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STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

 

 

August 30, 2017

We flew from Denver to Stockholm via Rekjavik, Iceland on Iceland Air. We arrived in Stockholm the next day about noon and took the Arlanda Express train from the airport into the city. It only took 20 minutes! Our hotel, Freys, was a block from the station so it was very convenient. Fortunately it was not raining so the walk was easy. Our room was small but had everything we needed and the bed was very comfortable. The staff at Freys were friendly and helpful. And the included breakfast buffet was extensive.

Stockholm is Sweden's capital and largest city with over 2 million people. It is 1/3 water, 1/3 parks and 1/3 city. The city is built on an archipelago of islands connected by bridges. It is a spread-out city with sightseeing choices scattered across several islands. We bought a Stockholm Card which gave us access to the Hop-On/Hop-off bus and boat, most museums and public transportation.

We met up with Barb's sister Colleen and her husband Mark who had arrived earlier that day. We decided to ride the Hop On/Hop off bus around the city to get a good overview of where everything was located.The 90 minute ride was very interesting and comprehensive with plug in earsets giving a running commentary about the city. By the time the ride was over, it was time for dinner, then a short walk back to the hotel for an early night's sleep.

Sept. 1, 2017

After a very nice breakfast at the hotel, we walked down the main pedestrian shopping street towards the Old town, Gamla Stan. We took the Hop On/Hop off boat over to the island of Djurgarden to visit the Vasa Museum and the Nordic Museum. The Vasa Museum is a must see attraction. It contains the preserved war ship Vasa that sank 40 minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628. It was ordered by Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus to challenge their rival, Poland. It had two decks of cannons. 500 carved wooden statues draped the ship. Unfortunately, the ship was too high (172 feet) and too skinny which made it top heavy and very unstable. During its maiden voyage, a breeze caught the sails and blew her over. She was raised from the bottom of Stockholm's harbor in 1961 and brilliantly restored. A very interesting 17 minute film in the museum documents how it was excavated and preserved. 98% of the wood is original. Restoration is still continuing. We explored all six levels of the museum, walking all around this huge ship and viewing the many exhibits. Due to the size of the ship and the lighting inside, it was difficult to get good photos but think the ones we got will give a good idea of the size and carvings of the VASA.

After lunch at the VASA cafeteria, we explored the Nordic Museum. This museum offers a look at 500 years of traditional Swedish lifestyles. One section on Homes and Interiors displayed home decor through the years, showing how styles changed. The folk art section showed wood carvings, traditional costumes and fabric. There is an exhibit on the indigenous Sami people or Lapps.

We took the ferry back to Gamla Stan and explored the Palace and the streets of the Old Town. Until the 1600's, all of Stockholm fit in this historic island. The Royal Palace is the official royal residence but the family lives elsewhere. It was designed in Itallian Baroque style and completed in 1754. It now houses various museums. Although we did not watch the Military Parade and Changing of the Guard, we did see the guards marching to their posts. We visited the Royal Chapel, the Treasury to see the Crown Jewels and the Royal Apartments.

 

It was fun walking through the winding, cobblestoned streets of Old Town with it's antique shops, and colorful buildings. But after a full day of sightseeing, we were all tired. So we headed back to the hotel with a stop for dinner and another early night.

Sept. 2, 2017

Today we boarded our ship for the cruise around the Baltic. After breakfast, we joined Colleen and Mark at their hotel and took the elevator to the top floor and outside patio for a 360 degree view of the city. Our time in Stockholm was short and there is plenty more to see if we ever return. It is an interesting city, easy to get around.

Our taxi took us to the Frihamnen pier where we joined the other passengers waiting to board our ship, the Oceania, Marina. For information about the ship and time on-board, visit Marina.

To view more photos from our time in Stockholm, please go to Stockholm Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Tallinn.


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