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Published: July 26th 2014
Stockholm Sweden 20-22 July 2014
Having left the beautiful city of Copenhagen at around 10.00am, we drove along the coast to see the city beaches. There were a lot of people enjoying the warm weather. In some places, where the sand was narrow, there was plenty of grass for people to lounge around on.
After getting diesel, we drove onto the car ferry between Helsinger to Helsingborg, which we had been on before when we drove up the western coast of Sweden.
After heading NE, we called into Jonkoping which is on the southern tip of the very big Vanern Lake. We were certainly starting to see some of the many lakes that Sweden has, particularly in southern and central Sweden. Jonkoping has a big river flowing through it, which flows out to the lake. There were lots of restaurants and boat cruises along the river.
We then drove to Linkoping which has an enormous, copper-roofed cathedral with its 107m spire which is a landmark of the city and one of Sweden's oldest and largest churches. It also has the Kinda Canal which is 90kms long, with 15 locks, including Sweden's deepest. It is however, upstaged by
the close-by Gota Canal which we went to see next. The Gota Canal is 614 km, linking a number of lakes and rivers to provide a route from Gothenburg on the west coast to Söderköping on the Baltic Sea.
We then headed towards Norrköping, but decided to pull into a roadside stop for the night. These stops are great, with WiFi, restaurant and toilets. We don't get electricity which doesn't matter as we are self sufficient. This spot was surrounded by farmland which was beautiful.
The next day was Saturday so by the time we got to Norrköping, the town of 88,000 people were either home or by the river that flowed through the city. There were trams used in the city and the wide streets were lined with eclectic architecture buildings. It was very attractive, and therefore interesting to drive through.
Our aim today however, was to get to Stockholm, which we did by lunch time. There was a campsite about 2.5 kms from the city centre so we headed for that. Wow, when we got there it was like Rundle Street (as Adeladians say!). We could hardly move as there were so many motor homes
arriving. We booked in and there were about another 15 motor homes behind us. The bathroom facilities were basic but it had all we needed. They only took motor homes - not caravans or tents.
The camp site was next to one of the canals and was lined by private boats. We learned that mooring costs nothing in Stockholm and 1 in 3 people own boats in Stockholm.
Once hooked up to power, we got our bikes down and rode for 10 minutes into the city. We locked out bikes up on the edge of the old town (Gamla Stan) and then walked around seeing an island with great waterfront views, the northern part of the Old Town is dominated by the Royal Palace and the Swedish Parliament. The rest of the island is a picturesque collection of old buildings and narrow cobblestone streets. The adjacent island Riddarholmen holds a church and several old government buildings.
From there we walked further to the newer area where we saw extensive shopping malls, a market area, which was outside the Theatre. When we got to the Theatre, there was a concert that was just about to start so we
sat down and listened to a group of 5 sing (3 young girls and 2 blokes). Their harmonising was something to hear. They were fantastic.
Stockholm is the largest city of Sweden, with nearly 2 million inhabitants within its vicinities. The inner city is made up of 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren, which flows into the brackish Baltic Sea, and passes the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands and islets.
The city is a cosmopolitan place with both classical and modern architecture, as well as the Old Town. Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways, and another 30% is made up of green spaces. Air quality is 3rd best of the European capitals - behind Berlin and Copenhagen.
Because the city was made up of so much water, we decided on taking the 1 & 3/4 hour canal, bridges and islands cruise. It was wonderful, and so relaxing. It was such a good cruise. We even went through a lock which controls the water from the main lake out to the sea. We saw many of the city sites, including City Hall, with its spire featuring the golden
Three Crowns, which is one of the most famous silhouettes in Stockholm.
After that, we rode our bikes back to the camp site, had a cold drink, then went to dinner in the local jail!!! Yes, well it used to be a jail until 1975. It is next to our camp site. It is now a hotel, restaurant, and museum. We had a light dinner and cold beer and returned home to catch up on some blogging and other computer work.
§ The next morning, after trying unsuccessfully for an hour to book our motor home in for a services, (summer holidays period is so busy) we hopped on our bikes and headed for the Vasa Museum. The Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world, and a unique art treasure. More than 95 percent of the ship is original, and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures.
Vasamuseet has been built around the spectacular but ill fated warship 'Vasa'. It sank in the Stockholm harbour shortly after its launch in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later. The Vasa Museum provides an unsurpassed insight into marine and every life almost 400 years ago.
We then visited Skansen
which is a large open air museum, and is the oldest open-air museum in the world. It is also the site of the Stockholm zoo showcasing Swedish fauna
(moose, bear, wolf, lynx, reindeer, seal etc.) as well as hands on displays of Sweden's cultural heritage. It is positioned in a beautiful location on Royal Djurgården and has a view over all of Stockholm.
Next was a visit to the Nordiska Museet which has a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions presenting Swedish history and cultural heritage. Nordiska museet is home to over one and a half million exhibits, including exclusive items and everyday objects, all with their own unique history. As you walk through the front door up the beautiful stairs, you are hit by this massive statue of King Vasa. Gustav I, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and later known as Gustav Vasa. He lead the Swedish religious reformation from Roman Catholic to Protestant and is widely celebrated throughout Sweden.
There is a Stripes exhibition in the Nordiska which was quite unusual. What a stripe means is very much linked to where, when and how it is used. They had multiple section of stripy things.
Another section was of home interiors featuring table settings from the 16th century to circa 1950: tables for banquets, coffee and tea parties, and
tables for aperitifs and aquavit – all were on display in this exhibition. Another exhibition was fashion through the centuries and yes the 70s fashions were unique but perhaps the ugly era!!
We had seen so much and was riding our bikes from site to site, it was time to sit down and have a lovely cold beer, listening to some fantastic music being played by a DJ. Everywhere we went, it was next to or near water. It was very pleasant.
From here we went to the ABBA Museum....well they ARE Swedish after all. We didn't go inside but wandered around the front section and listened to the music that was being played.
§ Next was the Royal Palace
and Treasury which is one of the largest palaces in Europe! The Royal Palace is the official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden, with over 600 rooms.
The Royal Jewels are also displayed there. The Royal Chapel was also inside the complex.
We then caught the Metro to the SkyView. This is the world-class attraction that takes you to the top of the world’s largest spherical building, the Ericsson Globe, a Stockholm landmark.
The are 2 spheres which go up to the top. The whole experience takes about 40 minutes. It was a spectacular view and the low sun was shining on all the buildings of the city. We saw the large sporting arena which was next door to the Sky
Wow, what a day. We hopped back onto the Metro and found a restaurant by the water to have dinner...with Champaign.
Mentioning the Metro, the subways have a lot of art in them so it's like going to an art gallery when you catch the metro.
After dinner we then rode our bikes back to our motor home and a lovely well-earned shower. It had been a hot day. The local Swedish people had commented on what a fantastic summer they were having...now, as in June it was raining.
The next morning , as we drove out of the city, we both said that this city is different to Copenhagen and so it is unfair to compare. However, we LOVED IT!! The water, the buildings, the history, the multitude of museums, theme parks and lots of things to do. Art, sport, entertainment, shopping, theatre etc. etc. And it was a very easy city to get around. Oh, I love the bike system in Europe.
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