Monthly Archives: June 2011

Sea Kayaking, Modern Art, and So On

Sorry for the lack of posts. Usually sleeping has been more on my mind than blogging when we get home at night.



Monday we just explored the city a bit. Josh and I explored the neighborhood of Sodermalm for a while, then we took one of those cheesy tourist boat tours. It was actually pretty nice – it was a full two hours, and went all around the city.





Tuesday (yesterday) Dani joined us and we headed out to the archipelago. The Stockholm Archipelago has something like 30,000 islands. Some of them are large and have towns on them, and some are just a bit of rock and a tree above the water (tho it seems all of them, even the tiniest, have a summer cottage of some sort on them.)


Our first ferry was all old and made of wood and awesome.



We ferried out to Grinda, which was about a two-hour boat ride from the city. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and chatted with a nice Swedish couple (Swedes are very fond of striking up a friendly conversation with you and then telling you how unfriendly their countrymen are.) Josh and I then rented kayaks and hit the water. We paddled part of the way around Grinda and explored some of the smaller rocky islands.

Alas, no photos can be taken from the helm of a sea kayak. (At least not with the cameras we possess.)


Today (Wednesday) Josh, Dani and I hit the Moderna Museet. They had a lovely exhibit about Siri Derkert that was very cool. They also had a great collection of various Picassos, Dalis, Rauschenbergs, Johns, etc.


A goat wearing a tire - must be modern art! (So excited to see this for realz!)


We also visited the Livery Museum, which contains such awesome artifacts as the Masquerade costume King Gustav III was murdered in (complete with bloody shirt and the actual shot they removed from his body) and the stuffed war horse ridden by King Gustavus Adolphus. The horse died in 1633. (The horse outlived the king.) This museum also included several of the magnificent state carriages, which I surreptitiously snapped photos of.



Now we are off to find some Ethopian food. Yay!


Holy Crap the Vasa is the Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

Today we went to the Vasa museum. The Vasa was a war ship that King Gustavus Adolphus commissioned. It set sail from Stockholm for it’s maiden voyage in 1628 and promptly sank. Very promptly. I think it made it 1500 meters before the wind capsized the ship because it was too top heavy and didn’t have enough ballast. It lay at the bottom of the harbor for three hundred years before they re-found the wreck and raised it to the surface (intact) in 1961. They then salvaged everything, restored the ship, and built a museum around it.

All of this sounds pretty neat. But none of it really can possibly describe how amazing this thing is. Seriously. You walk in the door and are just struck dumb. Photos can’t really do it justice, but I’ll try. You just have to go see it for yourself.








Day 7 – Gamla Stan

Today we headed into Gamla Stan, which is the oldest part of Stockholm. It is full of fabulous old buildings and beautiful little passages and crooked streets.

Royal Palace


One of the coolest things we saw was the statue of St. George and the Dragon in the cathedral.





We are having a great time with great friends. Yay!



Day 6 – Uppsala

Today we traveled north of Stockholm to visit the burial mounds in Gamla Uppsala.  We also visited the little church near the mounds and the cathedral in Uppsala.


church in Gamla Uppsala


the mounds




Cathedral in Uppsala (we couldn't go in because a service was starting)


...but who cares that the church is closed as long as we could see the rune stones


Uppsala is also home of one of the oldest universities in Europe

Day 5 – Travel to Stockholm

Last night, we did explore Helsingborg a bit more. We keep using the word “quaint” to describe everything in this country.






This morning we got up after a good night’s sleep (can’t blame jet lag any more) and hit the road for Stockholm, a six hour drive. We stopped in Jonkoping, at the southern tip of Lake Vattern, for lunch. We also stopped in Norrkoping, which is a charming (quaint, even) little industrial town that has transformed all of the former textile factories along the river into an awesome assemblage of museums, cafes, and boardwalks connecting it all.




We continued on into Stockholm, where we battled rush-hour traffic and poorly-routed GPS (there are two Oskarsvagens in Stockholm, apparently.) But, we persevered, and arrived at the home of Dani and Jaime, where we found wine, reindeer sausage, Scotch, yummy cheese, friendly kitties and friendly faces. We are settling in for an evening of catching up, and will attack the city first thing tomorrow.


Day 4 – On to Helsingborg

I took this photo at 10pm last night.  Natural light.


This morning we got up early (stupid jet lag) and hit the road again.  First we visited Ales Stenar, which is a Viking age stone circle on the southern tip of the coast.  It was pretty cool.  (See my Solstice post for pics.)  Getting up early did serve us well, as we were the only people there but as we left the traffic was definitely starting to build up.


We headed back west to the town of Helsingborg, which is just north of Malmo.  We checked into our hotel, then caught the ferry across the straight to Denmark.  It’s the point where Denmark and Sweden are the closest, only 4km apart.  We were headed for Kronborg Castle, otherwise known as Hamlet’s Elsinore.


Guess what our boat was called.




The Grand Ballroom




Apparently this guy will rise again if Denmark is ever threatened. Just like the South.


Cheeky Danish seagull


Also, there was a duty-free shop. On the boat. Because technically we left the country. As soon as you hit the halfway point of the crossing, it opened/closed, depending on what direction you were going. Awesome.

Ales Stenar – Blessed Solstice!

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