Monday, July 13, 2015

Sightseeing in Stockholm

 Dad & I were awake early this morning. We headed upstairs and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the free breakfast. They even have a fresh squeezed orange juice machine! After breakfast we headed over to Gamla Stan (old town) and wandered through the cobblestone streets. We walked around the outside of the royal castle and down to the water and then back over to the hotel, because apparently nothing is open before 10 am, and it was barely 9. Back to the breakfast bar for another glass of OJ and another latte.
The cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan

Looking up to the palace from the water

 We decided that the best way to get around town was aboard one of the many double-decker tour buses that can be seen circling around the city. There are at least 3 different hop-on hop-off bus tour companies that operate in the city and they all seem to have free Wi-Fi. We picked Red Sightseeing Stockholm, because they have a combination ticket that allows you to hop on & off their buses and boats for 72 hrs.
 As we headed for the bus stop I ran into an old friend and his girlfriend from back in Vancouver. I knew he was going to be in Stockholm for work while I was here, which was a huge coincidence. An even bigger coincidence is that his hotel is only 2 blocks down from us! You know the saying, it really is a small world after all!

 After a 20 minute wait at the first stop we squeezed onto a fully loaded bus and scored the last two seats up top. We popped our free but ill-fitting ear bud headphones into our ears and dialed into the English channel. We heard all about the different buildings and bits of history along the way through Gamla Stan, Djurgarden, and all the way up to the cruise ship terminal at Frihamnen. We got off the bus, hopped on a boat and toured around the different islands that make up the city. We got off the boat at Djurgarden so we could check out the Vasa museum. Unfortunately for us, it seemed as though all the passengers that had come from the 4 large cruise ships in the port had all decided to head there too. After seeing the line up snake through the courtyard out front, we decided to check out the Nordic museum instead. The building of the Nordic museum is stunning, the exhibits inside are a little underwhelming. Lunch at the Nordic museum was good, and afterwards we headed back over to Vasa museum and walked right in. The Vasa museum houses the war ship Vasa that sailed, and sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The ship is impressive, and the lengths they've gone to to salvage and restore her is even more impressive! After that we got back on the bus and looped around to the train station, and got off just 2 blocks from our hotel.

The Nordic Museum Buiding
Vasa as viewed from the stern

 After a quick rest, dad & I headed out for a traditional Swedish dinner: Chinese food from Hong Kong Restaurant.
 Most museums and attractions seem to open around 10am, but Vasa museum opens at 8:30am (which we discovered too late to do us any good)

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