We had another late morning today – we didn’t get moving until nearly 11. We took the subway into town and walked over to City Hall, or Stadshuset. There we got tickets for the tower tour and had about 25 minutes to kill. We wandered the grounds – it’s right on the water so there are some nice views. The most interesting view, however, was the Stormtrooper! I have a picture of him below.
The tower tour has two options for the first half – you can walk all the way up (about 365 steps) or you can take an elevator halfway and then walk the rest. Mom and Dad took the elevator; Andy and I walked. I had to stop and rest once, so I know I need to get in better shape. Up top the views are amazing. I took plenty of pictures, and so did Andy. Only one spot made my stomach flip, but I did grip the rail firmly the entire time. Heights, I do not love thee.
We had lunch in a cafe on the grounds of City Hall, then stepped outside to discover a marathon had started while we were inside! I had noticed a few people with race numbers, but I didn’t think too much of it until we saw floods of people going by. Apparently it is the ASICS Stockholm Marathon. One guy ran by in dressed as a beer bottle. Sadly, I did not get a picture.
We meandered our way through the city, passing through Riddarholmen, which houses the oldest building in Stockholm. It’s a church – we didn’t go in, but Andy and I circled the building. We ended up back in Gamla Stan to go to the Nobel Museum. We giddily looked up Selman Waksman and took a picture of Satoshi Ōmura’s mention in honor of Grandad. The main thing I took away from that museum is that there are a LOT of people more accomplished and more intelligent than I am. I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand half the words describing why various scientists won the award.
After a quick stop at a cafe for some ice cream, we headed back to the apartment. On the way we ran into some Australians who had been on the Vasa tour with us yesterday. We chatted with them and their Swedish friends for a while before we got on the subway again.
Dinner took us back to Gamla Stan, to Slingerbulten, a Scandinavian restuarant. We tried smoked reindeer for an appetizer (tasted just like any other smoked meat, and not at all like Rudolph’s tears). The rest of our meal was equally tasty. I’m loving the food, atmosphere, and, well, just everything about this city so far. I definitely recommend it, and it’ll be on my “Places to return to” list.
Now we’re back in the apartment, ready to pack up and head to Öland tomorrow.
Final thoughts on Stockholm:
- Definitely get the 72 hour transit card. It more than paid for itself in transit rides. You can get it at the info desk in the airport.
- Everything is expensive. Everything. Come prepared to spend, and spend big. Don’t be alarmed if your entree is $20 or more…at the cheaper restaurants.
- Everyone is SUPER nice. They patiently tolerate me stumbling through my only Swedish (“thank you”) and will answer all your questions.
- You won’t stick out if you aren’t blond. Yes, there are a lot of blonds, but there are plenty of us dark-haired folk, too.
- Airbnb is totally the way to go. Made for a nice relaxing start to each day – no rush for breakfast. And the wifi is a big plus.
- Early June is a perfect time to go. Pleasantly warm the entire time and only one mini storm.
- Gamla Stan, Gamla Stan, Gamla Stan!
Tomorrow – heading south!
Stormtrooper here. The rest of the pictures here.