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Tessendorf's Abroad

Stockholm

SWEDEN | Wednesday, 30 August 2017 | Views [269]

What an amazing city! We have be looking forward to our stop in Sweden from the start of our trip. It didn't disappoint. 
We had our best Airbnb room yet. Our older Swedish host was super sweet & friendly. Our room was very large, our own bathroom and a door which closed our area off from the main apartment, it was like our own little apartment inside. And the bed was super comfortable. And yes the kitchen & bathroom were fully stocked by Ikea. 
We stayed local for dinner on the first night. A Greek/Turkish restaurant where Steph could get her halloumi fix. You know a restaurant is going to be good when you walk in and it is full of locals.
We woke early(ish) the next day to see what this city could offer. We walked into the city centre and met up with a free walking tour. Our guide was an English lad, living in Stockholm for 7 years with his Swedish girlfriend (of course!). He had loads of great stories about the Swedish history, which as great, because we both knew very little if anything before this. Our stops included Drottninggatan (Queen St), Ostermalm, Kungstradgardsgaten (King's Garden), the (former) bank where the term 'Stockholm Syndrome' originated and finishing at the Opera House. We also walked past the gym and the story where Crown Princess Victoria met her commoner husband, now Prince Daniel. As it turns out, Daniel is the only true Swede in the Swedish Royal family. The Swedish royals actually descend from a Frenchman, Charles XIV John, who became the King of Sweden in 1818. Even the current queen, Queen Silvia is of German/Portugese origin. 
After the tour ended, we wandered across the bridge to the Gamla Stan (the old town) and the Royal Palace. As it turns out, we were in time for the changing of the guard ceremony at the Palace. We quite like a bit of pomp & circumstance. We did get that, brass marching band and all. And we also got an unexpected treat - the marching band played a short 'concert' at the end and there final song was Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. One of the highlights of the trip so far for Steph. She's still humming & bopping away to the tune!
We continued our walk through Gamla Stan and onto Fotografiska - the Swedish museum of Photography - and checked out the current exhibitions. The cafe at the top of the building had a great view over the water to Gamla Stan and we took this in over lunch. 
We wandered back though Gamla Stan, afternoon ice cream on the way, and back to the walking tour meeting point. On the agenda for the afternoon was a free walking tour of Gamla Stan and more stories about Swedish history and culture. Gamla Stan is quaint, beautiful and totally photogenic. Bevan was in his element! We wandered around the streets listening to our guide for a few hours and then it was time for dinner. Once again Google maps had the answer. A beautiful little restaurant in the heart of Gamla Stan on a quite little triangle intersection with a little square. Straight from a post card! And they specialise in gluten free food. Bevan tried the national dish of meatballs while Steph opted for the bean burger. 
On day two, we were up even earlier as we wanted to fit in two museums before lunch and heading off to the ferry terminal. First up was the Vasa museum. The Vasa was a Swedish war ship that sunk 20 minutes into her maiden voyage on 10 August 1628. The vasa spent 333 years in the water & silt of the Baltic Sea and was recovered in excellent condition in 1961. The low salt and cold waters of Baltic had preserved the Vasa and what you see of the ship today is 95% original. Even some of the skeletons of the 30 people who died and there clothes/shoes have been recovered in excellent condition. We joined one of the guided tours and learnt about the history & restoration of the Vasa. We almost skipped the Vasa museum and we're now glad we didn't and see why it is the number one rated thing to do in Stockholm ( as per TripAdvisor). 
A few metres down the road and it was time to get cheesy - the Abba Museum. The admission fee is quite exorbitant - €25 - but it was a lot of fun. There are a lot of interactive activities and the use of technology is high level. Neither of us brave enough to grace the karaoke stage alone, so we went together for a stunning (cough) rendition of Dancing Queen. Fortunately, there was no one else in that area to witness the glory. 
It as then time to head back to our neighbourhood for some lunch. And then to pick up our bags and head to the cruise terminal. 
Stockholm, you were brilliant! Stay classy and we look forward to visiting again.

 

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