On the way to Stockholm, I invented a new English term "Schengenity" and I christened this journey of mine as "Losing Schengenity''. This was my first ever Schengen visit and it's a term which I use in order to tell people that I visited my first Schengen country, starting with Sweden and yes it was a solo trip.
Stockholm was the best way to get ourselves introduced to Europe. It was my first time to any European country too. Having stayed in Dubai for six years, it wasn't that I had never seen developed country culture, but still the fact that I will be going to Sweden, had somewhat thrilled me.
I spent five days in this beautiful city. I had made a rule of my own, whatever happens I will not take a taxi and will depend on the other public transports such as bus, tram, train and metro. And I have to say, that it was not at all a difficult task. Most of the main Stockholm sights can be seen on foot and tram.
Needless to say, people here are friendly. In shops, restaurants, sightseeing places you can easily find people knowing English, even if its not their first language. Although, while walking on streets you may not find many English speaking people, as they speak in one of the Nordic tongues.
These five days have been one of my most memorable days and I would love sharing it with you all.
Gamla Stan or Old Town dates back to 13th Century where most of the buildings we see today are 300 - 400 years old. Yes, that's right. They are 300-400 years old and still used by Swedish people as there very home. Visually they are beautiful colorful buildings which represents the ancient Scandinavian architecture.The Royal Palace of Sweden also consists a part of Gamla Stan, which I would cover separately as it deserves a substantial no of photographs and descriptions.Not to be missed in Gamla Stan is Stortorget. Its a Square which was used to massacre Swedish Nobel People by Danish King in 16th Century. In present day, we have Alfred Nobel Museum located in the same place. I thought of having a quick coffee in that cozy cafe inside the Museum but ended up spending two hours in it looking around and reading about different Nobel laureates. Was very fortunate to be able to see the Original Will of Alfred Nobel written by himself, as it was the last day of keeping it for display.I also visited St Geogre Church and The German Church. Unfortunately couldn't go inside the German Church, because of an ongoing mass. St George Church is right next to the Royal Palace. After a memorable walk through the Gamla Stan, my stomach started growling and asking for a much needed meal. I had heard about an Indian restaurant in Gamla Stan but couldn't really find it through out my walk but then finally here I was. Just few step ahead of German Church, we have Hurry Curry, the ultimate Indian Restaurant. Although being from a Non-Vegetarian family, I am kind of preferably vegetarian. So, obviously it was a heaven for me.Also I would like to mention over here, that there are a lot of amazing restaurant options specially for non-veggies on the lane which joins Stortorget and The German Church.That was just a glimpse of my Gamla Stan walk. Please check out some pictures too which relates to my write up. Much more to come.Thanks for your time.Amulya
History and culture is not my top favorites, but after all, this was my first ever European Palace visit. Even a person like me who is least interested in kings and queens (other than Game of thrones), tend to get captivated with the Royal essence of this Palace.To my very fortunate fortune, I happened to be here on Swedish National Day 6th June 2015, which clearly meant a special 'Change of Guards' Ceremony. At least five hundred people were gathered at the Main Entrance of Royal Palace waiting to witness this event. It started with the loud Cannon Fires which took place 3 Kms away from the Palace in the island of Djurgården. I couldn't access the place where the actual Gaurd Changing took place, all I could cover is the procession. Though I have pictures of the Change of Guards Ceremony which took place the next day.After the ceremony, everybody was allowed inside the Palace which was open to Public free of cost that day. Not to be missed in the Royal Palace Museum are:1. The Royal Apartments2. Tre Kronor Museum( Dedicated to the original Tre Kronor Palace in Stockholm, which was destroyed in a violent fire in 1697)3. The Treasury4. Gustav III, Museum of AntiquitiesRest is for you to find out when you visit this amazing Palace. Do checkout the pictures attached. You will not find the pictures of Treasury section as it was not allowed to take pictures over there.ThanksAmulya
Gripsholm Castle is Sweden's one of the most finest historical monument which was built by King Gustav Vasa in 1537 and later extended by Gustav III. Its not very much located in Stockholm, infact it is approximately 70 Kms away from the city. The best part of this castle is that, it is not in the middle of the crowded city, and you get to explore the actual countryside Sweden.Here are few easy steps to follow in order to reach Gripsholm Castle:1. Catch a 10:35 AM train from Stockholm Central, reach Laggesta Station at 11:20 AM2. catch a bus going to Mariefred Village at 11: 41 AM and 3. within next 15 minutes get down at the Mariefred Village Bus Station. You can easily see the Castle Top towards your right hand side. Start walking on the grass following the criss cross lane. Walk for 5 minutes, cross the railway track and here you are (Check out the first picture). You will find a magnificent Castle standing right in front of you.
Drottningholm Palace is the actual residence of the King, since the Royal Palace of Stockholm is only the official residence.I took the boat to the Palace from City Hall, where the boats are available every hour. In case you are planning, its better to check the timings before. I took the 3:30 PM boat, and reached to the palace at around 4:20 P.M. The closing time for the Palace was 4:30 PM, so I couldn't actually go inside the palace, but was lucky enough to roam around the very famous Drottningholm Palace Gardens. So basically, I missed two UNESCO world heritage site, which are Drottningholm Palace Theater and Chinese Pavilion. But overall, it was a great experience, the best part of my tour was the cruise ride till the palace.
Vasa Museet , Nordiska Museet in Djurgarden - I spent half a day in this beautiful island of Djurgarden. This island is in the middle of the Stockholm City, accessible through tram, ferry or by walking.This is a must visit place in Stockholm, I loved Djurgarden for its lush green beauty. It has many spots which are not to be missed, like Vasa Museet, Nordiska Museet, Grona Lund Amusement Park in case you are with kids, Skansen, ABBA Museum. I was touring solo, so wasn't very keen to visit the amusement park. I am also not a very big fan of ABBA group, so I just clicked a picture outside the museum. So I visited Vasa, Nordiska and Skansen. In this write up, I will only cover about Vasa and Nordiska Museet, as Skansen needs entirely separate coverage.Vasa Museet: There is a saying, that no one leaves Stockholm without paying a visit to Vasa Museet. The work 'Museet' in Sweden means Museum, as you must have understood by now. 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, just after sailing for 15-20 minutes. A video presentation is worth watching inside the museum, it shows how it was possible to restore the sunken ship from the bottom of the sea to Vasa Museet.Nordiska Musset: is dedicated to the cultural history of Sweden from the Early Modern age. I personally loved the architecture of the Museum than what was kept inside it. One day is not enough in Djurgarden. If you also want to visit Skansen, which is an open air museum, then you need the entire full day dedicated only to Skansen. I will brief about it in my other write up, dedicated only to Skansen.
Skansen is an open-air museum and zoo in Sweden and is located on the island Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden. It is easily accessible through Tram. Before I tell you more about Skansen, I would like to mention this special thing about Stockholm Tram. There is only 1 Tram Line in whole of Stockholm City which is Line No 7. I have no idea why is it call line no 7, but the connectivity it offers is just superb. My Stockholm City Card made it so easy to access any Public Transport for free any time in those 5 days of my stay in this lovely city.Coming back to Skansen, its mainly divided in to Houses, Farmsteads, Zoo and Outlets for food and drinks. I preferred spending maximum of my time in Houses and Farms. It felt like I am walking through a village in Sweden 300 years back and can simply walk in to any villagers hut and ask about their well being. A Glass worker house, carpenter's workshop, an iron smith's house, comb maker's workshop, goldsmith's and upholsterer's workshop, a bakery and many more things have been entirely replicated how it would have been 300 years back. I went to a shoemakers house where he had every kind of antique equipment to do his job. A guy dressed in a traditional shoemaker's attire gave a brief idea about his work and how people used to survive back in those days. Similarly in other huts and workshops too, there were one or two individuals dressed as hut or workshop owner sharing their stories and survival techniques with the visitors. It was definitely a unique experience for me, as I love to talking to different people. And this was the experience which gives you an impression as if you are talking to people who existed 300 years back definitely had its own uniqueness to it. The crockeries, utensils, hardwares, furnitures, appliances and articles inside the huts and workshops are really worth a watch. I suggest you to go inside the huts and make sure you cover all these things.There is also a Zoo, where you can find Nordic animals like Brown Bear, Elk, Lynx, Reindeer, Wolf, Wolverine and many more.If you happen to visit Stockholm, try to keep an entire or at least half a day for Skansen. There is still lot more to come.Best Regards,Amulya
Stockholm City Hall is the building of the Municipal Council for the City of Stockholm in Sweden. I chose to come here mainly because of the reason that it is the venue for Nobel Prize banquet, every year 1300 people gather for the banquet including the Nobel Prize Winners. Banquet takes place in 'the Blue Hall' which is not exactly blue but has finished Red Bricks. The architect of City Hall Ragnar Ostberg had earlier planned to have a Blue Colored Hall with glazed tiles, but changed his mind and chose to stick with red bricks.The tower is 106 metres high and is accessible by an elevator or by a stair of 365 steps. It is built 106 m just to surpass Copenhagen City Hall tower which is 105 m high.Tour inside the City Hall can only be done with the Guided Tours which is available every half an hour. You can also climb up the tower on your own on specific timings in a day. I had to skip the tower, as I had to rush to catch a train to Gothenburg, as this was my last destination in Stockholm.Lot more to come. Also please check out the pictures of City Hall. Amulya