jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 104 [13 May 09] – Stockholm

Posted in Stockholm by jn82 on May 13, 2009

We headed to Stockholms Slott (Stockholm Palace) today, which is the official residence of the Swedish monarch. The palace is located on Stadsholmen, a small island in Gamla Stan, the old city. Although we initially wanted to take a tour around the state apartments and the other rooms in the palace, we ended up getting there a bit later than expected around 11.30am only. That was actually okay because the palace only opened up to visitors after 12, but we would have nt much time to walk around because we had to get on the ferry to Helsinki. Instead, we just hung around from 11.30am to 12.45pm to catch the change of guard ceremony which started at 12.

Horse handelers marching in.

Horse handelers at attention.

Here comes the band.

And the rest of the mounted guards.

Horse handelers taking away the horses.

New guard acting as lightning conductors.

Changing duty.

The “new” guard.

Riding through crap.

The ceremony was a pretty long but entertaining affair, with many parts of it not making sense to me.

After the change of guard, we headed into the city for lunch, and back to the hostel for a rest before heading to the ferry terminal. With the rail pass, we had a 50% discount off the regular price for a “C-2 class” cabin, which is on the lowest deck of the ship and has no windows. This may sound quite bad, but it was actually pretty good as we only paid 30€ each for a two-bed private room with attached toilet and shower. After getting on the ship and walking outside on the deck and around the interior tax free shopping area a bit, I just hung out in the cabin and watched some videos and had an early night. I was very tempted to try one of the many buffet options on the cruise ship, but at >35€ a meal, the scrooge in me settled for the bananas, digestive biscuits and chocolate bars I brought onboard.

Silja Serenade, our ride to Helsinki.

Today’s pictures here.

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Day 103 [12 May 09] – Stockholm

Posted in Stockholm by jn82 on May 12, 2009

Today, I felt extremely exhausted and not in the mood to do anything or go to anywhere. I think it must be the lack of proper rest and the long train rides catching up with me finally. Anyway, we did eventually get out of the hostel after lunch, and headed to Vasamuseet by bus. Public transportation here is insanely expensive, as the bus fare each way cost 30kr (S$5.80).

This is a description of Vasamuseet from Wikipedia:

“The Vasa Museum (Swedish: Vasamuseet) is a maritime museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Located on the island of Djurgården, the museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.”

In the middle of the museum there is the salvaged and preserved almost seven story high and 67m long Swedish war ship, Vasa. Built around the ship are exhibits about life in Sweden during the 1600s, skeletal remains of 30 people found trapped in the sunk ship, reconstructions of the ship’s interior as well as descriptions of the various carvings on the ship’s exterior. It was quite weird to see nothing but wood and everything in a shade of brown all afternoon long.

The Vasa.

Various parts of the ship.

On the way to the bus stop out of the Vasa museum, I saw flashing police lights on motorbikes and cars, and a long convoy of cars approaching me. I think it must have been some Swedish royalty or politicians because there were two Volvo S80 stretch limoscenes. Not very impressive.

Convoy with two Volvo stretch limos.

Will be spending the day in the city tomorrow after checking out of the hostel in the morning, then taking the ferry to Helsinki in the evening.

Today’s pictures here.

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Day 102 [11 May 09] – Stockholm

Posted in Stockholm by jn82 on May 11, 2009

Got up late in the morning, and decided not to do too much today.  Set out of the hostel at around 1pm, and went into the city to book tickets for the ferry to Helsinki in three days time. With the rail pass, we get a 50% discount on the cabin price, which works out to S$60 per person in a twin cabin with shower and toilet, which I think is pretty good value.

After a cheap kebab lunch, we decided to walk to Gamla Stan, which is where the old city is located. Did not really do much except walk through the streets a bit and to see a few buildings.

The “entrance” to Gamla Stan.

Riddarholmskyrkan.

Riddarhuset.

Stora Nygatan, the main street in Gamla Stan.

Felt quite bored, so headed back to the hostel around 5pm. Not sure if it is the city of if I was a just a bit tired today, as I was not really in the mood for sightseeing.

City centre.

Today’s pictures here.

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Day 101 [10 May 09] – Bergen to Stockholm

Posted in Stockholm by jn82 on May 11, 2009

I was travelling from 7.58am till 10.07pm today, just over 14 hours in total! Got on the NSB express train from Bergen to Oslo from 7.58am till 2.45pm, and entertained myself watching many downloaded videos because the weather outside was rainy and they sky was all grey, so it did not look particularly impressive. There was a one hour transit in Oslo before getting on the Swedish intercity train to Stockholm, from 3.49pm – 10.07pm. As I had finished watching most of my videos and because there was no power point in the Swedish train, I basically stared into space for the last three hours of the train ride. We were in second class and did not get a window seat, plus visibility was low as the sun had set, so there was no view to be seen.

Reached the hostel around 10.30pm, and checked in. What a long and boring day.

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