We could have spent many more days in Sweden’s capital. Because there was much more to see, and because Stockholmers are just such very nice people.
Tip when you visit Sweden, and especially Stockholm… Learn to spot pedestrian crossings and don’t hesitate when time comes to walk from one side to the other. This is something that felt a little dare devilish at first, but even if there aren’t any stop signs or street lights, cars and busses will stop if you are about to cross the street. They will. So even if you are used (like we were) to wait until you’re sure that the vehicule will let you go, forget about it, and just walk. You’ll save drivers time if you don’t wait until they come to a full stop. They will stop… I promise.
Ok, so… Last day, and our first stop was a must. I hadn’t realized how uncomfortable with heights David was, before we got to enter Globe City.
Globe City is the sum of many stadiums that hold multiple sports events, concerts and shows… And most certainly, the Globe is the most impressive of them from the outside.
Sky View is a sightseeing activity that is totally worth the little Metro ride outside the center of Stockholm. The 20 minutes ride slowly takes you to the top of the Globe in a little glass ball.
At the top of the Ericsson Globe, you get a 360 view of the Stockholm area, perched at 85 meters in the air.
We skipped my usual sandwiches to have lunch in a local fast food chain, Max. Not that either of us is big on hamburgers and the like, but we thought we should try it since it is Swedish.
After being denied the Hop On Hop Off boat the day before (thank you very much!) we decided to take one of the many other tours on Stockholm’s canals… The sail offers a very different view of the city and its subburbs. And the audio guide, in several languages, provides with interesting informations… A very enjoyable time on the waters!
After our cruise it was time to get back “home” and get ready for our move the next morning. But not before we visited Sergels Torg one last time…
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.
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!
I had warned David that we’d be sleeping early after our first little walk in Copenhagen. We were in fact in our bunk beds before 6pm, and up again around 5 the next morning.
The weather forecast wasn’t on the optimistic side, and we were ready for several days of pouring rain. And here’s the view we got when we stepped out of the Hawila;
Then, it was time to move to Malmö, Sweden. But first, a short ride on the Copenhagen Metro…
Malmö is just across the Øresund bridge, and a very short ride from Kastrup’s Airport. I was eager to see Sweden, but I knew I was stepping out of my comfy Danish slippers. I wouldn’t say I could get along effortlessly in the countryside, but my Danish is good enough to get around, ask for directions and order a meal without getting a surprise dinner!
In Sweden, my confidence took a good drop.
Especially when I saw an alien spaceship while entering Malmö!
But the rest of the city seemed pretty UFO-less…
As you can see, Sunday early mornings are very quiet in Malmö. Most probably because of the Saturday night partying… Theory that seemed to be proven right by the following sight…
Left over drinks on window sides, or simply on the sidewalk, is also something very common in Denmark. Sometimes, you can even find unopened bottles, just left behind when the party moved on…
While walking around, we fund the King’s Park (Kungsparken).
By then, we needed to fuel up and nibble on a little something, so we stopped in a little cozy café, The Expresso House, where we also got a chance to fill our water bottles and charge up the camera and our cell phones.
We wanted to see something internationally known, in Malmö, and went hunting for the knotted gun. I had seen the sculpture in the past, and I couldn’t wait to see the non-violence icone. Like many other attractions, I was surprised to see that it was a lot smaller in size than I had imagined it… But still!
Note that the weather was equally horrible on the Swedish side of the bridge! Another thing that looked familiar, after leaving Denmark, was the numerous bicycles…
One thing I discovered, that is completely different in Sweden and Denmark, is the access to train traveling. Traveling by train (tog) in Denmark is a piece of cake. Once you’ve mastered the use of the ticket booths, you just have to buy a ticket from A to B, and you take the next ride from A to B, hoping to have a nice place by the window. In Sweden, we had to take asigned places at a counter, and I soon realized that it wasn’t a good idea to buy them last minute…
Since we were moving to Stockholm, we spent the last couple of hours around the train station.
After a many hours long ride, we finally arrived in Stockholm.