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Published: November 7th 2007
Changing of the guard at Kungliga Slottet, Stockholm.
Life in a van, life in a camperrrrrvan, la le la…..sounds like a song! (Or we have been on the bottle again). Well it has now been 6 weeks living in the van and we have become real campervan people…now to be known as (alias) Fred and Dora Brown. Not sure if that is a good thing or not. Anyway be that as it may we are having an absolute ball with the freedom that this lifestyle presents. We started out planning at least 3 days ahead, this became 1 day and now well we decide when we wake up if we should move on or not! Although please do not get us wrong we have a rough idea of where we are heading, of sorts.
Vikings, Volvos, blondes, Abba and Ikea, yes this is Sweden and contrary to belief not everyone is blond and yes we do have Abba on our Ipods, don’t you! Come on, admit it!
Having landed at Kapelskarr (sounds like an invasion) we headed straight for Stockholm.
Scattered across a series of islands, Stockholm is surely one of the world’s most beautiful capitals! It boasts a rich cultural heritage over its 750-year history and
Rob lurking in Gamla Stan
The old town in Stockholm.
has become a modern and sophisticated metropolis.
We first visited the old town (Gamla Stan) and then headed to the palace, Kungliga Slottet, where we went and checked out the state rooms and watched the changing of the guard, which was very impressive. Apparently the teenage boys have to complete 1 year of compulsory military training after they finish school.
The City Hall Tower, Stadshustornet, is an awesome place to view the city, however only after we had climbed 365 steps could we appreciate the view and it was impressive as you could see the mix of old and new.
The centrepiece of the city’s most popular museum is the massive royal warship the Vassa. It capsized in Stockholm harbour on its maiden voyage in 1628 after only 20 minutes, yes only 20 min, some shipbuilders in those days. She was rediscovered and brought to the surface in 1956 and was 95% intact, the waters are not salty unlike some of the other oceans which meant that she did not rot away. She is a magnificent site with her 700 sculptures and carvings. More than 24,000 objects have been salvaged including sails (which must be the oldest in the
View from Tower at City Hall also Stockholm.
world), coins, butter and rum. Imagine a vintage of over 450 years…. that must be strong! We have never seen a boat this old and what a spectacular site, so if you ever visit Stockholm and you only see one thing, then let this be it.
Before we left Stockholm we visited Drottingholm Palace, the home of the Swedish Royal family. Well they were not in so we could not stop for tea however we did have a peek around. Another grand place and especially the library, check out the sneaky pic that was taken without the officials noticing.
From here we made our way down to the Lake Districts and we stopped in at Mariestad where we free camped for the night at a picnic spot. That’s the best part is to stop anywhere and it’s free. There is an old Cathedral in Mariestad which was built in the late 1500’s and is one of the last Renaissance churches left in Sweden.
Next stop was Kalmar and a visit to Lacko Slott castle just outside Lidkoping. Again it was a fairly impressive on the outside, but not that great on the inside plus our tour was
Mugshot of the mugs in the main shopping avenue, good thing you can not see all Wendys bags.
in Swedish so we had to read the English brochure and we were not even shown the whole castle, just a few rooms. Cheapskates!
Our last castle we saw was in Kalmar, aptly named Kalmar castle (funny that). We cycled into the village from our campsite and then to the castle. It has changed much through the ages; for defence from pirates a tower and keep was built in 1180. At the end of the 13th century a fortress with a ring wall and defence towers was build around the old keep and was considered at the time the most modern fortress in Sweden. In the 16th century the castle got its present appearance, the medieval fortress was transformed into a renaissance palace. We at least got to see the insides and it was very impressive, especially compared to the last castle.
The final task before we left Sweden was to try out the hotdogs from the home of Ikea, sad or what! In all honesty the dogs were great, much better than in the UK. Task completed it was time to venture forth.
We found the Swedes to be a very proud nation and even the
Vassa in all her glory!
The warship built in 1628.
chevron boards are in their colours of blue and yellow, patriotic or what!
Well that’s far too much culture from one country, especially for us.
So time to head back into Denmark, to discover the parts we had not seen yet and of course….. more schnapps and beer. And for good measure another ferry, this time from Helsingborg to Helsingor (you could not have made that one up).
Hej Da (goodbye)
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