|In my opinion Stockholm is one of the best cities to visit in Scandinavia. There is lots to see and do, and although the city is expensive it’s not outrageously so like places in Norway. Just walking around Stockholm without a destination was one of the highlights of my visit. Since I was here in the winter, it was mostly overcast and gloomy in the day time, so I enjoyed the city more at night. The southern parts of Stockholm were built over several islands, while the city central seen above is still on the mainland. This area is known as Norrmalm, and the surrounding four photos were taken from there.|
|I stayed in the Soldermalm district while I was in Stockholm. Soldermalm has a little bit of everything in its borders, from old buildings to modern, plenty of bars and restaurants, and even this random swimming pool I passed by from the street. Soldermalm is nice because there is plenty to do and a wide range of accommodations and restaurants, so it’s great for a budget traveler like myself. Below is a statue of a gnome that was in one of the neighborhood’s plazas. On the lower right is a strip of bars along one of the main streets.|
|Soldermalm is of course very safe, but it definitely has a rougher appearance the the rest of the capital. There were lots of streets covered in grafiti and a few homeless people here as well. I actually had one homeless/drunk guy stand directly in front of me and start preaching about something but he left me alone when I kept walking.|
|I could easily make a full page dedicated to all of Stockholm’s districts and islands, but instead I’ll share a little bit about each of the ones I visited. My favorite was probably the smaller island of Gamla Stan, which is also known as the old city or historic Stockholm. The roads here were cobble stoned with lots of interesting shops and restaurants. We went to a small cafe and the ordered some hot chocolate. The guy preparing the hot chocolate was so nice he had us try a sample of the drink he was making to be sure it was to our satisfaction. I also saw these smiling people on the lower right dressed up as chickens and angels.|
|These surrounding photos are from the Christmas Market in Gamla Stan. It’s the oldest Christmas Market in Stockholm, but to be honest it was much smaller than I expected. The Christmas market had only a few dozen stands at most selling thing from Candy, winter clothing, to meats and jams.|
|Also in Gamla Stan is the famous Royal Palace, also called the Stockholm Palace. The Royal Palace remains the official residence of the Swedish royal Family. The main structures began construction at very end of the 17th century and finished nearly over 60 years later. At the time of my visit, Carl XVI Gustaf was the current King of Sweden. The king has ruled since 1973 and is known for making a law that makes the next heir the oldest born regardless of gender. This will eventually put Princess Victoria in place to succeed the crown. The photo on the left was one of the areas I was allowed to enter. On the upper right was some type of military ceremony that I happened to stumble upon. Below is a side view of the palace and one of the Royal Guards on the lower right.|
|From Norrmalm, it’s a short walk to the island of Djurgarden. Djurgarden is the place where all of Stockholm’s activities are located. Here you’ll find forests, gardens, museums, and even an amusement park. Above is a photo of some locks on a bridge I crossed to get to Djurgarden. Once on the island, the blue gate which is an entrance to one of the parks was the first thing I saw.|
|On the island of Djurgarden I went to the Nordic Museum which is mostly based on the history and culture of the nation. This is an enormous museum with some impressive architecture on the inside and out. Below are some exhibits that showed purses and shoes that are used by the Arctic Sami people.|
|These surrounding photos are also from the Nordic Museum. On the right is the original King of Sweden, King Gustav I. The museum has artifacts from medieval times all the way through modern times with items that look like they were just taken from an Ikea store. I didn’t bring a headset with me during my museum tour since I prefer to read. As I began exploring I found out that the signs are all in Swedish so without a headset you can’t hope to learn anything. I imagine the lower left photo is from their dark ages and the lower right shows a Swedish girl on Christmas.|
|By far the most impressive museum in Stockholm is the Vasa Museum. Long ago in the 1600s a bran new ship sank on its maiden voyage in the Stockholm Harbor. The tragedy left several dead while onlookers where able to watch the event unfold from the shore. Nearly 300 years later in the 1960s, the ship was raised from the sea and restored and now sits in this museum.. The Vasa is so large that no matter which angle you look at it it’s impossible to photograph the entire ship!|
|With regards such a beautiful ship sinking, it goes without saying that there was a major investigation launched to determine who was at fault. Several of the survivors who helped to build the ship were tried in court. It’s said that the King had ordered the ship to have twice as many cannon ports than was originally intended, and htat some other changes were made against the advice of the shipbuilders. In the end nothing was ever concluded and no one was formally charged. Event he museum won’t say decisively what happened, but based on the information provided it would seem that the ship’s design could not compensate for it’s heavy load and caused it to lose balance during high winds.
The above photos show a recreation of how the ship was raised from the ocean floor and what the ship may have looked like at its last moments. Below you can see one of the gun ports and the all the decorations in the aft section.