted to go to Barcelona to meet up with Anna and Mike, a South African couple we got to know while hiking up the volcano Acatenango in Guatmeala. They have also traveled the world so it was just by chance Ulrika realized that we were only a train ride away from each other. Two weeks later we were sitting together in a restaurant in Barcelona catching up. It was an awesome evening!

We had only two nights here in Barcelona so we wanted to make the most out of it. Enjoying the sun on Las Ramblas with a carrot cake was one of the things we did.

We went to the George Orwell square and had lunch. It felt quite suitable to sit here thinking about where the EU and USA are heading.

Mass surveillance and the restriction of personal integrity are not only happening in other parts of the world, its happening all around us and you have to keep up and stay protected.

We took a long walk through Barcelona and took photos of incredible architecture, like the Cathedral in Barcelona, a gothic church constructed from the 13th to 15th centuries.

We also did some shopping, because Ulrika’s belly popped out this week. She felt that it was time to buy a pair of maternity jeans.

The new pair of jeans felt way better!

We walked passed Casa Batlló (to the right), a house from 1877 that got a total makeover by Gaudi in 1904. Casa Amatller (to the left), originally a a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller was redesigned by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

Casa Milà, also known as the stone quarry, was built between 1906 and 1912, and it was the last private residence designed by Gaudi.

There are a lot more great architecture found in Barcelona, so we like to walk around in this city just looking at builidings. More pictures from Barcelona can be found in the slideshow below.


Our mission this day was to see Park Guell and learn more about the relationship between the architect Antonio Gaudi and the entrepreneur Eusebi Güell.

The park houses a small museum where we learned of the important ties that Antonio Gaudi and Eusebi Güell had. Eusebi Güell had profited greatly from the industrial revolution in the late 19th century and it was his respect for Gaudi’s art and his dedication to him that financially could realize all the creative visions that Gaudi had. They met when Gaudi presented his final work for the architecture school he had attended and they worked together to the end. The museum displays pictures from the construction sites in the beginnning of the last century and how Gaudis work progressed, so it was like traveling back in time. We absolutely loved the museum.

Park Guell was the vision of a private city by Eusebi Güell with a residential park intended for sixty single- family residences. It was Antonio Gaudi who was the architect and responsible for the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914.

The residential park was also meant to be as creative as the buildings.

The focal point of the park was suppose to be the main terrace.

Som pillars holding up the terrace are intentionally missing and replaced by mosaic pictures.

The project was unsuccessful as a business enterprise, with only a handful of the residential houses built.

The only residents who lived here were Gaudi and Güell with his family.

Park Guell is only partly closed for the museum part of the park, which has an entrance fee. The rest of the park is open to stroll around in and you get a good view over Barcelona from here.

The Sagrada Familia from Park Guell.

one our way out, we found an interesting formation of nature and immediately thought of a specific unpleasant movie.

We walked to Sagrada Familia to see how the progress has been since we last were here. We were here in 2011 so we did not enter the church this time around. This is the Nativity Façade, which depict the birth of Jesus and it was constructed between 1894 and 1930.

The Glory Façade began construction in 2002 and it was the least finished side of the church when we where here last time and it it still not finished. This Façade is going to be dedicated to the Celestial Glory of Jesus and it represents the road to God: Death, Final Judgment, and Glory.

The roof of the Glory Façade is filled with fruits.

The construction of the Passion Façade in 1954 and it is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and the suffering of Jesus during his crucifixion.

The façade was intended to portray the sins of man and Gaudí wanted to strike fear into whoever was looking at this façade.

In October 2015, it was announced that construction was 70 percent complete and the construction had entered the final phase of raising six immense towers. Construction began in 1882 and most of the Church are to be completed by 2026 (decorative elements should be complete by 2030 or 2032) – a 150 year old construction project.

The pink salt lake, and goodbye Torrevieja!

There is a large pink salt lake just outside the centre of Torrevieja, and we thought that it would be nice to spend a day exploring that part of Torrevieja before we left this place. The pink lake is one of the largest salt lakes in Europe, and people come here to roll in mud and making their own outdoor SPA. It is supposedly very  healthy to take a bath here. However, we did not jump into the lake, especially not after Pontus felt nauseous and dizzy from going near the shore. We heard afterwards that the pink lake is a great source of mosquitoes and that the city of Torrevieja sprays the lake with mosquitoe-killing chemicals a few times a year. So it was probably that Pontus could sense.

The last days in Torrevieja we spent with Pia and Benke going to a market and eating dinner together, and then it was time for us to travel north.

Det finns en stor rosa saltsjö precis utanför Torreviejas centrum och vi tyckte att det skulle vara trevligt att spendera en dag med att utforska den delen av Torrevieja innan vi lämnade denna plats. Den rosa sjön är en av de största saltsjöarna i Europa och människor kommer hit för att rulla i leran och göra sitt eget utomhus-spa. Det sägs vara väldigt hälsosamt att ta ett bad här. Vi hoppade dock inte i sjön, särskilt inte efter att Pontus kände sig illamående och yr av att gå nära strandkanten. Vi hörde efteråt att den rosa sjön är en stor källa till mygg och att staden Torrevieja sprutar ned sjön några gånger per år med mygg-dödande kemikalier. Så det var nog förmodligen det Pontus kunde känna.

De sista dagarna i Torrevieja spenderade vi med Pia och Benke på en marknad och åt mat tillsammans innan det var dags för oss att resa norrut.

The pink lake is pink from pigments produced by a salt-loving bacteria, the Halobacterium bacteria which can sustain itself in extremely salty environments.The pink color is also caused by an algae, Dunadiella Salina. The Flamingos, which stay here parts of the year, turn bright pink because they eat the Artemia Salina brine shrimp, which feed on the bacteria in the lake.

We did not take the common way to the pink lake and its shores, instead we walked through wasteland and got a nice post-apocalyptic game feeling.

When water evaporate in the pink lake, the salt level reaches 300g per litre and crystallisation of salt happens. The salt crystals sink to the bottom and can then be collected and sold.

There are salt boats getting filled in the harbor of Torrevieja and, according to Wikipedia, most of the salt boats are going to Netherlands and Sweden.

Most boats in the Marina of Torrevieja are, however, sail boats.

Walking is easy here in Torrevieja and we can imagine the crowds here in Torrevieja during high season.

The beaches were almost empty now in February.

Except for a few daring people. This is what our conception of life is all about – people helping people without force or threat of violence.

Everything else is mafia-like. Talking about the mafia, apparently Torrevieja had one mafia too and this was the place where unwanted people met the fishes. The local police had to fish up a number of bodys here during the active years of the mafia.

There are a lot of Scandinavian restaurants, and they even have a street named Sweden where you can find Ulrika’s least favorite Danish dish “smörrebröd”.

One of our favorite restaurants in Torrevieja “Salt and Pepper”, serves Greek food and they have live music on Saturdays combining the Greek and Spanish influences. We got to listen to the Greek/Spanish version of O’ sole mio.

We had never tried Churros before even though we have spent a good amount of time in Latin America, so we felt we needed to try it at least once here in Spain. It was to sweet for us, so we will leave the tasting experience to this one time.

We found Mega Man next to a construction site here in Torrevieja, they are building a lot here, mostly condos.

Ulrikas appetite had come back so we mostly cooked our own food, and went out eating if we got company by Pia and Benke. Here is Pontus with our local fruit and vegetable provider.

Pia and Benke took us to a popular market for tourists and it was here we found the bag-in-box wine on tap. We had to take a picture of this, imagine if you could find this kind of trucks on local markets in Sweden. In Sweden you are not even allowed to sell alcohol from your own wine yard, everything has to go through the state monopoly.

Last night in Torrevieja and we ate dinner with Pia and Benke, saying good bye for this time in a Norwegian restaurant with an American 50’s interior.

The next morning Benke drives us to the train station in Alicante just when the sun was about to rise. Next stop Barcelona!

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