Summer & Stockholm – the best combination to dream of!
Imagine classic Europen city w/ beautiful houses from the last century – all neat & restored -, a city on islands w/ water all around & hundreds of ships moored at the waterside… We went to Stockholm as tourists & did all things tourists like to do – under a blue sky & a warming sun.
Our reliable travel companion:*
We did quite a lot of planning before we actually started for Stockholm:
- we read our travel companion… (of course!)
- we booked our flights… (of course!)
- friends had recommended the Stockholm Pass (providing free access to lots of tourists’ attractions combinable w/ free access to all public transport) – we ordered online…
- we bought online tickets for the Arlanda Express taking you in 20 min from the international Airport to city centre (speeding up to 200 km/h)…
- we booked a hotel in city centre… (in walking distance from the train station).
So all we needed – beside our travel companion – were our mobiles w/ all the data & the Stockholm Pass we picked up at the airport.
For the record:
The Stockholm Pass seems quite expensive – at 1st glance. However, entry fees in Stockholm sum up if you like to visit historical sites, to cruise around the islands… With help of our travel companion we identified – beforehand – quite a lot of attraction worth a visit – & decided to do the Stockholm Pass because even a rough estimate was for it. (It was – also we didn’t need to queue up at the cashpoints… In addition the public transport option meant that we didn’t need to care about travel zones & convenient coins…)
Therefore we did sightseeing Stockholm to the full!
Let’s start w/ the palaces in & around Stockholm!
Sweden is a living monarchy & all the royal insignia is around – even on garden pottery.
The royal palace in Stockholm is a honey pot for tourists. It’s not only a remarkable building (w/ about 600 rooms!), but is used today for any (royal or non-royal) state visits & royal state receptions & royal state dinners as well as for royal administration.
There is also a museum in the basement vault (the Tre Kronor Museum) displaying the development of the palace (from Tre Kronor castle to today’s palace) including the „big fire“ about 300 years ago which destroyed the old palace & laid the foundation for today’s new palace. The silver throne was one of the few antiques to be saved from the fire.
(Coming back to the entry fees:
You are charged for entry to the palace & you are charged for entry of the museum in the basement.)
Near the royal palace you’ll also find Stockholm’s oldest church housing the coffins of almost all Swedish kings & queens. (There’s also an entry fee (!) – however: enough said about entry fees…)
We visited Drottninghom, another royal palace near Stockholm. You best get there by boarding a ship which brings you within an hour to the palace – on the way you may notice the swift change from city to countryside.
Drottningholm (in Swedish: drottning means queen!) is the official domicile of the Swedish royal family i. e. king & queen (the children have their own palaces & mansions…). Besides it’s an interesting glamorous palace visited by lots of tourists – as we were. In addition also Drottningholm is used for state visits, state receptions & state dinners. (In this case access to Drottningholm is limited…).
Well: we didn’t meet – just by chance – any royal family. I think that their very private home isn’t in Drottningholm’s main building, but somewhere nearby.
There is an overwhelming garden stretching behind the palace. (Somehow it reminds me of Versailles…)
…from the garden…
…& even from deeper in the garden…
Finally – after walking for about 30 min away from the palace there is the Chinese Pavilion – a small pleasure palace once a birthday gift from king to queen in a past century.
This (above) is only an annexe to the main Chinese palace (below). All is done in the same colors, the same style – all is symmetrically set up w/ great efforts.
There are more palaces in & near Stockholm, but we decided to focus also on Stockholm’s island paradise. (No: we hadn’t enough time to do an excursion into the archipelago – maybe we’ll be back for such an island hopping in near future!)
Stockholm sprawls on islands – lots of islands. It’s astonishing, but there aren’t any channels like the canali in Venice. If you start a cruise you’ll always cruising around the islands.
Some views of the main waterside around city centre:
…& then there is Gamla Stan – the old town centre around the royal palace w/ narrow cobblestone alleys – full of tourists, high small houses, restaurants & cafés & coffeeshops & brasseries & bistros & whatever – full of tourists… however always a pleasure to get a place outdoors & sip a revitalizing espresso w/ a slice of delicious cake…
(Nevertheless we managed to capture some photos w/o tourists…)
This today’s three-master was moored near city centre & the royal palace…
… an interesting comparison to the Vasa which sank immediately when sliding into the water about 400 years ago. The Vasa was built exactly here… sank & was hauled out of the water & restored – like a big 3-dimensional puzzle!
The Vasa was 69 m long, 12 m wide & almost 52 m high. About 430 people should have sailed on it…
(It’s commonly believed that the ship was far too heavy (too many cannons!) & top-side imbalanced & too narrow for any successful journey.)
These are wooden figures restored to display their former colourful beauty.
…& there is also a Vasa model in the museum…
When walking around the Vasa on several levels you tend to lose the overview… somehow… The model adjusts the view!
There are lions!
We had a top long weekend in Stockholm!
This post doesn’t reveal all our activities – only the highlights! There’s a lot of stuff to be done, to be visited, to be experienced…
To be honest we were active all day long starting w/ some coffee & roll for breakfast, grabbing some open-faced shrimp sandwiches for lunch & being tired & footsore in the evening… We just made it to the next Wagamama (pls refer to my cookbooks) or so…
Last, but not least:
My signature drink in Stockholm!
It’s a Thyme Collins made of:
- thyme-infused liqueur
- lemon juice
- thyme for garnish.
It’s refreshing – somewhat sweet, somewhat sour, somewhat bitter: a summer cocktail!
Once again our reliable travel companion:*