Wrapping up my visit to Scandinavia in the summer of 2012, here’s my final post on the last destination that my family and I went to see: Stockholm!
For our tour of the Swedish capital, we only spent half of the day exploring just a couple of districts in the city. First, we headed to the Vasa Museum, which houses the large, eponymous ship from the 1600’s that had sunk on its maiden voyage (for being too heavy, of course) and has since been almost-entirely recovered from the damage. I tell you, it was a huge ship; we were even allowed to walk on it!
Afterwards, we went over to the Stockholm City Hall, its architecture modeling that of the Italian’s; it’s also the place for the Nobel Prize banquet. The hall is spacious, and going upstairs you will find the Golden Hall, a gilded room filled with mosaics and a fresco depicting Swedish history while also looking forward into the country’s future. Although I usually don’t have interest in visiting municipal buildings of a city, Stockholm’s was worth the visit.
Next, we visited Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm and a very popular tourist site. It’s located on the highest part of the city, with colorful, thin buildings and narrow, sloped alleys crowded with shops and tourists alike. We took a tour around the place, but didn’t have much time to peek into the souvenir shops (some of the tourists wanted to, though), since we were running a bit behind schedule and our tour guide wanted to take us to one final destination at the harbor for a lovely view of Stockholm before we departed. Granted, it was a bit rushed, but I wasn’t complaining, since I was too busy admiring the quaintness of the charming historic quarter.
Our tour essentially ended there, and we headed back to our ship to relax for the rest of the day. Overall, I would say that Stockholm, while a bigger and more industrialized city than its neighbors Helsinki and Oslo, didn’t offer as much interesting things to see and do as I’d thought it would. Perhaps it was because we only spent half of the day on a guided tour, instead of exploring the city on our own. Or maybe there really isn’t too much to see in the city center and more so outside of it. Either case, Stockholm was all right, as it ended our visit to the countries around the Baltic Sea rather peacefully. After that day (and the day after), we would disembark from the ship and return to the comforts of our home in Los Angeles, after over two weeks of traveling throughout northern Europe.
My take-away from Scandinavia is, while not as wildly popular as other touristy cities like its southern neighbors of Paris, Rome, or Barcelona, still quiet and charming, with aspects like nature, landscapes, and a peaceful, isolated way of life away from the hustle and bustle of the densely-urban environment. Would I choose to return to visit, should I have the chance? Possibly. Personally, I would go back to visit the big, hot spot places like Copenhagen, Berlin, and Saint Petersburg, but for the others, I think one time is good enough to get a feel for the cities and towns in the Scandinavian countries. I can cross those off of my bucket list, as well as add more to it for years to come!
Tune in to next week as I recount my “Throwback Travels” in another part of the world: the good US of A! Take care. 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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