Skol in Sweden

Trip Start Jul 07, 2009
Trip End Jul 26, 2009

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Flag of Sweden  , Stockholms Län,
Monday, July 20, 2009

Stockholm is a beautiful port. It is a gorgeous city with beautiful buildings, lots of water, greenery, flowers and blonde people! It is built on several islands which are connected by bridges and many ferries.I loved it here.

After a picturesque drive through the city past embassies and stately homes our tour took us to an island that used to be the private hunting grounds of the king. Now it is beuatiful parks and the home of the Vasa museum which was the first stop on our tour.

The Vasa was a wooden military ship that sank in the harbour only 1300 meters from where it was launched. Evidently the King decided to put some extra canons on board and the whole thing was too unstable and it capsized on its maiden voyage in 1628. It lay at the bottom of the harbour for over 300 years before it was salvaged in 1961. It was remarkably well preserved. They brought it to this island and built a beautiful museum around it. The museum is really impressive with lots of details, models and so on. As usual, our time there was much too short.

Next was the island of Glama Stan where we had a walking tour of the old town, the grand palace and several medieval churches. We travelled down narrow cobblestone streets and saw the Nobel museum. Our tour guide explained where and, as we were driving through the city, pointed out the various places where the Nobel prizes are decided. The only prize that is not presented in Sweden is the peace prize which is presented in Oslo, Norway.

Back on our bus and on to the town of Sigtuna, about 45 min. out of Stockholm. This is a picturesque town that was founded 1000 years ago by Christian I, King of Sweden. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours here looking at an old church that was built in 1247 and wandering the pretty streets.

Back to Stockholm where our group of 6 (Avis, Bob, Belinda, Pat, Charles and myself) convinced the tour guide to let us off in town, rather than go back to the ship. From our drop off point we walked a mile or so to a Harley Davidson shop where Charles and Bob shopped. From this shop we headed down the street to the Hard Rock Cafe for a bite to eat. A hamburger and a Swedish beer (you say Skol for cheers here) was $40 Canadian.

After the Hard Rock cafe we made our way to the shopping district of Stockholm where we stopped in the biggest department store I have ever seen. I wanted to purchase a European travel hair dryer which I found, no problem. I think it cost the same as the burger and beer. After this we walked to the Opera house square where we caught the shuttle back to the ship.

July 21 - Stockholm was an overnight stay and the ship did not leave until 2 p.m. the next day so Charles, Pat, Linda and Avis took the shuttle back to the city for the morning. We went back to the old town on Glama Stan and spent the morning wandering in and out of the shops in the narrow streets. It was very relaxing and nice to be on our own schedule.

The ship left at 2 p.m. to travel to our next port which is Oslo, Norway. The afternoon was spent travelling through the beautiful Swedish archipelago which is a long string of islands. It was a spectacular journey as the ship travelled so close to some of the islands that you could almost have a conversation with the poeple on the shores. The islands are heavily forested with pretty villages and little harbours. My best saling experience ever.

Sweden is a really beautiful country. The land is mostly forest with both evergreen and deciduous trees. The Swedish towns are very picturesque with wooden houses, old stone and brick churches, well-kept lawns and green spaces. This is definitely a place I want to visit again.
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