Venice of the North
Trip Start May 19, 2008
50Trip End Ongoing
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Hullo. So, you've heard Kyle's remarks from our trip, here are mine. Now, I love Lulea, but when I met Stockholm's breezy waterways and cobblestone alleys, my heart beat for the first time. It surged at the incredible views found at lookouts all over the city. The first day, we arrived in the late afternoon, took a bus from the airport to central station, and with map in hand found our hotel. We walked along busy streets, narrow roads, up skinny stairwells, all while shadowed by intricate buildings, side by side. Stucco, brick, curvy iron work, wooden shutters, café windows open to the streets. Dried petals from flowering trees falling down into our hair, swirling around our ankles. Ethnicities widely represented, smells of worldly foods lingering. We reached the hotel, visited a nearby grocery store and made some sandwiches. Then we walked the city with the group. We walked to the Old Town and down to the water. We saw sailing ships dock, clouds turn pink, lights flicker on, reflections in the water quiver.
The next morning we woke up, ate a filling breakfast that was so much more than continental. Anything you could have wanted was there. I ate a whole wheat bun with brie, cucumber and tomato. Mandarin oranges, pineapple, juice and espresso. So delicious I ate it 3 days in a row. We then went with our group to the Vasa Museum which houses the "worlds largest jigsaw puzzle." A miraculous ship that was built in Stockholm, set sail on the brackish waters, sunk, and was luckily preserved in mud for over 300 years. In the 1970's it was recovered piece by piece, preserved, and now on display. Afterwards, we ate lunch at a Chinese buffet then walked to the university to hear some lectures. In the evening we ate at a pizzeria and then walked the town and found some incredible look out points. Kyle and I watched the sun set over the town and reflected in the silvery waters. Ships came into harbor, and one tourist attraction, a replica of a magnificent sailboat sounded several cannons which echoed against the city's storefronts and cafes. Kyle rubbed my aching feet as we settled into a park bench to watch the view. With a darkening sky above us, we walked back to the hotel for a deep sleep.
With an early start we again enjoyed a fruitful breakfast. This time we walked through Old Town in a new light, toured a church, ate lunch in an underground converted cellar, visited and walked through the Royal Palace. With feet aching and blisters bubbling, we continued on to walk on to Skansen, a huge park dedicated to the history of Sweden, complete with native animals, plants, and cottages depicting early settlements. We were on our own at this point and then walked through the shopping district. I visited a 3 story floor selling only shoes...if only my feet hadn't been numb with pain, I would have bought more shoes that are anything but practical. I ended up buying a pair of black flip-flops from H & M, just so I could have something else to wear. We walked back to our hotel and Kyle set out to pharmacy. He came back with foot salts and specialized bandages for blisters. My lovey prepared a foot soak for me and I felt so happy to relax. But not for long, we then ventured out to a corner café for dinner. We ate outdoors wrapped in provided shawls to keep off the breeze. I dined on vegetable risotto, Kyle had a panini sandwich. Unable to surpass the elegant hand crafted desserts, we also ate a cookie piled with a dome of mousse, and then coated with dark chocolate shell. Also, a raspberry tart, both rich and delicious. We walked down the beautiful neighborhood streets one last time and returned to hotel.