Return to Stockholm

Posted on September 2, 2008

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Hello Everyone! I just got back from a three day tour of Stockholm, and I thought I’d share with you some of the stories and pictures. I went with two of my Dutch friends, Marc and Shelly, as well as the Canadian Cate, and the Frenchwoman Melanie.

Day One: Tivoli and The Hives

One of the reasons we decided to go to Stockholm on a Sunday and stay for three days was because we didn’t have classes (for the most part) and because The Hives, a modern Swedish rock band, were playing a show at Tivoli, the amusement park of Stockholm, for about 170 SEK, or about $25. It was Tivoli’s 125th Birthday as well, so there where some fireworks (fyriverkeri, or something like that, in Swedish). Here are some pictures from the evening:

Tivoli Entrance

The Hives when we arrived

Tower next to the stage

Robot in the park

Fireworks after the show

After the show, we decided to walk back to our hostel which was about an hour away. I had time to take some really cool night shots of the docks and downtown.

The Docks at night

Tower downtown

Tourist season in Sweden typically ends in August, so on a Sunday night on the last night in August the streets were practically empty. We made it to our hostel after about an hour walk and a stop at a pub and called it a night.

Day Two: Boat Hostel, Vasamuseet, Stadhuset Tower, and Downtown

We had the best intentions for an early rise the next morning to get some serious time in the city. As you might imagine, however, a bunch of college kids have a lot of trouble getting started in the morning. So we missed about 2 hours of the day trying to wake up. Being my father’s son, I was up before everyone else, and discovered that the hostel where we were staying didn’t have room for us the next day. A quick visit to hostelworld.com showed us that the famous hostel known as The Red Boat Mälaren and Ran of Stockholm had room, so I got an early morning walk back towards the city to make a reservation for the group. This place had been recommended to me (thanks Marissa!) but was full the first night so I didn’t think we’d get to stay there. Sure enough, they had rooms available in the 10-bed room for cheaper than where we were the night before, so we were in. Here are some pictures of the place.

Boat and Stadhuset

In the Reception

Boat from Stadhuset Tower

When the rest of the crew caught up, we were off to walk back to Djurgården, one of the many islands of Stockholm, where Tivoli is, as well as the Vasamuseet, a museum of a ship that sank in 1628, ten minutes into its first voyage in the Stockholm archipelago. Because the water is so cold, the water is free of barnacles and bacteria that would have deteriorated the wood of the ship. Therefore the ship is in an amazing preserved state.

Outside Vasamuseet

The Vasa’s Front

The Vasa’s Back

The Deck of the Vasa

Besides the Ship, the building is a museum of what life was back in 17th century Stockholm, and featured exhibits on life on the boat. I had a little fun pretending I was there.

Cannon and I

After the Vasamuseet, we decided to head over to Stadhuset to see the inside of it. I was told the last tour was at 4pm, so we decided to take a scenic route by the Royal Palace.

Marc felt like royalty while Melanie and Cate looked on.

The guards around the Palace are also very friendly and pose for pictures as best they can. (Side note: if you’re not getting a picture with them, stay out of the black circle painted around their station or they will give you a piece of their mind).

Cate, Shelly and I with a Palace Guard

When we made it to Stadhuset, we found out that because it was September 1st, the tour times had changed and the latest tour in English was given at 2pm. So we climbed to the top of the tower in the meantime for some great views of the city.

Gamla Stan from the Tower

Train Station and Downtown

The Egg

Looking West

After the Tower, we stopped by Central Station to see if the Architecture Museum would be open but alas, it was not. We spent the rest of the evening downtown with some store visits, including NK, which Cate said was a lot likes Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, with lots of designer products. I would love to see this place at Christmas for some serious people watching. Here is what the view looks like.

Inside NK

I heard that the Lego selection was good here, which it was, but you can’t play with the Legos unless you buy them. So we had some costume fun instead.

Mark, Shelly, and I getting ready for Halloween

After NK we went on a hunt for a good Swedish Restaurant in Norrmalm. The fish was good, but like everything in Stockholm, overpriced. We took the subway back to Södermalm, where the hostel boat was, and found out we were to stay on the boat behind the Red Boat, called the Ran.

the Ran

We met two of our roommates, two 19 year old guys from London, and went on a pub crawl with them back on Gamla Stan. Monday is not a good night to be out on the town in Stockholm, but we still had some fun.

Day Three: Inside Stadhuset

I was told to wake up Melanie and Cate to retry to take the tour of Stadhuset at 10am. Even though I woke them and went to get breakfast for them, they still didn’t make it to the tour, so I took it on my own. Stadhuset is where the Nobel Prize reception is held (it is awarded at the Opera House). I really wanted to see the Blue Room and Gold Room though, so, after 2 failed attempts, the third try was the charm.

The Blue Room isn’t really blue. The floor is blueish gray, and the walls are red brick. But it is really cool.

The Blue Room

Entrance of Honor

The tour went from the Blue Room to the City Counsel’s Chambers, which was cool, but the roof was especially amazing.

Chamber

Roof

The Blue and Gold Rooms are available for rent, but there is one reception hall that is only for the King of Sweden and other high ranking politicians.

One side of the room has a view of Södermalm, and the other side has a large al-fresco mural of Södermalm.

Part of the Mural

The highlight of Stadhuset is the Gold Room, which is where the dancing of most of the receptions are held (food is served in the Blue Room).

The Gold Room

Entrance of the Gold Room

There are dozens of murals in the Gold Room, but the one on the North Wall stands out as the best. It is a picture of a woman representing Stockholm, with the City in her lap as she sits on an island (Stockholm consists of a bunch of islands) with the west on one side, represented by the skyscrapers of New York, the Statue of Liberty, and the Eiffel Tower, and on the right side the Middle East and Far East are represented as well. I didn’t think much of it at first, but the more I looked at it the more I liked it.

After the tour of Stadhuset, I met up with Cate for a self-guided tour of the Royal Palace. No pictures are allowed to be taken in the Palace, but I was amazed at the similarities of the Apartments to those of Versaille. As it turns out, the current Royalty lineage is of French Decent, after a high ranking Frenchman was adopted by the childless King of Sweden in the 1700’s, and much of the design of the Royal Palace was borrowed from Versaille, including a miniature Hall of Mirrors.

After the Palace we returned to Karlstad where I write to you now. Tomorrow I will be going to my Environmental Studies Professor’s Farm, which, alongside much of the nature of Värmland I have been exploring by foot and boat, will be the subject of my next post. Thanks for reading and come back soon!

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Posted in: Sweden