Wednesday, October 31, 2012

a day around town

after our continental breakfast - downstairs- not in our room- and yes we did bring all our gear with us... we left for the TI office to get maps and information on the hop on hop off bus- it is after the season here so the choices of times are limited they come basically once an hour.  

we locate the stop and the times and then go off for an exploration around town- it has rained overnight and the streets are wet but we don't have rain at this point- the sky looks threatening and then clears - so we just don't know - and decide that we will do the whole bus circuit in town and then discuss where we want to get off.

Meanwhile Gamla Stan is deserted and perfect for strolling before the crowds decide to spend their Sunday afternoon in the old town.  As I said in the prior post, this is a charming small island (Stockholm is a city on an archipelago) where the oldest section of the city is located.  Only a few streets are wide enough for car traffic and for most of the day the entire island (except the roads along the periphery of the island) is closed to traffic. 

Here are some of the things we saw before we caught the hop on hop off bus….

so then we got the bus and made the city circuit-

I don’t think I mentioned it but this was Sunday and there are limited restaurant openings today- so we have booked a place for dinner and decide to get off near the grand hotel to look for lunch- we end up leaving the grand hotel because we are told they “are famous” and people “book well in advance”-LOL like who knew they were famous I just figured that a hotel would have a place to have lunch and we had gone by on the bus so we knew where it was – LOL

We ended up at the Strand in the Radisson Blue – got sandwiches which were fine, and then walked from there to the Vasa Museum to see the amazing centuries old ship that had been recovered from the harbor (having sunk fifteen minutes into its maiden voyage!) - the photos below show the model first and then the real thing! it was huge and took two plus decades to restore after sitting for centuries down below-


some more model photos-

and back to the real thing again-

this is the number one tourist site on the Trip Advisor list for Stockholm and it is very impressive- great history- amazing feat of restoration- the ship sank because the king insisted on two decks of guns instead of the usual one deck - and the design was flawed in that the hull was too shallow and didn't hold enough ballast.  when the first gust of wind hit the sails it keeled and the lower gun deck took on water through the gun ports - then things went from bad to worse - all within sight of the docks where the ship had been launched- the inquest was inconclusive as to fault (meaning the king's direct orders about the design were the likely origin of the problems- LOL)

anyway- from there we took a tram to the city center and walked to the place we had a dinner reservation (which we had made on the Internet) only to find it closed and its sister restaurant had massive attitude when we asked why they had confirmed a reservation for us- so we hiked across the bridge to Gamla Stan to have dinner in the old town square at:

no one outside on the chilly night but it was perfect for lobster bisque (we both had it) - followed by the game meat balls (Phil had the elk)

afterward we walked over to the chestnut tree in the little square nearby and then home to the steps -


for Monday we plan to visit Skansen the first open air museum in the world- so keep checking back for posts---

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