Saturday, July 14, 2007

Slockholm Saturday


The sun came out early and brightly today, and so did we. Well, I still have a cold, so maybe brightly isn't the right word. With more than eight hours of sleep, however, we hit the breakfast line at 9:30am, and were out the door to the promenade a half hour later. Pausing momentarily to use the hotel printer to make copies of the confriming emails for the Copenhagen hotel and the ferry to Oslo (isn't the internet great?), we walked to the area of the central city where the tourists meet the tour operators (Gustav Adolfs Torg). A nice lady in a small red hut sold us tickets to the comprehensive tour (3 1/2 hour, bus and boat) and pointed to nice lady bus driver who advised us to find a seat on the top of the bus, but to come back outside until she could start up the bus and turn on the air conditioning.

Through headsets, we heard a gentleman in any one of fourteen languages tell us the history of the buildings and the bridges on the six biggest islands which constitute the core of Stockholm. The Royal Palace, the city hall, the churches, etc. Don't get me wrong, he was entertaining, and I learned much about the city. It's just that I was wondering how the audio system could be so good at delivering the messages written for each point of the route, given the inexactness of the commuter traffic, and the varying abilities of the drivers. I finally concluded that the driver must be signaling the system when we got to each point. Of course it could be that it's

Ending the bus tour after an hour, we were given a lunch bag down the gang plank to seats on a comfortable, covered launch. The lunch contained one of the best event sandwiches I've ever had, and a very tasty apple. I'm still getting used to paying for water, and this was a first to drink it from a can.

After the tour, Pat has some suggestions,and we decided to take the bus to a Swedish equivalent of the Open Air Museum we had seen in Finland (Skansen). Hundreds of houses from all over Sweden have been placed on a large central hilltop near the city center. Placed with it is a zoo, and lots of children's rides. I can't figure out any better formula to get families to go and see old buildings and their heritage. I was impressed with both aspects of the (amusement center?). They did a great job of preserving and bringing to life the Swedish past (characters and some traditional dancing), and I sure enjoyed the bears, moose, lynx, and reindeer. It's one of the most visited places in Sweden.

We tookthe bus back to the promenade, and walked backto the hotel. Pat's asleep, and I just wanted to add one more photo. This is the first time I've seen a statue of a horse in a major square that didn't have a general, or a politician on it. I didn't stop to find out its name, just wanting it to memorialize all the great horse that did all the hard work so that the rider could get the credit. Hooray for whoever it was.

Here is a link to the photos we took today: Stockholm Saturday

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