Day 1: Lidingö-Visby
We get up fresh and coordinated to set off well in advance. We had our hopes high to not have to leave the house with rain gear on and that failed miserably. We pack up the last items, mostly Sebastian´s bedding and chosen toys, as well as our toiletries and the cooler. Then, we head downstairs and convinced Sebastian to sit still in the Cougar (our Thule bike trailer) and let himself strap in before leaving under the pouring rain. Everybody happy but Frico, who seldomly agrees with setting a foot outdoors under the rain, particularly if he has to be still in his bike basket. To make him spend some energy, we take him running for the first km or so, but his unimpressed self made sure we knew that was not appreciated either, so we accommodated him on board.
After the Lidingö bridge to Ropsten, the rain stops letting us dry out for a bit while getting to Stockholm Södra, the best place to get to the Pendeltåg by bike. A quick parenthesis: if you want to put your bikes on trains in Sweden, it is a good idea to check for the rules as some stations do not allow bikes, or only allow folding bikes. The not-so-fun part is that you then have to fold your bike in front of the entry of the pendeltåg station, which can be like 1km away from your train. Unless you have a brompton or you are going away from the day only, there are very slim chances you can get to close your bike and walk away from the pendeltåg entry without having the sweatiest minutes of your life past you and a bag balancing on top of your helmet. Another reason for taking the train in Stockholm Södra, with added points because it is a small station. Also, timing is key. We took the train at 9 am on a Saturday, when nobody is around. We shall see how fun it will be to get off the train on a Thursday afternoon :)
The train ride goes well, even if the train compartment for bikes is not dog-friendly. We must stay there though, and keep Frico with us. We guess not so many people goes around with bikes and dogs (let alone bikes, kids and dogs: we should get a prize!).
The boat terminal is easy to find and super close to the train station. We arrive very early and have a hard time keeping Sebastian in his Cougar – lots of cars around, some motorbike and some people smoking are not ideal place for a toddler to roam around. When we move, Sebastian likes to see the huge boat coming in and the experience is much better for us all.
The boat ride is not that good, as we are in the pet compartment with very little windows and it feels as if we should have paid half price instead of an additional fee for the dog. Yet, we all get to see much of the boat by walking around with Sebastian, who tries his best to skip the nap. Jay persistency wins, and Sebastian gets a 1h nap while Jay and I enjoy a conversation and a Swedish lesson.
We arrive to Visby in the early afternoon, ride out of the boat close to last, and easily find our hotel, which is good enough (not worth the 2000 sek spent, but that is another story).
Checking in the hotel takes us about 40 minutes. No, there is no cue, and the hotel receptionist is lovely. There is an elevator, but it is a bit small for our gear, so only Jay and his crafty self can fit in the Cougar (somehow the bikes are easier to fit). Of course we need 3 elevator trips to move stuff to the proper floor, and by “we” I mean Jay, as I am busy running around to get Sebastian to not harm himself and Frico to not run away.
Visby is a cool old town, and we wished we could see more of it. We could if we have no puppies, but then this would be a relaxing holiday, and why would we want that…
In the almost 30 min that Sebastian managed to stay sitting we had an American style barbecue dinner that was delicious. The place is called “Bad wolf”and is run by a Swede who lived 20 years in the US. The Brisquet was very good and service was full of kindness. Beer choices are also fun.
By the end of dinner we had the dog almost run over a person who was passing by with their huge rotweiler (why, Frico?!), and Sebastian got the closest ever to get run over by a car (only us parents got scared, but he really doesn´t listen and runs away from you so quickly that I almost **** my pants).
We decide we had enough and go back to the hotel room. Sebastian is confused by the new place but falls asleep rather easily, and Frico finally eats some food and enjoys the comfort of a room full of love.
At 22h even I give up working and go to bed.