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Exploring the Swedish Capitol

Another country, another Changing of the Guard

rain 12 °C
View Scandinavia 2014 on FrancisRTW's travel map.

My hotel was in the heart of the Gamla Stan, Stockholm's historic old town full of cobbled streets and quaint narrow alleyways. My hotel (the Lord Nelson) must be the most eccentric place I've ever stayed - the outside is painted pink and it's only 6 metres wide, it proudly boasts it's narrowest hotel in Sweden. My room is 5 metres of the width (so it's small) and each room is called a 'cabin' with a nautical them and Nelson memorabilia everywhere. Mind you it has everything I could want, the Royal Palace is almost next door and there's a nice family hotel feel to the place.
The Stockholm Meto (Tunnelbana)

The Stockholm Meto (Tunnelbana)

My Hotel on Vasterlanggatan in Stockholm's old town (Gamla Stan)

My Hotel on Vasterlanggatan in Stockholm's old town (Gamla Stan)

Vasterlanggatan in Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town

Vasterlanggatan in Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town

An evening stroll along Vasterkanggatan in the Gamla Stan

An evening stroll along Vasterkanggatan in the Gamla Stan


A narrow alleyway in Gamla Stan

A narrow alleyway in Gamla Stan


As with Copenhagen, there's a 'Stockholm Card' giving free entry to most tourist attractions and unlimited travel on public transport so I again bought a 48 hour pass determined to squeeze in as much as I could. First up was the Royal Palace as it was so close and I worked my way around the building visiting the State Apartments, the Treasury, the Armoury and the Tre Konor History Museum; stopping half way to make sure I caught the Changing of the Guard parade outside the front at midday. I expected guardsman like elsewhere but in Sweden since the 1960s all units of the armed services take turns guarding the royal palaces so I watched the Engineers taking over from the Air Defence Regiment. Still all very smart but the other shock was there were women on guard as well as men. I suppose why not in our enlightened times, I just wasn't expecting it!
Lady soldier on guard outside the Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace)

Lady soldier on guard outside the Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace)

The view down to the water outside the Treasury

The view down to the water outside the Treasury

The main entrance into the Kungliga Slottet

The main entrance into the Kungliga Slottet

The new guard arrive at the Kungliga Slottet

The new guard arrive at the Kungliga Slottet

The old and new guard face each other prepare to change over

The old and new guard face each other prepare to change over

The new guard take over outside the Kungliga Slottet

The new guard take over outside the Kungliga Slottet

The band playing at the Changing of the Guard outside the Kungliga Slottet

The band playing at the Changing of the Guard outside the Kungliga Slottet

Bearded soldier on guard outside the Kungliga Slottet after the Changing of the Guard

Bearded soldier on guard outside the Kungliga Slottet after the Changing of the Guard


Having done the Royal Palace I moved onto the nearby Nobel Museum housed in the old Swedish Stock Exchange Building in the heart of Gamla Stan. Here there was an explanation of who Alfred Nobel was and the annual prizes awarded from the income on his kegacy. Apparently in addition to Annual awards for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace there might also have been a prize for mathematics but myth has it he lost a girl to a mathemation love rival so Mathematics was left out of his will! A prize for Economics was added later at the behest of the Swedish National Bank on its 300th Birthday but strictly speaking its not a Nobel Prize but a Bank of Sweden Prize awarded in Alfred Nobel's memory.
The Nobel Museum in the old Swedish Stock Exchange Building in Gamla Stan

The Nobel Museum in the old Swedish Stock Exchange Building in Gamla Stan

Display of personal items donated by previous Nobel Prize winners

Display of personal items donated by previous Nobel Prize winners

Alfred Nobel's death mask on display in the Nobel Museum

Alfred Nobel's death mask on display in the Nobel Museum

The Laureate's Cableway circulating around the roof of the Nobel Museum

The Laureate's Cableway circulating around the roof of the Nobel Museum


A display of the design of the 6 annual Nobel prizes - Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Peace and 'Economics' - the latter is actually a prize awarded by the Bank of Sweden in memory of Alfred Nobel rather than  a Nobel prize itself

A display of the design of the 6 annual Nobel prizes - Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Peace and 'Economics' - the latter is actually a prize awarded by the Bank of Sweden in memory of Alfred Nobel rather than a Nobel prize itself


Previous Nobel Prize Winners are invited to sign the underside of chairs in the museum canteen during the reception in the lead up to their award ceremony!

Previous Nobel Prize Winners are invited to sign the underside of chairs in the museum canteen during the reception in the lead up to their award ceremony!


Sergels Torg, Stockholm's central square and hub of its Metro underground system

Sergels Torg, Stockholm's central square and hub of its Metro underground system


Next up was to have been the Abba Museum but it turns out they are not part of the Stockholm Card so I moved onto the nearby Vasa Museum; the cultural icon that is Abba will have to wait until Monday! The Vasa when it was built in 1628 was the most expensive and richly ornamented naval vessel ever built in Sweden but was top heavy and got caught out by a gust of wind with its lower gun ports open after firing a salute passing the royal palace and capsized. It's much larger than I expected and remarkably well preserved; it took my breath away. Unfortunately although photos and flash were allowed, my camera was unable to do it justice with the dim light and sheer size of the boat.
The Vasa - it's hugh and 98% oiginal

The Vasa - it's hugh and 98% original

The bow of the Vasa; the museum was so vast and dimly lit it was difficult to get clear pictures, even when using the flash!

The bow of the Vasa; the museum was so vast and dimly lit it was difficult to get clear pictures, even when using the flash!


The rear of the Vasa; this was originally highly painted but while the mud the Vasa sank in preserved the wood it destroyed the paint

The rear of the Vasa; this was originally highly painted but while the mud the Vasa sank in preserved the wood it destroyed the paint

Recreation of the upper gun deck at the Vasa Museum

Recreation of the upper gun deck at the Vasa Museum

Empty gun carriages from the Vasa in remarkably good condition; the canon themselves were lifted from the water soon after she sank

Empty gun carriages from the Vasa in remarkably good condition; the canon themselves were lifted from the water soon after she sank


Ladugardslandsviken Bay in Central Stockholm on the way back from the Vasa

Ladugardslandsviken Bay in Central Stockholm on the way back from the Vasa

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Sweden

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