Three days, 31.12 miles, and countless cups of coffee later, we have returned from our whirlwind trip to Stockholm. Originally we had planned on taking a trip to Dortmund, Germany, but ticket prices to Sweden were all too tempting. I cannot write about everything we saw or did, just because of the sheer number of places we saw. Rather, I want to pick out our top stops….and talk about all of the food we ate in a separate post.
Friday morning began with the alarm blaring at 2:15AM, all to catch a train at 3:15 for a flight at 5:20 to catch a bus on the other side at 7:30. Upon arriving in the city, we dropped our bags at our hotel, grabbed breakfast, and off we went to Gamla Stan, the main Old Town island.
Storkyrkan, the Stockholm Cathedral, was our first stop. An unassuming and relatively plain building on the outside, we found that the church was full of treasures. I was fascinated by the candle globe, as well as the statue of St. George and the Dragon from 1489.
The Royal Palace was our third destination on Friday. We arrived just in time to see the changing of the guard, which was much different from what I expected. About 15 guards hid behind pillars on the far side of the courtyard and popped out at the beginning of the change. To be honest, all I could thing about at that moment was the cuckoo song in the Sound of Music.
After the changing of the guards, we proceeded into the palace where we saw the splendor of the Swedish Royal Palace. We wandered through state rooms and apartments, taking in all of the gilded walls and crystal chandeliers.
The Vasamuseet was the highlight of our day on Saturday. The museum is home to the remains of the Vasa warship, which was commissioned by the King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphos, also known as the Lion of the North, and sank in the Stockholm harbour on its maiden voyage in 1628. The Vasa was one of two ships that were built for the King’s fleet in his war against Poland. Due to the ship’s narrow width, the Vasa took on water as it swayed back and forth during high winds on the day of the launch. The Vasa sank into the harbour and was forgotten until it was excavated in the 1960s. What is on display in the museum today is a 98% whole and authentic warship, with nearly all of the wooden carvings on the bow, stern, and windows of the ship. One of the carvings I found quite funny was a depiction of a Polish nobleman hiding under a table from the Lion of the North.
Monteliusvägen was our final stop on Sunday. We had enough of museums at that point in our trip, so we stayed outside all day until we had to be at the bus station to catch our connection back to the airport. Monteliusvägen is a quarter-mile path up on a hill to the south of downtown Stockholm. We were able to see all the way to the bridge at Langholmen to the west and to Djurgarden in the east. I still can’t believe how perfect our weather was that day!
It still seems crazy that we didn’t use any public transportation while we were in Stockholm. Our feet were certainly screaming for it. Was it exhausting? Oh yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.