Stockholm Stories (July 18th, 2011)

July 18th, 2011
Stockholm is a very nice city built on 14 islands surrounded by water. It is referred to in guide books as "Venice of the North". (St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and Amsterdam all call themselves the Venice of the North. I don't understand why they aren't content to just be themselves.)
Coming into Stockholm  ~Photo by Kris

Regardless, Stockholm, Sweden is quite lovely. Kris and Terri woke up at 5am to go view the boat cruising through the Stockholm Archipelago. I watched from the television. It was a rather dreary morning.

We decided that we were going to buy the Hop On Hop Off Boat tour. In Stockholm, the HOHO Boats will take SEK, Euro, or USD. We paid 10 Euros each. You get off the boat, walk to the left, and there are three different HOHO boats competing for your business. We made sure not to pay until we got on board, and we made sure the Vasa Museum was the first stop. (Turns out that all three companies charge the same and go directly from the cruise terminal to the Vasa Museum until 10am when they resume the schedule you can get from on the boat.) We got on the Aphrodite with Royal Crown.

We were very glad to have gone to the Vasa Museum first. We got there right whenever they were opening, and the complex wasn't too overcrowded.

A bit about the Vasa Museum (which takes credit card, Euro, USD, GBP, DKK, NOK, or SEK)...on August 10, 1628, the Vasa (a grand boat) set sail on her maiden voyage and sank in the Stockholm harbor. The wreck was salvaged in 1961 after 333 years under the sea. The reconstruction is housed in the museum, is 95% original, and is seriously impressive.  I highly recommend.

The Vasa Museum offers wifi so you can download and play an audio guide about the ship, which Kris did.

It was quite difficult to photograph the Vasa. It is so massive with so many carvings, you just can't grasp the enormity in a photo. It's even hard to see it all in person.

There are six levels at the Vasa. On the second level, you can see recovered skeletons of people who died when the Vasa sunk. Luckily, only 30 of the 150 boat members drowned. (One was female. They estimate only two total women to have been on board.)

After touring the Vasa, we passed the Nordiska museet and walked through a cemetery on our way to Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum.

~Photo by Kris
~Photo by Kris
~Photo by Kris

After walking through the cemetery, we saw a very neat phone booth.

Kris, Terri, and Brad walked the hill at Skansen, but I took a funicular up with Carol, Clark, Lisa, Sharon, and Jane due to my bad ankle and Clark's broken leg.

While we were riding the funicular, Kris got this great photo of Terri:

We decided to meet at the bird pond.
Carol at the bird pond
When walking to the bird pond after the funicular ride, we saw a vendor roasting almonds. He had a pet squirrel sitting on the cart eating the nuts he'd throw occasionally.

Close to the bird pond, we ran into a lady walking through the park. She was walking and knitting at the same time. She explained that Swedish women were always working in the olden days. Even when they were traveling from one place to another, they were always working (whether knitting or otherwise).

This is one of the things that was so very interesting about Skansen. It had people dressed in costumes who were meant to tell you about how Swedish life worked in the 1800s. Skansen was founded in 1891 after all. They had all sorts of characteristic homesteads, farmsteads, and other buildings to demonstrate Swedish history and earlier traditions.

The room below was the entire home of a family of five. Everything was multi-functional.

This (the other half of the house) accommodated a family of eight.

This building was incredible. It was built and run by the most educated of the population and was used for theatre and adult education.
The stage
Our educator

This was a solider's cottage.
Swedish Solider's Cottage
An old millstone.
Swedish millstone
And a great old schoolhouse.
Swedish schoolhouse

Skansen also has a zoo with brown bears frolicking in waterfalls and ponds, lynx, wolves, monkeys, reindeer, moose, owls, and more.

Who's that?
And after we got all of our geese in a row...

we saw Wayland and Linda in the park.
Black sheep = Wayland
Wolverine = Linda

When leaving Skansen, we saw Grona Lund (Tivoli) before getting back on the HOHO boat to go to Gamla Stan (Old Town). Old Town was founded back in the 1200s.

We saw one of the ships that was in the Pirates of the Caribbean.

We got off the main street and traveled the 36 steep steps up the narrowest alley in Stockholm called Marten Trotzigs Grand. (When you stretch out your arms on this street, you can touch the buildings on each side.)

We saw Tomtar och Troll, and Terri and Kris bought hot dogs from a cart.

We made our way to the Palace and Government Buildings before hoping back on the HOHO boat.

Our next stop was Nybroviken, where we saw the outside of the Royal Dramatic Theater and the Hallwyl Collection.

We made it to a local 7-11 for some soda and candy bars. I got a Marabou Schweizer not (hazelnut chocolate bar) made in Sweden. Kris got a festis soda which read "Guavas and bananas who are afraid of heights."
"Guavas and bananas who are afraid of heights."

We wanted to go to Hallwyl Collection, but it is closed on Mondays. We just walked the island instead. I spotted an elaborate building uphill and was curious about it. An Estonian man overheard us and told us that it was made by an architect who'd gone crazy. He said that the Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman, lived there while he lived.

The area we traveled to was very residential. There was a lovely square up at the top of the hill and a large fountain. There was also a man sleeping on a park bench.

In the square, there was a mini farmer's market. We saw a booth selling hot dogs wrapped in a pita filled with mashed potatoes. Kris and Terri took a photo of the sign, and the guy in the booth proclaimed, "they're taking a photo" and cackled with glee.
Hot dog wrapped in mashed potatoes and a pita = Original
We went down into the subway and saw a Swedish mall. We spent the rest of our krona on two more chocolate bars and headed back to catch a HOHO boat back to the cruise ship.

I saw a bit of the cruising through the archipelago during the evening as I sat with Ellen and Chris.

We had reservations to eat at the Canaletto restaurant (complimentary) that night and got great antipasta, soup, main dish, and dessert. We also got a large plate of yummy cotton candy!

A towel animal awaited our arrival.

I think we might be wearing Terri out...

I won at Mah Jong the next day.

To be continued...

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