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  • Day6

    A slow boat to Gustavsberg via Artipelag

    June 30, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    We headed off on our cruise on the Gustafsberg VII promptly at 11am. According to the brochure, it was a 2 hour cruise - the reality was slightly different - it was a 2 hour cruise one way! We then had just over 2 hours to explore Gustavsberg and then a 2 hour return trip, so in fact in total 6+ hours. The boat we were on was a steam boat that has been in service since 1912, when Stockholm hosted the summer Olympics.

    We left from the Nybrokajen docks and headed up the canal past Södermalm the largest of Stockholm’s 14 islands - it has a population of about 124,000. Next we passed Fjällgatan and the Viking Line Terminal where we will catch the ferry to Finland on Tuesday. We also went past Djurgarden (an island to the north of Södermalm) where we passed the Vasamuseet and Skansen, an open-air Museum which we plan to visit tomorrow. We made our way up some narrow canals past lovely summer homes and lot’s and lot’s of boats of all shapes and sizes. We travelled past Nacka, Skuru, Björknäs and Tollare, where there used to be a paper mill from 1922 till it closed in 1967. It was demolished in 2011 to make way for new developments, mainly in the form of apartments. The building is nearing completion, but there is still much work to do to clean up the seabed which is contaminated with Mercury which was used in paper production. There will be this beautiful new housing development, but at this stage it is uncertain when, if ever, the people who move there will be able to access the beach and water in front of the property.

    We stopped at Artipelag Art Gallery to unload the majority of the passengers. Artipelag is a privately owned Swedish Art Gallery built by Björn Jakobson, the founder and owner of the BabyBjörn Company. The idea was to create a building in harmony with the natural surroundings on the 54 acre grounds. We will visit it when we return to Stockholm, which we will do as it is a wonderful city that I have fallen in love with.

    We stayed on the boat to our final destination of Gustavsberg. It’s claim to fame was originally making bricks from the mid-1600’s, then Sweden’s first porcelain factory was established there, and more recently artisans have continued to produce ceramics, household porcelain and glassware.
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  • Day5

    Out and about in Stockholm

    June 29, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ 🌬 13 °C

    With the sun rising at 3.30am it is difficult to sleep in, although the teenager amongst us seems to be having no trouble. This morning we will collect our Stockholm pass and start seeing the sites further afield. Picking up our passes was a simple process, met a couple of Aussies from Vermont - Jeff and Peta - as we waited in line. First stop was The Royal Palace where we visited Tres Kronor Museum which gave us the history of the building of the palace, which suffered damage on multiple occasions due to fire. We then toured the Royal Apartments which were quite opulent but well preserved. We then toured the Livrustkammaren - where the Royal carriages are kept and we learnt of the love affair between Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Swedish Count Hans Axel von Fersen. They met at a masked ball in Paris and then he made frequent trips to Versailles. They both suffered tragic
    deaths during troubled times - she was beheaded and he was killed by a lynch mob during Crown Prince Carl August’s funeral in Stockholm. A fascinating exhibition aptly titled I Love You Madly.

    Next we visited the Nobel Museum - quite small but some interesting exhibits - saw the Physics Prize 2017 that was awarded to Weiss, Barish and Thorne - for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, which researchers at CSIRO contributed to. We then wandered around the old town before stopping for lunch at a lovely restaurant called Cultur, where we had schnitzel and a glass of red. Finally we went on an Historical Canal Cruise around Stockholm. So far today we have walked over 11kms, well below the last few days where we clocked up over 20kms each day!

    The weather has been a bit cooler today which suits us. Our apartment is right in the centre of the old town with restaurants and bars at every turn. We still haven’t had meatballs or rollmops but I am determined to before we leave next week.
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  • Day4

    First Impressions of Stockholm

    June 28, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    From the little we have seen so far I am loving Stockholm- visually a beautiful city that we will start to fully explore tomorrow, I can’t wait. Here are a few pics from our post dinner walk this evening.Read more

  • Day6


    June 30, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    After securing our tickets for the cruise to Gustavsberg we had about 90 minutes to kill, so we wandered around the Kungstragarden area in the Osternalm district. Before we had gone very far, I tripped, landing on my left knee that I had scrapped and bruised by tripping when in London. I blamed my shoes and an uneven pavement in London, but today I was wearing my Skechers - so no idea what happened, except one minute I was walking along and the next I was flying through the air, and then I was on the ground - this one hurt more physically but my pride also took a hit.Read more

  • Day6


    June 30, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    After docking, we headed into Gustavsberg for a bit of a wander and to get some lunch. We decided on Bistro Gustavsberg for lunch, where we had a traditional Swedish meal. Ian had Köttballar (meatballs), Angus had Strömming (fish) and I had Räksmörgås (open shrimp sandwich), and we were all very happy with our selections, which were delicious. The staff were also very friendly and interested in whether we enjoyed their food.

    After lunch we went to an Art Gallery, a Delicatessen, a supermarket to buy some fruit, and finally to the Porcelain store where I bought a cup and saucer that was made in the kiln on site. We then headed back to the boat for our return journey. The only negative of the tour was the guide, who was really hard to understand. She mixed up her right and left constantly, gave us incorrect facts, and she just droned on and on and on, on both the outward and return journeys.
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  • Day6

    Tapas for dinner

    June 30, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Staying on Gamla Stan, we are spoilt for choice for dinner. There are many Italian restaurants, and interesting Swedish restaurants where you can order reindeer or moose steak as well as dishes like meatballs, gravlax and smoked fish. Tonight we decided on Tapas at a lovely little place about 150 metres from our apartment. Being a Saturday, night we decided to eat earlier to avoid the crowds.

    We had a lovely assortment of dishes including, beetroot carpaccio with goats cheese and salted almonds, beef sliders, calamari, chicken skewers, garlic mushrooms, beef with a whiskey sauce, and garlic bread. Ian continues to sample the Swedish beer and I had a mojito followed by a lovely Tempranillo from Rioja - everything was fabulous.

    We then strolled around the old town, mainly to get my steps up, as we spent much of the day sitting on the boat and it is a very European thing to do - so ‘when in Rome’ I mean Stockholm!
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  • Day7

    Djurgarden - Museum of Spirits

    July 1, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    After leaving Skansen, we made the short trip back to the Museum of Spirits, first to have lunch at their restaurant, and then to take the tour and see the special exhibits on Champagne and the Absolute Art Collection.

    Ian is sticking to sampling Swedish beer, and I decided to try a gin from a local Stockholm distillery. The gin went well with my pâté and shrimp. Angus had the pork belly and Ian went for the sausage with mustard and potatoes. After a leisurely lunch, we headed into the Museum to learn some of the finer points of distilling. We did a quiz on alcohol and scored higher than 50% of those who had taken it before us, we got to smell a number of the botanicals added to give specific spirits their taste and aroma, we got to listen to traditional Swedish drinking songs (they have so many), and got to lie down on a couch and study the intoxication cycle - from stone old sober to under the table - very weird. (Not that we have experienced this ourselves, of course ... that many times.)

    Then we went to the Champagne exhibit, where we learnt about soil types, fermentation, bubbles and much more on the production of Champagne. Interesting fact, Sweden is the 10th highest consumer of Champagne in the world - not bad for a country with a population of only 9 million. Australia ranks 7th, and we just beat the Swedes on consumption per capita.
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  • Day7

    The Absolut Art Collection

    July 1, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    The Absolute Art Collection began as part of a marketing programme for the Absolut Vodka brand. In total, it consists of 850 Artworks created by 550 artists between 1986 and 2004. Artists from around the world have interpreted the iconic Absolute bottle. They were given a free hand with few restrictions, and many of the works include animals. When the Swedish state sold its beverage company Vin & Spirit AB, including the Absolut Vodka brand, too French company Pernod Ricard, it was decided that the art collection was part of Sweden’s cultural heritage and would not be included in the sale.Read more

  • Day7

    Djurgärden - Skansen Nordic Animals

    July 1, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    We didn’t get to see all the Nordic animals as some are nocturnal. The brown bears were great, they were very active and great to watch. The Wolverine was running about amongst the bushes but difficult to photograph. The moose, wolf, bison, boar, owl and sea otter were less active, and easier to photograph.Read more

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