The 8th marked the day of tours. First, though, a walk with a new friend up to the observatory, which offered a nice view of the city through the tree branches. I enjoyed the sun for as long as it was out (which wasn’t very long).
Then, a walking tour through the city with the eccentric and energetic but wonderfully friendly Lena, our guide, and a group of German-speaking girls before we boarded a boat near the water.
Of course the three-hour window in which I choose to take a boat tour of the archipelago is the three-hour window of my stay in Stockholm when the sky grows dim with rain. Though it didn’t pour, it was enough to keep our group inside the cabin, left to point in vague directions at what “promises to be beautiful come summertime.”
We enjoyed some hot tea and kanelbulle whilst discussing our homes and current Stockholm living. Apparently, getting an apartment in the city is basically impossible unless you 1) are rich, or 2) know someone. Too bad. The suburbs look pretty nice, though, and the commute isn’t terrible. Investing in a bike, while in Scandinavian cities anyway, is an absolute must.
We docked around lunchtime, but the new German friends and I parted ways as I planned to navigate my way to Kungliga Slottet (The Stockholm Palace; www.royalcourt.se). I have a thing for royal palaces, apparently. (I still haven’t gotten over the fact that I wasn’t born a princess.)
The grand staircase in the western wing, which leads to the Guest and State Apartments.
Dramatic though it might be, the staircase scene is greatly misleading; instead of the splendor and beauty I found in the Rosenborg, the rooms here were disappointingly plain and almost empty of decoration. (Though, I probably should have expected it. Though it’s protected by royal guards, the palace now serves only a representative purpose for the King (it’s where he works. The royal family now lives in Drottningholm Palace, which is probably much more appealing to the eye.)
My combo ticket also gave me entrance to the Museum Tre Kronor and Treasury, which was dark and quite small (a guided tour of Russians took up most of the space). No pictures were allowed near the jewels, but the museum held the interesting remains of the Tre Kronor Castle, with some wall remains dating back to the 1200s (it’s always hard for me to fathom just how long ago that actually is).
Afterwards, another walk through Gamla Stan. (My infatuation with the Old Town prevents me from venturing beyond it. I spend too much time admiring and taking pitcures!) One is always bound to discover something new, which makes the many trips back always worth it. Today, I stumbled upon Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, the narrowest street in Stockholm.
Anyways, afterwards, I was SUPPOSED to meet up with a local and discuss, well, local things. But the stupidity of Verizon prevented me from getting in contact with the right people. So, sundown brought an epic pub crawl with fellow hostelers filled with the socialization I desperately needed after a week of solo sightseeing.
Unfortunately, no pictures of the German boys or the other two Americans (one from Connecticut…which was crazy), but that’s what you get for mixing beer, wine, whiskey, and a dance floor!