We were up earlyish yesterday to watch the ships progress toward the port of Stockholm. It has to be one of the prettiest routes into port on any cruise stop ever. Stockholm is spread over 14 main islands, several thousand islets, and is surrounded by the Baltic sea and Lake Malaren. The journey to port gave us close up views of some of these islands and islets. Idyllic looking houses nestled amongst the forests which covered much of the landscape and some homes which were perched right up to the waterline. It looked like an amazing place to live but you would need a boat to get around and it would be fairly lonely at times I imagine.
Once we had docked, we decided to walk to the city....this was, in hindsight, a possible error of judgement on all of our parts. The official line was that it was roughly a 2km walk to the city. That did not factor in what felt like a 2km walk to get out of the port!...not an interesting walk by any stretch of the imagination
The walk to the city, once out of the port, ended up being closer to 3 and a half km and, aside from a stretch which took in a nice scenic park, there was not an awful lot to see and it did feel a bit too far...we probably should have taken the shuttle bus but at least we did make the effort.
once in the town it was really beautiful and we all enjoyed walking around the cobble stone streets. There were lots and lots of tourist shops....some of them were a little generic but still interesting and we found flags and thimbles with no issues at all. Stockholm old town is a real picturesque gem and the narrow streets with colourful old buildings on either side made for a charming old wordly atmosphere. The Royal palace was as you would expect....grand, larger than life and the little guards stood on sentry at various posts reminded us of Buckingham Palace.
We stopped off for teas and coffees in a small cafe and sat outside so that we could continue to soak up the atmosphere. Gary then decided to tip the table up and i ended up wearing half my coffee in my lap. He is a clumsy old chimp!
Once we had wandered around the old town we headed back on a route which took us through the new town....here you could find boutiques and modern shops much like in any city centre. The buildings were all in keeping with the area though. You could spend more time in Stockolm than we had that is for sure. Having decided we could walk back rather than get a taxi or bus, we trecked on in the direction of the port. It was a slightly more interesting walk back as we took the route through the new part of the city but still.....a long old treck! We ended up walking almost 12 miles yesterday. It doesn't sound that much but the cobbled streets are tough on the feet and i feel every one of those miles in my right knee today!
I lost count of the amount of times Barbara said "oh dear" as we walked....it did feel a long old way.
Once back on board we had a well earned rest at Crooners before heading down to dinner a little bit earlier than usual. Dave and I had prime position at crooners after dinner as we were facing the windows. With the late sunset, our entire route out of port was in daylight and we got to experience viewing all the little islands with their tiny houses dotted about again. Because our ship is so large and the route is precarious, we had to have a pilot on board to guide the captain through the waters. The scenary reminded us a bit of when we navigated through the Panama Canal....different temperature but equally as stunning! It was coat hat and scarf weather yesterday in Stockholm but at least it did remain dry.
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