Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stockholm 2: Footsore and sunburned

Another absolutely fabulous day in Stockholm -- warm, sunny, a bit windy, and perfect for wandering around. Wandered around Riddaholmen this morning before things opened, taking pictures of the outside of the Riddarholmskyrkan before we joined the guided tour at the Radhuset (City hall). Which is unlike any city hall I'm used to -- we never hosted the Nobel Prize dinners in any sort of city hall I'm aware of. It's an interesting building -- dozens of different styles and colors that is at once harmonious and just slightly jarring. A room of gold-leaf mosaic tiles follows a plain, pale-painted drawing room. After walking around for an hour, we decided that our original plan to climb the 365 steps to the top of the tower was probably not the best thing to do, considering how exhausted we were yesterday (and how we're both feeling a bit sore and tired.

Yes, blame me. I over-commit. Or over-plan. Take your pick. I have far too much stuff on the list for us to do than we can possibly squeeze in. And we tend to go non-stop from 8am-8pm before crashing, packing in as much as we can. That's how we always go on vacations -- up early, out all day, crash like big crashy things at night, exhausted. We often end up at the end of our vacation with aches and pains and too little sleep. Go-Go-Go!

At any rate, we walked back across the bridge to Gamla Stan again to visit the Nobel Museum and eat lunch in their cafe, sitting outside and looking over the main square and basking in the sunshine. We are continually amazed that women in high-heels can walk across the cobblestone streets.

We were going to go to Skepsholmen to visit the Architecture museum, but we decided to get off the 'hop-0n/hop-off' boat early and went to the Nordiska Museum. Mark really felt cheated -- he thought atht a museum that was supposed to be representative of life in Scandinavia shoould have more in it than a wing of costumes, house interiors, and pictures of men in bathing suits (the temporary exhibition). I, personally, loved the home interiors from the 19th century, the 30s, the 50s and a modern room. And, walking through the displays of historic costume is guaranteed to interest me -- I even lost a half hour pulling out al the drawers in the textile display area to see examples of weaving, needlework, crochet, and knitting in the various styles throughout Sweden. I did expect a few more examples of the bunad in the collection, though. There was only one. The building, though, is quite interesting.

We walked along the waterfront and gawked at all the people heading to Gruna Lund,the amusement park, and finally wended our way to Skansen, where we spent the afternoon looking at houses and farmsteads and churches of every sort moved to Stockholm from the far reaches of Sweden for an open-air recreation of the different regions. it was sunny, warm, and strolling along the cobbled lanes to look at farms from the last few centuries (including a storehouse that dates to 1320) and people-watching was a lovely, relaxing afternoon. We had been worried that it would be Disney-esque sort of place, all commercial and in-your-face (like the much-mentioned Bunratty Castle in Ireland, which still can reduce us to giggles), but it wasn't Bunrattified at all -- very low key, very little commercial glitz. You can tell they can really gear it up in the summer months during high-season, but right now, it's just starting to fill up and not everythign is open yet.

Caught the train back to central Stockholm and hiked back to the hotel -- I swear, that walk is getting longer and longer every time we do it -- there's bus service that is closer, but it's actually quicker to just walk to the nearest Tunnelbana station...but at the end of the day, the slog back can feel like miles and miles.

We drove out into the world looking for food tonight. The area we're in is pretty thin on the ground with restuarants that are open for dinner (and even fewer of them are open on Sunday night) and we figured the pickings would be better further out in one of the "shopping areas"...which were also closed, along with anything even remotely attached to them. We ended up, of all places, in McDonalds. Which is ok - we do specifically try to stop in a McDs in every country we visit, to compare notes (the ketchup is not as sweet here, and the pickles are a bit odd, but otherwise, just the same), and we wandered through a grocery store (which is fun, since everything is a different brand and we don't actually read any Swedish).

Mark simply would not take a picture of the enormous sausage that I found (figuring quite rightly that I would be forced to make some sort of off-color joke about a bright red sausage the size of a whiffle bat), but he did deign to take a photo of the Wall of Food in a Tube...more specifically...BACON in a tube. Along with shrimp, crab, cheese, ham, and a variety of other combinations of Squeeze Food. I was giggling helplessly. I can't decide if Squeezze Bacon is the best
invention evah, or a sign of the apocalypse.

Probably the latter. We didn't buy any (no place to keep it at the moment), but we might have to, even if we just empty it out and take home the tube proclaiming BaconOst!

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