They’re back! Honestly we are seeing more of these guys now in Europe than we ever did when they lived upstairs from us in Boston. Our one bedroom Airbnb’s are within a mile of each other here in Södermalm making it easy to meet up. Of course we are talking about Andrew and Henry, our friends from Berlin. They arrived late in the day on August 2 and we met them for Tapas at a local restaurant. The next day we took a boat trip to Drottningholm Palace which is the residence of the current Swedish Royals who moved there in 1981.
It is a UNESCO world heritage site that was built in the 17th century and it is the best preserved Swedish castle.
The young female tour guide was as fascinating as the tour itself. She seemed to be new at the job and quite insecure with her historic information. Her deliverance was slow and deliberate often ending it by saying “and that’s just the way it was back then”. It was amusing for us listening to her.
After the palace tour we opted to forego the self guided garden tour due to the extreme heat and humidity. The boat trip was an hour each way on a charming old river boat. The best place to sit was in the dining room which was comfortable and gave great views out both sides of the boat.
Unfortunately you could not sit in the dining room without dining so we had a meal and a glass of wine going both ways. Food was expensive and not very good, but it was worth it for the ambiance. We ended the day with a ride in the Ericsson Globe Skyview glass gondola which takes you up and across the roof of the worlds largest spherical building for beautiful views of Stockholm. It was rather warm in the glass enclosure and the ride was slow. Probably not worth the time unless you are in the area and have a free pass which we did. The next day we went to a vintage leather store that Andrew was hot on seeing but the only purchase made was a beautiful suede jacket for Sandy. We had an outdoor lunch at a nearby Vietnamese Restaurant then went to watch the Stockholm Gay Pride Parade. On August 5 we visited the Vasa Museum. The museum houses the Swedish warship Vasa which was built in 1626-28. It sank in the middle of Stockholm harbor August 10 1628 on its maiden voyage after sailing a mere 1400 yards. The ships demise was due to its poor design, one meter too short in width and 64 cannons on board which made it top-heavy and very unstable. It sat at the bottom of the sea for 333 years until it was located in the 1950’s. In 1961 it was salvaged and restored to a state approaching its original glory. Thousands of artifacts and the remains of 15 people were found and are on display in the museum. 98% of the ship was found intact due to the cold brackish waters of the Baltic Sea. This is a must see museum for anyone traveling to Stockholm.
Our number one recommendation in Stockholm from all four of us is to tour Stockholm’s City Hall which sits along the water. The construction of this impressive medieval looking building took 12 years to complete in 1923. Nearly 8 million bricks were provided by a local brick factory and were individually scuffed up to make them look old. It is built around two open spaces, a piazza called Borgargarden on the eastern side and the blue hall on the west which is known as the dining hall used for the banquet held after the Nobel Prize Awards. The City Hall of Stockholm can only be visited by guided tours which are offered in several languages every hour.
After this tour we took a walk along the bay admiring the boats and architecture of the city. We had lunch at a lovely waterfront restaurant before saying goodby to our favorite stalkers.