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Published: December 8th 2013
This morning we had breakfast in Elizabeth and Sven's dining room overlooking rooftops lightly covered with snow. It was lovely to look out onto from the warmth of indoors! We weren't sure it would be quite so lovely when we headed off to catch the bus because the temperature outside was -9°.
Fortunately we didn't have to wait too long for the No 76 bus. Bernie flashed our Stockholm Cards at the driver and he nodded us through. We disembarked at Skeppsbron believing that we could take the ferry from there to Djurgärden to visit the ABBA Museum. But no, the dude on the ticket booth said the card wasn't valid. So we went back to the bus thinking that it is a flaw in the system if you can only validate the Stockholm Card at a museum, but you need to take public transport to get to a museum to validate the card?
Back on the bus we went to Strandvärgen then walked across the bridge to the island of Djurgärden and then followed the signs to the ABBA Museum. It was a bit of a rigmarole getting into the museum. Take a ticket to get in the
queue to buy your tickets (seriously!), then buy your tickets with a timed entry on them, browse the gift shop waiting for your allotted time and then, finally, enter the museum! Once in the museum though, you could stay as long as you liked.
For some reason I thought the museum would be bigger. Or maybe it just felt small because it was so crowded? Goodness knows what it would have been like over the summer?! The museum was interesting and I enjoyed the back stories on Anna, Frida, Benny and Bjorn. I also liked how many of the behind the scenes people - costume designers, make-up artists, musicians and video producers - were included in the museum. I was disappointed though that the costumes on display somehow lacked the glamour and vibrancy that they had in the video clips. I guess it's a lighting thing?? I know I went to two costume exhibitions in Melbourne this year (Geoffrey Rush and the Hollywood Costumes exhibitions) and those also seemed drab compared with how they looked on stage and film. The best thing was that a museum featuring pop culture made a welcome change from castles, palaces and Crown Jewels!
While we were on Djurgärden Island we popped into the Skansen Museum so that our Stockholm Cards could be validated. Skansen is an open air museum that features dwellings and farms, traditions, food and animals originating in Sweden and the Nordic region. We didn't really want to visit it (too cold!), but we needed to get our stupid Stockholm Cards validated. Pretty unconvinced that these have been a wise purchase at this stage.
Next we headed to the ferry terminal to have a go at catching the ferry from Djurgärden back to Strandvärgen. This was still a no go as we were rather rudely told that the Stockholm Card can't be used for the ferry. This is despite the fact that the card comes with a brochure that states that it provides 'Free public transport. Unlimited number of free trips on subways, buses, commuter trains, trams and boats
with Stockholm Public Transport - SL'. If the ferry we were trying to catch wasn't an SL boat would it have hurt to direct us to the SL ferry terminal? The Copenhagen Card was much more user friendly or maybe it was the Danish people who were more friendly???
We caught the tram instead to Kungsträdgården and then walked past the Operan and across the bridge onto the island of Gamla Stan. We followed the signs towards the Palace Apartments and eventually found the ticket booth only to be told that the Stockholm Card was good for entry straight into the apartments we didn't need to enter via the ticket booth. Aaargh, there needs to be an international standard set for how tourist cards will operate!!
So the guy in the ticket booth told us that the entrance to the Royal Apartments was across the courtyard. We took this literally and went out and started to head across the courtyard. OMG, we got two thirds of the way across and this guard leapt towards us with his hand held up and yelled HALT!! We nearly had a heart attack. And obviously his only job is to yell HALT! at people who are heading in the wrong direction, it's not part of his job description to point them in the right direction. Really finding the Swedes to be exceedingly rude and unhelpful and much scarier than Germans! Who would have thought?
Almost too scared to move, in case
we went somewhere else we weren't supposed to, we looked around for some indication as to exactly where the entry to the Royal Apartments was. Hmmn, what the guy in the ticket booth should have said was go out of this building and go over to the building on the right hand side of the courtyard.
We finally entered the Royal Apartments and explored the rooms that are open to the public. Another point against the Swedes - no photography allowed. At the Rosenborg Castle and Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen photography wasn't a problem so why is it a problem here? It seems a bit precious.
Our next stop was the Treasury. Ho hum more Crown Jewels! No photography here either.
Even though it was dark by this stage we decided to explore the streets of Gamla Stan since it is the oldest part of the city. Before long we had found another Christmas market. With the temperature below zero it seemed like a good excuse for a glögg ... a big one! Just to warm up of course.
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