Weekend in Stockholm

Happy October! Wait, what?

This past weekend I went to Stockholm to celebrate finishing my social policy class! I left on Friday, the 26th, at the dark and early hour of 5:54AM. I actually liked taking a really early train though, it got me up to Stockholm at about 9:45AM. As you would imagine, the Swedish train system does not mess around, and is never seventeen hours late like Amtrak can be…we leave on time and usually arrive early. If your train here is delayed past a certain time, you can even be compensated for it.

Small streets of Gamla Stan.

So, after arriving in Stockholm, I walked to my hotel which was on Gamla Stan (Old Town). Luckily my room was ready so I got to shed some weight before heading back out to sightsee. The plan for the day was to go on a tour of the Royal Opera House, head to the Swedish History Museum (as it was free on Fridays), then probably fall asleep early due to waking up at 4:45AM. Before the opera house, I had some Swedish meatballs at an Irish pub that was playing American music. It was very weird, but the meatballs were good! I then went to the opera house to buy my ticket for the tour. As I waited for the tour to start I walked over to the church next to the opera house, St. Jacob’s church, where I saw they were having a free organ recital later in the day! Would definitely be coming back for that. The opera house tour lasted about an hour or so and we got to go everywhere except backstage as it was being remodeled. Oh well, the royal box made up for that. Here’s some pictures:

Royal Opera House
Royal box “hangout area”

After the opera house I went to the Swedish History Museum, but I was pretty exhausted by that time from all the traveling and walking, so I had to have some fika and a kannelbullar (Swedish cinnamon bun) while there. The museum was very interesting though, they had a lot of viking artifacts and a look at Swedish history over the last 1000 years which was cool to follow. After the museum, I walked back to the church next to the opera house for about an hour long organ recital. The very famous Widor Symphony No. 5 was played – the last movement is probably the most well known. Here was the organ:

At this point I was pretty worn out so it was quick dinner and early to bed! Saturday morning I went on a free walking tour of the main part of Stockholm. It was similar to what I did in Copenhagen – the guide works on tips. It was a good tour, we walked all around a part of the city I hadn’t seen yet and saw the building that housed the bank where the first examples of Stockholm syndrome occurred during a robbery in the 70s. After the tour I had to eat lunch quickly to make it to another tour at the Royal Palace…so somehow I ended up with a $22 burger. It was not worth $22, but you win some you lose some. That afternoon I went on a tour of the Treasury at the Royal Palace – which I expected to be like the treasury where money is made, but it was actually where they keep their crowns and swords and assorted royal things. It was very interesting and I learned the difference between a crown that a King would wear as opposed to a Prince! I also went on a tour of the Royal Apartments, which are used for guests on state visits and other entertaining that the royals would do. After that I went to the Royal Armoury which housed a lot of historical items like…armor, swords, things like that. Somewhat unexpectedly there was an exhibit on the TV show Game of Thrones, with some original costumes from the show there.

Entrance to the Royal Palace

That night I tried to eat on the cheap due to my expensive lunch, and went on an evening walk around Gamla Stan. Quite a sunset!

On Sunday morning I walked to the Djurgården which has things like a theme park and museums. First stop was the Vasa Museum, which houses the Vasa ship, built in the 1600s. It sunk about 20 minutes into its maiden journey due to the fact that it was built way too tall meaning it effectively just tipped over and couldn’t stay upright. It was a massive building to house the massive ship, and there were a lot of views of every inch of it! Here it is:

After some lunch (and more kanelbullar…) I headed to the Nordisk museet (Nordic Museum) which housed a lot of items relating to Swedish culture. This included lots of home furnishings, place settings, food customs, toys, things like that. After the museum, I walked back to Gamla Stan to go to a choral concert at Stockholm Cathedral. I got there late so my view wasn’t the best, but it was a nice sounding and looking cathedral! Crown Princess Victoria was married there in 2010.

On Monday, my last day in Stockholm, I went to the Fotografiska which I had heard a great museum. It turned out to be pretty interesting, but quite artsy-fartsy…the top floor cafe made it worth it though just for the great views of the city!

After the Fotografiska, I got some lunch on Gamla Stan, then headed to the City Hall for a tour. The Nobel Prize banquet is held here each year, while the awards are actually given at the concert hall in central Stockholm. Below is the gold room, where the dance floor is set up after the banquet. I’ve been told that the current King, Carl XVI Gustaf is known as the “party king” and is the last one on the dance floor usually…I wouldn’t be surprised.

The Gold Room of City Hall

I also went up in the tower to see some great views like this:

Visible to the right is Gamla Stan with the Parliament and Royal Palace towards the left

Whew! Congrats if you’ve read this far. I guess a really long post makes up for my lack of posting recently!