Sunday, 14 September 2008


My flight to Stockholm wasn't as convenient as our trip to London had been - I flew out in the afternoon and back in the evening - thus only having not quite two full days in Stockholm. But I made the most of it.

The flight with Ryan Air went to an airport 100km away from Stockholm, necessitating a bus trip of about 60 minutes. But the connection was great - straight out the door, since I had no checked luggage - and into the bus which took off about 5 minutes later. Wonderful.

I arrived at the central station and bought myself a Stockholm Card - great investment! Highly recommend it to anyone going to Stockholm for sight-seeing. It includes all bus and train fares as well as admission to everything I wanted to see.

I caught the subway and walked 5 minutes or so to my hotel (I had researched all this on the 'net before I left, naturally - those rainy days and all!) and checked in. Since it was still light albeit 7.30pm, I caught the subway into Gamla Stan (the old town) to start off my sight-seeing. I used my camera's night snap shots setting and I think they turned out quite well:

After wandering around until it was too dark to take more photographs, I looked for somewhere to eat. I found a nice little restaurant in Gamla Stan whose prices weren't too outrageous and had some good steak with mash:

After that it was off back to the hotel. I had a lot to see the next day, after all!

I got up early the next day and caught first the train and then a bus out to Drottningholm palace, where the swedish royal family actually reside. Their tours don't start til 10am, but I had a lot to see, so figured I'd go through the grounds first and look at the Chinese palace only from the outside. The grounds were very pretty, as one might expect - reminded me of the formal gardens in the Loire valley castles.

The tour of the state rooms inside the palace didn't allow photos, as per usual. How sad.

After the tour, I headed back to Stockholm city, to check out the Djurgarden island's offerings. There were some beautiful villas here, as well as the Rosendal palace and a few other little palaces I didn't have time to see. It was a long walk from getting off the bus at the gorgeous Nordic Museum building to the Rosendal Palace, and my feet were sore already from having walked all around Drottningholm...ah well. I could rest when I'm dead, I figured.

After the Rosendal Palace tour for which I had to wait about 45 minutes (yay! shoes off!) I headed towards Skansen open air museum by walking through the lovely forest in the middle of the island. I got to Skansen at 3.30pm and the lady at the admission counter told me that most of the houses would close by 5, so see those first. I already knew this, and didn't care too much whether I could see inside or not - I couldn't go any faster than I was going already! There were some cute little buildings in the grounds and it's quite an impressive museum, from the size alone:

I left here around 7pm to head back towards town. The Museum Biologica is another beautiful building which I had no time to see inside of:

Since I didn't do any sort of harbour cruise (no time!), I figured I'd just get the ferry from outside the Nordic Museum (which I wanted another opportunity to photograph properly anyway) back to town. I just love that building:

And the ferry trip was also included in my Stockholm Card:

By the time I got back to town i.e. central station from where I could get my train to the hotel, it was getting too dark to see anything i.e. for taking photos :-). The day before I had seen signs up about the rock opera "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" being performed at the Culture House, opposite the central station, so I thought I'd just go ask how much it costs. Turned out it was only about (converted) 10 Euro, so I went to see it! Unfortunately, it was all in swedish so I didn't understand a thing!! I had hoped the songs would be english, but no. At least I recognised one or two so could vaguely get what was going on. The audience enjoyed it and laughed a lot, so it must have been good. :-)

I headed back to the hotel, not having had dinner or lunch for that matter. No time, no time!

The next and final morning, I headed down early for breakfast and then checked out and stored my luggage at central station (I'd checked the day before, and it's only (converted) 4 Euro, which was acceptable!). I headed straight to Gamla Stan which I had read would get extremely crowded during the day. They were right - I got there about 8am and the crowds started around 9am and by 10 you could hardly move! All the tour groups moving around - scary stuff.

I walked around taking day-light photos:

Until the first thing opened, which was the church:

After that, I sat down for a little while and had a coffee, waiting for the palace to open:

After the palace and the 3 crown museum, which is attached to the royal palace, I headed off in the direction of the Town Hall where I wanted to be for the 12pm tour. I passed the lovely Houses of Parliament and walked along the water towards the Town Hall:

The Town Hall is, of course, where the banquet for the Nobel Prize is held. The gold room is most impressive, with its 17million golden tiles. And, surprisingly, one is allowed to take photos:

After the tour, which is the only way you can see inside, I headed off towards Gamla Stan station with completely drained batteries - both camera and myself - to get on the train into town to pick up my luggage and head off to the airport and home....well, Bremen anyway :-)

After another night in Bremen, it was off to Frankfurt again. Coming up in the next post: a little sight-seeing of the Limes, and Heidelberg.