Stockholm Trip Report
Last revised 27th July, 2005
VISIT TO STOCKHOLM- THE CAPITAL OF SCANDINAVIA - JUNE 2005
After an early Monday morning start from Maldon we met our courier Frederica on arrival at Heathrow and there was still time to have some refreshment before boarding our plane. After a very good flight and transfer we arrived at our hotel, the Scandic Malmen in the centre of Stockholm.
Swedish King & Queen
It was their National Day and the first time they had been given a holiday to celebrate this. Our courier took us to the Royal Palace where we waited to see King Carl XVI Gustav, Queen Silvia and their family leave in coaches with a mounted escort on their way to Skansen for celebratory events. We then made our way to the Kungstradgarden (the King's Garden) where the people were enjoying Taste of Stockholm week and partaking of food and drink from a variety of stalls. Some of us had fish and chips and sat at long tables with the locals!
Tuesday saw us leaving at 9 am after an excellent buffet breakfast. We met our local guide, Inga and spent the first couple of hours seeing the sights of Stockholm from our coach with one or two stops. A very impressive city of 14 islands one of the largest and best preserved mediaeval city centres in Europe. At 11 am we arrived at the Vasamuseet.
On entering, the "wow" factor took over as you could not fail to be impressed by the warship which sunk after a maiden voyage of just 1300 metres in 1628 and was only rediscovered in 1956. After a complex salvage operation and a conservation programme lasting 17 years the museum was opened in 1990 less than a nautical mile from the scene of the disaster. There were many artefacts to see and a film showing the salvage operation. The last part of the afternoon was spent in the Gamla Stan - the Old Town. The end of a very full day.
On Wednesday a large group of us decided to take the "Hop On - Hop Off" ferry with the majority intending to visit the Maritime Museum or Skansen, both on the island of Djurgarden. We were all happily buying our tickets when a phone call to the kiosk informed us that the boat was "broken" but no problem, take a free Royal Canal Tour, 50 minutes by which time the boat will be working. (Or your money back). The Cruise was enjoyable viewing places of interest and travelling along the Djurgarden Canal and returning via the sea.
On return the boat was still not in service so after collecting our refund a reducing number took the bus to the Maritime Museum. With its three floors packed with interest including an exceptional collection of models and a special exhibition on the Estonia disaster. Others in the group went on a boat tour Bridges of Stockholm which was an excellent way of seeing the city. Another great day out.
Thursday saw us travelling to Drottningholm Palace the residence of the Royal Family. This is on UNESCO's World Heritage list being the best example of an 18th century royal palace in Sweden - likened to Versailles. After an excellent guided tour of the Royal Apartments and a walk through the gardens to the Chinese Pavilion most indulged in the waffles) and coffee! This was our warmest day with temperatures reaching 21deg.
A pleasant afternoon wandering round the lakes or viewing the theatre was enjoyed. Some of the group spent the evening at the Opera House watching a ballet performance of the Swedish children's story Pippi Longstocking - delightful.
Friday another free day to choose what you wanted to do. It seemed however that the majority of the group chose to go by ferry to the island of Djurgarden where Skansen is located. This is a large open air museum the first of its kind where original houses, shops etc have been collected together and where people in national costume are available to tell you about the buildings and the occupations which would have taken place. There are also animals native to Sweden in a small zoo area - brown bears, moose, reindeer etc. The clouds had been gathering and a very heavy thunderstorm saw us sheltering wherever cover was possible. The rain continued through to the evening which meant we all went by Tunnelbana (tube) into the old town for our final evening meal get-together. A choice of salmon or reindeer for all! Very enjoyable-the food and the company!
Saturday morning was spent in a variety of ways. Some returned to the Royal Palace in the old town now used as offices by the King and Queen. The state apartments, crown jewels and for some the Changing of the Guard occupied the time. The Cathedral, the shops and any other museums not previously seen were explored. We left the hotel at 3.45 pm to return to Arlanda Airport, onwards to Heathrow and finally to Maldon.
A fantastic trip, a city very worthy of its title "Venice of the North".
Many thanks to Tony and Jean Cuthbert for their hard work in organising this trip for the Maritime Group- certainly a holiday to remember.
Photographs will be added at a later date - watch this space.
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