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Published: August 8th 2009
The ferry was as large as some cruise ships, with restaurant, cafeteria, snack bar, a casino and shops. The ride is smooth and I didn't notice are moving for about half an hour after the sail time. I have a streak of good fortune as my 4 bunk cabin is all mine. I am on deck 7 the 2 decks above are the sun decks with bars. The food is located right down the hall from my cabin. It was an easy journey and I have no trouble sleeping on boats as I found out in Greece. I spend some time on the upper deck then go below and read for a while then off to dreamland.
The ferry docked at 13:00 and the only way to catch the train to Stockholm is to walk to the nearest town just about ½ kilometer away. The Ferry Port is located a good distance from Stockholm and it take a little over an hour to get to the central station. From there I take a taxi to my hotel. It is just up from the Metro line and about a 30 min. walk from the Old Town. The
hotel sits at the top of a little hill and is located right in the middle of a park. The setting is nice that is about all I can say good about it. I was shocked to see my room, it looks like a prison cell without the seatless toilet. It is so small that only 2 twin beds sitting right next to each other can fit in the width of the room. There is only space for a small desk/chair and a place on the floor for my luggage. The shower and toilets are down the hall. I have stayed in many hostels but this is the smallest ever!!!!!!!
I have been told that Sweden is expensive now I can see that for my self. I am paying a small fortune for this cell block, with NO WINDOWS and no air, I might add, but I do successfully plead for a fan. I told the receptionists that I would die in that room without air circulation. The only good thing I can say about the room is that the beds are super soft. But, regardless, I am signed, sealed and delivered here by the Polish travel agent that
made my arrangements. This is why I hate to prepay for accommodations. The way she describe the place was far different than it really is but no way to go back on her.
With nothing to do or nothing I can change about the room I drop off my stuff and head off toward the Old Town. I have to say that I am finding that Stockholm is not tourist friendly. There was no information booth at the central station other than to sell tickets and I wasn't able to find any in the Old Town other than those places selling tours. Nothing noted on the maps I have been given.
I haven't eaten since this morning on the boat of a sweet roll and 1 scrambled egg. So it's about 4:30 and I grab a sausage and coke at the street vendors before taking a sight seeing cruise around the city.
After the tour I go back to the hostel to blog and plan my next day.
I set out today to discover the city on my own. I plan to stop at the central station and buy my ticket for my
LITTLE HOUSE OF HORRORS
no, it's just my hotel.
next destination and then I walk the areas that I saw from the boat last evening.
Stockholm city is made up of 14 islands linked with 57 bridges. It is a member of the European Union but retains it's own currency the Korna. Life here is very good they have socialize medicine, retirement at 61, Maternity/paternity leave for 1.5 years and the life expectancy for men is 87 and women 92. Don't move yet -- the taxes are high, the cost of living is high and it snows a lot here!
Sweden has not been involved in any armed conflict since fighting Napoleon in 1814. But when touring the Royal Palace and the Royal Apartments I noticed that the king sure has a lot of medals, ribbons, button and bows for his ceremonial attire (no offensive to monarchy nations). I do understand that most people love their Royal Families.
The Palace is a splendid and ornately decorated with gold, silver and rich tapestries. Sorry no pics allowed. The place and is well preserved and cared for, and befitting any King. And this is only 1 of the ten palaces
throughout the country. This one in the city
THE ROYAL PALACE
One of ten royal palaces
has burnt down twice and rebuilt.
I was also able to tour the palace basements in a medieval history museum called the Tre Kronor. The highlight of course was watching the changing of the guard. This is just not one or two people it is a whole unit that is being replaced. All of the units throughout the country take turn serving as the guards for the Palace. They have been guarding the Palace since 1523.
Riddarholm Church is where many of the Swedish Kings and Royalty are buried.
Was once a Catholic Church until the Reformation thenbBecame a Lutheran Church, now it is a museum.
Slussen and Hammarby Locks are those canal locks between the Baltic Sea and Lake Malaren. The water levels are different and the water very turbulent. You can see the kayakers test there skills on the white white and swift currents.
City Hall appears to be a huge building until you find out that there is a huge inner courtyard The large tower is topped with 3 gold crowns a symbol of Sweden. This is the building that houses the Nobel Banquet in the Blue Hall. One of the requirement is
Burial Place for the Kings of Sweden for centuries.
that each winner sits next to royalty. Alfred Nobel lived and worked here in Stockholm. His laboratory exploded once killing his brother and several workers. He discovered TNT and it is from the profits of that discovery that funds the prize money given out.
After all of my wanderings today and on my way back to the hotel I run into the Tourist Information Office. It is a huge office giving information, selling touristy things and has an internet cafe. Close to the Central Station but not that close.
Even though I have paid an enormous sum to stay here another night I have decided to move on to my next destination by taking the night bus.
Wish me pleasant dreams on my night bus!!