A little late but still good as new!
06.20.2009 - 06.22.2009 24 °C
As you can tell from the photographs we've already gotten to Stockholm and spent a few days. Unfortunately, internet has continued to be somewhat spotty which has limited my ability to update the blog. However, we've had a great time in Stockholm (and Tallinn, Estonia which I'll get to in the next post).
Our first day we arrived via plane, train and feet both tired and sweaty from the surprisingly warm weather in Stockholm. Following the previous two weeks of mediocre-at-best weather in the UK we expected more of the same but came in to bright, sunny days.
When I whipped my backpack off at the hostel Laura exclaimed something to the effect of "EWW GROSS!" at the fact that my back was virtually a pool of sweat. Needless to say, jumping in the shower was priority #1. (Of note: in Stockholm there tends to be no demarcation between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. The shower just drains into a hole in the floor.) After getting cleaned up we gave Anne, Daryoush and Ella a call and had a nice picnic with them at a park in the center of Stockholm. Then we walked through the old town and eventually back to the Hostel where Laura and I gave Ella the present we bought for her in London (a tomato that squishes when thrown against a hard surface and then regains its shape after a few seconds). It was great seeing them.
One of our top priorities upon arrival in Stockholm was doing laundry. To our pleasure and gratitude we discovered that our hostel offers complementary laundry service. The downside? There's only one washer and only one key. Throughout our first day in Stockholm we repeated checked back with the front desk to see if the key had been returned but by midnight we figured that it was a lost cause for the day. First thing in the morning we got the key and started our laundry. It wasn't the best timing but we figured that being a couple hours late start to our sightseeing wouldn't hamper our enjoyment too much - especially considering we'd have fresh clothes afterward. 7 and 1/2 hours later our laundry was finally done. Just in time for all of the sights and museums to close. Who knew laundry machines could be so slow?!
Anyway, we still managed to walk around the old royal hunting grounds (now called Djurgarden). It's basically just a huge green park in the north-east of central Stockholm that reminded us of the forests in the Pacific Northwest.
The following morning we checked out of the hostel and went to collect our tickets for the cruise to Estonia. Then we headed back toward central Stockholm to check out the Vasa museum. The Vasa was a massive warship constructed by the Swedes in the 17th century. Unfortunately, the sheer size of the Vasa was also its undoing - it only sailed for 20 minutes before sinking into Stockholm harbor. After 350~ years the Swedes pulled the Vasa from the bottom of Stockholm harbor surprisingly intact and spent 25 or so years restoring it. Now it's a fantastically preserved wreck of an incredible and old battleship. Among the rescued treasures were the worlds oldest surviving sails. While at the museum we stopped by the on-site cafe to try their "reasonably priced" (in quotations because Stockholm is amazingly expensive) Swedish meatballs which were great.
After the Vasa museum we headed back to the hostel to pick up our bags and made our way back toward the harbor to disembark on our voyage to Tallinn.