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Published: July 12th 2008
We arrived in Stockholm early in the morning after our night train from Oslo. We locked up our luggage in lockers and headed off to Gamla Stan via Riksdaghuset with Andy in tow. It was great wandering around Gamla Stan, Stcokholm's old town, with no tourists because it was too early for them. We bought tickets for Kunliga Slottet, the largest inhabited royal palace in the world with over 600 rooms, and waited for the 11 o'clock free guided tour. When we showed up, we found where the tourists had been hiding. The Royal Aprtments were great, lots of fancy furniture and gorgeous paintings, but it was like being a salmon heading upstream against the tourist hordes. We escaped after the tour to the Roayl treasury, which had some gorgeous crowns, as well as the Museum Tre Kronor, which explained the history of the palace, and the Gustav III antique gallery which had a lot of Roman antiquities. We then headed over to Nobelmuseet. It had some interesting exhibits on some prize winners, as well as an excellent display on some of the science prize winners in pictoral form. The only downside to the museum is that it didn't give a lot of info about the history of the prize or the past winners. Andy went off to his hostel, and we headed up to Kunliga Myntkabinet. It basically was one large vault with coins and medals and it showed the history of Swedish monetary activity. We went back to the hostel via Sergels Torg, which is the main square in Stockholm. The hostel is a bit like and underground bunker with skylights but much nicer, before heading out to a great viewpoint og the Old Town from Sodermalm.
We woke up early because we were planning on heading off to Uppsala, a city 40 minutes north of Stockholm. There were two people there that we knew. Sara was a friend of Peters, and one of the few overseas members of Team Goodness. Marcus was a friend of Kifs from Vancouver. We met them at the train station and then headed off to Gamla Uppsala. Gamla Uppsala is a series of Ancient Grave Mounds that they have excavated. They are about 1200 years old. We wandered around them for a bit, and then headed to the Old Town. The city is very mmuch the university town so there was a good vibe to the place. After lunch, we headed to the Domkyrka, which is the largest cathedral in Scandinavia. It had a beautifully painted ceiling, as well as the tomb of the first king of Sweden, Gustav Vasa. We went past the university afterwards, and then up to the Slott where there were great views back of the caathedral. It was off up there though becase the castle has many cannons...and they are all pointed at the cathedral for some reason. We then picked up a tent from Marcus, so now we have a place to sleep in Tampere (yay!) rather than the park bench we were anticipating, and jumped back on the train to Stockholm. We had caught a later train than we were expecting, so we booked it once we were bck in Stockholm so we could get to Vasamuseet before it closed. We were informed by the ticket lady that it would be more worthwhile if we came back the next day, so we just wandered around Djurgården for a bit. We went past Skansen and then Rosendals Slott before heading back to the hostel.
We went to couple of coin stores early the next day but we were unsuccessful in the quest for a Gustav Vasa riksdaler. We decided to catch a ferry out to the Fjäderholmarna, the Feather Islands, so we could relax a bit out in the archipelago. The island we were on was crowded, but we found a nice rock that no one was on. We found out wy no one was on it as soon s the first major boat wake came to shore. Peter had to move quite quickly as the chilly water came up and over the rock and splashed down on him. This happened a couple of more times, making sunbathing very difficult. For some reason, the spot got invaded by a couple of families so we packed up and headed back to Gamla Stan for lunch before heading to the Vasamuseet to meet Marcus who would be staying in Stockholm for a couple of days. Vasamuseet was fantastic! The Vasa was he flagship of the Swedish navy...until it capsized and sank 30 minutes after being launched in 1628. They have raised it fom the sea bed, and moved it indoors. It is incredibly well preserved and a marvel to look at. The museum is 7 floors, all built around the ship and all containing things found in the ship or things about the navy at the time. After the museum, we took the ferry back to Nybroplan and then back to the hostel. The three of us then went down to the waterfront and relaxed as the sun was going down.
We checked out of the hostel, chucked our stuff in lockers at the train station and then hiked over to the history museum. The museum had some really cool exhibits on the Vikings and had a huge room (read massive vault) full of gold and silver that had been made into jewelery or coins. We then went for a bit of a ferry ride...that did the milk run and did not take us where we wanted to go so we hopped on to another ferry that took us over to Skeppsholmen. Arkitekturmuseet and Modernamuseet were too expensive, so we just wandered back to Gamla Stan where we did a bit of shopping. Peter found Svenska Utifrån, his Swedish textbook, and it was actually more expensive than in Vancouver! We went past another viking store, and then we headed up to the train station so we could catch the train up to Märsta. On in Märsta, we met up with Bengt, Anne Marie and Erik, who are family friends of Kif. They live in Sigtuna, and we were going to stay with them for night. Bengt gave us a tour of the town, and then we headed back to their very nice house for a fabulous dinner. A fun fact about Sigtuna, the Chinese are so impressed by this old town they have built a replica of it in China! We don't get it either, but it was a fun little random fact. After the fabulous dinner Bengt had to go to work and Eric went to his friends to watch some movies so Anne Marie was lucky enough to see most of our photo's. Sorry we didn't get any posted here either, the website was not agreeing with us, we tried. We'll get more posted asap.
The next day we had a nice sleep in and a large and delicious leisurely breakfast out on the deck of the Lindsteins. We then grabbed some bikes and headed down to the main part of Sigtuna. Sigtun is one of Swedens oldest towns, it was founded 980....something. Very old and very beautiful. We biked to St.Pärs church which was a ruin of a church which was over 400 years old. Very nice and beautiful. Sigtuna was interesting as well since there are multiple ruin stone all over town which are well over 900 years old which are just on display. We came across one which was in a mans backyard and people are free to walk in and take a look. We also visited the ruins of St. Olofs church which had Marieskyrkan (a 13th century church) situated right beside it. Very nice and picturesque as well. Sorry again for not having any more pictures up, we'll get them soon!
We then headed back to The Lindsteins for a delicious falukorv lunch, quickly packed and headed back down to Stockholm. It was a short but great stay in Sigtuna but we had a ferry to Tallin to catch. New country, new language, new adventures which we'll tell you about...... later.
Things we have learned in Sweden (again):
-Swedish Hospitality is incredible.
-The slotts guards in Stockholm may jump/skip funny but they still have bayonets and guns so don't laugh
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