Mats G. on tour 99
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 14:48:21 PDT
Subject: Dallas and back home
So, where did we leave you guys last time? Tuscon, Arizona if I remember it
correctly. Tuscon seemed like a really nice city, too bad that our travel
plans didn't allow us to spend more time there. What we did have the time to
see around Tuscon was the Saguaro National Park. It is a almost unreal area
with majestic Saguaro cacti. The whole experience was indeed surreal. The
warning signs of Rattlesnakes and the exctreme heat stopped us from doing
any longer hikes though. Via a beautiful Spanish missionhouse the gigantic
freeway took us towards the Chiricauha National Monument, basically a area
interesting for its different geology. Gigantic rock formations in totally
different shapes made our imagination run wild about what millions of years
of erosion actually had formed. We spent the night sleeping in our driveaway
car in the preserved area, the rattlesnake warnings made us a bit cautious
of where we went after dark though...
The next day was mostly spent in the extremely flat and dry areas of
southeast New Mecxico. Definitely a transport day but still interesting to
see this kind of nature as well. The small town Las Cruces with its many
cheap motels was our host for the night.
The last planned stop on our trip towards Fort Worth, TX was the White Sands
National Monument. This is a area in the middle of a very dry desert-like
part of New Mexico. The protected area itself consists of huge white sand
dunes. The color of the sand is so white that you easily can mistake the
sand for snow on the pictures we took. The fact that you were allowed to
play in some of the dunes made us at least 10 years younger. To save some
money we decided to drive a bit from the monument into a forest where we
easier could find a nice spot for camping. The idea was indeed good but we
didn't really think of the high elevation. Over 9000 feet (3000 meter) makes
it pretty cold during the night. Lame attempts to isolate the car from the
inside was to say the least unsucessful. Well, but it was cheap...
On the last few days on our way to Fort Worth we basically only saw three
things. Plains, straight roads and oil pumps. Did I say that we crossed the
Texas border? Fort Worth was a quite positive surprise though. The mixture
of skyscrapes and old fashioned houses was unusual for American cities and
interesting. But as always we are on our way somewhere. This time to Austin
(Texas capital) to meet up with Mats' Broken Face partner, Lee. I am not
gonna tell you everything that we did, music might be a bit boring to read
about for a few hours. But what I can tell you is that a pleasant mix of
live shows, Shiners, movies, bats and nice company certainly made us happy.
The fact that Austin is a very green city with excellent record stores
didn't hurt either.
After five days we left relatively small Austin for gigantic and also
extremely spread out Houston. One of Mats contacts through the Broken Face
(thanks Kurt and Martha!) made our economy a bit better by letting us stay
for free. As in Austin much of our activities involved music in one way or
the other. Quite a few really good live shows of both local acts as well as
touring bands came through Houston during our time there. Except from the
music another highlight was the food. Houston is definitely a melting pot
with lots of different nationalities which among other thing result in
hundreds of really good restaurants. But what definitely struck us the most
was Texans hospitailty and generousity. Maybe we just came across the right
people or something but all the guys we met in Austin and Houston were truly
great. We hope to see you in Sweden one day so we can pay back of your
Right now we're in Dallas which still is in a bit of a rush after the
Stanley Cup victory. Flying out from Texas tomorrow for New York and then
back home to Stockholm, where we'll land on Midsummer night. Talk to you all
in reality sometime soon. Take Care!
Hugs from Mats and Anna
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 22:18:32 PDT
Subject: Zig Zag (not the Hooters album...)
There was once a pair of ramblers who couldn't decide whether to go east or west, north or south... so
they decided to do all!
Hope you all are doing fine and take care of the sunshine. We'll get enough of it soon I guess. Read on
and you'll see why.
After leaving Boise, which is too small to be called a city but still too big to be called a town, where
we had a chance to play frisbee golf with a couple of guys we set the compass northbound. Taking the bus
through a magnificent valley with foresty slopes and bare canyons we ended up in a small town called
Riggins in Idaho. The wish was to rent a car for a day, but things don't really work out as planned every
time. The place was simply to small for such a business. The awsome scenery, weather and a cool rafting
trip on the largest freeflowing river in the US made our day though. Were quite sad to leave wonderful
Riggins with only five hundred inhabitants but I guess we had to continue. There are more things to
explore! Came to unintresting Spokane (Washington) via bus and had to kill 6 hours there before our train
westbound towards Portland, Oregeon was leaving. That was when we met the crazy security gurad John who
apperantly had a big crush for Scandinavia. I can tell you that his security duties that night was
definitely passed aside. Instead he spent four hours sitting on the central station floor discussing
litterature with us. An amazing guy that we won't forget!
Continued to the small town Bingen near Portland in Oregon to relax and do some hilkes and biking. Because
of one simple reason we only did the first. You needed a car to do the other stuff. Was still kind of nice
to relax and enjoy the local street dance though. This windsurfing Mecka was celebrating or perhaps
praying for good winds.
Boarding the train again...for Portland which we didn't see that thouroughly which we kind of regret. From
what we saw it seemed like an interesting and very much alive city. Instead of staying there overnight we
spent another 24 hours on the train (my god, these trains are slow!) to get to San Francisco. S.F. was
pretty much as we wished: a very alive city with lots of nice victorian houses, constant slopes, cable
cars and some really neat record stores. We kind of did S.F. the budget way. Went around the city with our
public transport travel pass and saw the huge differences that categorizes different parts of the city. It
might be a exaggeration to say that S.F. is a city to love but definitely a city to like!
After beeing stationed for three days in S.F. we left westbound with the train. It took us through
completely different landsacpe starting with unintresting farmlands, continuing with nice alpine terrain
not much unlike the Swedish likewise before we finally hit the Nevada desert. A strong impresion to see
the sunset in the desert but it was still nice that we slept though a great part of it...
27 hours later we arrived in our destination, Glenwood Springs (Colorado) which we basivcally had chosen
because it seemed like a nice place to do some mountainbiking and it also has a cheap hostel. It didn't
take many seconds at the hostel to realize that it without no doubt is the best hostel in the US so far.
Really a great atmosphere with nice and to say the least friendly people. Mats rented a bike and did some
very strenous bike trails with magnificent views and great downhill driving. I won't talk about the
uphills becuase they were indeed not funny... Even though we enjoyed the place we felt like we had to move
on after two days in this little mountain town. Took the train eastbound which finally took us to Denver
after some severe delays. Thought about spending the day in Denver but decided to go south with the bus
instead. We usually don't enjoy riding the bus that much but it was nice to as a change be on time instead
of three hours after the schedule. The bus went along the edge of the Rocky Mountains which made a
beautiful scenery for the trip to Raton (New Mexico) where we once again stepped on the train. We sure
know the snack bar by heart now! The trip continued through indian lands which was made even more
interesting by the native American that talked about the local sights and the indian traditions in the
area. Really nice! Reached Flagstaff for the second time on this trip but only spent the night there. We
had planned to stay one more day but our efforts to have a driveaway car from Phoenix payed off a little
quicker then we thought. With the result that we from today are "happy owners" of a nice car. The whole
thing with a driveaway car is that you drive it from a to b in a certain time and the only thing you have
to pay for it is the gas. That sure is a nice deal, isn't it? So, right now we are heading from Phoenix to
Dallas (Texas) in six days time. Have some extra miles for the travel so we still have the opportunity to
see some sights. Landed for the night in Tuscon, Arizona.
Hugs from Mats and Anna
P.S. 1: We never bought that tent D.S.
P.S. 2: Beware Texans, we are on our way! D.S.
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 12:15:05 PDT
Subject: Boise, Idaho
It's been quite some time since we wrote last time which basically is due to lack of cheap
Internet places. Cook Islands in the South Pacific was as hot and as relaxed as promised. When
we had adjusted to the slower pace and realized that there ain't that much you can do except
from relaxing on the Cooks we had a really good time. Ten days of strolling on the beach,
swimming, going on the Island bus, checking out agriculture and guided tours was enough
We left Cook Islands for the States and after being used to the Cooks life Los Angeles came
almost as a shock to us. Just stayed there overnight before we continued by train to Flagstaff
(Arizona). In Flagstaff we rented a car for nine days to make our exploration of Arizona's and
Utah's nationalparks possible. We visited the (as you can guess) very touristic Grand Canyon
and continued to the quieter historic national park of Mesa Verde where early Puebloan
settlements are shown. After this travel back in time the jorney continued north where
Canyonlands national park and Arches were the obvious highlights. These parks show various
sandstone formations which indeed are very beautiful. Arches was crowded with tourists but
still a plesant experience. Canyonlands biggest surprise for us was that we could enjoy its
beauty almost alone! Too bad we didn't have more time to explore the park by mountainbike since
this is the ultimate place for such experiences.
With the help from the car we went through high mountains covered with snow and small cities
and villages before we reached the capital of the mormones, Salt Lake City. Just spent the day
there and our greatest impression was how important religion seem to be in that city.
>From Salt Lake City (Utah) the Greyhound took us north through the fields of Southern Idaho up
to the state capital Boise where we are right now.
A genral impression of the US is that it's really hard to travel without a car. Everything is
planned after the fact that people own cars. For example the accomodations (generally a bit too
expensive for us) are found outside the town as well as all the groucery stores. This makes
things a bit complicated and time consuming for us but most of the time it works out one way or
the other. Tomorrow the trip continues north toward the state of Washington and the deep
forests. Maybe we are buying a tent to be able to cut down some costs. We'll see what we find
in the factory outlet this afternoon...
Hope that all of you are having the time of your life as well!
Hugs from Mats and Anna
Subject: Kaka, Nugget, Waikawa, Wanaka, Okarito, Hokitika
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 21:36:07 PDT
How can you possibly sum up two weeks that have been so full of
memorable things that you have a hard time to see how any trip could
be more enjoyable? Of course that's impossible but we are going to try
The first major happening was the Alastair Galbraith concert in
Dunedin. Excellent show, nice atmosphere and a nice little chat (90
minutes) with Galbraith himself was the highlight of two days in
Dunedin which seems to be a really nice town (city by NZ
measurements). As we had a rental car we could go wherever we wanted!
The choice was to skip the crouds as much as possible. We succeded
quite well actually. Took the scenic route at the southern coast of
New Zealand which took us to Kaka Point and the cutest little hostel.
All alone in the hostel watching the sunrise out of the ocean after a
night spotting rare yellow eyed penguins. Cute creatures and very
rare! Life was just perfect (except from Annas flu). Took by
recommendation an even smaller road; a shortcut the host at the hostel
told us about thruogh farmland on hills at the rough coast.
The Cannibal beach was the goal. And wild Hooker sealions... which we
encountered with success (and they us since they came chasing us).
Puh! They were huge!
Due to the weather we just drove on to another of natures beatiful
spots: Waikawa. Sitting in the shed waiting for penguins the day
before just added to Annas flu and we wanted to celebrate her birthday
as well so a motel (with heating!) was the choice for the night. And
Mats was preparing for singing in the morning of the big day... And
did so with splendiour!
Days crammed with petrified forest (180 million years old), ocean
views, museum visits in Invercargill (southernmost town in NZ), remote
farmstays, millions of sheep (beside and on the roads), green
hills, excursions out in the wilderness to visit ancient trees in
native bush far away from a living soul (except a tremendous
birdlife) and a tour on fiords in pouring rain followed.
Reaching Wanaka just north of the famous Queenstown (home of extreme
"sports" such as Bungy Jumping (we just watched...)) we came to the
conclusion to "relax" for a couple of days. Spent two days here in a
valley surrounded by mountains and lakes. Tried the local craze:
running around in mazes (three dimensional giant labyrinths). The
children in us really were let free! The second day was spent tramping
just at the rim of Mt Aspring National Park. A magic halfday walk!
Drove over to the westcoast accopmaigned by hailstorms and
rainforestsights. Mats had found just the perfect adventure for us...
A 20 km road, hm, more like tractor track, leading from nowhere to the
wilderness through deep forests and rivers. I wonder if the car
thought it was worth it... We really did! Soon we felt we'd seen all
possible versions of nature...
One thing not on the list so far was glaciers, which was the goal of
the Sunday. The weather was with us this day. Listening to reports of
snowstorms just about everywhere in NZ we enjoyed in the sun and
calmless in the part of the country which is well known for
notoriously bad weather!
What we just came from today must be heaven though. A dead end street
took us to a small village at the coast. First of all the nature
around Okarito (the village) is just stunning with the sheltered
lagoons, beaches, rainforest and mountain views. But the best thing
was our hostel with the most amazing hosts. Hospitality has reached
new dimensions after this visit. Just lovely. Their pleasant company
made us stay another night. Really sad to leave them behind but you
can't stay forever I supoose. The stay was for sure not worse by the
fact that we were able to spot NZs national bird: the flightless Kiwi.
Standing under the starbright sky in the middle of the night was just
To be continued...
Take as good care of yourselves as you hear we are doing!
Love Anna and Mats
From: Mats Gustafsson
Subject: Easter news
Date: Sun, 04 Apr 1999 21:43:20 PDT
Travelling down New Zealand has been a spectacular trip. The scenery is
absolutely stunning and constantly changing which makes the country
really amazing. It's like a world in miniature! Have mixed differnt ways
of travelling. We started out in Auckland using nothing but our thumbs.
It went amazingly well and it made us meet some of the "real" people of
New Zeland and not only the European tourists as you tend to do in the
youth hostels. But this way of travelling is also quite tiring so we
have mixed it with renting car and going by the bus. From Auckland we
hitched down to the vulcanic and thermal area round Rotoroua which is
rather touristic but yet very interesting indeed. It is just weird to
see boling mud pools and smoke coming out of the ground wherever you go.
That's the case even in the city of Rotoroua!!
To be able to get away from the main roads we rented a car for a few
days. It took us (as always) through beautiful nature down to the city
of Napier (on the East Coast of the Northern Island) which is well-known
for its spectactular architecture. Napier was hit by a huge earthquake
in 1931 and was thereafter rapidly rebuilt in the current fashion, Art
The thumb took us further south where some (read Mats) got hit by some
kind of weird bacteria. He spent the day in bed only shifting face color
from green to white. Poor little thing...as the very nice hostess at the
hostel named him. That intermezzo made us change our plans (again) so
instead of going a bit north again we continued south to the capital,
Wellington and stayed there for a few days. We were incredibly cultural
during our visit in Wellington: visited the Parliament (guided tour),
the national museum (the greatest museum we've ever been to... 6 hours
was not enough...), two films at the local art cinema and a LONG walk in
the huge botanical gardens. As you can hear we had a great time.
Wellington is not a huge city but still it feels like the capital it is
with a lot of cultural events going on and in genral a lot happening.
What we haven't seen in other capitals though is the "suits" sitting on
the Parliament park lawn eating their lunch sandwich. Relaxed!
>From Wellington we took the ferry across the Cook strait to the Southern
Island. As Mats had seen a gig (Alastair Galbraith) coming up really
soon in Dunedin far down the East Coast we are right now on our way down
there. But that didn't stop us from stayling one night in Kaikoura which
is famous for its great marine life. The intersection of warm and cold
underwater streams together with enourmous depths right ouside the
coast, makes the supply of food for marine mammals very rich. Lots of
different whales, seals, birds (Albatross etc) and dolphins live here
all year round. We went by chance out on a "swim with dolphins tour". If
somebody was cold Anna was ready to jump into the 15 degree water.
Wetsuit, fins and snorkel was on... A man got cramps, and Anna went in.
The feeling was just undescribable. Those lovely creatures were all over
the place playing around, making saltos and were really curios about the
fifteen humans in the water. The company we went with was really a good
one, since they were very strict with the number of people in the water
and how they handled the boat around the animals.
Currently we have halfway stop in the South Islands biggest city,
Christchurch on our way down to Dunedin.
Hope you had a Happy Easter! We didn't really celebrate in any special
way. Anna didn't even get Easter candy :(
P.S To those of you it might concern (and the rest of you..he he): MoDo
is playing in the icehockey finals! Yiiiihaa!!!!
Hugs from Mats and Anna
From: Mats Gustafsson
Subject: new country
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 22:35:49 PST
After the recovery from the safari tour we made in Kakadu national park,
we just did what we always try to do in a for us "new" city (Darwin):
check the suburbs by hopping on the nearest bus and hope you'll be able
to come back again in one piece. As you probably guessed, we did.
We left Darwin in the north for Cairns by the Great Barrier Reef in the
northeast of Australia. When we arrived someone told us that it had been
raining for the last two weeks...and it continued. And continued. We
found it was no use hangin' there, so we decided to take the next
possible bus out of town. This was however easier said than done. Had to
sit at the bus station for a decade or so before finding out the bus was
full. Then we booked the one eleven hours later... cancelled due to
floods... slept overnight in a hostel...to the bus again far too early
in the morning...cancelled due to flooded bridge... and so on 'til we
simply gave up. Found ourselves in the situation though. We were advised
not to go to the reef 'cause the visibility would be lousy from all the
mud the rivers had brought.
The other main "sight" around Cairns is the rainforest. Unique in the
world with spieces of animals and plants you can't find anywhere else.
Gorgious! Took a cabin car making it possible to view the trees from
above and the bus down to the coast again. A perfect day out. The last
day in Cairns we could see the sun through the clouds. Hurray! Flung
ourselves in the pool. And had to pay for it later (as always with the
white skin we have (or maybe had...)).
The flight down to Sydney left too early but anyhow we managed to get
there in time. The first impression of Sydney was very positive. A lot
of water everywhere and I'd have to say that it really reminds me of a
Stockholm in bigger scale. We stayed in Sydney for five days at the same
hostel which is a really nice one. Just outside the red-light district
Kings Cross where also all the partying backpackers usually stay. The
days in Sydney consisted of a lot of walking, bus and ferry travels and
more importantly (at least to some people) record stores. Of course we
also payed a visit to Sydney's greatest tourist attraction, the opera
house as well. Really nice building both in- and outside. But this was
not all we could jam into our five days there. We took a day trip up in
the "Blue Mountains", name because of the bluish haze that comes from
the Eucalyptus trees. The area was full of wildlife and for the first
time we could see kangaroos and a lot of parrots as well. Cute! The
landscape consists of limestone, which is carved and worn to great
canyons. A steep bushwalk down took us into one of the valleys. The ride
up was an old miner's train. Really steep and better than any
We arrived yesterday in Auckland, New Zealand. Guess you are cautious to
know the future plans now. We are as well! Will try to hitch a ride
south tomorrow and see where we end up. Know that almost anywhere we end
up, the nature will be overwhelming as from what we have read and saw
from the airplane yesterday. We are prepared!
Take care and be nice to eachother!
Hugs from Anna and regards from Mats!
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 22:39:53 PST
From: Mats Gustafsson
To: the Pope
Rain up north now? Or snow for our Nordic friends? As you might have
guessed the weather is hot, hot, hot and then in the evening it's
thunder and heavy showers. Welcome to the monsoon climate in Darwin,
This is something else than England and Norwich where we had more bad
luck with the weather Gods, but the company was as good as the weather
was bad. Michelle and Darren: Thanks for hosting us!
We just arrived back yesterday from a three-day trip to the huge Kakadu
National Park here in the northern Territory . It's still more or less
Aboriginal land and is protected for it's splendid nature with a lot of
spieces you can't find anywhere else worldwide. The trip was a safari in
four wheel drive together with five others and a guide/story
teller/cook/driver. Lots of walking, swimming in waterfalls, interesting
facts about Aboriginal culture, birds, crocodiles, mozzies, weird trees,
sun, bushcamping and hard bumpy roads on uncomfortable seats. So, as you
can understand we have a splendid time. Today is curing sore feet and
sunburn day and we guess we will look up what we're about to do in
Cairns as we get there on Saturday.
Hope you are all alright and take care!
/Mats and Anna
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