The next day we woke up to a rainy and foggy morning. The mountain in front of the cabin just vanished. We debated what to do and decided to drive toward Ålesund which we already saw in the Hurtigruten cruise, to delay the time we needed to drive on the troll road.
We got near it and then saw a 6 km tunnel. We immediately turned back toward the troll road. Indeed the road is curvy and narrow, but since the hour was 9 am, we hardly saw any cars from the opposite direction. It was a bit scary since it was rainy and foggy and we didn't know when we'd encounter thick fog.
Luckily, the drive to the top was with good visibility. When we reached the top we couldn't see the curvy road anymore because the fog got thicker. The waterfall on the troll road was very impressive, and the road revealed higher parts of it as it climbed higher. Upon leaving the troll road we saw walls of snow and we couldn't believe the height the snow reached.
Nigardsbreen Glacier is one of the prettiest glaciers in Norway. Access to it with a car is very simple, and there's a nearby parking lot. You can notice the glacier blue cracks from the parking lot even without binoculars. From the parking lot you can walk on big stones, but it requires adequate walking shoes, and being in a good shape. You should take into account the walk is strenuous and may be dangerous in case of falling.
You can also take a boat from one side of the parking lot to the other side of the near lake, and from there walk a bit to reach the edge of the glacier.
There are two types of tours on the glacier. An hour trip, which is suitable to families with kids, and a three hour hiking tour.
In the place there's also a visitor center. From its back side you can see most of the glacier. In the visiting center there's a cafeteria, and a souvenir shop. Entrance fee is done in a cabin along the way to the glacier. You just calculated the cost, and put the money in the envelope.
From the stave church in Borgund starts the historic route, which is a charming road passing a river creek, and along the way a huge water fall. This road is passing the two tunnels (one of the 3 km long) from the way from Borgund to Laerdal, and it's much prettier.
We hardly saw cars while we drove it. In the visitors center on the Borgund Stave Church's visitors center you can get free brochure with a map detailing the tows, bridge and waterfall.
We visited Desenzano (we walked on the street on the lake's bank, many stores and tourists), and famous Sirmione (packed with tourists and excellent ice cream). Along the way we also stopped on a nice beach on the way to Peschiera where we rented a motor boat for an hour.
Toward the afternoon, we reached San Gimignano, one of the central most places in Tuscany. We recommend you read dedicated articles on this town, most famous for its many towers. Besides the excellent ice-cream in the main plaza (Piazza della Cisterna) with its well, don't miss Rocca (a several minute walk) - a fortress with a beautiful viewpoint. We climbed the highest tower in town (near the city hall), we wandered around its streets, and... that's it. Three hours were enough for us, but some will say that even a full day isn't enough. We finished the day by eating Ravioli in in our room.
Adventurous London: London by Air, River and on foot - Emirates Air Way, Thames Cruise and Westminster + Lambeth areas on foot (Sunday tour offer).
Start: Royal Victoria DLR.
End: Vauxhall National Rail Station (Lambeth/Vauxhall).
Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day.
Weather: Clear Day. In case of rain in the late afternoon - we recommend finding shelter at the Tate Britain Museum in Lambeth.
Note: a special offer for a sunny Sunday. The Westminster Abbey and the Parliament Houses - are closed.
We start at one of the most beautiful exterior stations in London - Royal Victoria DLR station in East London. It opened on March 1994 and is named after the nearby Royal Victoria Dock. It is on the DLR's Beckton branch, in Travelcard Zone 3.
Head to the Emirates Airline terminal in Royal Victoria to catch the cable car which will bring you the opposite bank of the Thames in North Greenwich. We fly from the northern bank to the southern bank of the Thames:
Prices: 360 Sightseeing Tour Adult - £8.60, Child - £4.40.
Single: Adult - £4.30, Child - £2.20. Return: Adult - £8.60, Child - £4.40.
Times: Winter (1 Oct 2012-27 Mar 2013): Mon - Fri: 07:00-20:00, Saturday: 08:00-20:00, Sunday: 09:00-20:00. Summer (28 Mar-30 Sep 2013): Mon - Fri: 07:00-21:00, Saturday: 08:00-21:00, Sunday: 09:00-21:00.
It is really worth to ride on it and see London from 90 meters above. Very different view indeed. Approximately 10 minutes fly along a distance of 1 km. The pods each hold 8-10 people but very often you are lucky enough to get one to yourself which feels rather luxurious. The pod is safe and stable. The ride itself is incredibly smooth. Avoid riding the cable car in very windy days. The real gem of the ride is the Thames. The river beneath looks grandiose and powerful. You are able to see all the docks and industrial warehouses along the riversides. You get a great view of the River bridges, the City, the Olympic Park, London City Airport and the O2 arena.
(Anthony Gormley sculpture):
Emirates Air Way - North Greenwich:
Follow the signposts from the Emirates North Greenwich Peninsula terminal to the O2 or the North Greenwich Pier. Head northwest on Cutter Ln toward Phoenix Ave and turn right to the North Greenwich Pier:
North Greenwich Pier - Anthony Grimley sculpture - Quantum Leap:
North Greenwich Pier:
Photos from the cruise, along the Thames, with the boat from North Greenwich Peninsula Pier to London Eye (Westminster) Pier:
From the London Eye Pier we walk along the southern bank (westward) to Westminster Bridge - passing on our left the London Eye:
Later, on our left - the London Aquarium (formerly, London County Hall):
Head southwest toward Westminster Bridge, turn right onto Westminster Bridge Rd. Here are some photos taken from the bridge:
Return to the western end of Westminster Bridge. Head west for 300 metres.
Westminster Pier - The Battle on Britain (RAF):
Slight right onto Parliament Square. Slight left onto Broad Sanctuary. Slight left onto The Sanctuary and Westminster Abbey (20 Deans Yard) will be on the left:
Head east on The Sanctuary. Turn right (restricted usage road), turn left (restricted usage road) and you are in the Westminster Abbey Precincts - Dean's Yard:
On Sunday the Westminster Abbey is closed. So, we continue our tour into the Chapter House in the Westminster Abbey. The octagonal Chapter House is in the East Cloister. It dates from the 1250s. It is one of the largest in England. The monks met here every day for prayers and to read a chapter from the rule of St Benedict and discuss the day's work. The King's Great Council first assembled here in 1257. It was actually the beginning of the English Parliament. The House of Commons used the room for several years in the late 14th century. After having been a repository for government records from the 1540s it was restored in Victorian times by Sir Gilbert Scott:
Opposite Westminster Abbey, on the the other side of Abingdon Street are the Parliament Houses:
Further south on Abingdon Street we arrive to a small park on the Abingdon Street (Just before the end of the Parliament Houses). Cross the street and take photos from the green small park to the direction of the Westminster Abbey:
... and to the direction of the Parliament:
Further south to the Parliament Houses you enter the Victoria Tower Gardens. From here you get marvelous sights of the Parliament Houses:
Further south, Abingdon Street changes its name to the Millbank. From this bustling street you get nice views on the city of London and the Thames (on your left):
The Lambeth Bridge from the Millbank:
Walk further south (800 metres from the Parliament and 550 m. from Lambeth Bridge) and you arrive to the Tate Britain Museum:
Do not miss the African sculptures, a striking private family collection - which holds a whole big hall in the museum:
Tate Britain - The Chlomondelly Ladies:
Tate Britain - Queen Elizabeth - Nickolas Hillard - 1515:
Tate Britain - A Woman with a Squirrel - Hans Holbein - 1557:
Tate Britain - Henry Moore:
Tate Britain - Jacob Epstein: Jacob and the Angel:
Tate Britain - Mark Gertler - Merry-go-Ronds (1916):
Tate Britain - Thomas Gainsborough - Giovanna Bacelli - 1782:
Tate Britain - Joshua Reynolds - Master Crewe as Henry VIII - 1775:
Tate Britain - JMW Turner - The Shipwreck - 1805:
Tate Britain - John Constable - Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows - 1831:
Tate Britain - William Blake - Newton - 1795 or 1805:
Tate Britain - William Blake - Elohim creating Adam 1795 or 1805:
After visiting the Tate Britain - return to the opposite side of the Millibank, along the Thames - to watch the spectacular housing projects on the opposite side of the Thames (between Lambeth Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge) (Nine Elms):
Knole House and Parkland
Opening Times: 10.30 - 17.00. 9 March - 28 July Tuesday - Sunday, 29 July - 2 September everyday, 3 September - 3 November everyday, 6 Nov. 22 Dec. Wednesday - Sunday. Gardens are open only on Tuesdays.
Admission Fees: House + Gardens : Tuesdays: 14 GBP (!), Other days: 15.50 GBP(!!). Garden only: 5 GBP. The Park grounds are available free for everyone to walk.
Orientation: a fantastic day out from London. Idyllic park, inspiring house and splendid grounds. You can mingle in very close unusual proximity with the deer !!!
Directions: from the Sevenoaks railway station you have to walk 15-20 minutes. Part of the way is a light uphill climb. Ask for Sevenoaks High Street. Knole House is situated almost in the end of Sevenoaks High Street - on your left. Many brown signpost will direct you to Knole grounds. After passing the Knole entrance - you have additional walk of 1-12 minutes until arriving to Knole House and Gardens.
Warning and orientation: The Knole House is exceptionally priced. You are not allowed to take pictures in the House itself. You are notified by this restriction ONLY after you've paid. Other similiar places allow photography even with a flash. I recommend avoiding the House and even the Gardens. Sorry if I sound rude or bossy but my offer is to concetrate on Knole Parkland. That's the reason I made this Tip Type as "Nature" and not as "History"... You can roam freely around the extensive ground for hours. There are many paths in this majestic place with beautiful rolling Kent countryside. Search the deer herd(s) for making rare pictures. The house is incredible and quite sombre. In the entrance you are entertained by a lively musical ensemble. Lots of interesting rooms which are still in near original condition. The portraits of the royal families and other notable political figures are astonishing. BUT, you are not able to take your memorable experience back home... You should also consider taking refreshments or food with you if you head out into the park. Do not come in a cold day !
For having lunch - head back to Sevenoaks High Street.
Knole House main entrance:
Music at Knole - Knole began as an archibishops palace built by successive Archibishops of Canterbury and enlarged by the Sackville family, the Earls & Dukes of Dorset. They retained band of musicians who played in the Great Hall of Knole Castle:
Knole House - seven centuries of Knole. History told in fabric. Made by tens of citizens:
Knole historic gardens:
Knole House and estate original offices:
There is a herd of deer in the park and they are extremely friendly, allowing people to get within a few meters of them without moving away.
Knole Park is a peaceful retreat. The parkland is vast and worth visiting throughout the year. Plenty of different paths to walk and plenty to spot if wildlife and nature are your interests. Can walk for hours.
Knole Parkland grounds - typical Kent countryside:
Rochester, Strood and Upnor Castle:
Start: Rochester National rail Station.
End: Strood National rail Station.
Orientation: Rochester and the attractions around are: tranquile, aristocratic, magnificent, historic, atmospheric and romantic.
Attractions: the Medway river, old Rochester, Rochester Bridge, Rochester Cathedral and Castle, Upnor Castle.
Exit the Rochester Railway Station and head southwest (right) toward High St. In this street lies the Guildhall Museum and Building. We recommend leaving these sites for the afternoon sun. The High Street looks completely different in the afternoon sun (like Rochester Bridge). Continue onto Eastgate (the road changes its name). Eastgate House (Charles Dickens Chalet) is on your right. The 16th-century red-brick Eastgate House once housed the town's museum and now it is planned to become the Charles Dickens Centre. Closed for a two year restoration programme. It is open sporadically, from time to time:
The Cathedral - view from the Castle:
From Eastgate House head northwest on Eastgate toward Crow Ln. Turn left onto Crow Ln and the Restoration House will be on the left. Built in 1587. It is said that Charles II stayed here on the night of 28th May 1660 - just before the Restoration. It is the "satis House" of "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens, the house of Miss Havisham. Beautifully restored by the current owners and very well presented to the public. Open: 30th May to 27th September 2013: Thursday & Fridays - 10:00am to 5:00pm. Also open on Saturday 1st June, Saturday 13th July - 12:00am to 5:00pm:
Almost n the end of Crow Ln you arrive to a nice tree-lined avenue - The Vines Park. Lovely views down toward the Cathedral at the far end. The Vines Park is a small oasis on the site of a medieval vineyard where monks from Rochester Cathedral (the Vines Church next door), once grew grapes for their wine:
Retrace your steps. Head Northeast (if coming back from Vines Ln) or Southwest (if still on Crow Ln). Turn right toward College Yard. Turn right again toward College Yard. Turn right (3rd time) onto College Yard. The Cathedral is on your right and Rochester Castle is on your left. The Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in the UK (next to the Canterbury one). But it is not just the impressive building itself. Walk around the immediate area for a real feel of historic Rochester. There are lovely buildings, gardens and twisting alleyways. In complete contrary to Canterbury cathedral - NO entrance fee. It is not the grandest of the English cathedrals, but it certainly is the friendliest. The volunteers who work there are helpful and lovely people. The Cathedral has a lovely garden as well:
The Rochester Castle stands opposite to the Cathdral. Today it stands as a proud reminder of the history of Rochester along with the cathedral and cobbled steets. Its Norman tower was built about 1127 by William of Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury with the encouragement of Henry I. It is consisting of three floors above a basement. Attached is a tall forebuilding, with its own set of defences to pass through before the keep itself could be entered at first floor level. Rebuilt under Henry III and Edward I, the castle remained as a viable fortress until the sixteenth century. OPen daily: 10.00 - 16.00. Adult - 5.80 GBP, concessions - 3.70 GBP:
Now we walk back part of our daily route - heading to Rochester Bridge. Head northeast on College Yard and turn left onto High St. Turn right toward Corporation St. Turn immediately left onto Corporation St and continue to follow the street to face Rochester Bridge. Just a part of Rochester that you don't want to miss. It is the bridge from Strood to Rochester. You get some excellent views over the River Medway. The bridge itself is full with grandour and elegance. The sight of the Medway river in the afternoon sun - is unforgottable. We shall return to this bridge after the long walk (there and back) to/from Upnor Castle. The sight of the bridge, the Medway river and Rochester on the hill is breath-taking under the afternoon sun. We recommend strolling around the park to the east of the bridge:
Take your lunch in one of the restaurants of Rochester High Street or near the river. We have one hour walk to Upnor Castle - crossing part of Strood town. I recommend (see a Tip) dining in Sans Pareil restaurant - 20 minutes before arriving to the Upnor Castle.
Head northwest on Rochester Bridge toward Canal Rd and continue to follow High St. Turn right and continue to follow North St. Slight right onto Frindsbury Hill. In the middle of this busy road (up the hill) - you'll see on your left) the Sans Pareil restaurant). At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto the busy Berwick Way. (Note: there is a shortcut: crossing the field along a towpath):
Turn left onto Upnor Rd. You are now in Upnor village:
Turn right to stay on Upnor Rd. Turn right onto Upchat Rd. Turn left onto Upnor High St. A small cobbled road. You do walk past two charming pubs which are well worth popping in for a drink. Very nice, picturesque and tranquil. The whole walk up the hill, throught the village and down to the castle through the village is like going back in time to the 19th century with lovely views of the river Medway at the bottom of the high street:
The Upnor Castle will be on your left. Entrance: 5.70 GBP, concessions: 3.50 GBP. Worth one-hour visit. Daily: 10.00 - 16.00. There is a lot to see inside the Castle and outside in the grounds, where on a sunny day a fair bit of time can be enjoyed here:
In a sunny day the view of Medway river from the Upnor Castle walls is majestic:
You can return from Upnor village/Castle to Strood with the 15.15 bus or walk the whole way back to the Medway river.
I stress the fact that you are unable to make a shortcut and return to Rochester or Strood along a path, leading to the the river bank or the fields nearby (there is a closed military zone near the castle and the river).
It is one hour walk back to Rochester or Strood. Allow one hour for walking in the grounds around Rochester Bridge and taking photos of the old town of Rochester, Rochester High Street, Rochester Guildhall (incl. the Museum) and the Medway river - all bathing in the afternoon sun:
From Rochester Bridge or High Street - it is 5 minutes walk to Rochester Railway Station and 1-12 minutes walk to Strood Station.
Boat trips on the Rio Douro:
Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia are located on the banks of the Rio Douro and a boat on the river is one of the more pleasant and relaxing things you can do while in both cities. Boat trips can last from an hour to two or more days with or without meals and vineyard visits. Many of the tours from Porto combine rail and river so you go one way by boat and return by train or vice versa. The scenery is stunning - vineyards to begin with and then olive groves down to the water's edge the whole way. There are trips lasting from around 30 minutes to trips that last you for several days. I have taken the 50 minutes - 1 hour tour that takes you through the most central part of the river banks in Porto and under the 5-6 main bridges. 10 euros (free for under 12 year olds). The bridges (Pontes) are Freixo, S. Joao, Dona Maria Pia, Infante, Dom Luis 1 and Arrabida. With some of the cruise companies there is no commentary at all or no English narration. There is also a typical offer of 1 day cruise - Porto to Regua (Week days) - boat upstream and train downstream: Leaving Porto, the boat passes under some of the famous high level bridges. As the journey across the Douro takes place, the boat is raised by a series of locks, some being the highest in Europe. These locks and the dams through which they go have tamed the river from the dangerous rapids which sank many yachts when the river was used for wine transport. Later the railway line runs along the river for its journey upstream. The arrival of the railway resulted in all the wine being carried by train and the carriage downriver by ship stopped. In recent years, the wine has been moved downstream by road tankers. The river passes through the demarcated port wine region of steeply terraced hills and mountains and white painted Quintas (estates) to Regua, the important Port Wine town. 8.00 Shipping, Departure to Regua, Breakfast on board, Crestuma-Lever Dam (height 14 mts), meal Lunch on board, Carrapatelo Dam (height 35 mts)
14:45 Arrival at Regua - free time, train 16:30 meeting at Regua Railway station, 16:50 return by train to Porto, train 18h50 Arrival at Porto and
end of the cruise at Vila Nova de Gaia Quay. Rates per person: Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Oct: 62.50 euros, Jul / Aug / Sep: 67.50 euros, Public holidays: 72.50 euros, Children up to 3 years old: Free, Children between 4 and 11 years old: 50% off. On public holidays the return to Porto will be made by tourist bus. Monday to Friday from March to October. With the long journeys - the sailings offers in terms of food and service are pretty much the same. The cabins are spacious with two armchairs and a balcony but storage devices are poor; not enough drawers. Cabins look, sometimes untidy. The bathrooms are, generally, good with good basins, showers and plumbing. TV sets provided free, as well as WiFi and Internet access.
The Douro is increasingly popular with international river lines and companies like AmaWaterways, with its AmaVida and Uniworld with its Queen Isabel, have added new and upgraded ships in the region. In spring 2014, Viking River Cruises christened two new ships — Viking Torgil and Viking Hemming — in Porto. CroisiEurope also offers Douro cruising — the French line has three ships in the region.
Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Weather: Sunny or cloudy days but without rain or wind. Half of the visit in Drottningholm Palace is devoted to its open grounds.
Introduction: Drottningholm Palace is on the island of Lovön near Stockholm. Drottningholm Palace is the permanent residence of the Swedish royal family. It is Sweden's best-preserved royal palace. The palace has been the permanent residence of the present royal family since 1981. It was constructed in the seventeenth century according to a French prototype by the architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, by commission of Queen Hedvig Eleonora. The palace and its surroundings are exceptionally well-preserved. The palace features magnificent salons from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a unique palace theater, a Chinese Pavilion and a beautiful park. The imposing Baroque garden was laid out beginning in 1681 according to drawings by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. The palace and the park are mostly open to visitors year round. In 1991 Drottningholm was the first Swedish attraction put on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Transportation from Stockholm to Drottningholm Palace: We took the 10.00 boat from Klara Mälarstrand pier #5 (350 m. south to central station, T-Centralen). From 10.00 there is a boat every 1/2 hour. Back every ½ hour the last ones are: 17.00 and 20.30. Every direction takes one hour. Not much to see during the cruise. No discounts or concessions. Adult bi-directional ticket is 220 SEK. Including theatre and Chinese pavilion – 470 SEK. With Palace only: 330 SEK. The sights of the Palace - while approaching it - are wonderful:
The Palace has is guarded by the Swedish Military in the same fashion as Stockholm Palace:
The palace and its grounds have seen many renovations, changes and additions over the past 400 years. The largest renovation, in which electricity, heating, sewage, water lines were either installed or updated and the castle roof replaced, took place between 1907 and 1913. During a 20-year-period beginning around 1977, several major areas of the palace were restored and rebuilt. The library and national hall received much of the attention and fire protection was installed throughout the palace. In 1997, work began to clean and rebuild the exterior walls. This was completed in 2002.
The gardens and park areas surrounding the castle and its buildings are one of the main attractions for the tourists that visit the palace each year.The gardens have been established in stages since the castle was built, resulting in different styles of parks and gardens.
The Entrance to the Baroque Garden:
The Baroque garden: The oldest part of the gardens was created at the end of the 17th century under the direction of Hedwig Eleonora. The father and son Tessin led the project that created a Baroque garden right outside the main palace, flanked by thick tree avenues.
The many statues scattered throughout this area were created by the artist Adrian de Vries;
the Swedish army took them as spoils of war from the Wallenstein Palace in Prague, while the two marble lions at the main gate of the palace were transported from the Ujazdów Castle in Warsaw. The Baroque garden was neglected along with the rest of the grounds during the 19th century, but was restored in the 1950s and 1960s on the initiative of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden.
Also included in the Drottningholm Palace grounds is a small village called Kanton or Canton:
From Kanton Village it is 300 m. m. walk (to the north-east) to the Chinese Pavilion. No problem, there is a godd signage around to show you the directions. The Chinese Pavilion: The Chinese Pavilion (Kina slott), located in the grounds of the Drottningholm Palace park, is a Chinese-inspired royal pavilion originally built between 1753–1769. The first building was a simple pavilion with two wings in Chinese style. The buildings were prefabricated at Arsenalsgatan in Stockholm. They were made in the log cabin technique and shipped to Drottningholm where they were assembled. The architects were probably Carl Hårleman and Carl Johan Cronstedt. Everything was finished and in place in time for Queen Lovisa Ulrika's birthday on 24 July 1753. The pavilion was a surprise gift to the Queen from King Adolf Frederick. At the presentation, she received the gold key to the castle from the young Crown Prince Gustav (later King Gustav III), seven years old, dressed as a Chinese mandarin. The second and current structure replaced the old wooden pavilion from 1753. Designed by Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, construction began in 1763 and was completed in 1769. The wings are connected to the main building by a series of curved rooms. Lacquer-red walls used for the facade and the sculptural ornamentation show good knowledge of Chinese buildings, but the structure of the building is characterized as clearly European. The Pavilion underwent exterior renovations in 1927–1928, 1943–1955. Another thorough restoration of the exterior was made in 1989–1996. On the right side of the path leading to the Chinese pavilion there is a clean, well-kept WC in a wooden green hut (10 SEK) (open everyday: 11.00-17.00).
There are four houses, also in Chinese style, just north of the pavilion. The east one, northeast of the pavilion, is called The Billiard. It used to house a billiard table which is now gone. Instead, two of King Adolf Fredericks lathes are on display together with tools from the lathe chamber. The house to the west, northwest of the pavilion, is known as The Silver Chamber.
A bit further north, resting on a high base, is the Adolf Frederick's Studio (to the right) and the Confidance (to the left). The Confidance is a dining room building.
The interior is among the foremost in Swedish rococo design. The rooms of the Pavilion are full of luxury items brought to Sweden from China by the Swedish East India Company. China had become a mythic land, a paradise, a fascination, to Swedes and every nobleman wanted to have a Chinese room or just some objects to get a glimpse of this fabled, but to Europeans, forbidden land.
The walls in the Yellow Room are covered with Chinese lacquered panels, at the time a fascinating technique since no parallel craft existed in Europe. The panels depict relations between Asia and Europe in the 1700s. The motifs are scenes from Canton (now known as Guangzhou) by the Pearl River and the European Thirteen Factories separated from the city by double walls:
Facing the Yellow Room - To the left is the Embroidered Room, named after its embroidered wall panels. To the right is the Green Gallery. In the Red Room visitors can see paradise-like depictions of Chinese life:
North of The Confidance is the old kitchen. As of 1957 it houses a café in the summers:
In the park east of the Chinese Pavilion is a pagoda-like gazebo called The Volière (aviary in French):
From the Chinese pavilion we continue further north-east to the Drottningholms Slottsteater (the Drottningholm Palace Theater). It is the best preserved eighteenth-century theater in Europe and the only one in the world that still uses the original stage machinery on a regular basis. Drottningholm Palace Theatre was built in 1766 for Queen Lovisa Ulrika by the German master builder, Georg Greggenhofer (1718 or 1719-1779). In 1921, Swedish theatre historian Agne Beijer rediscovered Drottningholm Theatre and, with royal permission, preserved what was left of the theatre’s interior and stage machinery. Some small changes were made, but most of the theatre, however, was unchanged from the original design, and much of the stucco work and original wallpaper remains today. Nowadays, the theatre has acquired a growing international reputation as a summer opera festival theatre by focusing on works by Haydn, Handel, Gluck and Mozart and emphasis on authentic performance. The theatre has also had guest performances by the Royal Swedish Opera. The operas are often performed by musicians wearing period costume, and the orchestra performs using period or copies of authentic instruments. Most productions demonstrate some of the possible stage effects using the original equipment. The theatre remains a place to train musicians, dancers, and opera singers in Baroque style. The Slottsteater has guided tours and performances, mostly, during the summer. Guided tours are regularly in English and Swedish; tours in French and German daily in high season. March: Saturdays and Sundays 12-15.30, April: daily 12-15.30, May-September: daily 11-16.30, October: daily 12-15.30, November: Saturdays and Sundays 12-15.30, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 December: guided tours in English at 12, 13, 14 and 15, and in Swedish at 12.30 and 14.30. Prices: Adults SEK 100, Students SEK 70, Senior citizens SEK 80, Children up to 18 years accompanied by parents FREE:
From the theatre we returned 120 m. south to the northern entrance to Drottningholm Palace itself. The place overlooks, in its northern facade, a nice pond or lake:
The Central Staircase is magnificent, something to behold:
The palace is NOT busy and NOT packed with tourists. We advice you to take a leisurely walk through this treasure and you will not be disappointed. There are numerous rooms to see extending along 2 floors:
The Lower North Guards Room:
The Green Salon begins the main apartment's suite of state rooms, and offers a taste of the reception rooms that follow. The Green Drawing Room:
The Baroque Garden Pond from the Palace 2nd floor:
The Baroque Garden from 2nd floor of the Palace:
The Ehrenstrahl Salon was previously known as the Large Audience Room and is situated right next to Hedvig Eleonora’s State Bedchamber. It takes its name from the artist David Ehrenstrahl, who painted six large murals for the room which depict important events in the history of the royal family. More of his work also adorns the ceiling in the room:
Hedvig Eleonora’s State Bedchamber is located on the first floor of the palace and formed the main room of the State Rooms at the time. Despite its name, Hedvig Eleonora never actually used the room, instead, living in more private rooms in the southern wing of the palace:
Hedvig Elizabet Charlotte (born 1775):
The Palace Library is found in the northern wing of the palace, overlooking the gardens. Originally a picture gallery, it was converted to a library by Queen Hedvig Eleonora in 1760, to house her extensive collection of books:
The Stairwell, leading from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor is even MORE MAGNIFICENT and breathtaking:
Karl X Gustaf Bust:
The Chinese Drawing Room:
Hall of Generals:
Karl IX Gallery:
View of Gardens lake from Karl IX Gallery:
Gobelins near the Karl IX Gallery:
The Stone Hall was originally Hedvig Eleonora’s dining room and takes its name from the stone floor. Today, it is part of the Royal Family’s private apartments and has occasionally been seen in personal photos released by the royal family for Christmas and birthday celebrations:
We hurried to the boat in the lake which leaves the Palace every 1/2 hour during the summer:
The main reason for hurrying up was the Pride parade taking place during the afternoon hours of 4/8/2018 in Stockholm main thoroughfares (see our blog on Stockholm Euro Pride Parade).