David & Diana's Excellent Vacation In Sweden

Saturday, July 24, 1999

After a good night's sleep, we take the Tunnelbana (Subway) to Central Stockholm.

Here comes our first subway train at Blackeberg (a subway stop near Hans' apartment). This is one of the old trains. The new ones look much nicer and are also quieter and more comfortable. 

The first item of business was to obtain some Swedish money. Unfortunately, David forgot that you need your passport to exchange travelers checks. Oh well. It turns out that our ATM cards worked just fine in Stockholm. The exchange rate was actually better than we got later when we exchanged travelers checks.

Another item David forgot was his camera. It was back in Hans' apartment. Fortunately, Diana remembered her camera. Otherwise, photographs would have to wait for tomorrow.

A must-see for any tourist in Stockholm is Gamla Stan (Old Town). As you can probably tell from the name, it's the site of the original part of Stockholm dating back nearly 1000 years.

It's off to Gamla Stan (Old Town).

Several views of Gamla Stan (Old Town). Note the narrow streets and buildings.

We found our way to Kungliga Slottet (The Royal Palace). After viewing (from the back of the crowd) the Changing of the Guard, we purchased combination tickets to tour the Royal Treasury, Royal Apartments and Halls of State, Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities, and the Royal Armoury. We spent the remainder of the morning touring the Royal Treasury and the Royal Armoury.

This parade was part of the Changing of the Guard.

At this point, we decide to break for lunch. While walking along the waterfront in front of the Royal Palace, we see an amazing sight.

Sit right down and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this Stockholm port,
Aboard this Viking ship,

The Mate was a mighty sailing man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Three passengers set sail that day,
For a two hour tour,
a two hour tour,

We see the Svea Viking, a replica of a Viking ship. It's about to leave for a two hour tour of the Stockholm Archipelago. Even better, we can eat lunch during the tour. At first, we worried that we might have to row, row, row the boat but we didn't see any oars on board. Funny though, I didn't know the Vikings had diesel engines.

The trip takes us east through the Stockholm Archipelago to circle the Fjäderholmarna islands before returning. Our trip wasn't quite as exciting as Gilligan's. The weather did not start getting rough, it remained beautiful but a little cool on the water. The tiny ship wasn't tossed either. We did have a run-in with a sailboat that cut in front of us. The Svea Viking shuddered as the Skipper put her into reverse to stop. The boats may have collided slightly but there was no damage.

Diana poses in front of the Svea Viking.

After the tour, we go back to the Royal Palace planning to see Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. Unfortunately, it has just closed. Fortunately, our tickets are still good for the next week. We can see the rest of the Royal Palace another day.

Next, we wandered the streets of Gamla Stan (Old Town) browsing through the shops that sell souvenirs. Diana purchased her first souvenir in Old Town, a Dalahästen, a small red wooden horse that is a common symbol of Sweden. Actually a lot of Old Town is a tourist trap. I think I heard more English spoken there than Swedish or any other language.

We found an ice cream shop in Old Town. It was interesting. There was someone making handmade waffle cones. Since they served pistachio ice cream, it was a sign to Diana that the fates intended us to have ice cream cones. We indulged ourselves.

It turns out that today was the last day of the 1999 World Police and Fire Games being held in Stockholm. We missed it.

When leaving Old Town, we strolled along Drottninggatan through downtown Stockholm. We ended up at a huge department store called Åhléns City (sorry, the web site is only in Swedish). After browsing for a few minutes, they ran us out at 6:00 pm because it was closing time (and we thought that Hanes Mall closed early). Since downtown seemed to be closing, we called it a day.

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David & Diana's Excellent Vacation In Sweden

Copyright 1999 David Jones & Diana Hartman
Last revised: November 05, 2005.