Ankor på vift

A freedom-oriented travel blog

Category: Othilia (page 1 of 2)

Back in our gem Praha

We are in Praha (Prague in Czech) and the fall is always busy for us here in Praha, the capital of the Czech Republic. I want to show you pictures from where we first arrived to Prague in September, the weather was beautiful and it is always nice to prolong the summer, which is quite short in Northern Europe.

Prague or Praha is the closest thing we have to a base and we realized that we have spent seven out of Othilia’s 13 first months here. Enjoy the birth city of our daughter!


Vi är i Praha (Prag på tjeckiska) och hösten är alltid uppbokad för oss här i Praha, Tjeckiens huvudstad. Jag vill visa er bilder från vad vi gjorde då vi först kom till Prag i september. Vädret var vackert och det är alltid trevligt att förlänga sommaren som är ganska kort om man befinner sig i nordeuropa.

Prag eller Praha är det närmaste vi har en bas och vi insåg att vi har tillbringat sju av Othilias 13 första månader här. Njut av vår dotters födelsestad!

The first thing we did was to meet up with friends and have a barbecue on a roof top. Stunning sunset that welcomed us to Prague!
Othilia loves her new play room and is is a fine climber of stairs. Our daughter is so brave and unafraid of things, but still so careful and asks to hold our hand patiently if she judges that she needs our assistance over some obstacle.
Pontus continues to wake up early in the morning and take a walk. He always takes pictures that we want to share with you. Here is Prague while waking up to a new day!
Malostranská in the morning
Pivovar Marina in the morning
Some mornings are more cloudy than others.
The Vltava river
Church of St. Anthony of Padua in the background
We are hanging out with the King family and the Vietnamese market had a food festival in September. We love Vietnamese food so we had to visit the festival and let Othilia try it out. She liked it as well!
We visited Othilia’s pediatrician and our daughter was 75 cm and weighed 9950 grams. We have a nice pediatrician that is in full sync with how we view the world and our lifestyle! We like that.
There is so much things to do her in Prague for kids, we have mentioned that before. Here is an exhibition out in the open at the Stromovka park about the the moon landings and the race to space.
And signs both in Czech and English. That is something you don’t see everywhere here in the Czech Republic.
End of September and we enjoyed the summer.
This was a short recap of the last days in September for us here in Prague. October was much more busy for us! And Othilia’s development accelerated to a pace none of us were prepared for. It is an exciting ride to be fortunate enough to follow a child grow up.

Othilia one year and one month in Sweden

We had an intense one month in Sweden after departing from Netherlands. Othilia was about to turn one year and we wanted to celebrate this with our families. We also had other birthdays to celebrate, new babies to greet and a great-grand mother to visit, so August was a family-intense month for us and we wanted to enjoy that to the fullest.

Othilia has developed so fast and is now a little person. She is so determined and curious, so us parents we just follow her and see what she does. She is adventurous, but careful and she is talking a lot (by our standards), but she doesn’t yet speak our language. However, she does say a few words in Swedish and show us that she understands way more words than she can say right now. Ulrika also swears that she hears Othilia use a few English words (like daddy), but time will tell if she starts speaking English at a young age. The King children do shower her with English so we will see what happens to her language development.

We celebrated Othilia’s birthday during several days and we are so glad that she is so loved by our families and that we had the opportunity to celebrate her first birthday in Sweden. We will insert a lot of pictures from Othilia’s month in Sweden and her birthday below.


Vi hade en intensiv månad i Sverige efter avresan från Nederländerna. Othilia skulle fylla ett år och vi ville fira detta med våra familjer. Vi hade också andra födelsedagar att fira, nya barn att hälsa på och en gammelmormor att besöka så augusti var en familjeintensiv månad för oss och vi ville njuta av det till fullo.

Othilia har utvecklats så snabbt och är nu verkligen en liten person. Hon är så beslutsam och nyfiken, så vi föräldrar bara följer efter henne och ser vad hon gör. Hon är äventyrlig, men försiktig och hon pratar mycket (enligt vår familjs standard), men hon talar inte vårt språk än. Hon säger dock några ord på svenska och visar oss att hon förstår fler ord än hon kan uttala just nu. Ulrika svär också på att hon har hört Othilia använda sig av några engelska ord (såsom “daddy”), men tiden kommer att visa om hon börjar prata engelska i så här ung ålder. King-barnen överröser henne med engelska så vi får se vad som händer med hennes språkutveckling.

Vi firade Othilias födelsedag under flera dagar och vi är så glada över att hon är så älskad av våra familjer och att vi hade möjlighet att fira hennes första födelsedag i Sverige. Vi kommer att publicera en hel del bilder från Othilias månad i Sverige och hennes födelsedag nedan.

Gothenburg seen from Ramberget.
Here we have family so Gothenburg is a place that we visit when we come to Sweden.
Saying hello to Othilia’s great grandmother!
We soon went North meeting up with old friends in Linköping and celebrated Othilia’s cousin Noa’s second birthday in Stockholm.
We where soon with grandparents in Långshyttan and Stjärnsund trying out one of her birthday presents that Othilia got early.
Othilia was so fascinated by being on the lake.
Trying different vehicles, even a bicycle!
Inspecting grandmother’s garden!
Othilia got to her favorite thing at Stugan – playing with water and playing with grandmother (not in the picture)!
We investigated different places to have Othilia’s birthday party and we found the right spot at Svartviksstugan near Sandviken in Gästrikland.
In just a few weeks we would celebrate Othilia at this spot, but first we had a few days in Gävle and Norrsundet to spend.
We got to spend some time with aunt Jonna at Högbo before she left for her own adventures. We also gave Othilia a birthday present early – a stroller!
We visited Norrsundet a sleeping fishing village and a “bruksort”. Othilia is jumping on rocks now!
Spending time with a grandparent in Norrsundet, trying out the playground!
We even had our first date in a year while Othilia got to spend some time with a grandmother. Thank you mormor and Mats!
We met up with bubb.la people in Hedesunda and Ulrika showed where she has been playing in the water when she was young.
Be a tourist in your own home town. Ulrika has never gone out to Limön, an island in the Gävle bay area, so we decided to take the last boat on the summer schedule out to that island.
We were the only people on the boat which was strange, but we would find out later on why we probably were the only passengers that day.
Limön! An old fishing island which is know mainly occupied by summer houses and a café.
We had the island almost to ourselves, except for a few summer guests in their cabins. We tried the water, which was really cold, but that didn’t stop Othilia. You see the factory Korsnäs in the background.
We found swings so Othilia wanted fully enjoy them. She can now swing like the older kids do it.
Just an hour before our boat was departing we saw this and we realized that we had skipped to check the weather forecast for this day. No wonder we were the only people on board that day. But the intense rain passed quickly and we could safely go back to the mainland.
Then Otihlia’s days of celebration came and she was dressed for the occasion by a dress she got from Othilia’s cousins (and their parents).
We had a bit of bad weather, but that didn’t stop the celebration. We lit a fire in the fire place.
And Othilia was excited over the birthday cakes. One bought (but carefully selected by mom) and one home made (by dad, his favorite cake). The buns was also home made by grand mother!
We want to thank our families for all the great gifts Othilia got from you. We are so grateful that you were able to come and celebrate that Othilia now has been on the planet for a full year. Happy birthday our beloved and most precious daughter! We love you!
We had a second birthday celebration with Ulrika’s side of the family and we want to thank them for coming and celebrating our daughter as well. Thank you! Othilia’s birthday parties also were our good bye to our families for this time. A few days later we left Sweden from Trelleborg (picture from the coast of Trelleborg) and headed South.

Texel island and preparing to leave Netherlands

Netherlands do have a few islands outside of their mainland and the biggest island is called Texel. The rumor was that Texel (pronounced Tessel in Dutch) would have nice places to take a bath, so we packed our swimwear. Just a few days from our planned date to travel to Texel, a friend contacted us and let us know that she and a friend where in Amsterdam for a holiday so we invited them to come with us to Texel.


Nederländerna har några öar utanför kusten och den största kallas Texel. Ryktet var att Texel (uttalat Tessel på holländska) skulle ha fina badmöjligheter så vi packade med oss badkläderna. Bara några dagar från det planerade datumet för att resa till Texel kontaktade en vän oss och meddelade att hon och en vän var i Amsterdam för en semester så vi bjöd in dem att komma med oss till Texel.

We bought our ferry ticket online, which made the check-in smooth and simple,  and we drove on to the ferry after we had picked up our friend Lynn and her friend Lina at the train station in Den Helder.

Ferries to Texel depart from Den Helder and they depart frequently all year (one every 30 minutes during high season). It is quite cheap if you can avoid the weekends and Mondays, meaning taking your trip out to Texel Tuesday to Thursday is cheapest. You buy a two way ticket and you either walk, bicycle or take a car on board. We took a car and the ticket is valid for the car, meaning that you can go up to 9 persons in one car on one car ticket. The price was 25 Euro for a car if you travel Tuesday to Thursday (it is 37 Euro the other days).

Hi Texel! Othilia is here!

One of the things you can do on the island is to visit the Eierland lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1863 and it was built on top of a 20-metre high sand dune.

During an uprising in April 1945 the lighthouse suffered a lot of damage. The lighthouse was then repaired by constructing a new wall around the original wall, but you can still see the original wall with its bullet holes when you go up the tower.

We got a nice overview over the sea and beach from the top of the lighthouse. Othilia loves to climb!

This was our main objective today. It was a really warm day, so being in the water was a necessity for Othilia.

The girls on their way to the beach!

Othilia was happy!

Pontus was running around and took pictures on animals he found in the water.

A few crabs! There were also animals in the water that we couldn’t see, but we could feel them – water fleas!

We ate dinner on Texel before we took the ferry back to the mainland and said good bye to Lynn and Lina. Our days in Netherlands were about to end, so we want to end our Netherlands 2019 trip with photos from our time here that didn’t fit the previous blog posts.

The days we didn’t have an adventure planned we stayed in or close to our magical village. We had Harlingen near us, where we went for shopping etc, but we also had close to Bolsward, where we found our favorite ice cream flavor – duindoorn in Dutch or havtorn in Swedish (sea buckthorn in English).  
Pontus started with a new habit to wake up and go watch the sunrise, so I want to show you a few of the sunrises Pontus captured during our month in Netherlands. So here is a mix of pictures from our month in the Netherlands.


Vi åt middag på Texel innan vi tog färjan tillbaka till fastlandet och sa hejdå till Lynn och Lina. Våra dagar i Nederländerna var på väg att ta slut, så vi vill avsluta vårt Nederländerna 2019 med bilder från vår tid här som inte passade de tidigare blogginläggen.

De dagar vi inte hade ett planerat äventyr stannade vi i eller nära vår magiska by. Vi hade Harlingen nära oss, dit vi åkte för att shoppa osv, men vi hade också nära Bolsward, där vi hittade vår favoritglassmak – duindoorn på holländska eller havtorn på svenska.
Pontus började med en ny vana att gå upp på morgonen och titta på soluppgången, så jag vill visa er några av de solupppgångar Pontus fångade under vår månad i Nederländerna. Så nedanför denna text är en blandning av bilder från vår månad i Nederländerna.

Stunning picture of a sunrise over the avenue leading to our village.

Othilia eating berries in our backyard.

sunrise!

Othilia playing in the village playground.

The heat was unbearable so we had to buy a fan to our rented house. It saved our days and nights for a couple of days.

Our nearest beach in Makkum. Nice to have when the temperature was peaking.

Another stunning sunrise that Pontus captured. This is not a bicycle road – it is actually a normal car road with a maximum speed limit of 60 km/h.

We took a walk in a small park in Bolsward one evening.

And this is here main objective when when she sees water. You can imagine what her reaction is when we deny her a bath.

The city had placed out animals carved out of wood in the park.

Othilia gets to hang out with dad in the morning if she decides to make morning way before I do. Here in her pajamas watching the sun go up.

Wherever we go we get stuck for a while if Othilia see a ball. Here, we had stopped at a McDonald’s to eat and Othilia was in heaven, the playground had balls hanging from ropes.

An evening shoot capturing the full moon. Pontus’s mobile camera is so good at taking pictures in poor light.

Then it was time for us to leave Netherlands, but it will not be our last time here. We love the Netherlands, especially the Northern parts. More pictures from our time here can be seen in the slider below.

Bumper boats in Giethoorn

Giethoorn is truly an interesting place. Founded by Flagellants, has no roads, and the number of Chinese people travelling to this village in the Netherlands is so high that the village was voted in as one of the places that you could buy on the international Monopoly edition released in 2015, after the contest on which places should be on this special monopoly edition went viral in China.

So we had to go there and experience the madness. No roads mean that you travel on waterways by rented boats and there are plenty of boats to rent due to the many Chinese tourists visiting this place. Between 150 000 and 200 000 Chinese tourists per year visit this village that only has around  2500 inhabitants. So it really felt like we were in an amusement park riding those bumper cars, but at the same time we were actually sitting in the love tunnel boats looking at the surrealistic scenery around us. Be prepared to be bumping around with other, mainly Chinese, tourists.

The history of Giethoorn starts with the Flagellants, a Catholic sect where worshipers likes to whip their own bodies with different instruments, who settled here in the 13th century. After them came the farmers and their farmland activities created the big lake Boppenwide next to Giethoorn, a lake which is no more than a meter deep at its places. The water is quite shallow in most areas here, so that is why we lack life-jackets in all pictures below.

Giethoorn is best pictured by actual footage, not text, so there will be plenty of pictures of the village below. Othilia started walking here in the Netherlands so we will insert a video of her record walking in the end and a few photos from Ulrika’s birthday. Pictures coming up!


Giethoorn är en verkligt intressant plats. Grundades av Flagellanter, har inga bilvägar och antalet kineser som reser till denna by i Nederländerna är så hög att byn röstades in som en av de platser som du kan köpa i den internationella versionen av monopol som utgavs 2015 efter att tävlingen om vilka platser som borde vara med på denna speciella monopolutgåva blev viral i Kina.

Så vi var tvungna att åka dit och uppleva galenskapen. Inga vägar betyder att du reser på vattenvägar med båtar du kan hyra och det finns många båtar att hyra på grund av det stora antalet kinesiska besökare. Mellan 150 000 och 200 000 kinesiska turister per år besöker denna by som bara har cirka 2500 invånare. Det kändes verkligen som om vi var på ett tivoli åkandes i radiobilar medan vi samtidigt faktiskt sitter i kärlekstunnel-båtar och tittar på det surrealistiska landskapet omkring oss. Var beredd och stöta runt med andra, främst kinesiska, turister.

Giethoorns historia börjar med Flagellanterna, en katolsk sekt där medlemmarna piskar deras kroppar med olika instrument, som bosatte sig här på 1200-talet. Efter dem kom bönderna och deras jordbruksverksamhet skapade den stora sjön Boppenwide som ligger bredvid Giethoorn. Denna sjö är inte mer än en meter djup på sina platser. Vattnet är väldigt grunt i de flesta områden här, så det är därför vi saknar flytvästar i alla bilder nedan.

Giethoorn är bäst avbildad av faktiska bilder, inte text, så det kommer att finnas gott om bilder på byn nedan. Othilia började gå här i Nederländerna så vi kommer också att publicera en video av hennes rekordpromenad, samt några foton från Ulrikas födelsedag. Nu kommer bilderna!

Be prepared for a lot of pictures on lovely houses and canals!

We needed to eat lunch before we were heading out on the boats and the parking place we choose had a deal that you could park for free if you ate at their restaurant, so we did. One thing Netherlands is good at is to clearly put up signs where you can find a place to park your car. It is easy to find a parking place in both smaller villages and bigger cities.

The food was amazing so we did not regret it.

We rented a boat at the same place we parked our car and you can choose a number of different options. 25Euro/boat if you only want to see Giethoorn (an 1 hour trip), 50 Euro for the 2-hour trip which includes part of the national park as well and then more Euros for the longer trips, which we weren’t interested in.

We soon entered the national park and it was so quiet, even though a lot of boats were driving through. The boats are electrical so the usual noise from a motor is absent.

We stopped at an outlook tower to get a good overview over the nature park.

We suddenly got a vague feeling of being in the old movie “Waterworld”

There were plenty of birds that kept Othilia amazed for part of the journey.

The journey through the park wasn’t so pleasant as it looks like. We temporarily forgot that we have a daughter who loves water so when the initial curiosity over the boat was over, she was all about wanting to climb over the railing and go in the water. She was loud when she was denied going over the railing so Ulrika had to breastfeed Othiliato calm her, so our boat wouldn’t destroy the moment for others .

We where approaching the village Giethoorn again after approximately 1h and 20 minutes going over the lake and exploring the nature park. The last 40 minutes would be going on the main waterway through the village.

Hello Giethoorn! The village with around 150 bridges.

Strong feeling of being in bumper boats in an amusement park.

Othilia in Giethoorn! I think she is a direct image of her father in this picture.

A selfie in Giethoorn.

Giethoorn!

We left our boat where we had rented it and went back to the village walking on the pedestrian/bicycle road. The only roads in this part of the village.Nowadays Giethoorn is much bigger than just this old part of the village.

And we got to see the houses with their gardens better.

Giethoorn by foot!

Apparently tourists mistake the mail boxes to be trash bins. How strange and sad for the people living here.

Giethoorn by foot!

Giethoorn by foot! Then it was time for us going back home.

 

We stopped in Lemmer on our way home so that Othilia finally was able to bath. We had denied her that the whole day, so we wanted to make it up to her! The weather forecast had warned us about coming days with bad weather so we had to rearrange our plans for Ulrika’s birthday that was coming up.

We usually take a few days of between our adventures so we barbecued in our little Japanese garden in our own backyard for dinner the day before Ulrika’s birthday.

And Ulrika was surprised with gifts by the family in the morning. We had a calm birthday waiting for the rain. We went to a small art museum and took it easy. We knew that we had a busy week ahead, but more of that in the upcoming blog posts.

And lastly, our daughter walking by herself exactly 10 months after we welcomed her into this world. The time goes so fast!

A walk through the city of Amsterdam

The name of the city Amsterdam comes from that the city’s origin starts with a dam in the river Amstel in the 12th century. Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world in the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. Today, many of the world’s largest companies are based in Amsterdam or established their European headquarters in the city, such as Uber, Netflix and Tesla.

We went to Amsterdam with no goal in mind except for just walking around in the city centre and get a feeling of the atmosphere of the city. We found a city filled with tourists and not so much local people. We could barely hear any people speaking Dutch, just a variety of other languages.
We also encountered a lot of coffee shops and here Marijuana is legal so the number of people on this drug is quite high here. They are friendly though so we don’t mind them and they are much less obnoxious and aggressive as a lot of drunk people. It can feel quite funny though when your waiter starts to giggle while taking your order and the cashier at the supermarket returns the money you just gave him for payment as the exchange (could have gotten it for free!) . This happened to us during our day in Amsterdam.

For Othilia’s part, her first tooth has now appeared and she also runs so our bet on which one will come first seems to end in a draw.


Stadens namn kommer från att Amsterdams ursprung börjar med en dam i floden Amstel på 1100-talet. Amsterdam blev en av de viktigaste hamnarna i världen under den nederländska guldåldern på 1600-talet. Idag är många av världens största företag baserade i Amsterdam eller har sitt europeiska huvudkontor i staden, till exempel Uber, Netflix och Tesla.

Vi åkte till Amsterdam utan något speciellt mål i åtanke förutom att bara vandra runt i stadens centrum och få en känsla av stämningen i staden. Vi hittade en stad fylld med turister och inte så mycket lokalbefolkning. Vi kunde knappt höra några människor som talade holländska, bara en mängd andra språk.
Vi stötte också på många “coffee shops” och här är Marijuana lagligt så antalet människor på denna drog är ganska hög här. De är dock vänliga så vi bryr oss inte om dem och de är mycket mindre motbjudande och aggressiva än vad många berusade människor kan vara. Det kan vara ganska lustigt när din servitör börjar fnissa när han tar din beställning och kassören i snabbköpet returnerar pengarna du just gav honom för betalning som växel (kunde ha fått det gratis!). Detta hände oss ​​under vår dag i Amsterdam.

För Othilias del så har nu hennes första tand dykt upp och hon springer även, så vårt vad om vilket som kommer först verkar sluta i oavgjort.

Just walking around in Amsterdam was enough for us. It is beautiful here with all the canals.

The day before our visit to Amsterdam, we finally felt a tooth (lower right) in Othilia’s mouth. Later we realized that it was actually two teeth coming out so now both lower front teethes are showing.

We found a windmill on our way into the city center. We had parked 2 kilometers outside of the city center to get a cheap parking (0.5 Euro/hour) while we were exploring Amsterdam.

We had nice weather in the morning, but darker clouds would soon arrive. The weather has been quite cold for being in July and it is not until this week it has become warmer.

Picture of a bicycle shop in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam cars isn’t a problem, we had to pay a lot more attention to people on bicycles. They were quite reckless.

We found a lot of small house boats on the canals. We wouldn’t mind having a place like this!

Another house boat!

House boat!

Amsterdam!

The number of canals intensifies when you reach the city center, as do the number of tourists.

The royal palace of Amsterdam. The palace was originally built for the purpose of being a city hall in the 17th century.

Othilia was more interested in chasing the doves at Dam square.

She barely needs our support any longer. She often runs while only holding one finger or we holding her hand. So we would say it is a tie between Othilia starting to run and getting her first tooth.

More buildings in Amsterdam. We like to just walk around and look at the architecture in a city.

We don’t think we have seen more leaning houses anywhere else we have been. Houses on the same street can lean in different directions.

Westerkerk is the biggest church in Amsterdam and it was built between 1620 and 1631.

The house where Anne Frank and her family was in hiding from the Nazis.

While we parents stood and watched Anne Franks house, Othilia went in full mode of trying to jump into the canal.

Really upset after we denied her the chance of taking a bath.

More boats on canals. This is what we did all day, walking around looking at houses, canals and boats.

And flowers!

House decorated with flowers. We were about to go back to the car and drive back home when we entered one of the more famous districts in Amsterdam.

We accidentally ended up in the red light district. Due to the respect of the sex workers we didn’t want to take any pictures of them. They were selling their services at the front window so we took a picture on the museum that we found there. We did not go in there though.

Harlingen – the fishing and shipping city of Friesland

“You must go to Harlingen!” was the first tip we got from our host family. “it is the most beautiful town in the Netherlands!”, they continued, and we followed their advice and took an afternoon exploring trip to this coastal city.
Our host family was right, it is a beautiful town and it is one of the nearest towns to our small village. We were hoping to find a sports bar that would broadcast the semi-final between Sweden and Netherlands in the women’s soccer world cup.

Harlingen, or in West Frisian, “Harns”, is an old fishing and shipping town that got its city rights in 1234. City rights is an interesting phenomena dating back to 1000 AD in this part of Europe. When feudal landlords got into  financial problems (and usually did), they were often forced to  offer sale privileges to settlements, and these sale privileges comprises the city rights. The feudal lords could often get a cut of money in exchange for the loss of power by doing this, and over time, the landlords had to sell more and more sale privileges. The result was  a shift of power within the counties and some of the towns that got city rights even developed into city-states. You can read more about this on wikipedia.

We strolled around in Harlingen on the look out for a bar that would show the football game, but we also managed to take a few lovely pictures that shows the small town as we saw it. It is lovely here!


“Ni måste åka till Harlingen!” var det första tipset vi fick från vår värdfamilj. “Det är den vackraste staden i Nederländerna!” fortsatte de, så vi följde deras råd och tog en eftermiddagsutforskningstur till denna kuststad.
Vår värdfamilj hade rätt, det är en vacker stad och är en av de städer som ligger närmast från vår lilla by. Vi hoppades även  på att hitta en sportbar som skulle sända semifinalen mellan Sverige och Nederländerna i damernas fotbolls-VM.

Harlingen, eller på västfrisiska, “Harns”, är ett gammalt fiske- och sjöfartsställe som fick sina stadsrättigheter år 1234. Stadsrättigheter är ett intressant fenomen som går tillbaka till 1000-talet i denna del av Europa. När feodalherrar fick ekonomiska problem (och oftast fick de det), var de ofta tvungna att erbjuda handelsrättigheter till olika bosättningar, och dessa handelslicenser består stadsrättigheterna av. Feudalherrarna kunde ofta få en andel av vinsten (vinstskatt) i utbyte mot förlust av makt genom att göra detta, och över tid behövde dessa  feudalherrar ge ut fler och fler stadsrättigheter. Resultatet blev en maktförskjutning inom landet och några av de städer som fick stadsrättigheter utvecklades även till stadstater. Du kan läsa mer om detta system på wikipedia.

Vi promenerade runt i Harlingen och höll utkik efter en bar som skulle visa fotbollsmatchen och vi lyckades också ta några fina bilder som visar hur den lilla staden som vi såg ser ut. Det är vackert här!

Othilia on the porch covering the canal (that she really wanted to take a bath in).

There are a lot of canals in Harlingen and both small and large boats explore Friesland by water by entering through Harlingen.

Othilia gets to ride her father’s shoulders a lot (when she is not tired). The sling is only used nowadays for napping. All other times we as parents need to be on stand by if she wants to be at ground level, to walk herself.

The stone houses are everywhere, not just in Harlingen. But it is amazing how different they can look in just one city. Here is a specially nice stone house.

Canals and stone houses are Netherlands to us now.

Sluices make the car, boat, bicycle and pedestrian traffic co-exist in the Netherlands.

Lots of boats.

Houses.

We ate dinner in Harlingen at a really beautiful restaurant.

Ulrika and Othilia waiting for food.

We found a pub that were in preparations for the game later this evening. We said hello to the owners and promised them to come back for the game. We took a short walk to entertain Othilia and explore Harlingen a bit more.

We let Othilia walk, but she needs to ride Dad’s shoulders when we are close to the canals or else she will fight us for not letting her jump in.

A few random pictures from our walk in Harlingen will be shown now. It is so beautiful here.

We have seen many house boats here in the Netherlands.

It was time for the semi-final between Sweden and Netherlands and we were the only Swedes at the pub. We could only stay the first half an hour of the game before we had to leave to get Othilia home. The Swedish team played well the part that we saw, but we heard that they had collapsed, and in the end the Netherlands stood as winners and a finalist team.

Pingjum – our magical village in the Netherlands

We decided to go to Netherlands, and we knew that we wanted to stay out of the bigger cities, so we ended up in Pingjum in Friesland, not knowing much about either Pingjum or Friesland.

Friesland is one of twelve provinces in the Netherlands and it is the only province that has their own language – West Frisian. Many of the cities have two names, a dutch and a West Frisian name, and I will try to write out both names when I write about the different places we visit.


Vi bestämde oss för att åka till Nederländerna och vi visste att vi ville undvika de större städerna, så det slutade med att vi hamnade i Pingjum i Friesland, utan att veta mycket om vare sig Pingjum eller Friesland.

Friesland är en av tolv provinser i Nederländerna och det är den enda provinsen som har sitt eget språk – västfrisiska. Många av städerna har två namn, ett holländskt och ett västfrisiskt namn och jag kommer att försöka skriva ut båda namnen när jag skriver om de olika platserna vi besöker.

Welcome to Pingjum! This small village of 600 inhabitants contains so much magic translated to scenery, kindness and openness from the locals. We feel right at home at our temporary home for the month. Notice the speed limit sign.

This is where we came from to get to Pingjum and on these kind of roads it is said that you are allowed to travel up to 60 km/h and it is wide enough for one car, we thought we had accidentally got on a road for bicycles.

The house we rent is a small one room with a fully equipped kitchen and it suits us perfectly. We have a lovely garden to our disposal and we are allowed to eat anything from the garden.


Huset vi hyr är ett litet ett rum med fullt utrustat kök och det passar oss perfekt. Vi har en härlig trädgård till vårt förfogande och vi får äta allt från trädgården.

This armchair and the stairs is Othilia’s favorite things in our rented house.

And lamps! Othilia can say a few words and lampa (lamp) is one of them. Other words are mamma (mom) och pappa (dad).

Our garden where we can go out at eat plums, apples, pears, red and black currants, gooseberries, almonds and walnuts. We also have a small herb garden that we are allowed to use.

Pingjum has only a few roads, a pizza place (which is open a few nights of the week), a distillery, a school and a communal garden. The streets generally are quite narrow in the Netherlands and sometimes we think that we are driving on bicycle lanes rather than a two-lane car road.


Pingjum har bara några vägar, en pizzeria (som är öppen några kvällar i veckan), ett destilleri, en skola och en gemensam trädgård. Gatorna är i allmänhet ganska smala i Nederländerna och ibland tror vi att vi kör på cykelbanor istället för en tvåvägs bilväg.

Our main road early in the morning.

This is the house style in all parts of Netherlands we have visited so far – brick houses. They are beautiful and we suspect that the houses are made out of bricks, and not wood, because of the climate here, windy and humid.

A bus that sells clothes stopped here one day. Their customers are likely older people who are not able to go to the cities to buy things to wear.

We have a small playground in the middle of the village where we go and meet locals and their kids.

Othilia looks so grown up in this picture.

There are a lot of animals in our village and cats is a also a favorite.

Agricultural landscape surrounding our village. Animals get grass fed here without any fences, only ditches keeping the animals away from the roads.

The communal garden is lovely and the locals takes care of this place together. The fruits of their labor are sold to the public using only a moneybox. We go here to buy our eggs and we can also visit the hens that lay our eggs.


Den gemensamma trädgården är underbar och lokalbefolkningen tar hand om denna plats tillsammans. Frukten av deras arbete säljs till allmänheten med endast en sparbössa. Vi går hit för att köpa våra ägg och vi kan också besöka de höns som lägger våra ägg.

Here is our only local shop where we can buy eggs and vegetables grown by the locals in the communal garden. It is a popular shop.

they also have a few animals.

Othilia and the communal animals. Say hello to Torsten, the goat. Pontus has named most of the bigger animals. The pigs are called Boris and Doris (not in picture).

And the rabbit is called Alice. Othilia knows how to properly give Alice dandelion leaves and she usually tries to take a bite out of the leaf before handing it to Alice.

Our pizza place is another place in the village where we meet the locals. They are so friendly here and always greets us strangers with a smile and an “oi”.  We have even spoken to some of them and dutch people in general are very good at English. West Frisian/Dutch is not so hard to understand if you know German, English and Swedish.


Vårt pizzaställe är en annan plats där vi träffar lokalbefolkningen. De är så vänliga här och hälsar oss främlingar alltid med ett leende och ett “oi”. Vi har även talat med några av dem och nederländare i allmänhet är mycket bra på engelska. Västfrisiska /nederländska är heller inte så svårt att förstå om du redan kan tyska, engelska och svenska.

We have a pizza place in Pingjum, which is run by a lovely Italian family.

The food and drinks are amazing. This beer is a new favorite.

The pizzas were good, but the most surprising dish (in a positive way) was the razor shells, which we ordered as a starter. Even Othilia liked eating them!

Pontus has started the habit of getting up early in the morning and borrow our host family’s bike to cycle around in the surroundings. Around us there are farmland and other small villages. Just a few kilometers from us lies the coastline and the sea, so we can smell the sea when the wind is right.


Pontus har tagit för vana att gå upp tidigt och låna vår värdfamiljs cykel för att cykla runt i omgivningarna. Runt omkring oss finns jordbruksland och andra små byar. Bara några kilometrar från oss ligger kustlinjen och havet, så vi kan känna havslukten vid rätt vindförhållanden.

The sun is about to rise, 5.30 am.

A walking bridge over the motorway.

The Netherlands i so flat, one can see several kilometers into the country from the coast. The only altitude in our vicinity is this levee that gives protection from the sea.

The coast in Friesland, just a few kilometers from our village. 

It is a good thing for us to be close to water with Othilia’s love for it. We have two sand beaches nearby, one at the coast near Harlingen. Othilia was amazed by the sandy beach, but we couldn’t jump into the water this time.

Unfortunately for Othilia, the water was far out so no bathing for her. Wattenmeer is saltwater ocean which is affected by the tide so we had to go to another place.

We went to our second option instead, a beach in Makkum and here we can swim in a fresh water lake (IJsselmeer). Othilia was happy to finally be allowed to sit in the water.

Rendsburg – on the road to Netherlands and a surprise!

Our journey south took us from Gothenburg (Sweden) all the way through Denmark and Germany and it is a long way to travel with an almost 10 months old. We always make overnight stops when we travel this long and we try to find small places to explore while we do it. This time, we decided to stay one night in Rendsburg, a small city in the Northern part of Germany.


Vår resa söderut tog oss från Göteborg hela vägen genom Danmark och Tyskland.  Det är en lång väg att resa med en nästan 10 månader gammal bebis. Vi gör alltid övernattningar när vi reser så här långt och vi försöker hitta små ställen att utforska medan vi gör det. Den här gången bestämde vi oss för att stanna en natt i Rendsburg, en liten stad i norra delen av Tyskland.

Rendsburg has mechanical animals in the city centre. They look like statues and an art installation, but we think that they are for children as well. Othilia didn’t appreciate it as much as we did. She had only eyes for the water next to the bull.

Before we arrived to Rendsburg, we took the ferry from Gothenburg to Fredrikshavn and the 3-hour ferry was a pleasant surprise filled with things for kids to enjoy. We have taken the Trelleborg-Rostock ferry many times (it takes 6 hours) and we like that ferry, but the Gothenburg-Fredrikshavn ferry is a way better choice if you have children. Do keep in mind, the three hour ferry ride means that you have a longer way traveling by car if you want to go further south.


Innan vi anlände till Rendsburg så tog vi färjan från Göteborg till Fredrikshavn och denna 3-timmars färja var en trevlig överraskning fylld med saker för barn att ha roligt med. Vi har tagit Trelleborg-Rostock färjan många gånger (den tar 6 timmar) och vi gillar den färjan med, men Göteborg-Fredrikshavn färjan är ett bättre alternativ att välja om du har barn. Tänk på att en tre timmars färjetur innebär att du har en längre väg att resa med bil om du vill färdas längre söderut.

Bye bye Sweden for now!

There was an exciting indoor play area for children and Othilia always go straight towards any ball in sight.

Walking up and down stairs is another highlight in the life of Othilia.

The three hour ferry ride went fast and soon we saw land again.

Othilia even waived to Denmark!

Back to Rendsburg. After a long drive from Fredrikshavn (with multiple stops along the way), we still had the whole evening to walk around in the city of our night stop. We have never heard of Rendsburg before so it was with curious minds we started walking around in the city center.
Rendsburg’s foundation date is unclear, but the city was first mentioned in 1199. The city is close to the Danish border so during its existence the town has switched ruler many times going between the houses of Denmark and Germany.  During the German-Danish war in 1864 the town was finally seized by Kingdom of Prussia and Austria and has been a part of Germany since then.


Tillbaka till Rendsburg. Efter en lång bilresa från Fredrikshavn (med flera stopp längs vägen) så hade vi hela kvällen att gå runt i vårt nattstopp. Vi hade aldrig hört talas om Rendsburg innan så det var med nyfikna ögon vi började promenera  i stadens centrum.
Året då Rendsburg grundades är oklart, men staden nämndes först 1199. Staden ligger nära den danska gränsen, så staden har bytt härskare många gånger mellan kungahusen i Danmark och Tyskland. Under det tysk-danska kriget 1864 så togs staden av  Preussen och Österrike. Sedan dess har staden varit en del av Tyskland.

Taking an evening walk in the city center of Rendsburg.

German-style houses.

A small square where we decided to eat our dinner and celebrate several things.

Othilia’s love of water makes her furious when she is not allowed to enter every single water puddle she sees. This was even more apparent when we arrive to the land of the canals, Netherlands. If she could she will jump into every canal that we passes, but more about that in future blog posts.


Othilias kärlek till vatten gör henne riktigt frustrerad när hon inte får bada  i varje pöl som hon ser. Detta blev ännu tydligare när vi kom till kanalernas land, Nederländerna. Om hon kunde så skulle hon hoppa i varje kanal som vi passerar, men mer om det i framtida blogginlägg.

Water which Othilia wasn’t allowed to get in, but she was allowed to touch the water with her hands.

We ended the evening at a restaurant celebrating the start of our “vacation”. The blockchain report Pontus had written was extensive and had taken a lot of time, so now  it was time to be all about family again. We also did something sneaky exactly one year ago from this day and we felt that we wanted to celebrate this anniversary as well.


Vi avslutade kvällen på en restaurang där vi firade starten på vår “semester”. Blockkedjerapporten Pontus har skrivit var omfattande och har tagit mycket tid i anspråk, så nu var det dags att låta tiden handla om familjen igen. Vi gjorde något i smyg exakt ett år sedan från denna dag och vi kände att vi ville fira denna årsdag också.

Our place where we had our celebration! Amazing German food and good beer, a shame that we don’t have any pictures of it!

We got married one year ago in a very sneaky way and the main reason was that we wanted to take the easy way to establish that Pontus would legally be Othilia’s father. There is a harder way if you stay away from getting the state-approved marriage license, but we had to succumb to this when everything else surrounding the birth of our daughter was out of protocol.


Vi gifte oss för ett år sedan på ett mycket smygande sätt och den främsta anledningen var att vi ville ta den enkla vägen för att fastställa att Pontus lagligen skulle vara Othilias pappa. Det finns ett svårare sätt om du vill hålla dig borta från att få det statligt godkända äktenskapscertifikatet, men vi behövde gå in i det här när allt annat som omgav vår dotters födelse var utanför det vanliga protokollet.

180630 – the day we tied the knot and me +30 weeks pregnant. This will not be our official date. We do want a proper wedding, but this has to wait a few years. We were even dressed up for another wedding between our friends, so we were really sneaky with  this, not wanting to steal their big day! (Photo by: Rebecca Englund)

Othilia ten months, Pontus talking Bitcoin and Swedish midsummer

Today Othilia turned ten months and we have had the joy of seeing her turning into a toddler. Her baby days are gone and she has passed some great milestones along the way. We jokingly said that we will see what will come first: she starts walking or get her first tooth. By the looks of it, we think she will start running before any fangs show up. She took her first steps when she was 9.5 months (three steps to be exact) and now it is more of a confidence thing before she will drop holding our fingers and walk by herself.


Idag blev Othilia tio månader och vi har haft glädjen att se henne bli ett småbarn. Hennes bebisdagar är förbi och hon har gått igenom flera  milstolpar längs vägen. Vi sa skämtsamt att vi ska se vad som kommer först: att hon börjar gå eller att hon får sin första tand. Nu tror vi att hon börjar springa innan några gaddar dyker upp. Hon tog sitt första steg när hon var 9,5 månader (tre steg för att vara exakt) och nu är det mer av en självförtroende-sak innan hon kommer att släppa hålla fingrarna och gå själv.

Othilia helping mom pick flowers for her midsummer wreath only supported by a finger.

We have been quite absent, but we have had our reasons. Othilia is taking up most of our time, but for the last half a year Pontus  has been working on a report about blockchain technology from a competition perspective commissioned by the Swedish Competition Authority . He was the sole author for the report and it was published in May this year followed by a conference in Stockholm about digitization, so Pontus having much to do was an understatement.
The report turned out well and his presentation can be viewed below. A presentation about the Swedish e-krona (digital currency issued by the Swedish Central bank) followed Pontus presentation and last part is questions from the audience to all the presenters that day. Worth watching if you can comprehend Swedish or are able to switch on Youtube’s auto-generated translated sub titles.


Vi har varit ganska frånvarande här, men vi har haft våra skäl. Othilia tar upp det mesta av vår tid, men under det senaste halvåret har Pontus arbetat med en rapport om blockkedjeteknik utifrån ett konkurrensperspektiv som beställts av Konkurrensverket. Pontus var den enda författaren till rapporten och den publicerades i maj i år följt av en konferens i Stockholm om digitalisering, så Pontus hade mycket att göra var en underdrift.
Rapporten visade sig bli väldigt bra och hans presentation kan ses nedan. En presentation om den svenska e-kronan (digital valuta utgiven av den svenska centralbanken) följde Pontus presentation och sista delen är frågor från publiken till alla presentatörer den dagen. Värt att titta på om du kan förstå svenska eller kunna sätta på Youtubes automatiskt genererade överssättning.

 

When everything with the report was finished we wanted to spend some time with our families and enjoy Swedish summer a little bit before it was time for us to travel south again.


När allting med rapporten var färdigt så ville vi spendera lite tid med våra familjer och njuta av svenska sommaren lite innan det var dags för oss att resa söderut igen.

Othilia loves the water so she got to try the Swedish lakes from Dalarna up to Umeå, temperatures ranging from 16-18.5 degrees Celsius.

She loves animals so we usually ask pet owners if it is alright for Othilia to engage with their animal.

Children who is a bit older than Othilia is her favorite as well. Here, she is holding hands with Alma – the daughter of Daniel (Pontus’s old classmate from childhood).

The flower Othilia picked in the first picture turned into a midsummer wreath and we were dressed for celebrating Swedish midsummer. The dress Othilia was wearing has been inherited down from mom Ulrika and aunt Rebecca.

Dad was wearing a lovely t-shirt instead.

Midsummer is best spent in Dalarna so that was where we were this year, watching traditional celebrations all weekend long.

And we were not alone 🙂 This is the midsummer maypole in Husby, Dalarna on midsummer day.

We started our travels south again after midsummer and we happened to make a short stop in Linköping for lunch. Linköping is the place in Sweden me and Pontus met almost ten years ago, so it was nostalgic to walk around in trädgårdsföreningen and the city centre with Othilia.

We ate lunch at “Gula huset” (the yellow house) and went back on the road. We will make a longer stop here next time so we can meet up with friends.

 

 

Deciding on a name for our daughter

Our family has finally come out of the bubble that we have been in since the beginning of the year and so much has happened in Othilia’s development which I would like to write down for her to read when she gets older. I will try to do this now and in coming blog posts to save for the future.

First I want to write a few lines about her name Othilia (Svea Margit) Englund and why we chose just that name. Names are difficult and we have had a boy’s name decided for a long time, so when it was clear to us that we were going to welcome a girl to our family, we were completely blank. The middle names were pretty easy to decide as we wanted to take them from our respective families (from our respective paternal grandmothers). The challenge now was to find out what our little girl would be called.


Nu har vår familj kommit ur den bubbla som vi befunnit oss i sedan årsskiftet och det har hänt så mycket i Othilias utveckling som jag skulle vilja skriva ned för henne att läsa när hon blir äldre. Jag ska försöka göra detta nu i kommande inlägg för att spara till framtiden.

Först vill jag skriva några rader om hennes namn Othilia (Svea Margit) Englund och varför vi valde just det. Namn är svårt och vi hade sedan länge ett pojknamn bestämt, så när det stod klart för oss att vi skulle få en flicka så var vi helt blanka. Mellannamnen var rätt så lätta då vi ville ta dem från våra respektive familjer (från våra respektive farmödrar). Utmaningen nu var att komma på vad vår lilla tjej skulle heta.

Othilia on her 6 month’s photo shoot!

Girl names are difficult especially since we have a boy name that we wanted to relate to and we wanted the girl name to match the boy name to both meaning and feeling. We wanted to find an equal girl name for the boy name that fits into our family.

I was mainly looking for older Swedish women’s names, but we didn’t exclude newer names, as well as international names, because we wanted something that can be pronounced in the English-speaking part of the world. Pontus and I also had somewhat different opinions about what kind of names we thought was pretty. When it was only a few weeks left until labour, we had managed to agree on six names: Othilia, Liv, Livia, Olivia, Smilla and Astrid, where Othilia finally, for various reasons, became our first choice just a few days before the birth. We first wanted to see if our little girl suited to be called Othilia before we finally decided on a name and when she arrived it was obvious from the first moment, it was an Othilia who had come to us.


Flicknamn är svårt speciellt då vi har ett pojknamn som vi ville förhålla oss till och jag ville att flicknamnet skulle matcha pojknamnet både till betydelse och känsla. Vi ville hitta ett jämbördigt flicknamn till pojknamnet som passar in i vår familj.

Jag letade främst bland äldre svenska kvinnonamn, men uteslöt ej heller nyare namn, samt internationella namn, då vi ville ha något som går att uttala i den anglosaxiska delen av världen. Sedan hade Pontus och jag lite skilda åsikter om vad för sorts namn vi tyckte var fina. När det bara var någon vecka kvar till förlossningen så hade vi lyckats komma överens om sex stycken namn: Othilia, Liv, Livia, Olivia, Smilla och Astrid, där Othilia av olika anledningar tillslut blev vårt förstahandsval några dagar innan förlossningen. Vi ville först se om vår lilla flicka passade att heta Othilia innan vi slutgiltigt bestämde oss och när hon väl tittade ut så var det självklart, det var en Othilia som hade kommit till oss.

Othilia on her 6 month’s photo shoot!

The reason why we decided on Othilia, except for that we think it is a really lovely name and that it fits the boy name we like, is the meaning of the name.
Othilia comes from the Old High German name Odila, whose origin is derived from several women’s names that begin with Ot-, which has the meaning property and wealth which suits our family very well.


Anledningen till att det blev Othilia, förutom att vi tycker att det är ett jättefint namn och att det passar till pojknamnet, är betydelsen.
Othilia kommer från det fornhögtyska namnet Odila, vars ursprung härleds till flera kvinnonamn som börjar på Ot-, där förleden har betydelsen “egendom”, “rikedom” och vilket passar vår värdegrund väldigt bra.

Othilia on her 6 month’s photo shoot!

Othilia can be spelled in three different ways: Othilia, Ottilia and Otilia. First, we wanted Othilia to be a name without a lot of frills, hence our first choice was the spelling Otilia, but we chose to put in a silent h (in Swedish) in the name when we noticed that our English-speaking friends and acquaintances pronounced Othilia with a clear h when we told about our name choices. It was important for us that it would be quite easy to pronounce the name in English, Ulrika (often becomes “Eureka”) and Pontus (often becomes “Pho-n-thuss”) are more difficult to pronounce for a lot of people in the world.

Othilia and its spelling variants are an old Germanic name so even though it is unusual, both Swedes, British and Czechs believe that this name comes from their respective region. Othilia has, however, occurred in Sweden since the mid-17th century, but became quite popular in the 19th century and in the early 1900s, so I would also say that Othilia is an old Swedish name.


Othilia kan stavas på tre olika sätt: Othilia, Ottilia och Otilia. Först ville vi att Othilia skulle vara ett namn utan en massa krusiduller, därav var vårt förstaval stavningen Otilia, men vi valde tillslut att sätta in ett tyst h (på svenska) i namnet då vi märkte att våra engelsktalande vänner och bekanta uttalade Othilia med ett tydligt h när vi berättade om våra namnval. Det var viktigt för oss att det skulle vara hyfsat lätt att uttala namnet på engelska, Ulrika (blir ofta “Eureka”) och Pontus (blir ofta “Pho-n-thuss”) är betydligt svårare för den större delen av världen att uttala.

Othilia och dess stavningsvarianter är ett gammalt germanskt namn så även om det är ovanligt så verkar både svenskar, britter och tjecker tro att det namnet kommer från deras respektive region. Othilia har dock förekommit i Sverige sedan mitten av 1600-talet, men blev hyfsat populärt på 1800-talet och i början av 1900-talet, så enligt mig så är Othilia ett gammalt svenskt namn.    

Othilia on her 6 month’s photo shoot!

The surname is another story that also includes Czech culture and laws, because it was the country we chose to welcome our daughter in.


Efternamnet får bli en annan historia som även inbegriper tjeckisk kultur och lagar eftersom det var landet som vi valde att välkomna vår dotter i.

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