Stockholm : the capital of Scandinavia (Europe Trip 2017 Part 2)
1 SEK (Swedish Krona) = 0.15 AUD
After a 5 hour train ride from Copenhagen through the beautiful countryside, we finally arrived in Stockholm.
As soon we got out of train station, the first thing we noticed was that Stockholm appeared to be a much bigger city, more people, much more busier than Copenhagen. Our hotel was only a 5 min walk from the train station but since we had a lot of luggage, we decided to take a cab. It was a bit surprising that the cab driver refused to put the meter and asked us to pay SEK 250 (Swedish Krona) which is approximately 38.75 AUD for the trip. Since it was a long journey already, we decided to still take the cab.
We arrived at Sheraton and received a warm welcome from the staff, which was very refreshing. Although we did not have the sweet views like in Scandic, Copenhagen, we were still thrilled to check in and explore this beautiful city. So we headed out.
Walking through the Parliament house to reach the old town was pretty amazing. One of my favorite things about European cities is the stone paths. Although it is a bumpy ride in the car, it feels great to walk on these paths, like taking a walk down the memory lane imagining what possible stories would have uncovered on these roads.
So we reached the Palace gates and we had to climb a steep hill and I was surprised to see a group of people in wheelchairs struggling to get up this hill. Unfortunately there was no alternate entrance for the disabled. So I pushed one of them up the hill and it felt great to do that and roughly fit the book that I was reading at that time - The book of joy from Dalai Lama which emphasizes on generosity and compassion as a pathway to happiness.
This beautiful palace consists of more than 600 rooms spanning over 7 floors. Each room is decorated intricately. It oozes elegance and grandeur. The Royals no doubt had a luxurious life.
One of the white marble statues caught my attention in the palace. It was a beautiful statue of two lovers in an embrace.
It was finally time to leave this beautiful palace and head towards the center of the old town. This place is bustling with small cafes. We found a cute little place with lots of lovely flowers outside and facing the multi colored brick townhouses. Time for a cup of tea I think !
Our next destination was the Nobel Museum that displays information about Alfred Nobel and his life and also enlists information about all the Nobel laureates from 1901. It is a very inspiring place to visit. So much accomplishments by some incredibly talented people. There was a small movie theater filming the movies about the Nobel prize winners. What an incredible bunch of people !
That was all the time we had left for the day. All further explorations had to wait until we had our much needed sleep.
The next day we started early to visit the Vasa Museum and to avoid the long queues. Vasa Museum displays the 17th century warship that only sailed for 1500m and sank in a light wind on its maiden voyage. The story of this ship reminds me about failed software projects. Like Vasa, these start out with massive dreams and expectations costing a lot of money and time and fails to deliver at the deadline. What a parallelism between the two. Something that i intend to write about in some details soon.
Our next stop was the Sprit museum dedicated to the Absolut Vodka. Absolut Vodka is a brand of vodka, produced near Åhus, in southern Sweden. It is the third largest brand of alcoholic spirits in the world after Bacardi and Smirnoff, and is sold in 126 countries. The museum is Stylish, arty and holds a glamorous presentation of vodka. Although I am not a fan of alcoholic drinks, this place is nevertheless worth a visit.
Our final destination in beautiful Stockholm was the archipelago cruise. Stockholm is a part of some 30000+ islands. It is fascinating to see these tiny land masses separated by water. Some of these islands are just big enough for a house. Our guide told us that most people use their boats to travel between these islands or to reach one of the bigger islands. Bur during winter, the ice is so thick that they can actually drive their car on it. How fascinating !
Well, after a 3 hour cruise, it was finally time to get back to Stockholm. It is a beautiful city and we got the best days to enjoy it ! Now off to Helsinky, popularly known as the daughter of the Baltic sea !