Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Stockholm, part 1

The long awaited day has arrived. We are flying to Stockholm!
I could tell you about history of this city built on 14 islands, connected with 57 bridges. I should also talk about the archipelago that is estimated to have over 30 000 islands and islets, about how it is the capital of Scandinavia, Venice of the North and so on, but these are the facts that can be found everywhere, only if you want to find them.
While picking the city for my next vacation, I decided to go to Stockholm for the simple reason. While watching it on television and pictures, I got the impression that this city is like a city from a postcard.
During the descent I was anxiously looking trough the window waiting to see the familiar contours that I used to see while looking the city on Google Earth daydreaming about visiting it. Since it was still winter, a lot of water space was still frozen. I was expecting a view of the water, and I had the impression that beneath me there were a lot frosty fields. "So where is that Stockholm?" I began to wonder. Yes, it truly was very close.
We landed and went towards hotel in the center of the city (I always choose the hotel in the center; it is much more convenient, and time you gain this way is priceless), and of course, soon went to look around it.
Like any good host, the city welcomed us with a beautiful sunny weather.
Our first task was (now follows practical advice) to buy a Stockholm card which will allow you to use public transportation by subway or bus and free entry to almost all museums for as many hours as you pay 24, 48, 72 or 120. Believe me this is one thing you won't regret buying.

Our first goal was to visit the City Hall for a simple reason. This is a place where you can enter only if you are a part of an organized tour (with a guide of course) that starts every hour. We wanted to visit it ASAP so already at 11 o'clock we found ourselves in a beautiful building famous for the fact that in its, so-called ''Blue Hall'', a post Nobel Prize award ceremony dinner is held. Since I'd probably never live to be a guest on that ceremony, being in this room even only as a tourist filled me with great satisfaction. At least for a moment my spirit was one with the spirits of the most brilliant minds of modern times. Great honor if you ask me!!!:)

Then we climbed on the top of the City Hall tower. Lots of people were waiting patiently for their turn to get to see the most astonishing view of the entire city. When our turn came, since we didn't have neither time nor energy to climb our way up, we took the elevator. But that wasn't all!
After we got off the elevator a long walk through maze of corridors followed until we finally reached the very top. Then I realized that this was not a city from postcards, that was a "The postcard." We could have stayed there for hours absorbing the beauty in front of our eyes, but our time there was limited, people outside in the cold were waiting impatiently, and we had to say goodbye to this top of the "world" and move on.

Our next target was the Drottningholm Palace, the residence of the royal family. We arrived there after a fairly long subway and a bus ride. However, since everything is so well organized with very friendly and helpful people, we arrived to the castle without any major issues.
The tour through the interior of the castle took quite a while. We passed through many rich, indescribably beautiful and large areas that made us feel dizzy. Going to the great park in front of the castle was a true opium for our senses. I regret that we weren't in the late spring or summer time just to see that magical place blooming.

But the frozen lake, small ducks and swans that swam in his small circle of thawed water, gave a different experience to all that we've seen. Perhaps seeing the whole garden bloom in summer could be more appealing this was a very special scene.
I now know I will return to this place one summer for sure.
After a long tour, we went to the hotel. It was necessary to get strength for another day and new discoveries.

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