Saturday, November 29, 2014

My last day in Stockholm

It’s late Saturday afternoon and in a short while, my son and I are heading to the local market to pick up a few munchies for dinner. We’re having El & Seamus over later and it’s my last night here. Today, we took the ‘Archipelago Tour’ on the SS Stockholm through Stromma tours and it was fantastic.


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The ship left the harbor at noon for a 3-hour tour.

A 3-hour tour.

Ha. I crack myself up.


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It was a thousand times nicer than I thought it would be. We opted for the brunch tour and were treated to some really fantastic food in a dining lounge with linen tablecloths. I thought we’d be sitting on benches or something and would have to keep coming inside to get out of the cold. Silly me.


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But it was a luxury cruise and filled with all kinds of wonderful things to eat – all Swedish and all fantastic.


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We went all the way round to Vaxholm (above) and then back again.


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I kept going outside although it was cold, because the photo opps were so much better than taking images through the windows of the ship.


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And when we pulled back into port at Stockholm, the sun was setting.


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It was the best.


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This has been just the best trip ever.


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Seamus & El, taken with my camera phone.


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Me and Matt.

I have  had the time of my life in this beautiful city. I leave very early tomorrow morning to catch the express train up to the airport north of here and will probably not be posting for several days. Thanks for coming along on the ride with me. I’ll be back here in a little while.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Beautiful Stockholm

My trip to Stockholm continues and although I missed Thanksgiving and family at home, I still managed to have a very nice time.

Yesterday evening, our relatives arrived and we met them for drinks at the Gold Bar at their hotel. It was very top shelf, as a friend of mine would say. You can see from the photo below why it’s called the Gold Bar.


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The bar manager’s name is Robby and he’s from . . . of all places . . . Queens in NY. I took an instant liking to him. He was just such a nice guy. And good heavens, can he ever make a lovely cocktail.


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I had read about this place and it was another on the list of my mental to-do’s while in Stockholm: to have a cocktail at the Gold Bar in the Nobis Hotel.

I had a specialty cocktail called the Strawberry Basil Smash - Vodka stirred with fresh strawberries, basil and ecological agave syrup. Delicious. El had a cocktail from their Temperance menu called L’Air de Panache made with ginger, mint and apple.


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Before we left, we went to the top of the spiral staircase and I took some photos looking down. I edited this one in b&w because I liked how it looked.


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Later we walked back to my son’s apartment which is just 10 minutes away. Lots to look at along the way with all of the shop windows aglow, holiday lights, and people out and about. The bar manager explained to us that Wednesdays in Sweden are called ‘Little Saturday’. Half the work week is over and apparently it’s cause to celebrate. And when I say celebrate, I mean imbibe. Ha ~


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Love these pine cone lights.


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Today we met at their hotel and walked over to Djurgarden, an island just south of the city, to visit the famous Vasa Museum. This museum is a must-see when you visit Stockholm. It is the only place in the world that has a preserved 17th century ship and all its artifacts. The displays are absolutely fascinating.

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The Vasa Museum (Swedish: Vasamuseet) is a maritime museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Located on the island of Djurgården, the museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The Vasa Museum opened in 1990 and, according to the official web site, is the most visited museum in Scandinavia. Together with other museums such as Stockholm Maritime Museum, the museum belongs to the Swedish National Maritime Museums (SNMM). ~ Wikipedia


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We roamed around the museum for a couple of hours, marveling at all of it. Highly recommend if you plan to visit this country.

Afterward, we walked to a café spot my son had found on Yelp. Matt is in charge of the restaurant choices and he has been amazing the entire trip. I’ve had sushi, out-of-this world burgers, a fantastic birthday dinner over in Gamla stan, and I could go on and on.


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It was a lovely walk.


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We crossed the bridge from the island back into the city.


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With me stopping to take photos along the way . . .

And after a little while, we found the place we were looking for.


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I had the best lobster soup I have ever had in my life.

(Sorry, my Maine friends . . . but it’s the truth). Combined with some rustic bread, a small salad as a side dish, and a lovely cappuccino for dessert, it was just perfect.


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El & Seamus with my son, Matt.

A very good Thanksgiving day for me.


On the agenda for tomorrow: a boat tour of the area.

If we can book it and it’s not sold out!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Art in the Stockholm subways

Before I came to Stockholm, I was making a mental list of things I wanted to do and see and the art work in the subway system was one of them. Yesterday I spent several hours riding the rails and getting off when I saw an interesting spot. I took the blue line from T-Centralen and rode up toward Akala, getting off at Kista and then heading back south. I would love to continue the adventure and wish I could spend more time here.

These are some of the images I captured yesterday, way down underground. It was amazing.


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The blue line at T-Centralen.


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The Stockholm subway system is said to be the world's longest art exhibit - 110 kilometers long.Traveling by subway is like traveling through an exciting story that extends from the artistic pioneers of the 1950s to the art experiments of today.

Over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 artists. The Kungsträdgården subway station looks like an archaeological excavation, with the remains of the old Stockholm Makalös palace. At Östermalmstorg the artist Siri Derkert highlights women's rights and peace and environmental issues.



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I was traveling alone, as my son was at work the entire day. This was an adventure for me as I am not an accomplished subway rider.


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Beautiful mosaic tiles at Vastra skogen.


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I went up to see what it looked like above. To get up, I had to ride two super long escalators. I had never seen escalators this long. This photo was taken at the section of break between them.


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And then I went back down again.



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This one is amazing.


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This is Solna Centrum.


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Every inch of wall and ceiling space have been painted red. Landscapes accompany the artwork on the walls.


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I could have done this all day.


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This is the final one I will show you. It’s the stop at Nackrosen.


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It feels like I am in  pond here.

Simply amazing.


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I wish I had more time to spend in this beautiful city. If you are planning on visiting Stockholm, I cannot recommend the subway art tour enough. You have to see it and feel it to truly appreciate it. I found out after coming back to the apartment and reading up on it that they actually offer tours. According to the VisitStockholm website, these are the best of the artworks.

Blue line:
Solna Centrum

Green line:

Red line:
Tekniska Högskolan

Maybe I can hit a few more while I am here . . .

Hope you enjoyed!

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Sunsets and Skogskyrkogarden

Yesterday was spent in almost full motion. I had a plan to visit Skogskyrkogarden, the Woodland Cemetery I had heard my son talk about. He had visited it on All Saints Day, which is a big deal here in Sweden. People come to the cemeteries and light candles and it is such a sight to see. For pictures depicting this ritual, visit here:

All Saints Day in Sweden

When I came home, I had lunch at an Espresso House nearby and then went back to the apartment to rest my knees. But shortly after, I saw that the sunset was beginning so I hurried down the street towards the water to see if I could get a few good shots.


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I had taken a virtual walk of this route on googlemaps street view when I knew I was coming to Stockholm. It looked a pretty far walk for me but it wasn’t bad at all. Just about 4-5 long city blocks and then there is the walking bridge to Gamla stan that you see above.


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And the incredible sights.


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This one may be my favorite. I took it from the little bridge.


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Although I also like this one.


Earlier in the day, I took the subway/train south to see the Woodland Cemetery, Skogskyrkogarden. The entrance sign says "this World Heritage Site is a site of such cultural or natural value as to be irreplaceable to mankind. It is a unique testimony to the history of the earth and man".


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The cemetery is expansive and I walked as much as I could. It is always open, and extremely well-tended. The visitor’s center is only open on weekends. It is also a very big tourist attraction. But yesterday it was quiet.


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I have never seen a place such as this.


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When Skogskyrkogården was founded at the beginning of the 1900s, the aim was to create something special, something original - a cemetery blending nature and architecture into a seamless whole.

Today, Skogskyrkogården is considered one of the most important creations of modern architecture, and is even inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

~ from the Skogskyrkogården webpage


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This is such a peaceful place.


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Many of the trees have birdhouses such as this.


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And Greta Garbo is buried here.


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I wanted to walk up this hill but I had already done much walking. Today I am sorry that I didn’t attempt it because it would have made such a good view from above.


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And then I took my train back into the city. I am getting a little more comfortable with the subways although they still confuse me. Today my plan is to take the blue line system which is where I hear they have all the artwork on the walls. But it’s nearly 11 am and I am still in my pajamas. By 2, it will begin to get dark and by 3, the sun will be down. So I guess I’d better get moving then . . .

I love it here.

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