Beautiful Country Number 3: Sweden

Trip Start Jul 04, 2009
Trip End Jul 18, 2009

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Flag of Sweden  , Stockholm,
Monday, July 13, 2009

My first stop in Sweden after crossing over the border in the north was down in Uppsala. To get there I had traveled all day by train, through Ostersund and Sundsvall. I took the opportunity to catch up on some sleep. By the time I arrived in Uppsala I hadn't showered for several days, so appreciated the opportunity to clean myself up a little. With plenty of light left in the evening I toured around the city, visited Domkyrka (the big church) and ventured up to the castle, Uppsala Slott just as the sky was turning orange on the horizon.

Before departing Uppsala the next day, I took a walk out of town to Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) to see the old Viking Mounds. They were just that, small grassy mounds where old vikings were buried. With that done it was on to Stockholm.

The place I stayed in Stockholm was a working high school that is turned into a hostel for the summer. The dorm rooms were classrooms and the beds were just mattresses on the floor. It was an interesting stay, but comfortable enough.

I really enjoyed Stockholm. It felt like a really cosmopolitan city with lots to do, and in Summer at least, all the Swedes are out enjoying the weather. And it's true what they say about the Swedes, they are best looking people in the world. Unfair but true. I covered a fair bit of ground in and around the city, visiting the Gamla Stan (Old Town), the Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace)
and taking a few pictures of the St George and the Dragon statue. I also made it around a fair few of the city's islands to see the Arkitekturmuseet on Skeppsholmen, and the Vasamuseet on Djurgården. The Vasamuseet was one of the best museums I've ever been to. It was built to house the only almost fully intact 17th century ship after it was salvaged from the dark waters around Stockholm. The size of the ship was such that they were not able to reconstruct the masts fully to fit under the roof. It was amazing that this ship was designed to go to war as it was covered in decorative wooden sculptures that had turned black after years of being in the dark mud around Stockholm.

I could have spent weeks in Stockholm, and I've said it many times before about other cities but Stockholm really felt like a place you needed to live for a while to get to know it. One of the surprising things about Stockholm and all of Scandinavia, is that they speak such good English. It was really difficult to learn any new phrases because it was so easy to speak English. Stockholm is definately a place I would love to come back to. In Summer at least.

Running out of time until my flight back to London I jumped on an overnight ferry to Helsinki. The ferry left Sweden through the Stockholm Archipelago as the sun was setting. It was a good to have a few drinks on the deck admiring my last taste of Sweden.
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