STOCKHOLM – shining light on the roof of the world

Stockholm sits on 14 islands in the Baltic Sea.  It’s a museum city (70 of them), a restaurant city, and a shopping city, so plan to spend at least a week exploring or you’ll be as sorry as I was to leave after only 72 hours.

Start at GAMLA STAN, the Old Town, and wind your way through the charming shops and the not so charming shops that sell horrid plastic Viking helmets with horns. Find out what all the American presidents do when they go to Stockholm – tour the Royal Palace. See the jewels in the Treasury, the Military Regalia rooms and the State rooms. This will give you the perfect idea of  what it’s like to live in a lovely Socialist society if you happen to be at the top of the heap.

Sad story: no photos allowed in the Top Secret 600 rooms of the Palace. Next trip to Stockholm I’ll return with a press pass and show you what it all looks like. For now, you’ll have to take the management’s word for it that terrorists are lurking in every corner to make devious use of the furniture and decorations, official portraits and sculptures.

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In the same complex as the Palace is the Cathedral, STORKYRKAN.  There has been a church on this site since 1279, but the current church was designed in 1740, then restored in the early 20th C.

 You’ll have to elbow all the other photographers aside to get a good photo of St. George slaying the dragon (the dragon represents the evil empire of Denmark) by Bernt Notke of Lübeck, 1489. Modest princess in the foreground is actually urging on the blood sport. Apparently, the Pope sent over some precious bones of St. George to store inside the statue. Little did he know the Swedes would soon forget about him and become big fans of Martin Luther.

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The VASAMUSEET, Vasa Museum is designed to fit the shape of the massive war ship Vasa that set sail in 1628 and promptly sunk about a kilometer away.  It was so overloaded with canons that a gust of wind quickly blew it over, drowning almost 50 people onboard. It was salvaged in 1959.

Model of the Vasa.

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Next door is the NORDISKA MUSEET, the National Museum of Cultural History, founded 1907.

That’s King Vasa, crowned in 1523, oak carved statue by Carl Milles

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You must be hungry by now.  Try the great SALUHALL, the food hall. It has the best selection of food we’ve seen in Sweden and there is ample eat-in seating, much of it belonging to an inspired fish restaurant.

A lot of foreigners have infiltrated the market.

Wild and cultivated berries are a national obsession. Those are jams at the top.
Mushroom hunting is also a sport. These are dried for the winter.

When it’s snowing at the outdoor cafe, just throw a reindeer skin over yourself and enjoy the acquavit, Cheers!

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