You guessed,we went by bus from Tromso to Narvik ,arriving in plenty of time to catch the overnight train to Stockholm. Our compartment was a couchette ,which means there are 6 people sleeping on the seats ,that turn into bunks. Pauline and I had the bottom bunks, John and Mike had the two middle bunks and two hapless young men volunteered to take the top bunks. They complained that our chorus during the night kept them awake.
Guess which boat is our hotel? She has had a checkered career around the world,sinking and being salvaged ,but now is safely moored and fitted out. Ours is the one with the black hull.
Stockholm is a beautiful city. It has retained its historical charm in its old buildings and the narrow streets of the old city,Gamala Stan. The sun peeks down between the buildings and into the squares. There are tiny coffee shops and seats that spill out onto the footpaths.
Yesterday Parliament opened her for the next session. There was much ceremony as the Queen travelled to Parliament House. We watched her pass in her golden coach. Pauline said it was kind of them to arrange it for our visit and she was sure the Queen waved especially to her.
We later watched the honour guard at the House . Sadly we did not recognise the Australian ambassador to say hello. They enjoy the pomp and ceremony of the occasion,complete with traditional uniforms and procedures. Hats dipped,guns raised. Hats adjusted,stand at ease and then repeat as each dignitary dawdles out,takes a selfie and walks down. We felt sorry for the soldiers. They’re changing guards at the Swedish Palace, Sue went down with Mike, John and Pauline. The Queen was in, but didn’t come out to see us.🙁😕☹️😞 We were going to knock but the Guard had a gun and didn’t look very welcoming.
There are modern buildings in the city. These are set back from the water and are architecturally interesting. One looks like a steel and glass 3D boat, and another has green windows of different sizes arranged to create a pattern. There are no huge skyscrapers.
500 years ago, they built a beautiful galleon in Sweden. Everyone came to see it sail. It did not leave the harbour. Being unbalanced, and someone forgot toclose all the low cannon doors, the Vasa sank with all aboard. It was brought up from the mud and now is an amazing exhibit for all to see.
Its sheer size and craftsmanship astounds you.
At the wharf,beside the Vasa museum, are a few ships specific to this region. A lighthouse ship( I did climb to the top), a small ice breaker and the first large ice breaker ever made in Sweden. The officers had to stand out at the bridge dressed in furs to cope with the cold. Inside, the beds in the crews cabins had to be repositioned ,because the blankets froze to the side of the ship. Not an easy life at all!
Near the Vasa museum is the Skansen and the ABBA museum. Guess which we visited. No not ABBA, we are trying to get culture!
Skansen is a collection of buildings from all over Sweden, representing both the Sami and other Swedish groups over different time periods . There is so much to see and experience that one visit is not enough. Seals?
Animals,both wild and domestic are found here too.
So two ferry rides , two tram trips……. another ferry
Tomorrow we leave for Hamburg,changing trains in Copenhagen so our journey continues.