Saturday, December 1, 2007

Welcome to Stockholm

Holy crap it’s cold. Copenhagen was “very cold” to begin with, so at this point I wonder what possessed us to get on a bus that was headed nine hours further north. Stockholm is just a little bit south of the Arctic Circle, and don’t I know it.

We’re also exhausted. We were trying to be “efficient in our travels” as the travel advisors like to say by taking a night bus from Copenhagen to Stockholm. While I guess it saved a night in a hotel, I slept for maybe 45 minutes total. The bus made several stops along the way, and the later (earlier) it got, the more drunken Swedes we picked up.We had to wander around in the dark and cold for a bit because our hotel wasn’t open, but once it did we were able to drop a few things off and start our day. We began with our usual walking tour of the city, and then headed to a giant boat for a tour of the archipelago. We were happy for the chance to get to sit inside a warm boat for awhile. As cold as it is, there is no snow or ice on land or water.
I really enjoyed a trip to the Royal Armory. Rick Stevesdescribes it as “the most interesting and best-displayed collection of medieval royal armor I’ve seen anywhere in Europe. The original 17th-century gear includes royal baby wear, outfits kings wore when they were killed in battle or assassinated, gowns representing royal fashion through the ages, and five centuries of royal Swedish armor.”

This also seems like a good spot to stop and award Stockholm with the dubious title of the most expensive place I have ever visited in my entire life. That is really saying a lot too, because we just came from Copenhagen where Sarah really liked a coffee mug she found until she saw the price tag: $49.

Cheapening the experience was the fact that all of the things in our guidebook that were listed as free were not. Sweden’s new government stopped the very long-standing model of having free museums and started charging steep admission prices. They are also now the only museums – public or private – I have seen in all of Europe that don’t even offer senior- or student-discounts. I personally felt this was in poor taste and it soured my experience somewhat.

At any rate, I have been up for around 36 hours, so I think it is time for early bed.

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