Archive for April, 2011

Honeymooners Survive Six Natural Disasters

April 25th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | 1 Comment »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Stefan And Erika Svanstrom of Sweden planned a perfect four-month long honeymoon… but Mother Nature intervened.  The couple wed on November 27, 2010 and a week later, with their infant daughter in tow, they set off for a 16-country adventure. “Our plan was to get a lot of sun and beach-life early in the trip, and experience nature and culture later in the trip. Some of the destinations were chosen for the diving, as we are both keen to go scuba diving,” Stefan said, “leaving plenty of time to explore.”

The Svanstroms left Stockholm in December and became stranded for a night in Munich, Germany due to a severe snowstorm, one of Europe’s worst blizzards. The newlyweds enjoyed China and Thailand, but in Bali, Indonesia, a relentless monsoon kept them indoors for days. Another natural disaster awaited in Cairns, Australia where a catastrophic cyclone forced them to join a group shelter with thousands of people. “Trees were being knocked over and big branches were scattered across the streets,” Stefan said. Once the family arrived in Brisbane, massive flooding had put much of the city underwater. The Svanstroms then narrowly escaped bush fires in Perth.

Flooding After the Cyclone in Cairns

Moving on, the family arrived in New Zealand, just after the 6.3 quake hit Christchurch on February 22. Their last ordeal was in Tokyo, where they experienced Japan’s largest quake ever recorded and the resulting calamitous tsunami. “The trembling was horrible… we saw roof tiles fly off buildings,” Stefan said. (He also survived the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in 2004).

The couple said the most emotionally upsetting experience during the trip had been the Japanese earthquake and its consequences. “Oh – we’re very grateful that nothing happened to the family and we think a lot about the people, particularly in Japan,” Erika said.

The Svanstroms returned to Stockholm on March 29, 2011 after an uneventful final stop in China. “Although we’ve had some bad luck, we still have our lives. Our thoughts are with those who couldn’t escape these disasters. In the end, we are very fortunate to be alive,” Stefan said. The family plans to continue their travels in the future.