Waking at sunrise, I was worried that we might get a second day of rain, but the skies seemed pretty clear. It could always change, but we were optimistic, and I knew that always paid off in the end.
After a quick breakfast, we headed for the Metro.
After seeing Montréal’s Metro, it is incredible for me to see how clean and gaffiti-free Denmark and Sweden’s wagons are. How do they do it?? Even the oldest trains are totally tag-free! Here, I am pretty sure you can find at least one name hastily written or carved after the very first ride of a new coach.
For day #2 in Stockholm, the plan was to visit The Nordic Museum, have a peek at The Abba Museum (not included in the Stockholm pass), move to Tivoli Gröna Lund Park, take the Hop on – Hop off boat to get to Nobel Museum before having a nice meal in a restaurant David had found and calling it a day!
We hopped on the first bus to leave downtown!
The Nordic Museum was founded by Artur Hazelius (who also founded the open air museum Skansen – keep that name in mind). The huuuuuuuuuge building housing the exhibitions was designed by Isak Gustaf Clason. Originally, it should have been four times the size of the actual site, which is a bit mind blowing.
When we first saw the museum, from outside, we thought it was a previous royal castle used to present exhibitions. But Hazelius’ dream was to exhibit all of Scandinavia’s history and culture in one site… I was almost glad he had to limit himself to Sweden for budget reasons. Otherwise, we probably would have spent our whole Stockholm time there! LOL
If you want to learn anything about Sweden’s culture, the Nordic Museum is the place to go. From Swedish furniture design to ways to set the table and welcome guests… From the history of fabric to the Sami culture… From the celebrated holidays and traditions, to Swedes’ clothing through the last decades… You name it, they have it! And the free audio guide is a great complement to take a rest from reading the signs along your endless walk through the different levels of the place.
At this point, got hungry. I knew we had sandwiches in David’s backpack, and I knew how delicious they looked, since I had made them… and here’s what hunger inspired me, photography-wise;
That large pot at the end was intended to be filled with beer. Now, something tells me that Swedes had nothing to envy to Danes, in the partying department at that time!
Gröna Lund was next.
The Swedish Tivoli park is at an enjoyable walking distance from the Nordic Museum, especially on a nice day. We just stopped for a moment in front of the Biologiska Museet (Biology… Ok, you guessed!) and Abba Museum to catch this, but it meant extra entry fees, we kept walking, and didn’t visit them.
Now, here’s a traveling tip you should never forget… Like we did. Always check the opening hours of the attractions you expect to visit. Never assume! The Internets were invented for that, and you can thank Google later!
Obviously, we had skipped this important step, probably too excited about the blue skies! And unfortunately realized that Gröna Lund was closed for the day, despite the lovely weather…
And here’s tip #2 (Isn’t this an informative blog?!?) of the day; When traveling, expect that unexpected things will happen (like amusement parks closed when you wanted to visit them) and be ready to improvise! Changing plans is part of being on vacation, and you often get nicely surprised, when you have no expectations!
So what did we do, you might wonder? We crossed the street and went to Skansen (remember, I had asked you to keep that name in mind!)
Skansen is officially an open air museum. What does that mean? Obviously a happy mix of a park, an amusement park, a zoo, an a walk in the past around houses from what looked (I admit, I didn’t read all the signs) like Viking housings.
I got hooked on a sign announcing Nordic animals. So we followed paths that led up the hill… and although each sign we passed by said we were a few hundred meters away from the said Nordic animals, we just kept walking and walking…
Then, we found animals, just not quite Nordic enough, to my liking!
I even made an unexpected red haired friend! Scandinavian Bob first attacked David, climbing up his leg, but when I got the bag of dried fruit and nuts out of our bag, he jumped on my lap… I became Skansen’s main attraction, and I really wonder on how many Facebook pages I ended up (yes, there was a lot of unauthorised picture taking! lol)
But what about the Nordic animals, right? Yes, we found them. Well… Some of them.
Disappointed? Not really. Especially when we noticed the view…
Of course, that’s when we discovered there was an easier way to get up the hill.
I am tempted to skip the next two activities of the day… First was the Hop On Hop Off boat.
The only problem being that there apparently were some issues between the boat company and the tourism bureau, so we weren’t allowed to board the Voulez-Vous.
So we had to go by bus.
The next stop was the Nobel Museum.
Ok, so for dinner, David had found a fine little restaurant so we could try the mythical Swedish meatballs! (No, really, it doesn’t happen often, but I was really disappointed with the museum… Not even worth ranting about)
Nice, cozy little place, and when we got there, there was only a table for two left! Talk about timing!
And that was it, for day 2 in Stockholm…