When last we spoke, it was time to say goodbye to Australia!
When I first started travelling, I was very frugal but as I got older I started paying for convenience (i.e. taking a cab instead of a train from the airport) because I realized its my money and my time. I value my time! However, in this new realm of not having a job, I somewhat reverted back to my more frugal self, which is how we found ourselves on a train to the airport instead of Uber or a taxi. The fact that the train was about a block from our hotel and a straight shot to the airport might have also played a part in the decision!
The rest of Friday was spent on an airplane, in an airport, and on an airplane again. We flew from Sydney to Bangkok to Stockholm, with an 8 hour layover in Bangkok. Early on we had grand dreams of going into Bangkok to at least see the palace (one night in Bangkok, you know you are singing it!), but when we arrived at the airport, we were exhausted and instead got a Thai massage and hung out in the lounge.
We arrived in Stockholm very early Saturday morning. By the time we were checked into our hotel, it was only 9 a.m. Thankfully our room was ready and after a quick shower we were ready to explore Stockholm. Or find some food and caffeine!
Our hotel was across a bridge from the Old Town (Gamla Stan). Talk about a great location! We wandered across the bridge and found a café where we had waffles! You thought I was going to say pancakes didn’t you? The rain had followed us so after breakfast we ducked into the Nobel Museum. It was a fairly small museum, but had some interesting exhibits on the winners throughout the history of the prize. Winners sign their name on the bottom of the café chairs. I checked – they really did sign the chairs!
Our next stop was Stockholm Cathedral, where an absolutely gorgeous statue of St George and the Dragon resides. I love how you can St George vanquishing the dragon in so many different places.
St George & the Dragon
We continued meandering through Gamla Stan before deciding to purchase a Stockholm card (which I highly recommend if you visit Stockholm – it grants you entry to a number of museums and attractions, plus free transport. If only we had done a bit of research as we could have used it for both the Nobel Museum and the Stockholm Cathedral!
With our Stockholm card in hand, we made our way over to the Royal Apartments where I was in awe of the numerous chandeliers, along with the other décor.
We were still a bit jet lagged and so after wandering around Gamla Stan a bit more, we decided to call it an early night.
With our early night, we were up bright and early. We headed over to Gamla Stan, which was so different in the early morning, with the streets mostly deserted.
Stortorget in Gamla Stan
Our plan for the day was Drottningholm Palace, which can be reached by boat. It can also be reached by a combo of tram/bus, but when you can take a boat, you take a boat!
We arrived to the sweeping view of the palace at the edge of the lake. Fortunately Rick (I will refer to Rick as a personal friend, but in reality Rick Steves who has no idea who I am) had warned us there were no restroom facilities in the palace, but to use the restroom right before the entrance.
I really do love walking through palaces and trying to imagine life as a royal. Or even as a servant. My favorite are ballrooms where I can imagine dancing the night away. Once again I was enthralled with clocks and chandeliers.
Waltzing through the ballroom
Once we were done admiring the inside, we ventured outside to admire the grounds. The grounds were huge!!
Walking to the gardens
We made it back to the Chinese Pavilion, where we had lunch at the café.
By the time we had made it back to the front, we had just missed the boat and so we braved the bus and the tram back into town.
Next up was the Vasa Museum. I was really excited for this museum as it housed an almost intact and preserved warship from the 1600’s. The ship wasn’t very well constructed (it was extremely top-heavy among other issues) and on its maiden voyage it sunk. As in it had barely gone anywhere and sunk before it even left the harbor. It was amazing to see it up close, as well as the artifacts and the stories of the warship.
Near the Vasa was the Grona Lund Amusement Park. Since it was included in the Stockholm Card, we decided to walk through park.
Grona Lund Amusement Park
It was our last day in Stockholm for several days as in the evening we were catching a cruise. Being our last few hours with the Stockholm card, we planned our morning carefully.
We started the morning off at City Hall, which was located very close to our hotel. My favorite part of the tour was the Golden Hall, covered by gold mosaics. City Hall is also where the Nobel Banquet is held. You can climb the tower, however, we ran out of time to discover the view. Next time!
Golden Hall, City Hall
Next to City Hall is where we caught a boat tour around Stockholm. It was neat to see the city from the water.
Around Stockholm by boat
Our last stop was the Skansen Museum, an open air museum with houses from all over Sweden and lots of animals. I loved seeing the reindeer!
And then it was time to make our way to the cruise ship that was to become home for the next few days!