Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Few Leisurely Hours in Helsingborg, Sweden

The brief time we spent in Helsingborg in southwest Sweden is one of my favorite moments from our Scandinavia trip, in part because it was completely unplanned. It reminded me of why this experience living abroad is so special: Slow down, Mom. No need to rush. Put down the guidebook. Take the moments of travel and memory-making as they come.

We had a 4-hour drive in total that day, between Copenhagen and Gothenburg, Sweden, our intended stopping point for the night. We decided that morning to just play it by ear. If the boys were doing well, we'd keep driving. If they needed a pitstop, we'd just figure it out along the way. (Side note: This could just as easily have turned into a post about how a lack of planning can lead to road trip disaster. I'm counting my blessings on this one!)

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About an hour into the ride, Little Arrow needed a diaper change and we were getting a bit hungry. So we decided to stop in Helsingborg, a beautiful coastal port town. And what we had planned to be a quick restroom/food stop became a bit of a sightseeing adventure.

First, we stopped in a big square to play. Kids will climb on anything after they've been in the car for awhile. It looked like a collapsed Jenga tower to me!

Then we wandered further into the city centre. Mostly we just wanted to get a closer look at the looming medieval tower.

Then Big Arrow asked if we could go up to the tower. Sure enough, we spotted an elevator, which meant we could bring the stroller up instead of leaving it unattended.

The view from above was amazing. Across the Oresund between the Baltic and North Seas, you can see Helsingor, Denmark (not to be confused with Helsingborg. Goodness, that's a lot of Helsings!)

While the boys chased each other around the grounds, I snuck off for a few minutes to read about the history of this tower. It dates back to 1300. (1300??? I wonder how long I need to live in Europe before dates like that stop surprising me.) Seems as though Denmark and Sweden took turns invading each other over the years. This tower, along with Helsingor's equally as imposing castle across the water, were key points of protection for their respective countries.

I turned around and realized I had been followed. While their knowledge of medieval history and Viking wars might be limited, little boys can't resist going up and down stairs!

Such wonderful memories made on our journey through Sweden. And we did eventually find a restroom and get some lunch before we were on the road again!

This post is a part of Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom.