Will It Ever Stop Raining

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May 27th 2016
Published: June 13th 2017
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We awoke this morning hoping that we would be so fortunate as to see the sun today. My first look out the window this morning shattered those hopes. It was another drizzly morning as we ventured back over to the Gamla Stan with a plan of checking out the Nobel Museum. As soon as we got off the metro stop, we noticed a free tour gathering so with no concrete plans, we decided to join in. Our free tour guide was a Ukranian girl living in Stockholm for a few years and as we all opened up our umbrellas, we were off on our walking tour of Stockholm. We walked through the Gamla Stan heading towards the Parliament House. With it's impressive architecture, and beautiful surrounding gardens, the Parliament House lies right in between the Old Town and the New Town. Our guide stopped here for about 15 minutes to provide some information but I was more interested in just admiring the architecture. Crossing the bridge into the new town, we made our way to St. James Church where our guide gave us a brief description and gave us some time to have a look inside. From here our guide, brought us over to Kungstradgarden, one of the more popular parks in all of Stockholm. The park was busy with activity so as our guide proceeded to provide some commentary, I was more interested in watching the school children play and admiring the beautifully arranged flowers. With the rain starting to intensify, we made our way over to Norrmalmstorg, our final stop of the free tour. Our guide explained to us that one of the buildings here in the square was the scene of the hostage standoff where the victims started to sympathize with their captors, a mind-set that would later be deemed Stockholm Syndrome. As the tour concluded and we gave our tips to the guide, the rain started to come down in torrents. We took refuge in a nearby McDonalds which was starting to get quite crowded with the lunch crowd and others trying to escape the downpour.

Once the rain let up, we made our way back towards the Gamla Stan to the Royal Palace with the intentions of seeing the changing of the guard. As we neared the Royal Palace, the daily military procession marched past us just in front of the Parliament Building on their way to perform their changing of the guard ceremonies. From here we made our way back into the heart of the Gamla stan over to the shops along Vasterlanggatan. Being that today was our last full day in Stockholm, we needed to pick up a few gifts for friends and family back home. After shopping for the typical tourist crap, we made our way back to the hotel for a bit of a rest but not before having a late lunch at Jensen's Bofhuis which specialized in huge American style burgers. For later this evening, I had booked a Stockholm Ghost Walk tour via Viator. At a cost of $27 per person, this 2 hour walking tour of the Gamla Stan would show us some of the more "spookier" and "seedier" aspects of the Old Town. At 6:30pm, we met at Jarntorget, a square on the Southern end of the Gamla Stan where we met our tour consisting of about 50 people. Walking down the cobblestone streets of the Gamla Stan, our tour guide dressed the part and even had a lighted lantern. He guided us through narrow alleys and hidden courtyards while stopping periodically to give us an interesting and humorous "spooky" story. One of the courtyards we wandered through behind the Finnish Church, brought us to a statue called Jarnpojke, the smallest statue in Stockholm. From here, the tour brought us to the Royal Palace and then eventually back to Stortorget in front of the Nobel Museum. Finally, our tour guide lead us back to Stockholm Ghost Tours' main storefront where we were all lead down into a dark basement for one final spooky Stockholm tale.

After the Ghost Tour, we returned back to our hotel to freshen up before having dinner and then making our way over to Stockholm's Ice Bar. Located in the Nordic C Hotel near the Central Station, the Ice Bar is your typical bar that has become quite common in popular tourist cities where the gimmick is freezing temperatures, glasses made of ice, and parkas for the patrons to wear. There was no line to get in so we paid our overpriced entrance fee, donned our parkas and ventured inside. As with other ice bars I have been to in the past, it was a small place with various ice sculptures and seating areas also made of ice. After obtaining our complimentary drinks, we wandered around taking our obligatory photos before eventurally tiring of the place after about 20 minutes. Wandering around the Nordic C Hotel, we decided to cap off our night and our last night in Stockholm with a few beers in the hotel's trendy bar.

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