|View of Stockholm|
David, Tessa and I arose early and headed across the island to catch the 6.30 ferry into Stockholm. From our island, Eckholmn, it takes about two hours of cruising with a number of stops to collect other passengers. It was the perfect opportunity to admire more of the islands and get a great view of Stockholm from the water.
There's something special about arriving in a large city in that relaxed calm atmosphere rather than the usual hustle and bustle of high intensity as I attempt to drive into the city centre and find parks etc. Never a calm easy time in our car!!!
We arrive at Stromkajen, very central and whats more, a tame tour guide - the best recipe!
|Royal Dramatic Theatre|
Perfect touring temperature, walking shoes on, camera out and ready to get as much as we can done in eight hours.
|Tessa and author - Astrid Lindgren|
Stockholm is a magnificent city, the largest in Sweden with a population of about two million people (that takes in the surrounding vicinities). It is made up of fourteen islands, connected by fifty bridges on Lake Malaren with over 30% of the city being made up of waterways and another 30% of green spaces. The city is full of wonderful rich cultural history, diverse architecture and big solid buildings.
I love the soft muted colours of many of the buildings, often very grand
First stop was the famous Vasa Museum - probably the most visited spot in Stockholm. I have never seen so many tour buses parked outside a venue before.
This houses the Vasa, the magnificent battleship of King Gustavus of Sweden which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. At the time of building it was the biggest and most elaborate of its kind, but sadly the boatbuilder was not strong enough to keep to his own specifications and the King had a little too much influence in what he desired. It only sailed for thirty minutes before capsizing and sinking with hundreds of casualties.
It was rediscovered in the 1950's and the wreck was painstakingly raised from the sea bed in over 18 different pieces. April 1961 saw the final lift and the whole ship resurfaced and installed in this fascinating museum. From then on it has been slowly and meticulously restored to what is almost 93% of its original glory. What makes this such a unique art treasure as its the only 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged. And what an amazing job they have done and the story that has been told.
Skansen, the seventy five acre open air museum was next. Founded in 1891 it was the first of its type in the world. They have recreated 19th century Swedish life and we got a chance to see the traditional rural culture.
A wonderful collection of historic building that have been transported, piece by piece, from all parts of the country and carefully reconstructed. The volunteers/actors are dressed authentically and displaying the old crafting methods, lifestyle or professions and are happy to explain and converse with you. An ideal place to bring the children to learn about their cultural heritage, but a delightful way for us to learn a little more about life outside Stockholm.
|Great Grey Owl|
A large part of it is also animal's native to Scandinavia like moose, brown bears, wolves, lynx, reindeer, bison, grey seal, otter, red fox and wolverine.
|Lynx (at a distance)|
|The elusive Reindeer|
We spent a few hours in Gamla Stan, the old town, Stockholm's medieval city centre. A lively place, free of cars, with people spilling out onto the narrow cobbled streets, wonderful outdoor cafes, restaurants and bars, live music and even horse and carriages somehow managing to make their way through it all.
|Tessa and Nick wandering through Gamla Stan|
We sat, relaxed, did what we do best,enjoyed a great coffee and watched the world go by. I loved the variety of boutique type shops with everything from clothing, souvenirs, handicrafts nicknacks, interior design and art galleries.
Then meandered through the charming streets and alleyways admiring the beautifully preserved buildings ( the wonderful muted colours of mustard and gold) then visited the Cathedral, Royal Palace and Parliament Buildings.
Back on the ferry and headed home with one last view of glorious Stockholm.
|View as we leave|