Author: Yellow Duckie
I never regret making the decision to cycle in Djurgården. Although this is only the second I've done it, it never disappoint me. This island is tourists infested, both by local and foreign tourists. A popular place for sun seekers and fun lover as this island holds many treasures that will satisfies almost everyone. Ranging from a wide range of Museums to choose from, Skasen: a park which displays the life and culture of the Swedes, Grona Lund: the amusement park, Theatre and loads of wonderful parks.

As always, the best part to begin your cycling adventure is through the trail to your left as you approach Djurgården from the Djurgårds bron (bridge). It will lead you straight to a nature path, revealing the beauty of nature even at the entrance of the gate.

Sign to look out for while cycling some paths are off limits to bicycle but I always get ready my "stupid tourist" card just in case, as these off beaten paths are usually extremely scenic and enticing.

Observation Decks are available for you to observe the wildlife found in the park.

Jetties are all over this island. Of course their sole purpose is for docking of the boats and loading of passengers but the appearance of these jetties edifies the scenery of this place.
One of the greatest pleasure of venturing deep into this island is that, now matter how far deep in you think you are, you will bound to come across a cozy kafe that has been set up to welcome hungry travellers.
Waffle with cream and cloudberry
As you cycle through the path, you will come across residential houses which I strongly believe is occupied. Vegetables plantations and flower beds can easily be spotted in this place.
I believe I've only visit perhaos only 30% of the entire place. There is another 70% which I have yet to discover and needless to say, there will certainly be another cycling trip here.
Author: Yellow Duckie
June...a month that most has anticipated after a long dark cold winter. However, for the past week, dark clouds has seems to find it's way to engulf the sun, hiding it's glory from reaching the ground. Experiencing rain in Sweden is quite different compare to in Malaysia. In Sweden, even when it rains, it doesn't pour. You won't get soaking wet and I guess the air is so dry that you wont stay wet for a long time. Plus, thunder and lighting is hardly seen here, in fact I have not hear or seen it at all.

Just when I thought I can start wearing blouses that expose my shoulders, i was wrong. Although the temperature has gone down significantly compare to a month ago but the wind that blows is chilly. Chilly enough to have you wrap your jacket around you to keep those goose bumps down.

I was told that if I am lucky enough, the temperature shall hit 25 degree celcius (and stay for couple of days) and I shall see more of the sun (that, it what the Swedes to call a Good Summer) . Thus far, it has only been one day in Stockholm that hit 25, it's almost like a hole-in-one experience, it happens but rarely. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
Author: Yellow Duckie
There are two major (the MAJOR) celebrations in Sweden, Midsummer and Lucia. I was excited to be able to see at least one of the major events while I am here in Stockholm. The celebration is usually celebrated on Midsummer Eve, where the may May Pole is raise, folks dancing around the may pole, food and heavy drinking (as I was told). Misdummer is marked as the longest day of the year. The darkness of winter has definitely drive the swedes in marking this as one of the biggest holiday in their calendar.

There is no better place to catch the Midsummer Celebration than in Skansen. The only downside of this is that you'll have to pay for the entrance fee but there are alot to venture around in the Skansen apart from the Midsummer celebration.

One of a friendly Swedish in the bar told me that Midsummer is a Fertility celebration, it certainly did raised my eyebrows but my friend quickly took over the role of explaining to me a little tradition for the little girls. On that day, Midsummer eve, that is, little girls who would like to see the face of the man whom they will end up marrying will have to do the following: Pick seven different flowers and each time when the flower is picked, she'll have to jump over the fence. After picking the final flower, the seventh that is, she cannot talk to anyone. The flowers will then have to be kept under the pillow which she will sleep on and voila, she shall see the face of her prince charming in her dream that night. Quite a lot of work I admit. That's how the friendly dude in the bar linked that to a fertility celebration, after all, he said that most people get drunk and get laid that night. Truth is, as I have cross checked with Wikipedia, it is a celebration for fertility.

Wrath of flowers & leaves is worn on the head and in Skansen, they were teaching us how to do one for ourselves. I jumped into the fun and make one for myself. The leaves that they use smells so good but I failed to find out what plant is that.

The maypole is raised and both adults and young children dressed in traditional clothes will dance around the poles to the traditional music. Of course, before the maypole is raised, they will decorate the pole with flowers and greens. Pickled herrings are usually enjoyed during the celebration.

Author: Yellow Duckie
As part of my stay in Sweden, generally, I tried as much I can to live almost like a swede. Of course, to begin, I try to eat what the swedes eat. Thanks for the various people around me who open my taste bud to the flavour of the swedes. Here are the ingredients or food I've tried.


This was an excellent recommendation from Kerstin. Indeed this is a good fish to be eaten and ask any swedes, they'll tell you the same.

Röding: Cooked a per recommended ~ Pan fried with Butter, served with Creme Fraiche stir with White Fist Roe , boiled potatoes and vegetables.

This Röding is slowly cooked in the smoke room for at least 6 hours. Surprisingly, it taste quite good as you can still taste the fish and the meat is definitely not rotten although the fish looks decay.

Reindeer Meat

Reindeer stew served with lingon berry jem and mash potato


Usually comes in the form of jam. This is delicious, eaten both with meat or served on your desserts


This is so Swedish, Cinnamon roll with sugar. The first I tried, it was hard as rock, I have learn to love this especially with a cupof tea. The best Kanelbulle I've tried are those in the Skansen Bakery, those there are heavenly soft.


I learn to make my own jam! Cook these babies in Sugar and pectin. You'll get your own home made Strawbarry jam!

Souvas and fried Reindeer Meat

Fried Reindeer meat served with mash potato , creme fraiche with cloudberry wrapped in flat bread.

Fresh Onion

This fresh white Onion is so sweet! I have not seen a fresh onion before.

Swedish Cake

This typical green -layered cake found in Sweden. It's sweet (not tooth-aching sweet) and chewy. I must admit, it complements the taste of the cake very well.

Pear Cider

I wouldn't say this is typical swedish but I tried it here so it will go into my list. Nice, sparkling cider with a tint of pear taste. Nice and refershing.
Author: Yellow Duckie
Communism and the Palace of the Tsars was all I know of St Petersburg or as a matter of fact, of Russia. Being pre-warned by various travellers about the gloom that is writen all over the Russians' face, I pre-empted myself not be greeted with warm smiles. After all, I came from Riga, so I can expect something like Riga. I was totally wrong (now I seriously think Riga is a far lot better, at least the people are friendlier).

As much as I would like to talk something good about my visit to St Petersburg, I find it hard to recall apart from the granduer of The Hermitage. I blame it to the weather. The only time we saw the sun was the first half of our first day. The gloomy sky above our head is reflected in the attitude of the people here.

Vladimir, our airport transfer driver, happened to be the first easy going Russian I have met during my entire trip to St Petersburg. Along the way to our apartment, I can't help but to feel that this town feels like being in Vietnam...big square with large statues of Clothed Human ( in this case it was Lenin whom we saw instead of Ho Chin Minh) either in the entrance of the square or right in the middle.

An uneasy feeling settled upon me when we arrived at the apartment. The entrance to the apartmet was really old. The entire apartment reminds of those you've seen in the classic movies. The stair case leading to our apartment was so old that I felt as though I have traveled back in time. Standing in front of the leather door (yes, a leather dooe), Vladimir draws out a bunch of keys which I have only seen in the museum! I was so glad that the interior of the apartment was nothing like the ancient case which it is in.

The main street or the posh street of St Petersburg, Nevsky Prospekt, is busy with tonnes of people trampling on it. Those that are rushing to work and those that are eager to make their way to visit the much boasted landmark of St Pertersburg. A network of wires hangs aboves the street, catering for the electric busses gives the city a messy look. However, the buildings around it is really a head-turner. The Russian pays great details in designing the outlook of their buildings. I must say it is really impressive. It is however obvious that the French and Italy has alot of influence on the artwork in Russia. These artistic buildings arelurking at every corner waiting to be discover, walk around, you'll see them.

If is was not because for the rich treasure left behind with its rich history, I would not choose to visit this place at all. Clearly this place is not that ready to embrace a bunch of independent travellers as English signboards and menu is scarce.

I am not quite sure why the Russian behave so cold. Perhaps it's the history of the dictatorship of their past leaders that has shaped a society that finds it hard to express their emotions. I find it hard to comprehend. Buying a pair of socks over the counter may seems like you are asking for a human kidney. Service with a smile is definitely not preached here. The funniest incident, which we think was funny after the event, was at the restaurant. Located on the main street, this is clearly to be a tourist-friendly restaurant, instead, it took me some silly stunts before I could get a table. Walking into the restaurant, we were completely ignored by the waiters so I took the liberty to break the ice and walk up to one. Before I could say anything, i was left alone, standing completely like an idiot. Then I decided to tap the arms of one of the waitress and to my surprise, that was ignored too! We did eventually get a table. This restaurant was recommended to us by one of the local ( the second friendly Russian we met).

Russian food, what can I say about Russian food as the only Russian food that we have possibly tried is the blini, the famous pan cake, which looks alot like crepe and is served wrapped around savoury meat or fruits. I suspect this is not a Russian food but I'd considered it one. Apart from that, what we ate for dinner tasted pretty much like a normal western food ( grill meat with potatoes). The following night, being so tired of wandering around with not much help from anyone we decided to settled down with something familiar, McDonalds.


Doing some justice to St P, it is in fact one of the city which you should have in your list of countries you intend to visit. Perhaps is it just me and the gloomy weather that makes me feels so un-adventurous. The Hermitage and the Church of Spill Blood was the only reason I was here.

The Hermitage was extremely impressive that I have to admit, it is indeed like nothing I've seen. I felt disgusted at myself for marveling at the poverty of the people in the past as the richness of this palace reflects the poverty the people then! However, this is definitely not to be missed. Buy your ticket online to save yourself from the ever ending line.

Enter the Church of Spill Blood and be impressed by the Mosaic work(covers the entire interior) in the interior of the church which depicts the story of the life of Jesus. The exterior of this church is so much publiscised that I believe I do not have to elaborate further.

Shopping in Russia is not cheap, however, due to the rain, we spent most of our time inside Gostinyy Dvor, the longest shopping mall I've ever been too! Word of advice is that if you are intersted in getting the Matryoshka Doll, get it here at Gostinyy Dvor (this is not a famous tourist shop, however walking along the Nevksy toward the Hermitage, you can't miss this huge building complex) The prices here are not that far off from the vendors across the street from the Church of Spill Bloob but I can assure you that at least your Matryoshka Doll will not changes its look one from other and the quality is definetly better. Also, buying ice cream or drinks here is much cheaper than getting it outside from the street vendor, a peculair fact indeed.

After 3 days, I was so glad to be heading home where water does not smell like steel and to a land where people treat each other with a smile. I have to admit that I was slightly shocked when the bus driver greeted us friendly when we board the bus in Stockholm, after 3 days in Russia, I almost forgot how to smile.
Author: Yellow Duckie
If it's not because there is no cheaper way to travel to St Petersburg than taking Ryan air to Riga and head off to St Petersburg with Air Baltic from Riga, I would have missed this ex-Soviet Union country. Hardly heard much of it's existence (Due to my ignorance), I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
Armed with lonely planet under our belts, we are pretty sure that we will get along find. Taking the cheapest mode (the great PUBLIC Transport) of getting from the Airport to City town, we were excited to have saved a great deal by paying only 0.40 Lats ( equivalent to about 2.90 MYR) per person in comparison to 5 Lats per pax! Just walk across to the car park of the airport and catch bus 22.
The bus ride itself reveals alot about the city hidden sight: the area where real human live. I can't help but to notice the air of abandonment. All the building seems old, abandoned and restoration is probably not in the city council TTD (Things To Do) List. Public transportation in Riga, isn't all that pleasant as it appears dirty and usually carries a fowl urine smell.
The place we choose to stay is an excellent hostel which has a mixture of private room and dorm room at reasonable prices. Location is not exactly in town but it's not that far off either. For the price we paid 57 Euro per night for 3, you will be rewarded with clean room, bathrooom and an excellent breakfast (which is included in the room rate) in a 5-star communal breakfast room. I have no complains.

After learning that the Latvians only gain their independence from the Russia in 1991, it explains alot about the sense of abandonment I felt about this place. Being part of the EU, it sure did alot in improving the life of the Latvian. The Russian influence however did not leave the country as more than half of the population are Russian. However, the people are far more cheerful than the Russian, that I am sure.
What has this town got to offer?
1. Beautiful park along the Pilsetas Kanal
( A canal that run across the city center dividing the new and the old Town)

2. The Old town
Walk along the cobbled stone pathways and crosses off the historical buildings in your map along the way.
Amber: Famous sourvenirs sold in Latvia

Live street performance

My Favourite Building: The Black House

3. Art Nouveau
Plaster of human face with exxagerated facial expression - that's what I would call it. Although this art is originally from France, it is much more expressed here in Latvia than anywhere else. The buildings here reminds me alot of those in Stockholm, however it is quite obvious that the Latvians takes more effort in beautifying compared to the Swedes. It puts the plan colourful black-roofed buildings in Stockholm to shame.

4. Dinner at Lido
Lido is a chain store like Marche. There is a buffet display of food available and you pay for what you take. We were advised to try to one at Atputas Center ( the Amusement park). With ample of time in our hand we decided to look for it and glad that we actually did. A tram ride of 15 mins from the Central Market will take you to the entrance of the Atputas Center. Upon arrival. we thought we went to the wrong place, abandon buildings or seems to be abandoned, around us until we saw the fairly huge sign that point us to where the amusement park. It's like a paradise hidden behind the slump! Dinner was in fact, enjoyable and delicious!

Try the purplish Latvian cold soup (Beet root, milk, Dill). It;s actually quite good.

5. Central Market
A visit to the Central Market is NOT to be missed. Here you will get a good feel of how the local live and be swept of by the colours in this market! Simply amazing. The size of the market itself is something to behold. It is I believe one of the biggest market in Europe. Visiting the central market makes you want to own a kitchen in Riga so that you could buy the fresh meat and vegetable in preparation for a Feast! The market is comfortable to shop in and it is really clean!

Things to check out while in Riga:
~The Latvian Chocolate, Laima. Personally , I still prefer my favourite Lindt as the chocolate here lacks of milk but hey, when you are in town, try out what the country boast of!
~ Pelmeni: Russian Dumpling, you can get a huge bowl for a reasonable price.
~Stockmann: Riga Local supermarket. The one in City Center ( where Bus 22 drops you on your journey from Airport) has got a HUGE selection of cooked meals and not to mention, delicious too. We got 6 pieces of roast chickens and 10 pieces of potatoes costed us only about 5 Lats! It served as an excellent dinner for 3 of us. $$$ savings :)

Author: Yellow Duckie
Getting all hype up about celebrating Sweden National day (6th June), we made our way to the city hoping to catch a glimpse of the patriotism spirit of the nation. Half expecting to see the town filled with swamps of human, I was surprised to see that at 10 am, the streets were still quite empty. Even when I pass Ralambshovparken at 10 am, I was surprised to see that some ( one or two) tents were set up but I figured that there are alot more to be done for this afternoon's carnival.
I must say that the Swedes are really taking it slow, I supposed with the long daylight, they could strecth the program to start a little later. I was aware that for many, this is just another great holiday to sleep in and relax. Besides the national holiday is declared a day off for the swede only couple of years back.
To our delight, the King's Palace was open to the public for free ( saves us each 130 Sek). To top it up, the weather was superb! Cloudless clear blue sky. The started our journey at the courtyard of the palace, watching the parade and bands marching across. The lady standing next to us was proudly pointing out her son who was one of the drummer in the band.

The crowd were slowly building up and by noon, there were just people EVERYWHERE. Swamps of people just everwhere! This is the first time I have seen such a huge crowd in Sweden, I was a little overwhlem.
Programs around the city was scheduled to celebrate this big day.

What I enjoyed most is actually the display of the collection of the Royal cars that was used by the Royals since God know when... indeed a classic!

My major highlight of the day was to catch the release of the balloon at Skeppsbron . To my dismay, I felt that they should have arrange for more balloons to be released as the effect was not that overwhelming as I have anticipated.

In conjunction with the National day celebration, a Swedish Food Festival was set up at Kungstragården and I was pretty excited to check that place out. To our dismay, not only it was over crowded, the food portion was relatively small compared to it's usual size so we decided to drop the idea of checking out the swedish food there. In fact, all i could remember seeing are human, loads of them that you could barely tell where the stores are located and definitely having a hard time looking for the meny ( menu). We ended up in Hotorget enjoying a classic Texas burger.
Author: Yellow Duckie
Two weekends ago, I was jumping up and down, stretching my my hands towards heaven hoping to touch a little bit of His Presence. It was indeed amazing. Of Course, the event itself was superb but what really open up my eyes is to witness is that the fire has indeed started in this city where coldness is not unfamiliar to many.

The Passion was making their way for their world tour and Stockholm was their second destination.It was held in Globen, if it was not for this I would never know this part of Stockholm exist! To know that almost 2000 people were praying for us that night from Kiev, Russia, I felt really blessed to be there.

Although it was my hunger that drive me there, I must admit, the real joy of being there is to see that the fire has indeed started in the scandinavian. I am amazed and I do hope it will continue to spread.
What excites me even more was that, one of their destination is actually Kampala, Uganda :)... My first African Encounter and thus far my best.
Author: Yellow Duckie
I had the opportunity to visit Kampala again. This time I had no fever and I landed at Entebe (Uganda International Airport) in the day light. Indeed, the landing was incredible, it was as though the plane was landing onto the water of Lake Victoria. The waking sun was beaming it's light through the fog that was resting above the field casting shadow on the trees. The scene was incredibly serene and breath-taking. I was captivated. For the first time, I see one of the African Nation in real, not through the dummy box.

I was glad that this time, I had some "locals" (other expats whom I know) to bring me around and lunch time no longer last 2 hours as it did the last time. One of the best discovery was the African Coffee, being a non coffee drinker, I was totally shocked that the Cappucino was excellent. It was indeed the best I have tasted, not even those in Italy could beat it! It was smooth, non bitter and the aroma was purgent in a positive manner.

Having the luxury of being invited to their home for dinner, I discovered that seafood is indeed abundant here and they come in XL size. It was fresh and taste really good even when it's just boiled without seasoning.

Great weather, great food, great coffee and great company...the only lacking remedy to the heavy workload there was a great spa.