|Stockholm -- Venice of the North|
Stockholm often is called "The Venice of the North," and with good reason. The city is composed of many islands, most reachable by ferry or bridge. It is one of the most beautiful and interesting places I've visited. I know I say that every time I visit someplace new, but this time I really mean it!
There is an overnight ferry from Turku to Stockholm, which my friend Marion recently took. I wanted to get there quickly, however, and fortunately, there is a daily flight from Pori -- 40 minutes north of Rauma -- to Stockholm that takes only 45 minutes. So, in about the time it took me to drive from our apartment to the airport was about the same amount of time it took to fly to Stockholm!
|Old homesteads in Skansen park|
I walked a gazillion miles, of course, but I also saw lots of amazing things. From Gamla Stan, where the city was founded in 1252, to the warship Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 but wasn't raised until 1961, there is so much to see and do in Stockholm. I happened to be in Old Town (Gamla Stan) during the frenzy caused by the baptism of Princess Estelle, daughter of Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. Royals and dignitaries from all over the world attended the event, which was covered live on TV. I saw lots of fancy outfits, but I had no idea who was wearing them!
|Vasa sank in 1628|
My other favorite place was Skansen, the oldest open-air museum in the world. More than 150 farms and dwellings from all over Sweden were disassembled, brought to the park, and put back together to create a fabulous history lesson. Employees and volunteers in traditional dress answer all questions. I also loved the zoo, which I never would have visited if I hadn't had the Stockholm Card. The lemurs, meerkats and baby moose were adorable.
|Gamla Stan -- Old Town|
I enjoyed strolling around the narrow streets of Gamla Stan, going into the shops, both those selling traditional Swedish items and those shilling tacky souvenirs. I took a very interesting tour of the Nobel Museum, which was so informative thanks to a wonderful tour guide. And I toured the historical parts of the Royal Palace -- the main part of the palace was closed during my visit due to the baptism.
I didn't really partake of the traditional Smorgasbord, mainly because all those Swedish dishes are things I see every day in Finland. I'm ashamed to admit I ate at the U.S. chain restaurant, TGI Friday's! No, I take that back -- I'm not ashamed! I had a wonderful chicken quesadilla, which tasted just like those we get back home! The second night I had a very good pizza, and the third night I splurged on a nice French meal. So, three different cuisines in three nights, but none of them Swedish!
I'm so glad I visited Stockholm, and I can't wait to return. It won't be too long, as I have a one-night layover in Stockholm when I fly home to the U.S. in late September.
Here is a link to the photos from Stockholm. Off to Lyon, France, next!