The first port of call on a cloudy Sunday morning in Stockholm was Vasa museum on Djurgården island. My husband and I strolled all around Gamla Stan (the Old Town) the previous day so we decided to use the underground today. You can read all about our visit to Vasa museum famous for its historical warship in a separate post.
Vasa ship in Vasa museum
Djurgården island is a peaceful retreat in Stockholm where you can find several museums, an amusement park and plenty of green space for a lovely picnic in the summer. Unfortunately, despite being April it wasn’t warm for such activities and it even started to rain heavily. Luckily, just about when my husband finally finished with all the exhibits in Vasa museum the rain stopped and we walked back towards the underground station.
interesting buildings near the Swedish history museum
The next item on my to-do Stockholm list for Sunday was the Swedish History Museum on the way to Karlaplan station. It’s got free admission and it was a great place to spend a few hours on a rainy day (yes, it started to rain again). What were the highlights of this museum for me? Firstly, the Gold room on the lower floor which contains 52 kilos of gold and over 200 kilos of silver in the form of jewelry, religious objects, crowns and other things from different periods. Impressive, right? Secondly, I really liked the Viking exhibition on the ground floor. I am a big fan of Vikings series. At the very entrance of the Viking room I read how Vikings were perceived differently through different historical periods (and political situations). The concern today is that current portrayals of Vikings as only cruel warriors (TV, video games etc.) might leave a confusing legacy to the future generations.
The museum displays Viking weapons, clothes, tools, model ships and an interesting model of a Viking village. It is a very fascinating and informative exhibition. Thirdly, I enjoyed the exhibition A thousand years of Swedish history. It’s got a lot of interactive elements. I especially enjoyed sniffing through a small cupboard to guess which spices were brought to Sweden. I didn’t guess them all:) I also did an interesting quiz to see if I was a witch ( after all I do have a cat!). Also, this was the first museum that I’ve visited where I saw a trail through various exhibitions with the comments of LGBTQ community offering their perspective on various historical events. The museum also has exhibitions on Prehistory and Medieval life and art. I preferred this museum to the Vasa museum, to be honest.
Riddarholmen island, Gamla Stan
If you follow my blog or just occasionally read my posts you know that I’m totally crazy about London. As it happened just three weeks before my 11th trip to London my husband and I spent a weekend in Stockholm, Sweden. Because I was creating my to-do list for my solo trip to London I didn’t really spend a lot of time on planning our Stockholm trip. Also, I didn’t want to over-plan our stay since we literally had just a bit more than 48h to enjoy Stockholm. Our plane landed on Friday evening and we had our return flight on Monday morning (this April).
on the way from the airport
On the drive from Skavsta airport to Stockholm we got to admire the Swedish landscape: forests and lakes and colourful wooden houses. The scenery resembled our drive from the airport to Oslo center two years ago. Our trip to Oslo influenced this trip because when I researched briefly Stockholm sights I found a lot of similar things/museums as in Oslo and I didn’t really want to do the same things twice (e.g we visited the Norwegian Folk museum in Oslo so I didn’t see the point in visiting a similar museum in Stockholm).
this doesn’t look like Stockholm but it is
On Saturday morning we had a big breakfast so that we could explore Stockholm on foot. The sun was shining and the temperature was around 6°C. We walked straight to the Central metro station and then turned left towards the Kungstradgarden which was in full bloom. I decided to follow more or less the suggested walk from a Lonely Planet guidebook to explore the Old Town (Gamla Stan) and a few other islands. We passed by a nice church and reached the water.
Stockholm is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. So, yes any comparison with Amsterdam or Venice is valid. I was confused all the time whether I was standing by the lake or the sea or the river because Stockholm was founded at Lake Mälaren’s freshwater outflow to the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is an old city. Its beginnings date from the 13 century when Birger Jarl, the city’s official founder built a castle. The name of the city Stockholm could be translated as a tree-trunk islet. My main focus was to wander around the Old Town (Gamla Stan) spanning over several small islands.
Hello! Have you missed me? 😉 It’s been a while since my last post. Well, just 8 days exactly but it’s been the longest period between two published posts since I’ve started this blog. But I’ve got a good excuse. You see, I got back yesterday from my weekend trip (22.-25.April) to Stockholm, Sweden. My husband and I fell under Stockholm’s charm hard. He’s even said that Stockholm earned a place on his ˝best cities˝ in Europe list (FYI London’s not on that list! I know, a shocker!). I’ll write more about our Stockholm trip but for now let me show you the beautiful city of Stockholm:
the City Hall
Have you ever seen the painting Scream by Edvard Munch?You should hurry before someone steals it again!
So, we started our last day in Oslo by visiting the National Gallery which was just around the corner of our hotel. I’m not a huge fan of galleries but I like to see some of the master pieces that I’ve learned about at school in real life. We visited the National gallery to see the world-famous painting the Scream by Edvard Munch. The entry is free on Sunday so that was a welcoming bonus in pricey Oslo. The gallery isn’t that big and we soon saw everything of interest to us. As all the other tourists we had to take our photo with the Scream painting. Edvard Munch actually created four versions of this painting and they are found in different museums. You can see the other Scream painting in the Munch Museum together with the pastel version and the last one was sold on auction in 2012 (pastel) for a whopping sum of $119,922,600 according to Wikipedia. The one we saw was actually stolen from the National Gallery in 1994 but it was recovered several months later.
the Scream by Edvard Munch and myself:))
After this culture fix we needed some history so we headed to the Akershus Fortress and Castle at the old harbour. You can walk around the fortress for free but if you want to visit the Castle then you pay for the ticket and get a free audio guide. I love castles not just because I have a degree in History. My husband is also a big castle fan especially of the ones that were built in medieval times like this one. The building of the fortress and the castle started in 1299 under the rule of king Hakon V but the whole complex which withstood many sieges and battles was modernised in the Renaissance period by the king Christian IV. The royal family and the state government still use the castle for certain state affairs. We saw the banquet room which is used by the government and the royals but it isn’t luxurious at all. We walked around the castle rooms and the dungeon and listened to the historical explanations as well as to the ghost stories on our audio guides. It was a good visit and we also admired the view of Oslo’s fjord from the fortress’ walls.
It was a grey day in Oslo. It didn’t start to rain just yet but you knew that it would. We hurried up from our hotel to the quayside in front of the City Hall where we boarded our boat to Bygdøy peninsula to visit the museums. It was the museums day 🙂
We were among the first passengers on the boat that morning and we arrived even before the Fram museum opened its doors. So we had a quick look around and then entered the museum named after the Fram; a ship made exclusively for polar expeditions. Yes, there’s a huge ship in the museum and you can come on board the ship and explore its cabins too. The Fram still holds the records for sailing farthest north and farthest south. Why was it used and when? Please read the museum’s explanation : „She was used on three important expeditions: with Fridtjof Nansen on a drift over the Arctic Ocean 1893-96, with Otto Sverdrup to the arctic archipelago west of Greenland – now the Nunavut region of Canada – 1898-1902, and with Roald Amundsen to Antarctica for his South Pole expedition 1910-12.˝ Impressive, right?
We almost had the entire museum to ourselves so we leisurely saw all the exhibits which show how life looked like onboard the Fram. There’s also a fun polar simulator and a big scary polar bear. Of course, there’s a café and a museum shop too. You reach the other polar ship Gjøa which is famous for being the first ship to navigate the whole of the Northwest Passage by going under the tunnel which connects the two museum’s buildings.
The best part was going onboard the Fram and taking a peek inside it. Of course, my husband (actually he was my fiancé on this trip since we got married a couple of months later) had to read every single explanation of every single object which drove me mad!
Have you ever been to Scandinavia? The trip to Norway’s capital was my first encounter with cool Scandinavia. My husband and I spent a weekend in Oslo in April last year. I didn’t have any preconceptions of Oslo which is probably one of the reasons that I felt so relaxed there. Oslo is actually in a fjord and surrounded by hills & forest. There’s even a ski jump tower in the city area (Holmenkollen National Ski Arena with museum and jump tower). I mean where can you ski and then go to the opera in the same day?
Why did we go to Oslo in the first place? Sometimes we go on a trip because we particularly want to visit that town/country and sometimes, which was the case this time, we go somewhere because we found a cheap plane ticket and/or budget accommodation. So we landed on a Friday afternoon and had an early morning flight back on Monday which gave us just enough time to explore Oslo. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to do anything else like visit the fjords.
We arrived on a crisp sunny April day, just a week before Easter celebrations. First impressions of Norway from the plane (sea&islands) were very promising as was the landscape just outside the airport (forest). But then our airport shuttle arrived and I burst into laughter. I have never ever been driven in such an old dilapidated van/airport transfer.We were dropped off at the main bus station and continued on foot to our hotel which was 20 mins from the aforementioned station. It was a leisurely stroll around the center since our hotel was just around the corner of the main street Karl Johans Gate and the Royal Palace. Yes, Norway’s got a royal family but we didn’t see them :). We’ve also came across the stout and sombre Cathedral on our way to the hotel. It’s a bit odd that there are shops and cafes just behind the cathedral in the so-called Bazaar halls.
Norway from the air