DAY 12 STOCKHOLM
WEATHER – FINE.
Well, at first glimpse looking out from the cabin window, as the sun rose, the water was very blue, with a slight wake from the ship, as it quietly pierced it’s way through the SKARGARDEN, or better known as STOCKHOLM’S ARCHIPELAGO.
The city is situated on 14 islands in the freshwater LAKE MALAREN – (SWEDEN’S THIRD LARGEST LAKE) which marks the beginning of THE ARCHIPELAGO of 24,000 islands, skerries, and islets stretching all the way to the BALTIC SEA.
In the summer the archipelago bristles with private boats filled with “boaties” who often take advantage of ALLEMANSRATT (or “everyman’s right”), a law which gives anyone the right to go ashore or anchor on any ground not in the direct vicinity of buildings.
It was noticeable as we got closer to the port the size of the islands became larger. Cas wanted to stay in bed, (cause it was still quiet early, around 5am) so I made a point of quietly getting up to watch the sun-rise over the series of small islands = ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! Watching the sunrise while listening to the birds and smelling the fresh sea air, mixed in with the smell of evergreen trees, was one of the immediate highlights of the trip, I felt. One could contemplate the inner islands, BIG AND FOREST COVERED, with many small log cabins, ideal for a weekend break. 🙂
I returned to the cabin about 7.30, Cas was up, showered, dressed and packing last minute things into the cases. We thought we would skip breakfast as we were still reeling from last nights dinner. Disembarkation was at 9.30. I think we were actually walking off the boat at 9.40, so it wasn’t bad timing at all. Our plan was to catch a train (which was a 5 min walk x the boat) and head to our hotel, which was located in the suburb of SODERMALM. In all we felt we faired pretty well, (considering neither of us had ever been to Stockholm before) that we were actually walking through the doors of the SCANDIC MALMEN HOTEL located in the heart of SODERMALM, at 10.30am, so yep we through we had done well. LOL (We had to be careful with our timing at the moment because we only had the one day, here in STOCKHOLM, whereas tomorrow morning we were on the fast train to COPENHAGEN – DENMARK.)
After freshening up we headed straight back into town for a bit of a glimpse around. We had another familiarization coach tour organised for the afternoon, so wanted to make sure we were in a good position for it. STOCKHOLM from what we had seen to date was obviously well laid out. The city population is just over 900k and the urban area about 1.4 million, with a collective total of just over 2.1 million. STOCKHOLM is home to around 22% of SWEDEN’S TOTAL POPULATION.
There wasn’t a profusion of high-rise as would be expected in a city this size. It’s main thorough-fares where really nice and wide, making the roads easy to navigate. Like HELSINKI STOCKHOLM is surrounded by water and presents plenty of lush green parkland, forest and beautiful views, all over. I suppose we were very fortunate to be also able to say that we had a great day weatherwise. There was a bit of a drama finding the tour company, because it seems it operated from a number of locations, anyway when we finally found it we were on our way. 🙂 PANORAMA SIGHTSEEING was the company we selected, because it was a tour which only lasted just over an hour and fifteen minutes, which gave us more time to take in more of the shops lol. One thing which was very noticeable in the stores were the prices, they weren’t CHEAP, by any stretch of the imagination ROTFL. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life for those coming from DOWNUNDER!
Our tour took in:
– THE CITY HALL – One of the most famous silhouettes in STOCKHOLM, with its spire featuring – THE GOLDEN THREE CROWNS.
– THE DJURGARDEN ISLAND – One of the Stockholmers’ favourite recreation areas and tourist destination alike, attracting over 10 million visitors per year, of which some 5 million just come to visit the museums and amusement park.
– THE ROYAL PALACE – is the official residence of HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF SWEDEN. THE PALACE holds over 600 rooms and 5 museums.
– FJALLGATAN – A small city street with a long history and plenty to show for in its established setting. The historic residential area offered a breathtaking view of the city.
– THE OLD TOWN (GAMLA STAN) – Go back 750 years in time and feel that medieval atmosphere, STOCKHOLM‘S original area. This region was setup back in the 13th CENTURY and now has about 3,000 people living in it today. The dominant building in the old city is THE KING’S CASTLE.
And yes, they even had “THE WORLD’S FIRST PERMANANT ABBA MUSEUM”, OPENED ON MAY 7th 2013. Incidently, ABBA disbanded three decades ago after selling more than 378 million albums worldwide and yet they are still have a massive following. At a cost of just under $8Aus to go in the museum says it expects to attract a quarter of a million visitors by the end of the year.
One thing which we did notice that the public transportation was generally really clean, (very little graffiti anywhere) and also efficient, as you would expect in SCANDINAVIA. 🙂 If we were staying longer in the city we would have most definitely got a STOCKHOLM CARD, as these are designed for the tourists and cover all forms of PUBLIC TRANSPORT, not to mention the freebies included as well. I think they last either 24, 48 or 72 hours. In our case we also had the use ALL DAY of our TRAIN EURO PASS for public transport, which was very handy.
Prices seemed a bit cheaper than Sydney for housing rentals. To rent a 1 bedroom apartment in the centre of town would set u back about $400.00 a week, the same in the suburbs would be around $250 a week. The average weekly disposable salary (AFTER TAX) is just over $1,000.00, in the hand.
One of our real desires was to visit the original IKEA STORE which first started the conglomerate. As I understand the founding owner recently sold out to an associate NETHERLAND’S COMPANY for a reported 75 billion kroner = about 11 billion $$$ but the operation will mainly continue as is.
We found a cosy little café and had a really nice meal, THEN had to find our way back to our hotel back in the suburbs – oh what fun. lol