Sweden Trips

Stockholm Euro Pride Parade - 4 AUG 2018

Guido Amberotti

Sweden

Stockholm Euro Pride Parade - 4 AUG 2018:

There were more than 60 000 participants on foot, 250 floats and groups and 7500 000 viewers/bystanders in the parade through Stockholm. The route is consistentevery year:Kungsholmstorg – Norr Mälarstrand – Hantverkargatan – Stadshusbron – Tegelbacken – Rödbodtorget – Vasagatan – Kungsgatan – Sturegatan – Lidingövägen – Östermalms IP. About 5 km and it took approximately 3 hours to walk. Stockholm Pride works for the strenghtening of the rights of LGBT people and actively oppose any forms of discrimination, e.g. racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. In 1998, Stockholm Pride was founded when Stockholm hosted EuroPride for the first time. In contrast to how the “Gay Liberation Week” had been organized, Stockholm Pride was founded as a platform for cooperation between different organizations within the LGBTIQ-community. In this way, it managed to mobilize a larger part of the community and to reach out much more than its predecessor. In 1998, 2008 and 2018 Stockholm Pride was the host of the EuroPride. In 2008, Stockholm Pride organized EuroPride for the second time.  After 1998, Stockholm Pride has been organized annually, and is now the largest LGBTIQ-event in Scandinavia as well as the largest annual event in Stockholm. Stockholm Pride’s activities are centered around three main arenas – Pride House, Pride Park and Pride Parade. During the 2014 festival, we organized a debate with all the leaders from the political parties represented in the Parliament (excluding the Sweden Democrats). Usually, everyone in Stockholm Pride works on a voluntary basis. Throughout the year, between 30 and 100 people participate in the planning and organizing of events and during the actual festival period, another 400-500 people join in. BUT, as for EuroPride 2018, a stronger organization wass needed, in particular for long-term preparations and for certain managerial positions. Therefore, Stockholm Pride had appointed a paid project manager...

Drottningholm Palace

Guido Amberotti

Sweden

Drottningholm Palace:

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:

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:

Oskar's Hall:

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).

Stockholm - Day 5 - Södermalm and around Riddarfjärden

Guido Amberotti

Sweden

Stockholm - day 5 Södermalm.

Main AttractionsCentralbron Bridge, Stallbron Bridge,  Café Schweizer, Södermalm, Pustegränd, Mariahissen, Monteliusvagen, Söder Mälarstrand, Långholmen, Pålsundsbron, Västerbron, Riddarfjärden, Rålambshovsparken, Boulebar Rålambshov, Norr Mälarstrand, Stockholm City Hall, 

Duration: 1 day. Distance: 7 km. Weather: Sunny Day only. The walk is along open spaces with maritime landscapes. Most of the route is without a shelter.

5th day route: First, we shall repeat viewing several scenic spots in the centre of Stockholm - favored by  a clear, sunny morning in this wonderful city. From our hotel, Scandic Norra Bantorget, Wallingatan 15,  we headed southwest on Wallingatan toward Upplandsgatan, 100 m. We turned left onto Upplandsgatan, 110 m. We continued onto Vasagatan, 400 m. We slighted right to stay on Vasagatan, 450 m. Turned right toward Klara Mälarstrand, 15 m. We turned left toward Klara Mälarstrand, 40 m. Turned  right onto Klara Mälarstrand, 120 m. We turned left onto Norra Järnvägsbron, 290 m (or via Centralbron Bridge). The Norstedt Building in Arkivgatan is opposite us:


From Norstedt Building we head southeast on Arkivgatan toward Tryckerigatan, 130 m. Turn left onto Riddarholmsbron/Riddarhusbron, 60 m. We enter the Gamla Stan.

View of Ryddarholmen Kyrkan:

Slight right onto Riddarhustorget, 120 m. Continue onto Myntgatan, 90 m. Turn left onto Mynttorget/Stallbron Bridge , 15 m. We enter the Helgeandsholmen small island with the Parliament complex:

You can see the City Hall on your left (west):

There is a couple of bridges further east (from west to east): Riksbron (Norbrro):

and Strömbron:

  While on Stallbron - we see the Royal Palace in front of us:

From the Stallbron Bridge we cross the Gamla stan from north to south. We continue walking southeast toward Slottskajen. Continue to follow Mynttorget, 35 m. Continue onto Västerlånggatan, 55 m. and on your left is Café Schweizer, Västerlånggatan 9. A  quaint, cozy , lively, little and delicious cafe in the middle of the busy, cobbled streets of the old city of Stockholm. During the morning hours - these roads are very packed with tourists along with lorry trucks full with food and furniture - striving their way in the narrow allies of Gamla Stan. Very atmospheric cafe !:

 While walking along Gamla Stan roads - you can observe, here and there, the Bilbi (Gilgi), the famous Swedish girl/doll:

We continue southward on Västerlånggatan toward Klockgjutargränd, 200 m. Turn right onto Skräddargränd, 50 m. Turn left onto Stora Nygatan, 25 m. Turn right onto Schönfeldts gränd, 210 m. Turn left onto Södra Järnvägsbron. Take the stairs, 200 m. We entered Södermalm. Södermalm is connected to its surrounding areas by a number of bridges. It connects to Gamla stan to the north by the Slussen (bus, ferries) station. Slight right to stay on Södra Järnvägsbron. Take the stairs, 120 m and turn left onto Pustegränd (the Puff Alley). The alley is approximately 130 meters long. The last bit up to the Hornsgatan consists of stairs. You see a sculpture in the end of the flight of stairs:

We continue climbing WEST along Bastugatan (the Baths Street). The street is about 600 meters long. The whole area had, hardly, changed during the last 350 years. From 1877-1944, Södermalm's laundry and bathing facilities at Bastugatan 4 lay in a house that has now been torn. Continue with more right leg of Pryssgrand (not continuing with Bastugatan). The whole district is very pictorial, pastoral and and with a great deal of "retro" feeling:

When you cross the Bellmansgatan road on your left, you see the huge brown building of Mariahissen on your right. The building is blue-graded by the Stadsmuseet in Stockholm , which means that the building has "very high cultural historical values" corresponding to the requirements for buildings. Mariahissen at the foot of the Mariaberg was built in 1885-1887, after drawings by architect Gustaf Dahl. The site at Söder Mälarstrand was partly blown into the rock of Mariaberget. A total of 22 500 m³ of mountains were erupted before construction work with the house could begin. Gustaf Dahl gave the building a neo-Gothic style with arcade windows, toes and towers. The arcades of the ground floor are carried by iron columns with decoratively designed capitals:

You make half-circle walk along Pryssgrand and continue southward to connect with Bastugatan again. Turn right and continue along Bastugatan westward. On your right you connect with the the observation terrace of Monteliusvagen. A WONDERFUL SCENIC PATH !!! Walking along this path from south-east to north-west you have perfect views on Gamla Stan, Riddarholmen, Stockholms stadshus (Townhall) etc'. Perched high up on the cliffs of Sodermalm, this vantage point overlooks Stockholm. Try to pick a day where the sun is out and enjoy this beautiful view of Old Town Stockholm. A 500-meter long (quarter mile) walking path with a magnificent view of Lake Mälaren, City Hall, and Riddarholmen, especially at sunrise and sunset. Bring your food and drinks and enjoy the sunset.  Alternatively, come in the morning with your coffee and you will have great start for your day. The path is lined with charming houses on one side and a beautiful view on the other. There is, of course, a safety rail on the path, but be careful in the wintertime when parts of the path might be a bit slippery. There are a few benches for visitors to take a rest and enjoy the view. The view is especially beautiful at sunrise or sunset. Sunset pictures are spectacular. Breathtaking and stunning scenery if you go during sunset. Warning: be careful if you go in winter, since the pathway is frozen and you can easily fall:

Walk along the path of  Monteliusvagen until its end. Only the eastern part is very scenic. The rest goes among the trees with no views. The path goes westward, then its changes direction and descends southward.

In the end of the path we face Kattgränd (but continue westward with Batsugatan). Batsugatan continues westward and slights southward. Here we turn right and connect with Torkel Knutssonsgatan. We turn RIGHT and continue NORTHWARD (with our face to the water) along Torkel Knutssonsgatan. It is difficult to find the hidden path connecting to the promenade of Söder Mälarstrand. Ask the locals (they speak English) how to find the stairs leading to Söder Mälarstrand. Arriving to Söder Mälarstrand we head WESTWARD and continue walking along Söder Mälarstrand with our face to the west. The largest building complex is at Söder Mälarstrand 29 is the Munich Brewery . The wholesale trade company CC Brusell & Co. began in 1857 to manufacture and sell beer under the name of Munich Brewery Company. He named his brewery after the Bavarian brewery of Munich . Here beer was produced for over a hundred years, the last bottle was filled as late as 1971. The construction company ABV bought the brewery's main building in 1979 by the municipality and was completed in 1985 with a total renovation of the approximately 50,000 m². Today, the Munich Brewery is a trade fair and conference center. Söder Mälarstrand is a coastal street with a quay on Södermalm. It extends along Riddarfjärden from Centralbron in the east to Pålsundet in the west  and is approximately 2,200 meters long. We shall walk approx. 1700 m. along Söder Mälarstrand - until we'll arrive to Långholmen island (see below). The views of Riddarfjärden, on your right (north) are pleasant and  pretty:

 

Riddarfjärden from Heleneborgsgatan (further to the west...):

Our next destination is the island - Långholmen. The views along Söder Mälarstrand as we approach Långholmen - are still attractive:

Långholmen is an idyllic island and a popular spot for picnics, swimming, and recreation for Stockholmers and visitors alike, but this wasn’t always the case. From the eighteenth century up until 1975, Långholmen was a dreaded prison island. Since 1989 Långholmen Prison has been a 112-room hotel and hostel, renovated in 2007/2008. In the former prison hospital there is now a restaurant and pub. The small beaches, located right outside the former prison, are usually crowded in summer. There are more beaches, open-air stages, charming buildings and a nice allotment garden area on Långholmen. The island is also home to Mälarvarvet (The Mälaren Yard), one of Stockholm’s oldest shipyards, and a small Bellman museum with a café. There is a wonderful view from the east side of the island over Riddarfjärden and Gamla Stan. 

There are 3 bridges connecting Södermalm and Långholmen. We chose crossing the water over the most eastern one: the Pålsundsbron. Pålsundsbron ( "The Pole Sound/Strait Bridge") is a bridge stretching over the small water course Pålsundet. The name Pålsundet, refers to the poles blocking the canal from ships trying to reach central Stockholm without paying the required duty. Also, an iron chain served the same purpose of forcing the ships pay a visit to the custom house (Winter Tullen) demolished during the 1930s. The bridge was known as Mälarvarvsbron ("The Mälaren Shipyard Bridge") or more locally Varvsbron until 1948 when it received its present name. The sights all around the small bridge are charming:

After crossing the Pålsundsbron bridge and stepping on Långholmen island we turn left (west) we see a black fence and red house and we skip them (from their left side) and continue to north, crossing the park from south to north: Head north on Pålsundsbron toward Skutskepparvägen, 50 m. Turn left onto Skutskepparvägen, 50 m. Turn right, 210 m. Turn right, take the stairs and continue 350 m. northward to the Västerbron, West Bridge. Västerbron  is an 600 m. (340 m of which stretches over water) and it is one of the major bridges in Stockholm, offering one of the most panoramic views of the central part of the city centering on Gamla stan, the old town. Its inauguration on 20 November 1935 made it the second stationary connection between the southern and northern parts of the city, saving the citizens the effort of a ferry ride, which had previously been required. We walk along the Västerbron, along the section which extends over the Riddarfjärden, the eastern-most bay of Lake Mälaren. It is a very popular spot for watching the New Year's Eve fireworks. It is a splendid walk with distant, wonderful views of the northern parts of Stockholm (but with with bustling, noisy transport along the giant bridge). First, from the southern part of Västerbro bridge we have wonderful sights of Långholmen beaches, forests and rocks:

The more we advance along the bridge - we see mighty panorama of the  Riddarfjärden:

The last, most northern parts of the Västerbron bridge meet the Rålambshovsparken on Kungsholmen. Rålambshovsparken is a popular park for activities during the summer. The park is located between two popular residential areas, with a great view over Riddarfjärden, the City Hall and Gamla Stan (the latter two - from its eastern parts). Rålambshovs has a great skate facility. It has a multitude of play areas and splash ponds, as well as mud-pie kitchens, spooky forest and indoor facilities. People come here to play soccer, boules, beach volleyball or brännboll or take part in an aerobics sessions, but also to swim and sunbath or meet with friends. Young people prefer Rålambshovsparken, while families with children prefer the nearby Smedsuddsbadet. The park is also a popular event location for events including the Parkteatern outdoor theater. “Rålis,” as the park is nicknamed, also has restaurants and cafés (see below). Nice walking routes to the park are along Norr Mälarstrand or over the Västerbron bridge from Södermalm (from where we made our way):

We continued walking EASTWARD along the park - where the water (Riddarfjärden) is on our right (south). We had a fantastic lunch at the Boulebar Rålambshov. For 250 SKR we had (for two persons): Steak, Salad, Pommes Frites, Truffle, Cafe and free water. Very friendly service and superb quality food in the open air:

Rålambshovsparken, in its east end, ends with a path which stretches parallel to Rålambshovsleden, and further east, parallel to Norr Mälarstrand.  Norr Mälarstrand ("Northern Shore of Mälaren") is a street on Kungsholmen. Bordering Riddarfjärden. Norr Mälarstrand is a southbound boulevard stretching 1,4 km west from the southern end of Baltzar von Platens gata in the west to the City Hall in the east. It is a walk of 1.7 km:

.

The most notable structures along the street are the series of functionalist residential buildings lined-up along its western part On your left - with your face to the east):

:

As we approach the City Hall from the east (with a sunny, bright afternoon hours) - we get, again, marvelous sights of the Stockholm City Hall from the west:

The Cathedral (Storkykrkan) from the City Hall:

It is our second time in the City Hall. BUT, it is the first time we stay here during the afternoon hours. In a sunny day - it is an exceptional experience with breathtaking sights of the water, Riddarholmen island and Gamla stan (Stockholm Old City). DO NOT MISS the CITY HALL - during the afternoon hours:

Since we arrived to the City Hall during a typical Friday evening (and during the dry summer months) - we could take part in a chain of public wedding ceremonies. Most of them were same-sex marriages:

 

From the City Hall we returned to our hotel in Norrmalm (Scandit Norra Bantorget). From the City Hall we headed east, took the stairs, 210 m. We turned right onto Hantverkargatan, 15 m. We continued onto Stadshusbron, 95 m. We turned left at Klarastrandsleden, 30 m:

Turn right at Klarastrandsleden, 30 m. The view from Klarastrandsleden to T-Centeralen in Norrmalm:

We turned left onto Blekholmsgatan, 40 m. We turned right onto Centralbron, took the stairs, 90 m. We took the exit on the left toward Centralplan, 100 m. Turned left onto Centralplan, took, again, the stairs, 95 m. We turn left onto Vasagatan, 650 m. Continue donto Upplandsgatan, 110 m. and turned right onto Wallingatan, 110 m to arrive to the Scandic Norra Bantorget Hotel.

Stockholm - Day 4 - Djurgården - from Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde to Nordiska Museet

Guido Amberotti

Sweden

Stockholm - Day 4 - Djurgården - from Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde to Nordiska Museet:

Main Attractions: T-Centralen, Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Skansen, Lilla Hasselbacken, Abba Museum, Minnslund Memorial Garden, Vasa Museum, Museifartygen Sankt Erik & Finngrundet, Nordiska museet, back to Kungsgården Park.

Duration: 1 day. Djurgården museums will consume more than half of the day. Weather: No rain or wind. More than half of the route is walking in open spaces. Distance: 9 km (including the way back from Slussen to Norrmalm.

Orientation: Djurgården (The Royal Game Park) is an island in the epic centre of Stockholm. The island is rich with  museums, historical buildings,  galleries, the open-air museum Skansen, and the amusement park Gröna Lund (explored in Day 2). Above all it is a perfect pastoral recreation area in the middle of bustling city: charming shores and  yacht harbours and extensive stretches of forest and meadows. It is attracting over 10 million visitors per year, of which some 5 million come to visit the museums and Gröna Lund amusement park. Since the 15th century the Swedish monarchs had owned or held the right of disposition of Royal Djurgården. Today, this right is still by the Royal Djurgården Administration which is a part of the Royal Court of Sweden. 

Just to list few of Djurgården main attractions:

Vasa Museum - An impressive museum with the famous 17th-century ship. An unforgettable visit in a busy, popular and exceptional (almost sensational) site.

Skansen: The world's oldest open-air museum. Contains also a zoo.

The Museum of ABBA quartet.

Waldemarsudde - Former mansion of Prince Eugen, transformed into a museum displaying Swedish 19th- and early 20th-century paintings and sculptures. A charming, atmospheric place with a vintage look. Oasis of silence and solitary.

Galärvarvet - Formerly a naval dockyard, today transformed into a popular park with restored old ships.

Junibacken - A small fairy-tale world based mostly on the novels of Astrid Lindgren.

Nordic Museum - largest collection of  historical items in Sweden.

Djurgården line - heritage tramway operating since 1991.

Gröna Lund - Stockholm Amusement Park.

Cirkus - Originally a circus, it today offers concerts and musical comedies.

Djurgårdsstaden - a neighbourhood of preserved wooden buildings from the 18th century.
Rosendal Palace - Built in 1823-27 by Charles XIV John, renowned for its park.
Rosendals Trädgård - public garden noted for its selection of roses.

Our daily route is conctrated in the western part of the Djurgården island (and the more touristic one). We start at the most south-west corner of the island and move to the north along a wide array of museums and galleries. The eastern part of Djurgården is, mainly, green meadows and forests. 

Our Itinerary:

We started at Scandic Norra Bantorget, Wallingatan 15 and walked 10-12 minutes to T-Centralen to catch Tram No. 7 - the Djurgården Line. 
Head northeast on Wallingatan toward Drottninggatan. Turn right onto Drottninggatan. Turn right onto Klarabergsgatan and enter the underground station T-Centralen. This is a transportation hub which gets you everything at one place. Bus, Rail, Metro, hop-in/hop-off, maps, visitor information desk:

You take bus No. 7 and ride 9 stations: Kungsträdgården,  Nybroplan,  Styrmansgatan,  Djurgårdsbron, Nordiska Museet/Vasamuseet, Liljevalchs/Gröna Lund, Skansen, Djurgårdsskolan and drops off at Waldemarsudde. It costs 43 SKR. Charming vintage trams. The trams depart from Norrmalmstorg, and run via Strandvägen out to Djurgården, where they turn and come back. It is a pleasant, gentle drive with plenty of bells ringing.  Djurgårdslinjen (the Djurgården Line) is operated by members of the volunteer association Svenska Spårvägssällskapets (the Swedish Tramway Society’s) Stockholm chapter. Service is provided most of the year on weekends, and on summer weekdays as well. The vintage collection includes Stockholm trams from the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, as well as some Gothenburg trams from the 1940s and 1950s, and the elegant mustang with its Stockholm connection, kindly lent to us by Malmö Tekniska Museum (the Technical Museum of Malmö):

From the final station of Waldemarsudde you walk 450-500 m. further south (follow the signs) into the estate of Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. We enter the charmimg park/estate from the its northern back entrance. First, we walk along nice seashore scenery - before we enter the northern grounds of the estate:

Fourth son of King Oscar II, Prince Eugen (1865-1947) settled here on Djurgården in 1905. Prince Eugene, a brother of the then reigning King of Sweden, was a gifted painter who led a group of artists around 1900 including the famous Anders Zorn. The Prince built this villa and studio, in an organic Swedish style, to receive friends as well as his residence. On a height on the green island of Djursholmen, it boasts a fine view of Stockholm. Prince Eugen's home and gallery are set in beautiful gardens. The grounds are lovely and you can enjoy them without paying admission. A relaxing, calming, beautiful environment.

The villa and interiors are charming. It is surrounded by lovely gardens and the views across the harbor are beautiful. The estate is set in a beautiful parkland, featuring centuries-old oak trees. Its situation by the inlet to Stockholm harbour presents the visitor with stunning views of the water. The Prince was fond of gardens and the garden at Waldemarsudde, planned by the owner himself, is well worth a visit. The park contains a number of sculptures by French and Swedish artists, such as Auguste Rodin, Antoine Bourdelle and Carl Milles, as well as copies of Roman and Greek sculptures, including one of Nike of Samothrace, cast after the original in the Louvre.

Sculpture in bronze of Herakles archer by Antoine Bourdelle (1909) in front of the Waldemarsudde:

Sculpture in bronze of the young Carl von Linne by Carl Eldh in front of the Waldemarsudde:

Thinker bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin in front of the Waldemarsudde:

Western front of the museum:

Southern front of the museum:

The gardens:

Old wooden Tower in Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde gardens: 

Garage and orangery & Stables with Coachman's Quarters:

Gardens in the southern parts of the estate:

Half of the museum is devoted to temporary, first-class exhibitions. The other part of the museum is in Prins Eugens' villa. It contains many of the original furnishings in the rooms as well as his art collection. Prins Eugens was a painter as well and there are many of his paintings on view too. The villa is really charming and provides a great insight into the life at the turn of the 1900's. Besides the paintings and fine furniture, the flower arrangements are remarkable. There's even a garden cafe for those who wish to dine of Swedish Fika. Prices: Adults SEK 150:-, Seniors/students SEK 130:-, Children up to 19 free. Opening Hours: Tuesdays – Sundays 11.00. – 17.00. Thursday evenings until 20.00. Mondays closed. Restaurant and Café: The restaurant Prinsens kök situated in the museum keeps the same opening hours as the museum. Café Ektorpet situated in the park is open Tuesdays – Sundays 11.00. – 17.00:

From Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde we head northward along the main avenue of the western part of  Djurgården island.  We decided to give up the Rosendals Wärdshus site - since, it was very hot during the day hours. Sweden suffered (during 2018 and also during the former couple of years) an exceptional wave of heat that prolonged from May to September. From 
Prins Eugens Estate we walk east and exit the park from its back, northern entrance. We walk along Prins Eugens Väg 420 m. and turn left toward Ryssviksvägen 2800 m. further. Continue onto Djurgårdsvägen, 350 m. Slight left to stay on Djurgårdsvägen, 70 m. On our right (north) we see from the distance the Skansen open-museum and its adjacent zoo. We didn't enter the Skansen site because of the high temperatures. Skansen is the first open-air museum and zoo in Sweden. It was opened on 11 October 1891 by Artur Hazelius to show the way of life in the different parts of Sweden before the industrial era. Opening hours: 10.00 - 15.00/18.00 (according to season. Prices:  adult -125 SEK, Senior/Student - 105 SEK, child (4-15) 60 SEK.  Continue along Djurgårdsslätten  90 m. On your left (south) is the green wooden complex of Lilla Hasselbacken Restaurant, Café and Wärdshus, Djurgårdsslätten 78. Further left (south) is Gröna Lund Amusement Park. Classic Swedish cuisine. Open: Monday through Friday, between 10.00-15.00. Their set menu is priced very reasonably and is a good option. Nice atmosphere around (if not very busy with tourist groups). There is a buffet in 250 SEK. The food is of a good standard and fresh with a nice variety.

On our right is the Cirkus. Cirkus (Cirkus Arena och Restaurang AB) is an arena in Djurgården, Stockholm, that holds 1,650 people. It was originally used as a circus (the old official name being Cirkusteatern), but is today mostly used for concerts and musical shows. We were told that this is a great place for concerts, with good sound, fabolous stage and old, vintage touch. In the evenings - there  is also a restaurant:

Opposite the Cirkus - stands Abba Museum, Djurgårdsvägen 68. Heft prices: adult 250 SEK, student - 175 SEK, children 7-15 - 95 SEK, family ticket (up to 2 adults and 4 children) - 595 SEK, free admission for children under 7-years-old. Opening hours: everyday 10.00 - 18.00. No cash. They accept ONLY payments with cards. Public transportation: Tram nr 7 – stop at Liljevaljchs / Gröna Lund, Bus nr 67 – stop at Liljevaljchs / Gröna Lund, Ferry to Djurgården – stop at Allmänna Gränd. Leave your brakes behind, let your inhibitions down - and take a part in an addicting party of fantastic melodies, reminiscences of childhood, memorabilia and interactive shows and a piece of glamorous musical history. Get up on stage and perform with ABBA. Unforgotten experience - especially for Abba fans. You feel like in a dancing club rather than a museum. many opportunities to sing and dance all the ABBA songs. Allow 2 hours at least. In the high season - the museum might be very busy.

A bit to the north of Abba Museum, on our way to Vasa Museum - you see the Minnslund Memorial Garden:

From ABBA Museum head northwest on Djurgårdsvägen toward Alkärret, 120 m. Turn left onto Alkärret, 50 m. Turn right onto Djurgårdsvägen, 160 m and you see the Spirit Museum (Spritmuseum), Djurgårdsvägen 38 - 40, on your left (west). FREE for Stockholm Pass holders. No other reason for entry. NO FREE tastings. For Alcohol lovers:

Opposite the Spirits Museum is the queue (10-15 minutes wait) for the Vasa Museum, Galärvarvsvägen 14. With Stockholm Pass - you skip the queue.

Opening hours:  1 June - 31 August: Daily 8.30-18.30 Prices: 130 SEK. Free admission for children up to 18 years. Season ticket: SEK 200-300, gives free admission to the Vasa Museum. The Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world and a unique art treasure. More than 95 percent of the ship is original, and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures. The Vasa ship is NOT a Viking ship. Vasa (or Wasa) is a retired Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628. The 69 meter-long warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later in 1961. It was 4 P.M. on August 10th of 1628, and the Vasa ship had barely left the docks of Stockholm harbor on its maiden voyage. ... As water flooded through the gun portals of the ship, it sank in the shallow waters of Stockholm harbor and lay there at 32m, forgotten. For nearly half a century the ship has been slowly, deliberately and painstakingly restored to a state approaching its original glory. The three masts on the roof outside the specially built museum show the height of the ship's original masts. Today the Vasa Museum is the most visited museum in Scandinavia, with over one million visitors a year. This is a must see when in Stockholm. And even though so many people there it does not feel too crowded. This museum is now rated one of the top museums in the world. There are ten different exhibitions around the ship to tell about life on board the ship. The recreation of some of the sailors drowned from their skeletal remains is unbelievable. The film about the Vasa is shown in 13 different languages. The film about the Vasa is screened three times every hour in a fixed schedule. We recommend that you spend at least 2-3 hours in the museum (we spent 4-5 hours without a guided tour !) if you have a guided tour and see the film. There are free guided tours in different languages so do inquire from the information desk as to the times as soon as you enter the museum. Take your time here as there is a lot of information and history to read up on. The museum is very big and you have 6 floors to explore. You can check the vessel from every angel. All in all - it is a majestic experience. The best solution for a very hot day (it is cool inside) or rainy day:

We entered the Vasa Museum through the northern, main entrance - and exited it in the back, southern exit, very short distance from the Maritime Museum:

From the Vasa Museum we continued walking southward towards the Maritime Museum or Museifartygen Sankt Erik & Finngrundet. The Maritime Museum pier is situated opposite the southern side of Vasa Museum and is part of the state Maritime Museum and is FREE. Admission to the museum and the pier is free, and being somewhat away from the heart of the city, it isn't very crowded. There is a small gift shop and a little cafe as well. The star of the exhibits has to be the icebreaker Sankt Eric; launched in 1915, still in working condition and designed to keep the sea routes in and out of the archipelago open during the winter. The other free visit is a floating lightship - Finngrundet. The Lightship Finngrundet is a light vessel built in 1903 in Gävle and now is a museum ship. In the 1960s lightships began to be replaced by fixed, fully automatic, unmanned lighthouse towers ("cassion" lighthouses). The Finngrundet was decommissined in 1969 and has been a museum ship since 1970. A bit smaller and simpler, but still worth a walk through:

 

The Amusement Park Gröna Lund from Maritime Museum:

From the Maritime Museum we started to return northward. Our last destination in Djurgården was the Nordiska Museet, the Nordic  Museum. From Museifartygen Sankt Erik & Finngrundet we walked southeast on Djurgårdsvägen, 120 m. We turned left toward Djurgårdsvägen, 180 m. We continued sharp left onto Djurgårdsvägen, 180 m and arrived to the Nordiska museet, Djurgårdsvägen 6-16. The Nordic Museum is Sweden’s largest museum of Swedish (NOT Nordic) cultural history. It includes clothes and fashion, textiles and jewelry, homes and furniture, photography, toys, folk art, glass and porcelain. The Nordic museum bought or managed to get donations of objects furniture, clothes, toys etc. – from all over Sweden. There is also an exhibition about the only indigenous people in Sweden, the Sami (Lap) - northern indigenous culture long discriminated against. Opening hours: June–August: 9.00 - 18.00. September–May: 10.00 -17.00 (Wednesdays 10.00 - 20.00). Prices: Adults: 120 SEK (From January 1st 2019: 140 SEK), children/Youth 18 years and under: FREE. Tuesdays in SEP-MAY 13.00–17.00 - FREE. Free with the Stockholm Pass. Public transport: Bus: 11, 67, 69 and 76. Underground: to Karlaplan. Ferry: to Allmänna Gränd from Slussen. Tram: from Nybroplan. In summer there is also a ferry service to Nybroplan.  The museum is VERY impressive from the outside and its surroundings are quite attractive .The magnificent building has a life-size 1940s apartment and a monumental oak statue of Gustav Vasa, king of Sweden in 1523–1560. The Museum also offers facilities for conference and events. The great hall can accommodate 1500 guests. Over the year, the Nordic Museum frequently organizes events including lectures, guided tours, theme days  and crafts workshops. You can have lunch or dinner at the museum ground floor cafe (no cash). Reasonably priced and good. Nothing exceptional inside. The most interesting part is table settings featuring table settings from the 16th century to circa 1950. We think the best idea is visiting the museum during the FREE Tuesdays from SEP to MAY or using the Stockholm Pass.  Keep in mind that during the very hot days the museum is NOT air-conditioned (a sauna):

 

We took the ferry to Slussen.

 From Slussen we walked BACK to Kungsgården Park. From Slussen head east on Peter Myndes backe toward Södermalmstorg, 15 m. Turn left toward Gula gången, 50 m. Continue onto Gula gången, 140 m. Gula gången turns slightly right and becomes Mälarrampen. Take the stairs, 80 m. Turn right onto Gröna gången, 110 m. Turn left toward Skeppsbron, 50 m. Turn left toward Skeppsbron, 15 m. Turn right onto Skeppsbron, 750 m. Continue onto Strömbron, 180 m. Continue onto Kungsträdgårdsgatan, 100 m. Turn left at Arsenalsgatan, 30 m. Turn right toward Jussi Björlings allé, 30 m. Turn left toward Jussi Björlings allé, 25 m. Turn left then right toward Jussi Björlings allé, 25 m. Turn left toward Jussi Björlings allé, 35 m. Turn right onto Jussi Björlings allé and you enter Kungsträdgården Park 60 m. further on your right. Cross the park from south to north:

 

From the northern end of Kungsträdgården Park turn left onto Hamngatan
260 m. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Klarabergsgatan, 170 m. Turn right onto Drottninggatan, 600 m. Turn left onto Wallingatan, 100 m and we were back in our hotel - Scandic Norra Bantorget.

Stockholm - Day 3 - Stockholm City Hall, Stockholm under the Bridges Cruise and Östermalm

Guido Amberotti

Sweden

Stockholm - Day 3 - Stockholm City Hall,  Boat Sightseeing Tour of Stockholm under the Bridges and Östermalmm.

Duration: 1 day. Start & End: Scandic Norra Bantorget, Wallingatan 15, NORRMALM. Weather: We explore sea-side landscapes today. Sunny, bright day is essential for the cruise. Avoid windy, rainy or very hot days. Distance: 12 km (most of the walk is in the last section: Östermalmm).

Part 1 Main Attractions: Stockholm City Hall. 

Part 2 Stockholm from the Water, Östermalmm.

Day 3 Itinerary: Our first destination is a 2-hours visit in Stockholm City Hall. We can repeat our 2nd day walk (walking from the hotel to the City Hall via Vasagatan (1.5 km.). Here, we opt for a different route making it a 1.6 km. walk until we arrive to Stockholm City Hall. From Scandic Norra Bantorget
Wallingatan 15, with our back to the hotel entrance we turn LEFT and walk southwest on Wallingatan toward Upplandsgatan, 100 m. Turn left onto Upplandsgatan, 110 m. Continue onto Vasagatan, 210 m. Turn right onto Kungsgatan, 120 m. Slight left onto Kungsbron, 300 m. In the last section we cross the canal. After crossing the water, light left onto Kungsbro strand, 230 m. The water is on your left. Slight left, take the stairs and cross the water again, 550 m. You arrived to the Stockholm City Hall (Stockholms stadshus), Hantverkargatan 1. Buses nr 3 and 53 stop right in front of the City Hall at Hantverkargatan 1. The bus stop is called Stadshuset. The City Hall is formally, NOT a part of Stockholm Gamla Stan and it resides on the Kungsholmen part/island of Stockholm.  The City Hall is only 8-10 minutes walk from the Railway/Bus Central Station. It stands on the impressive eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, facing the islands of Riddarholmen (see Stockholm - Day 2 blog) and Södermalm. Stadshuset (City Hall) is Stockholm’s most prominent landmark. There are many remarkable city halls in the world, but what makes Stadshuset unique is that it plays host to the Nobel Prize banquet which is held each year in the Blue Hall. The City Hall construction took twelve years, from 1911 to 1923. The building was inaugurated on 23 June 1923, commemorating exactly 400 years the arrival of Gustav Vasa to Stockholm. Stadshuset is considered one of Sweden's foremost examples of national romanticism in architecture. The juxtaposition of city architecture and deep blue water is BRETHTAKING (in a sunny day) and very inspiring. The architectural style is one of refined eclecticism, blending massive, austere, North European brick construction and playful elements reminiscent of oriental and Venetzian architecture. Many elements in the City Hall complex will impress the visitor: turrets adorned with golden starlets and burning under the shining sun, decorated balconies, wooden masts, and statues. The whole complex gently resides side by side with the deep blue water of lake Mälaren (south to the building). Even in the most oppressive hot days during MAY-SEP - you enjoy a breeze coming from the south. The internal, shady court provides shelter from the heat, rain and frequent freezing winds in this open district. Allow 2-3 hours for the City Hall visit. Your visit should include a walk around and enjoying the the wonderful views. The preferred time of the day - mornings.

City Hall Main Entrance. The entrance is located along the colonnade on the Courtyard’s south side. From October to March, the entrance is located in the City Hall Shop. You find the shop in the vault between the street Hantverkargatan and the City Hall Courtyard: 

The complex  follows a roughly rectangular ground plan. It is built from eight million bricks which reflect a special colour under the sun rays. It consists of two major parts:  a piazza called Borgargården on the eastern side, and the Blue Hall (Blå hallen) to the west. The Blue Hall, although being a closed, extensive space hall, with its straight walls and arcades, incorporates elements of a representative courtyard. Its walls, actually, have NO blue decorations, but it has kept its name after the original architect (Ragnar Östberg) design. This hall is known all around the world as the dining hall used for the banquet held after the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony. The organ in the Blue Hall is with its 10,270 pipes the largest in Scandinavia.

Stairs from the Blue hall to the 2nd floor:

The Eugene Prince’s Gallery which runs along City Hall’s southern long side is primarily used for the reception of honoured guests.

The French windows running the length of the Gallery’s south side offer a wonderful view of Lake Mälaren and Södermalm. This panorama is reflected on the Gallery’s opposite wall in the form of an Al-fresco called “Stockholm’s Shores” created by Prince Eugen, artist and brother of the Swedish King Gustav V. Prince's gallery is painted by the Prince Eugene himself, trying to display on the wall the same view that was available by looking on the window. Since at that time nobody was willing to give him a honest feedback about his work, he was very auto-critical, hence never happy with the results. This is why he repainted this wall many times:

Above the Blue Hall lies the Golden Hall (Gyllene Salen), with its 18 million gold mosaic tiles, named after the decorative mosaics. The mosaics make use of motifs from Swedish history. The Golden Hall is made of millions of tiles and about 10 kg of gold, sandwiched ever so thinly between tiny panes of clear glass. There are the Greek and Roman references that seem to pop up throughout the older Swedish decorative arts. (They’re frequent at the Vasamuseet, for instance). The northern wall of the Golden Hall depicts the Queen of Lake Mälaren. The southern wall displays scenes from around the Swedish capital, as well as historical motifs:

Stockholm’s municipal council meets in Rådssalen, the Council Chamber. The ceiling was inspired by Viking architecture:

The southeast corner of the building, immediately adjacent to the shore, is marked by a monumental 106-meter tall tower featuring the golden Three Crowns, an old national symbol for Sweden. The tower is 106 metres high and is accessible by an elevator or by a staircase of 365 steps. The eastern side of its base is decorated with a gold-plated cenotaph of Birger Jarl. The tower is open during the summer months (May to September) and tours are available in several languages. During the same period, you can also climb up inside the tower and enjoy a fantastic view over the city. Tours can be canceled with short notice due to events. Remember: you can only take a tour of the Tower climbing to the top between May and September.

The small park between the building and Lake Mälaren's shore is adorned with several sculptures, among them Carl Eldh's ensemble representing the three artists August Strindberg, Gustaf Fröding and Ernst Josephson, as well as Eldh's bronze sculptures "Sången" and "Dansen" ("The Song" and "The Dance"). To the south-east of the City Hall, facing Riddarholmen, is a pillar roughly 20 meters tall with a statue of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson on top.

The City Hall is open to the public through guided tours only. Available tours in English in 2018: June 7 -  August 27: 9.00, 9.30, 10.00, 10.30, 11.00, 11.30, 12.00, 12.30, 13.00, 13.30,14.00, 14.30, 15.00,15.30 and 16.00. There is one staircase with 39 steps during the guided tour. There are restrooms. Storage lockers are not available in the City Hall. APR-OCT: adults - 110 SEK, seniors (over 65 years old) and students (with a student card): 90 SEK.NOV-MAR: adults - 90 SEK and concessions: 70 SEK. The number of rooms you can see is limited to the main ceremonial rooms and the city council chambers. Apart from a few impressive rooms (the Blue Hall where the Nobel dinner is held, the Golden Room where the Nobel ball is held, and the council meeting room, there is really nothing much to see. 

Ragnars Skaferri Restaurant: You may not bring food and drinks into the City Hall, but you can eat in the City Hall Garden. You can also have lunch or a coffee at Ragnars Skafferi, entrance from the court yard. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 07.30-16.00. For more information, please contact Ragnars Skafferi at: +46 (0)8- 586 218 42. With its entrance from the courtyard of the City Hall, most tourists don't notice this lunch restaurant. But when you come out of the shop, take a few steps sideways right, and with your back still parallell to the shop door, look straight ahead into the corner of the courtyard. There are some steps and a ramp and there is the entrance. For 105 SEK you can eat as much as you like from the buffet. Good food: 2 dishes of the day, one fish or meat, one vegetarian,plenty of vegetables and loads of different mixed salads and greens, dressings, bread and butter (ask for gluten free if you need it). Coffee/tea included - and quite often a little piece of chocolate cake or the like to finish off your meal.There's a rush at 12.00. Come earlier if you can or later.

Our next part of the 3rd day in Stockholm was taking part in a Boat Sightseeing.  The boat departs from Strömkajen.  It might seem simple - a walk of 1.4 km. But, due to reconstruction works - you'll have to consult the locals how to make your itinerary simple and convenient. If you lose your way - ask for the Grand Hotel which is behind the sightseeing boats. Leave the Stockholm City Hall from its southern park ( Stadshusparken). Walk to its most eastern edge. Turn LEFT (north) , using the stairs, 210 m. Turn right onto Hantverkargatan, 15 m. Continue onto Stadshusbron bridge, 95 m. Slight right onto Klarastrandsleden, 40 m (the water is on your right). Turn right onto Klara Mälarstrand, 95 m. Slight left to stay on Klara Mälarstrand, 120 m (part of the road is under another bustling street). Slight right onto Tegelbacken, 90 m (the water is approx. 25 m. on your right). Continue onto Fredsgatan, 70 m. Now you approch the water and walk along the shores quite closer. Slight right onto Strömgatan, 550 m. Slight right to stay on Strömgatan, 40 m. Continue onto Södra Blasieholmshamnen, 130 m. and the sightseeing boats' pier,  is on your right with its tickets office.

Stockholm - Day 2 - Gamla Stan, Riddarholmen and Skeppsholmen

Guido Amberotti

Sweden

Stockholm - Day 2 - Circular Route - Gamla Stan+ Riddarholmen and Skeppsholmen islands:

Duration: 1 day. Distance: 14 km. Weather: only sunny days. Start and End: Drottninggatan. Orientation: Wonderful sights in a sunny day.

Day 2 Main Attractions:

Part 1: Stockholms Centralstation, JarnvagsparkeKlara Mälarstrand, Norstedtshuset, Riddarholmen island, Statue of Evert Taube, Wrangel Palace, Birger Jarls torg, Riddarholmskyrkan, Riddarhuset, Mynttorget, Stallbron bridge, The Parliament, Järnpojke, Skeppsholmsbron.

Part 2: Skeppsholmen island, af Chapman ship, Kastellholmen, the small castle of Kastellholmen, Briggen Tre Kronor ship, Kastellet - the big Castle on Kastellholmen, Hotel Skeppsholmen, Moderna Museet and ArkDes, Östra Brobänken and Norra Brobänken docks, Karl XII Statue, Kungsträdgården, Drottninggatan.

Our 2nd day in Stockholm Itinerary: From our hotel, Scandic Norra Bantorget, Wallingatan 15, Stockholm, we turned left (south-west) (our back to the hotel entrance) toward Upplandsgatan, 100 m. We turned left onto Upplandsgatan, 110 m and continued onto Vasagatan, 400 m. We slighted left to stay on Vasagatan 85 m. further south.  Here, we have to climb the stairs leading to the complex of Stockholm Central Railway Station. Turn left toward Klarabergsviadukten, take the stairs, 50 m. Turn right onto Klarabergsviadukten, 120 m. Turn left to stay on Klarabergsviadukten, 35 m. and you face Stockholms Centralstation, Centralplan 15. In front of the central station stands a statue of Nils Ericson, a Swedish mechanical engineer:

Stockholm Central Station was opened on 18 July 1871. Its turnover is approx. 200,000 visitors daily. 1/8 of the passengers who use this station are coming to or leaving the station with the Arlanda Express line (to/from Stockholm Arlanda Airport) exclusively using tracks 1-2. The one-kilometer-away Stockholm City Station is competing the Stockholm Central Station and caused to a significant decrease in the number of passengers who use the latter one. An underground pedestrian passage connects it to Stockholm Central Station to the T-Centrale ( Stockholm Metro station). A short pedestrian tunnel connects the Stockholm Central Station to the Bus Central Terminal - Cityterminalen. Local services offered by SL (Stockholm Transport Authority) stop at various bus stops close to the main station's exits. Ringen ("the ring"), in the centre of the ground floor, is one of Stockholm Central station's most distinctive interior features:

Note the ceiling of this extensive station:

Further south from the Railway Statio, along Vasagatan, and north of Tegelbacken is . Until the 1960s there was a green and lush oasis in the middle of the city, but most of the greenery disappeared when the major traffic routes, departures and departures to centralbron were built. The site ךlooks quite miserable and surrounded by noisy traffic. The park consists of paved areas with very single trees and a few benches and a piece of tile mosaic, "Idealized park" by Olle Nyman:

When we arrive to the most southern end of the park or to the southern end of Vasagatan - turn right toward Klara Mälarstrand, 15 m. Turn left toward Klara Mälarstrand, 35 m. Cross the road through the crosslights and turn right onto Klara Mälarstrand, 85 m. Klara Mälarstrand is one of the ports of Stockholm: a dock and tour departure point on the waterfront. Klara Mälarstrand was named in 1927, which relates to the Clarence Quarter and to Lake Mälaren:

DO NOT MISS the wonderful sight of Stockholm City Hall from Klara Mälarstrand on a bright morning:

Klara Mälarstrand is, actually, a strip of land, which connects Norra Bantorget and Norrmalm (our start area) and Kungsholmen (an island which is our next destination in this route). We continue walking southward, leaving Norramalm district and moving to the Ryddarholmen island. From Klara Mälarstrand quay we cross the water along the Centralbron bridge, 290 m. If the bridge is closed - walk along Norra Järnvägsbron, 290 m. We continue onto Arkivgatan, 40 m. where the dark-brown-bricked Norstedt Building is on our left. Alternative way: From Klara Mälarstrand quay we head southeast on Vasabron toward Rådhusgränd, 90 m. Slight right onto Riddarhusgränd, 110 m. Turn right toward Riddarholmsbron, 60 m. Turn left toward Riddarholmsbron/Riddarhusbron, 10 m. Turn right onto Riddarholmsbron/Riddarhusbron, 50 m. Turn right onto Arkivgatan, 130 m. and the Norstedt Building is on the left. The Norstedt Building (Norstedtshuset) was designed by Magnus Isæus and was built in 1882-1891. It features a spire-like roof (you can see it from the distance, which is a well-known silhouette on the skyline of central Stockholm. The Centralbron and Vasabron bridges both lead to this building. Adjacent to the Nortedshuset (south to it) is the Gamla Stan Riksarkivet (Old National Archives) at Arkivgatan 3. They are both, actually, on Riddarholmen island grounds. Riddarholmen ("The Knights' Island") is a small, but VERY PICTURESQUE island, which forms part of Gamla Stan,Stockholm old town. Many tourists skip this island so it is much quieter. From Norstedt Building we walk to the western shores of Riddarholmen. Head northwest on Arkivgatan toward Norra Riddarholmshamnen, 40 m. Turn left onto Norra Riddarholmshamnen, 200 m. Turn right onto Evert Taubes Terrass, 15 m. and face, on your right,  the wonderful promenade on the west side of Riddarholmen. The western end of the island gives a magnificent panoramic and photogenic view of the bay Riddarfjärden, often used by TV journalists with Stockholm City Hall in the background.

You cant miss the cheerful Statue of  Swedish troubadour Evert Taube in the centre of the promenade. Evert Taube (1890–1976) was a Swedish author, artist, composer and singer. He is widely regarded as one of Sweden's most respected musicians and the foremost troubadour of the Swedish ballad tradition in the 20th century:

View from Riddarholmen Island to the north - to the Stockholms Centralstation:

70 m. south-east from the statue of Evert taube is the The Wrangel Palace. This impressive palace incorporates a medieval defensive tower and a portal designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder:

From Wrangel Palace we head southeast toward Wrangelska backen, 30 m. We turn left onto Wrangelska backen, 55 m. and see the wide Birger Jarls Square, Birger Jarls torg, Riddarholmen central public square,  with the 19th-century statue of Birger Jarl.  Birger Jarl is traditionally considered the founder of Stockholm. The statue stands on a pillar in front of the Bonde Palace, north of Riddarholm Church and was erected on the square in 1854. The square is surrounded by six palaces, today mostly occupied by various governmental authorities. They are beautiful on the outside, but no chance you can go in.

Birger Jarls Torg with the 19th-century statue of Birger Jarl. On the right side is Stenbock Palace. On the the left side is the Wrangle Palace:

On the south side of the square is the main landmark of Riddarholmen island - the Riddarholm Church. The ornate cast-iron spire is visible from all over Stockholm. The spire was designed by Willem Boy was added during the reign of John III, but it was destroyed by a lightning strike on July 28, 1835 after which it was replaced with the present cast iron spire. The church was founded as an abbey in the 13th century when it was built as a Greyfriars monastery. It is one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm. After the Protestant Reformation, the monastery was closed and the building transformed into a Protestant church. Used as Sweden's royal burial church from the 17th century to 1950, and where a number of earlier Swedish monarchs, from Gustavus Adolphus (d. 1632 AD) to Gustaf V (d. 1950), also lie buried here. 

The architecture itself is lovely, and the side chapels and crypt contain fantastically detailed gold, marble and pewter sarcophagi of rich people. Walls are decorated with colorful historic coats of arms. There is a good guidebook and each section of the church has good descriptions in Swedish and English.  A worthwhile historic visit - there is a real sense of history here. Recommended. It is open ONLY during the months: MAY-SEP: 10.00 - 17.00, NOV: SAT-SUN: 10.00-16.00 (be careful with times of opening during November).

The main Nave: to the left the tomb of king Carl II (Karl Knutsson Bonde) and to the right the tomb of king Magnus III (Magnus Ladulås):

From Riddarholmen Church we continue to the east. Standing in Birger Jarls torg with your back to the Riddarholmen Church - turn RIGHT (east) and head east on Birger Jarls torg toward Riddarholmsbron/Riddarhusbron, 30 m. Birger Jarls torg turns slightly left and becomes Riddarholmsbron, 110 m. Riddarholmsbron is the bridge that connects Riddarholmen island and Stockholm Old Town (Gamla Stan).  Immediately, after crossing the bridge - you see the House Of Nobility, Riddarhuset (or: House of Knights), Riddarhustorget 10, on your left. Since 2003, it has been a private institution which maintains records and acts as an interest group on behalf of the Swedish nobility, its main purpose being to maintain old traditions and culture. The south end of the building carries the Latin inscription CLARIS MAIORUM EXEMPLIS, "after the clear example of the forefathers", and holds a statue of Gustav Vasa. Opening hours: MON - FRI 11.00-12.00. 
Prices: adults 60 SEK students and seniors 40 SEK. You have FREE access to the 1st floor only. The 2nd floor with its reception rooms/halls (not worthwhile, one of them just full with chinaware, the second with coats of arms) is more beautiful and is open 1 hour during weekdays only:

Riddarholmskyrkan from the House Of Nobility:

North of the Riddarhuset is a park in with a statue of Axel Oxenstierna:

From the House Of Nobility (Riddarhuset) we continue north-east toward  toward Riddarhusgränd, 35 m. Turn right and left onto Riddarhusgränd, 70 m. Continue onto Myntgatan, 90 m. Turn right onto Mynttorget, 20 m. On your right - try to discover this beautiful internal court:

Mynttorget means Coin Square. Its central location between the Parliament, Kanslihuset ("The Secretariat House" or "The Chancellery"), and the Royal Palace, makes it a popular spot for demostrations, parades and political manifestations. From the Mynttorget square the bridge Stallbron leads over to the Parliament island Helgeandsholmen and to the east side of the Parliament (Riksdagshuset) (where the cashier and entrance are - see below).

Adjacent is the quay Kanslikajen which stretches along the waterfront. South to the square starts the Västerlånggatan road (see Stockholm - Day 1 blog) which stretches from north to south all through the medieval old town. East to the square are the ramps of the Royal Palace ((see Stockholm - Day 1 blog) and the Lejonbacken road leads up to the palace's northern entrance. The quay Slottskajen (parallel and north to Lejonbacken) passes along the canal Stallkanalen (see below). Overlooking the square is the terrace from its south-east side is Högvaktsterrassen.

The 20 m. Stallbron bridge (Stable Bridge") is over Stallkanalen and connects Riksgatan passing through the Parliament Building on the samll Helgeandsholmen island to the square Mynttorget on the Gamla Stan. It was named in the late 19th century after the Royal Stables which king Gustav Vasa had built on Helgeandsholmen in the 1530s, thereafter rebuilt by Karl IX 1604–12, and finally demolished in 1640 when the present stables were completed on Norrmalm, one km to the north.

The Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) sits in the Parliament House ((Riksdagshuset) which resides on the west side of the small Helgeandsholmen island, which is connected by the Stallbron bridge with the Gamla Stan. The Parliament House was constructed between 1897 and 1905 and designed by Aron Johansson. The influence of the local Baroque and Renaissance architecture is evident in the façade of the building and, the overall construction. Keep in mind several facts before you decide to visit the Parliament. For security reasons, bags and outer clothing have to be left in specially provided lockers. They require a 10-SEK deposit, which you will get back after your visit. Please remember therefore to have a 10-SEK coin with you. Photography is ALLOWED - but without tripod and flash. You have to pass a strict security check. During the guided tour you are followed by a security guard. Between September and June, when the parliament is in session, you can visit Riksdagshuset for guided tours and learn how Sweden is actually run and Swedish political history. Tours in English start 13.30, every Saturday and Sunday, and are FREE of charge. From July - Mid September: MON-THU 9.00  – 12.00 and 13.00 – 16.30, FRI 9.00 – 12.00 and 13.00 – 15.00. Although the guided tour is FREE  - it cannot be booked in advance and places are limited (they only let in 28 visitors for each tour). So you need to join the queue early enough to make sure you get in. You won't find times of English guided tours in the Internet. There is a sign in front of the Riksdag on both sides that notes the times of the tours, and, especially, the English ones. The tour is NOT suitable for young children or babies. The Parliament is surrounded by other historic landmarks and statues. During your guided tour in the Parliament - you can see from the 2nd floor windows the Rosenbad ("rosen bath") which is a building in Norrmalm north-west to the Parliament. It is a building owned by the Swedish State and serves as the seat of the Government:

House of Prime Minister from the 2nd floor of the Parliament:

The City Hall from the 2nd floor of the Parliament:

Inside the Parliament:

Bernadotte Dynasty:

Staircase - Floor V:

Social-Democratic Party Hall:

The Good Deeds Hall - Raoul Wallenberg:

The Good Deeds Hall - Folke Bernadotte:

From the Parliament House, Riksgatan 1, we retrace our steps and head back south to the Gamla Stan. Cross the water, walking (again) south along the  Stallbron, 50 m. Continue to follow Västerlånggatan, 110 m. Turn left onto Storkyrkobrinken, 15 m. On your left - the narrow alley: Prasgatan:

Head east on Storkyrkobrinken toward Trångsund additional 30 . Turn right onto Trångsund, 15 m. Turn left onto Stortorget, 55 m and turn left onto Källargränd - to see the back side of the Storkyrkan or the medieval Stockholm Cathedral (see above).

You can see, from here, also the main entrance to the Royal Palace (See Stockholm - Day 1 blog). Head east on Trädgårdsgatan toward Trädgårdstvärgränd, 60 m. On your left is the Järnpojke, Trädgårdsgatan 2. Järnpojke or Iron Boy, is known as the "little boy who looks at the moon" is a sculpture by Liss Eriksson, which is only 15 centimetres high and therefore is the smallest public monument of Stockholm.
The sculpture was created in 1954 but was inaugurated, at this point, only in 1967. The sculpture is located behind the Finnish Church, which is only few meters off the Stockholm Royal Palace.
In winter, the little boy is also to be found wearing winter hat and scarf. The sculpture is described in very few tourist guides and is therefore considered "secret" tourist attraction:

From here we head to another charming island inStockholm. From the Järnpojke lovely monument (you will be surprised - how many tourists already revealed this court) - head east on Trädgårdsgatan toward Skeppar Olofs gränd, 15 m. Trädgårdsgatan turns right and becomes Skeppar Olofs gränd, 35 m. Turn left onto Köpmangatan, 45 m (See stockholm - Day 1 blog). Turn left onto Bollhusgränd, 130 m. Turn right onto Slottsbacken, 230 m. Turn left onto Skeppsbron, 180 m. On your right the bronze statue of Gustav III on the quay. It is from 1808 and designed by Johan Tobias Sergel and erected by his friend, the inventor and colonel Jonas Lidströmer, who also designed the stairs around the statue, and thus matching the surrounding quays, for which he was responsible.

 :

Continue onto Strömbron 170 m. Turn right onto Södra Blasieholmshamnen, 120 m. On your left, the Grand Hôtel, Södra Blasieholmshamnen 8:

We continue walking south-east along Södra Blasieholmshamnen and 200 m. further, on our left is the National Museum (closed):

We arrive to the Skeppsholmsbron ( "The Skeppsholm Bridge") which connects the Blasieholmen district to Skeppsholmen island. Before entering the bridge - note the sculpture on your right:

We walk along the Skeppsholmsbron - arriving to the Skeppsholmen island. SKIP TO TIP 2 BELOW.

Stockholm - Day 1 - Circular route from Drottningatan to Gamla Stan

Guido Amberotti

Sweden

Stockholm - Day 1 -  Circular route from Drottninggatan ("Queen street") to Gamla Stan (Stockholm Old Town):

Part 1 Main Attractions:  Hötorgshallen Food Market, Sergels torg, Park Kungsträdgården, Norrmalmstorg, Biblioteksgatan, Gustav Adolfs Torg, Jakobs Torg, Norrbro, Daily Parade of the Royal Guards.

Tip 2 Main Attractions - The Royal Palace interiors, Gamla Stan: Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), Nobel Museum, Stortorget, Köpmangatan, Österlånggatan, Järntorget, Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, Västerlånggatan.

Duration: 1 day. Distance: 10 km. Start: Olof Palmes gata x Vasagatan (Norra Bantorget Park). End: Gamla Stan and walk back to Norra Bantorget Park.

Our Hotel: we stayed 7 nights in Scandic Norra Bantorget Hotel, 15 Wallingatan, Stockholm. We were very satisfied except of the weather. Summer 2018 in Sweden was HORRIBLE. The temperatures rarely dropped under 32° from May-SEP. Even if there is an eternal breeze in Stockholm - the city suffered from unbearable wave of heat. The grass never seemed to be so yellow. Most of the hotels, restaurants, cafes, museums and public transportation are not equpped with AC. The only site which was really COOL was the Vasa Museum. BUT, the evenings and the nights were far cooler - and you could refuel your batteries for another day of long walk. The hotel is 1-minute walk from Drottninggatan - one of the main shopping streets of Stockholm. Most of it - pedestrian-only. Many eateries and elegant fashion and other high-class merchandise items. It is 12-minutes walk to the Railway Station. It is 25-minutes walk to Stockholm Town Hall. Don't bother - Stockholm is walkable. You can arrive on foot to almost every site on one of Stockholm islands. The Scandic Norra Bantorget is good. A quiet place. Almost in the centre of the city. Good breakfast (although it does not change during the week). Comfortable and modern rooms. The hotel consists of TWO BLOCKS. In case you are based in the back block - expect 3-5 minutes walking to arrive to the dining (breakfast) hall (using 1 or 2 elevators). The onsite restaurant is good but with very limited menu. Staff members are young and helpful. A price-worthy hotel considered exaggerated prices in Stockholm.

View from hotel room (5th floor):

From Norra Bantorget  we turn RIGHT (north-east) (with our back to the hotel' entrance). We walk until the end of  Wallingatan and and turn RIGHT (south) to Drottninggatan. After passing through Barnhusgatan, on our left, we see (along Drottninggatan) the The Central Badet (Great swimming and spa complex) on our left. Opposite this spa, on our right - note a nice courtyard with fountain:

We cross olof Palmes gata on our right and left and arrive to the intersection of Drottninggatan x Apelbergsgatan wit the three stoned lions sculptures:

The next intersection down (south-east) along Drottningggatan is with Kungsgatan:

On our left is Hötorget underground station (Hötorget T-bana) (beautiful station !!):

and Hötorgshallen Food Market. This market is located on the Hötorget Square. The square itself is filled with fruit and flower vendors - Mondays through Saturdays. The indoor market has quite a discrete entrance at the back (east side) of the square and it takes up two floors, the smaller ground floor and the larger basement level. This market is very popular with Stockholmers. Hötorgshallen (Haymarket) is only open during the daytime so no dinner options (the market is also closed on Sundays and bank holidays). You can find here fruits & vegetables, bread & pastries, delicacies, coffee, tea, sweets, meat, fish, cheese, sausages and much more. Only few of the vendors are Sweds. Most of them are North-Africans, Asian, Turkish, Italian and Eastern European shops.

The outdoor market - mostly, kinds of berries, flowers and mushrooms:

One of the most iconic buildings of Stockholm resides in Haymarket Square: the Concert Hall (Konserhuset). The Konserthuset is main place for Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Each year on December 10, the Nobel Prizes ceremony is held in the main hall. Opening hours: MON-FRI:  11.00 - 18.00, SAT-SUN: closed. On Saturdays and Sunday - you might meet a flea market here. During summer months free concerts of students of the Academy of Music are held in the entrance. In front of Konserthuset standsd the Orpheus Fountain built by Carl Milles, a famous Swedish sculptor.

The real deal is the indoors food market. Downstairs, inside, you have everything from meat, cheese, fish, to tea, and dried goods. There also were ethnic food stalls from Mexican, through Asian to Mid-Eastern products like Falafel. This place is not so big to become overwhelming. All the stalls are neatly displayed. Since the prices are high - the real sport, here, is taking photos:

Old Movie Camera in the Basement level:

Instead of returning to Drottinggatan we continue south-east along Sergelgatan. Before we arrive to Segel Torg (Square) we see Sergelminnet sculpture by Göran Strååt along Sergelgatan street, 1990:

Sergelgatan stretches from Hötorget in the north to Sergels Torg in the south. The street is named after sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel (1740-1814), who had his studio at number 1. In his former form, Sergelgatan went south to Mäster Samuelsgatan , but passed over Sergel's old studio to Sergels Torg. The street level was then lowered by about four meters and Mäster Samuelsgatan was carried by a viaduct across the street. Sergelsgtan ends, in the south in Sergels torg. Sergels torg ("Sergel's Square") is the most central public square in Stockholm. It is the most popular space in Stockholm for meeting friends, for political demonstrations, for a wide range of events, and for drug-dealers. It is a bit similar to the public space in front of Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The main attraction in thi square could be the fountain, in which people celebrate every major victory by a Swedish sports team. BUT, we found it totally dry. The square is partly overbuilt by a roundabout centered on 37.5-meter tall glass obelisk and by the concrete decks of three major streets. A contest for the central monument in 1962 was won by Edvin Öhrström, with the 37 metre tall glass obelisk which was named Kristall - vertikal accent i glas och stål ("Crystal - vertical accent in glass and steel"). The sculpture, finally completed in 1974 and since haunted by technical problems. Large areas of the place are closed for renovation (the whole square is plagued by significant noise) of the 50 years old concrete structures. There also preparation for the installation of tram tracks from Hamngatan to Klarabergsgatan. During the nights the square looks far better. The pole (Totem) in the middle is illuminated in beautiful blue light- amazing sight:

In the southern part of the square - you can find the Stockholm Tourist Office. With our feet at the southern part of Sergels Square and our face to the south - turn left and slope down to Hamngatan (Port Street).

Hamngatan - NK (Nordiska Kompaniet) Department Store building:

In the middle of Hamngatan, in its right (south) side - resides Park Kungsträdgården (Kings Park). What you can see from Hamngatan is ONLY the northern part of Kungsträdgården and it is far less impressive than its more southern parts. The northern part is, mostly, the "Fountain of Wolodarski". The park's central location makes it one of the most popular hangouts and meeting places in Stockholm. It also hosts open-air concerts and events in summer, while offering an ice rink during winters. In the summer it offers beautiful fountains, flourishing trees as well as a number of cafes, art galleries and restaurants. It also hosts open-air concerts and events. In the spring you can catch the Japanese Cherry (Sakura trees) blossoms in full bloom. A total number of 63 Sakura trees is an spring season experience of beauty and scent in the park. Additionally, city architect Alexander Wolodarski commissioned artist Sivert Lindblom to design the large bronze urns now lined up along the new rectangular fountain/pool:

Standing in Hamngatan and looking south to the Kungsträdgården Park - you see, on your left (east) the Palmeska huset by Helgo Zettervall, 1884–86, today the headquarters of  Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB). Further south, on your left (east) is the Kungsträdgården Stockholm metro station (magnificent station !!!):

The park's most notable features reside in the southern parts: the two squares with statues of kings Charles XII and Charles XIII and the Molin's Fountain depicting motifs from Norse mythology- all these will be explored during our later blogs in Stockholm. We continue east on Hamngatan, passing Norrlandsgatan on our left (north). The next square on our left is Norrmalmstorg. Norrmalmstorg square is very famous for the Stockholm Syndrome case. The square connects the posh shopping streets of Hamngatan and Biblioteksgatan and is the starting point for legendary tram Djurgården (blue) line (route number 7N with 10 stations). It is an heritage tram line and operated on a non-profit basis by young members of the Swedish Tramway Society. The vintage of the tram cars varies from early 20th century to late 1950s. On weekends a modified trailer named "Rolling Café" is coupled to one of the motorcars on the line, where one can have a cup of coffee or tea along with some pastries whilst enjoying the scenery. We used this tram on our trip to Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. Note the Norrmalmstorg Chicken sculpture near the Vaudville Restaurant. It’s a creation of Ebba Hedquist. The sculpture was installed there in 1971 (before the bank robbery!). The hen with flopping wings, running away from the traffic, it was an embodiment of pedestrians who felt increasingly unsafe in the 60s, as Stockholm was becoming busier. Matters got even worse when the authorities decided to implement a changeover to right-hand driving in 1967...:

Attention: We continue NORTHWARD from Norrmalmstorg through Biblioteksgatan - BUT we shall RETURN soon SOUTHWARD back to Hamngatan. From the Norrmalmstorg square we continue walking along Biblioteksgatan until it ends (in the north) in Stureplan /  Birger Jarlsgatan. Biblioteksgatan ("Library Street") is a well-known shopping street with many luxurious brand stores (international luxury brands like: Prada, Gucci and Marc Jacobs alongside Swedish fashion labels like: Acne, Hope and Whyred) and some of the highest rent levels for retail in Stockholm. It starts out as a pedestrian street at Norrmalmstorg until it passes Stureplan, where after it continues towards Humlegården and the Royal Library:

Biblioteksgatan x Stureplan:

Cloe from Barcelona, ​​Bronze, 2017 of Jaume Plensa, Stureplan:

Sorry for the U-turn. We shall walk 1 km. back to the south, to a couple of famous Stockholm squares. We thought that the short detour of Biblioteksgatan was worthwhile just for the experience of window shopping. From Stureplan we head southeast along Biblioteksgatan, 250 m. Turn right onto Norrmalmstorg/Smålandsgatan, 35 m. Turn left onto Norrmalmstorg, 75 m. Turn BACK right onto Hamngatan, 35 m. Slight left to stay on Hamngatan, 140 m. Turn left onto Västra Trädgårdsgatan, 240 m. Continue onto Jakobs torg, 50 m. We shall start with the Gustav Adolfs torg, Gustav Adolf Square. Turn right onto Gustav Adolfs torg, 75 m. A square named after King Gustav II Adolf. In the middle of the square there is a statue of Gustav II Adolf, which was erected in 1796 by the French sculptor Pierre l'Archevêque. South to this square, beyond the water (via Norrbro bridge) are the Riksplan (Parliament) and the Medieval Museum (Stockholms Medeltidsmuseum). The Royal Palace is a bit further south in Gamla Stan.  The square is home to the Royal Opera, Arvfurstens palats (housing the Ministry for Foreign Affairs) and the Ministry of Defence: 

The Royal Swedish Opera (Kungliga Operan) is in the eastern part of Gustav Adolfs torg. The opera company was founded by King Gustav III and its first performance, Thetis and Phelée was given on January 18, 1773:

Walk 75 m. north-east to continue to the adjacent Jakobs torg. Jakobs Torg is a triangular square framed by the Royal Opera , St. Jacob's Church and Denmark's house . The west west side extends to Västra Trädgårdsgatan and in the east the square borders Kungsträdgården. In the square outside the church and facing the Opera, a bronze bust of Jussi Björling , sculpted by the Dutchman Pieter de Monchy in 1961, was set in the square first 1994.

St. Jacobs Kyrka:

We return to Gustav Adolf Torg and head SOUTH (south-east) to the Royal Palace through Norrbro  ("North Bridge"). This bridge which starts, in the north,  is an arch bridge over Norrström in Gustav Adolfs torg , passes over Helgeandsholmen in front of the Riksdag building and ends opposite the northern front of the Royal Palace. Norrbro was designed by the city architect Erik Palmstedt (1741–1803). Norrbro was one of the first bridges of Stockholm to be built in stone. It was completed in 1797 (the northern part) and 1806 (the southern part).  Norrbro replaced two old wooden bridges, Slaktarehusbron and Vedgårdsbron, both demolished on its completion. it is surprising that in the latter half of the 18th century still only 2 out of 17 bridges connecting the city were made, at least partially, of stone. Wooden bridges, that were in majority in Stockholm, were vulnerable to natural forces and fire. Consequently, they were often damaged and the maintenance costs were too high.

Gustav Adolf Torg from Norrbro bridge:

The "Solsångaren" (Sunsinger) sculpture of Carl Milles (east to the Norrbro bridge, on the green,small island under the bridge) - view from
Norrbro (northern bridge):

We hurried up to climb the stairs leading to the Royal Palace (Kunliga Slottet) terrace to watch the daily parade of the Royal Guards. The Royal Guards ceremony at the Royal Palace of Stockholm lasts about 40 minutes and includes a marching band. It starts at 12.15in the palace outer courtyard on weekdays, and at 13.15 on Sundays. It happens EVERYDAY from April 23 to August 31. From September 1, the parade is generally held on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing from the Army Museum at 11.45 (WED,SAT), and at 12.:45 on Sundays and public holidays. From November 1, the parade is generally held on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing from Mynttorget at 12.10 (on Sundays and public holidays: 13.10) . If there is no musical accompaniment, the Royal Guards march from the Obelisk at 12.15 (WED,SAT) or 13.15 (SUN). The whole ceremony is no more than splendid. You won't be blown away - but, it is a nice way to spend an hour:

This is the south-east entrance to the Royal Palace after the march of the Royal Guards:

But, it is not the last word of the parade. Hurry up to the south-west front of the palace,the outer courtyard,  where the Change of Royal Palace Guards takes place. Get there early as it gets VERY BUSY ! The royal guard has been stationed at the royal palace in Stockholm since 1523. About 30,000 guards from the Swedish Armed Forces take their turns standing watch. The guards are responsible for safeguarding the royal palace and are also part of the defense of Stockholm. They are an important part of the security force for the capital's citizens. The royal guard takes part in royal ceremonial occasions, official state visits, the official opening of the Swedish Parliament, and other national events. When the trumpets start sounding you see rows of blue-uniformed guards coming in with the marching band. The procession is announced in Swedish before being announced in English. 

Here you can see how the Royal Palace outer courtyard is looking AFTER the Royal Guards Change:

We skip to Tip 2 - where we start our visit inside the Royal Palace.

Dream trip to Norway and a taste of Sweden in 17 days

Lavon Rahel

Norway

Background: 32 years ago we traveled in Scandinavia - Sweden, Finland and Norway. We promised ourselves that we would revisit Norway. Years went by and this destination was so expensive it was pushed to our unreachable dream drawer, till 2011. I booked tickets 9 months in advance, and the production started rolling. 

As soon as they opened the booking to Hurtigruten cruises, I booked it for 4 nights, trip leaving Bergen the same day we landed at 20:00, toward Harstad