After spending a couple of days in Helsinki, I went on to the next stop in my trip: Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm is a beautiful city, which may be why they have more gypsy beggars per square meter than any other city I’ve seen on this continent. As with Helsinki, my photographs in this post aren’t in chronological order.
The northern part of the old city in Stockholm is an island called Gamla Stan. The Royal Palace and Parliament are in Gamla Stan, along with lots of narrow streets and cobblestone. Much of it dates from the 1600s and 1700s. For example:
There are also Viking rune stones in various places around Stockholm. This one is actually embedded into the foundation of a building in Gamla Stan because someone in the distant past decided to relocate it from its original resting place. Rune stones are often memorials to the dead, but this is not always the case. This particular stone is a fragment; the part which is readable translates to “Torsten and Frögunn had this stone raised after their son.”
This is Tyska Kyrkan, the old German church. The section of Gamla Stan containing this church has streets named after German iron merchants and craftsmen who settled in the city
This is the narrowest street in Stockholm, at a width of 90 centimeters.
This is one of the metro stops in Stockholm near my hotel in Karlaplan. I just thought this was a really nifty looking metro station.
This building is the Town Hall. The thing at the top is three crowns, which is a commonly used logo for the city.
Of course you can climb the town hall. It’s a lot of steps, but it’s well worth it because you get a view like this.
Off in the distance, you can see the Ericsson Globe, which is a concert venue. It also has a nifty attraction attached called SkyView, which I visited later.
This is the SkyView at the Ericsson Globe. There are two spherical capsules on custom-built tracks which go up the side of the building to get a 360 degree view of Stockholm from the top. This is fabulous, but it’s pretty far outside the center of the city, so the view isn’t as nifty as I would have hoped. Still, this was worth it for me because: tall places!
Inside the Town Hall tower, there are artifacts from the history of the city. I especially liked the sculpture of the very tall warrior.
The Djurgården is an entire island which was once a royal hunting ground. In modern times, the Skansen open air park, the ABBA Museum, and the amusement park Gröna Lund are on this island, along with the Vasa Museum which I mention below. Sometime in the past, a king decided to open the park to visitors, and the Blue Gate was erected. It has been moved several times, but it is believed that the current location is near to the original one.
The amusement park Gröna Lund, as seen from the water. The park is seasonal, and I was in Stockholm too soon to go inside.
The Vasa Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sweden. Here’s why: The Vasa is a warship which set sail on her maiden voyage on August 10, 1628, and about a half hour into the trip, she sank into Stockholm Harbour. 333 years later, she was raised, restored, and a museum was built around her. The vessel is something like 98% original parts with a coat of sealant for the wood, but they had to redo all the rope bits.
There are models showing the process of raising the Vasa from the bottom of the harbor.
The ship is huge.
The original mainsail was not intact enough to stay on the displayed vessel, but they put it in an environmentally controlled glass case so you can still see it.
I did not actually go past the lobby of the Abba Museum because it was too late in the day, but I was sorely tempted to come back.
Meanwhile, back in Gamla Stan, the Nobel Museum contains details about the Nobel Prize and its founder, Alfred Nobel. I had no idea before this trip that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and gelignite, or that he owned armament factories. He was once nicknamed the Merchant of Death, despite being a pacifist.
Each of the more than 800 Laureates who has been awarded a Nobel Prize so far is presented in a random order, with a portrait and a prize citation. The portraits move around the museum on a spiral track that loops back to the museum’s center.
This sculpture represents Orpheus going to hell to bring back Eurydice, surrounded by eight male and female figures. It stands in front of the Concert Hall at Hötorget in central Stockholm. One of the male figures has the facial features of Beethoven because the sculptor really liked Beethoven. I saw this sculpture briefly from a moving bus and I liked it so much that I went back on foot later so that I could get a good picture.
This sculpture, called Non-violence, is used in various places to represent peace. It was originally sculpted after John Lennon was assassinated, and there are sixteen of them around the world. Three of them are in different places around Stockholm.
This is a typical street in Gamla Stan. I don’t actually recall why I specifically took this photo.
This is the Swedish Parliament in Gamla Stan.
Sergel’s Tor is a popular meeting place. It’s connected to the main train station for Stockholm, along with shopping, dining, public transportation, and a really nifty tall sculpture thingie. Also, the building to the right is called the Kulturhuset- it has exhibitions, a children’s library, and several restaurants.
One of the tours I took while in Stockholm was the Free Tour with tour guide Ira. Free Tour Stockholm offers old city and regular city tours, and the whole thing is free- they work for tips. It was very informative. In retrospect, I don’t think the girl in the glasses wanted very much to be in my photograph.
Gustaf Dalén’s lighthouse. This little structure was set up in 1912. Dalén won a Nobel Prize in physics for his work on regulators in lighthouses and buoys. When this lighthouse was electrified in 1980, it was discovered that the sun valve had been working continuously since 1912 without the need for an overhaul.
If you have to have a permanent crane on your waterfront, why not paint it to look like a giraffe?
The Swedish Central Bank, Sveriges Riksbank, is the oldest central bank in the world. It was founded in 1668. This is not the original structure, though. They moved here in the 1990s, I believe.
The Monarchy in Sweden is just chockablock with Carls and Gustavs. This plaza is Gustav Adolfs Torg.
This quiet pleasant little circular area is offset from Gamla Stan- you have to walk through a passageway that looks a bit like a hallway to reach it. It’s the sort of thing you find if you’re willing to explore a tiny bit off side streets and alleys.
The Royal Palace in Gamla Stan is the “official” place of residence for the royal family, but they don’t really stay there. They do have official events there, and they do receive state visitors there. There are, naturally, Royal Guard members standing and marching in front of the Palace.
This is a big church that gets used for big events. After a few years in Europe, the Big Important Churches are kind of starting to run together.
This statue is called “Iron Boy.” It’s also called “Boy looking at the moon.” The statue is only fifteen centimeters tall, and is considered Stockholm’s smallest public monument. The Iron Boy is behind a church and is very easy to miss. People leave coins and rub his head for luck. There’s also a legend that he helps women become pregnant, but it’s entirely possible that our tour guide was just messing with us. I would not have seen this without Free Tour Stockholm’s guidance.
St. George and the Dragon.
These buildings are in the same square as the Nobel Prize museum, and they each have a pastry restaurant at their base.
Have you ever been to Stockholm?