A Travellerspoint blog

A day of excursions from Stockholm

Skyview, Boat Tour and Drottningholm Palace

semi-overcast 12 °C
View Scandinavia 2014 on FrancisRTW's travel map.

For my second day in Stockholm my plan was to take a boat tour to get an appreciation of the patch work of islands Stockholm sits on and also get out to see Drottningholm Slott, the Swedish Royal Family's summer palace. However first up was Skyview about 2 miles south out of town in Globen. Skyview is 2 glass gondoliers that climb up the Ericsson Globe, Sweden's national ice hockey stadium and the largest spherical building in the world. It's part of a major sorting complex including a 30,000 seat football stadium and I noticed it opened earlier than other attractions on the Stockholm Card. I didn' t expect much but it turned out to be a highlight, Stockholm's equivalent of the London Eye.
The Skyview Dome aka the Ericsson Globe, the spherical dome in the World

The Skyview Dome aka the Ericsson Globe, the spherical dome in the World

The other gondola descending above us back to the ground

The other gondola descending above us back to the ground


Skyview's other gondola about to pass us

Skyview's other gondola about to pass us


Passing the other gondola half way up the Ericsson Globe

Passing the other gondola half way up the Ericsson Globe

Looking down on the 30,000 seat Tele2 Arena from Skyview

Looking down on the 30,000 seat Tele2 Arena from Skyview

Me at the top of Skyview over looking Stockholm

Me at the top of Skyview over looking Stockholm

The view towards central Stockholm from the top of Skyview

The view towards central Stockholm from the top of Skyview


Returning to the city centre I took advantage of the hour long Royal Canal Tour from Stromkajen included into Stockholm Card. The Royal Canal is at Djurgarden and was cut in the 1830s to ensure a way through the archipelago from Stockholm to the sea. The tour from Stockholm and went through the canal and around the island and back along the main channel to Stockholm taking in many of Stockholm's highlights.
Our tour boat awaits at Stromkajen

Our tour boat awaits at Stromkajen

Boarding our tour boat at Stromkajen

Boarding our tour boat at Stromkajen

Kungliga Slottet (The Royal Palace)

Kungliga Slottet (The Royal Palace)

The Nordiska Musset and masted Vasa Museum as seen from our tour boat

The Nordiska Musset and masted Vasa Museum as seen from our tour boat

Approaching the Djurgarden Canal

Approaching the Djurgarden Canal


A party of canoests passing our tour boat on the Djurgarden Canal

A party of canoests passing our tour boat on the Djurgarden Canal


Crowded seats at the back of our tour boat

Crowded seats at the back of our tour boat


Disused Windmill seen from the water

Disused Windmill seen from the water

An automated lighthouse on the approaches into Stockholm

An automated lighthouse on the approaches into Stockholm

The Stockholm skyline comes into view on the return leg of our tour

The Stockholm skyline comes into view on the return leg of our tour

Passing Stockholm's Grona Lund Tivoli Amusement Park (closed this time of year)

Passing Stockholm's Grona Lund Tivoli Amusement Park (closed this time of year)


I then made my way out to the Swedish Royal Family's summer palace at Drottningholm Slott, a 5 mile metro and bus ride out of town. The palace has a guard on it just like the Royal Palace in town, I'm sure I recognised some of the guards from yesterday! The Palace itself dates from the 17th Century with many furnished rooms from the 18th and 19th Centuries. I also went for a walk in the extensive grounds and reached (although it was closed this time of year) its famous Chinese Pavilion. The palace has also got an historic theatre you can look around but I hadn't allowed myself enough time to see it.
Drottningholm Palace from waterside

Drottningholm Palace from waterside

Looking out on the extensive gardens at Drottningholm Palace

Looking out on the extensive gardens at Drottningholm Palace

Hedvig Eleonora's State Bedchamber at Drottningholm Palace

Hedvig Eleonora's State Bedchamber at Drottningholm Palace

The Library in Drottningholm Palace

The Library in Drottningholm Palace

The main staircase inside Drottningholm Palace

The main staircase inside Drottningholm Palace


Drottningholm Palace from the gardens

Drottningholm Palace from the gardens

The Chinese Pavilion in the grounds of Drottningholm Palace

The Chinese Pavilion in the grounds of Drottningholm Palace


The reason I rushed back from Drottningholm was I wanted to see what the Medieval Museum of Stockholm was like and passed a Kurdish Demonstration going on the Segels Torg ( Stockholm Central Square) on the way. While it was OK I didn't think it was worth the rush back to fit in and managed to go and see the National History Museum as well. In addition to its 'gold room' containing various iron and dark age gold hordes discovered over time, what I found facinating was the subtle different point of view on the same history of wars between Denmark and Sweden from history museums I'd only recently visited in Denmark (unfortunately photographs weren't allowed in the History Museum).
Kurdish demonstration underway in Sergels Torg

Kurdish demonstration underway in Sergels Torg

Medieval knight inside the Museum of Medieval Stockholm

Medieval knight inside the Museum of Medieval Stockholm

Monk attending his crops in the Medieval Museum of Stockholm

Monk attending his crops in the Medieval Museum of Stockholm

Workers huts and the bridge into the city recreated in the Museum of Medieval Stockholm

Workers huts and the bridge into the city recreated in the Museum of Medieval Stockholm


Recreation of Stockholm's Medieval City Gates inside the Museum of Medieval Stockholm

Recreation of Stockholm's Medieval City Gates inside the Museum of Medieval Stockholm


Passing Stockholm tram.. from another Stockholm tram!

Passing Stockholm tram.. from another Stockholm tram!

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

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 Comments (0)

Goodbye Denmark, Hello Sweden!

The long train ride north to Stockholm

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

My train to Stockholm wasn't until the afternoon so I had a lazy morning revisiting some places I had already been to so I could get some better pictures and then ventured the other side of the harbour. First up was the Kastellet, I was determined to get a better picture of its garrison's windmill after visiting Solvang in California with all its Danish windmills the previous year.
The southern entrance over the most at the Kastellet

The southern entrance over the most at the Kastellet

The garrison windmill at the Kastellet

The garrison windmill at the Kastellet


I then strolled down through Amalienborg Square and along the harbour's edge opposite the new Opera House to Nyhavn where I decided to try Smorebord,, this time the traditional way buttered with lard and with cold herring. Although it cost more it was much better and more authentically Danish than what I had before and I actually enjoyed it, however its best described as akin to British Ploughman's Lunch rather than haute cuisine.
King Frederik V's statue in the middle of the square at the Amalienborg Palace

King Frederik V's statue in the middle of the square at the Amalienborg Palace

Danish Frigate moor<br />Ved by the Masterkranen (Mast Crane) at Holmen Naval them

Danish Frigate moor
Ved by the Masterkranen (Mast Crane) at Holmen Naval them


The Opera House - apparently it's roof is the size of 3 football pitches!

The Opera House - apparently it's roof is the size of 3 football pitches!


Before getting the metro to Christianshavn I had a peep over the fence at the building work going on for the new metro line in the centre of Kongens Nytorv that so disorientated me when I first arrived in Copenhagen. Apart from a small area around Christian V's statue in the middle the whole square had been dug up! It was then over to Christianshavn where I saw tower of Vor Frelser Kirke with its spiral staircase to the top on the outside (!) And then walked through the hippy community of Christiana. Apparently it was originally started by squatters in the early 1970s but has been tolerated by the authorities with it's alternative way of living. There were lots of craft stalls, wooden shacks and grafitti... and a lot of strange smells of stuff being smoked which I'm not entirely sure was legal!
Kongens Nytorv (King's New Square) all dug up for the new subway

Kongens Nytorv (King's New Square) all dug up for the new subway

You can just about see Christian V's Statue amid all the building work for the new subway at Kongens Nytorv

You can just about see Christian V's Statue amid all the building work for the new subway at Kongens Nytorv


Escalators at a Copenhagen Metro Station

Escalators at a Copenhagen Metro Station

Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviour's Church) with its outside spiral staircase

Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviour's Church) with its outside spiral staircase

The entrance to Christiana, Copenhagen's hippy community

The entrance to Christiana, Copenhagen's hippy community


It was now time to make my way back to Copenhagen Central Station to catch the high speed train to Copenhagen. When I booked the trip what I was interested in was going the Oresund Bridge that now links Denmark and Sweden but the weather was awful and there wasn't much of a view :-( It was a long, long journey - 5 hours - with journey empty for the first and last hour and very busy in the middle as we passed through major towns I really taken much notice of before such as Norrkoping and Vaxjo but will remember in future.
Double decker bicycle storage outside Copenhagen Station

Double decker bicycle storage outside Copenhagen Station

The main concourse of Copenhagen Central Station

The main concourse of Copenhagen Central Station

A Swedish high speed train arrives in Copenhagen Station to take me to Stockholm

A Swedish high speed train arrives in Copenhagen Station to take me to Stockholm


Inside a Swedish high-speed train to Stockholm - before all the people got on a couple of stops on

Inside a Swedish high-speed train to Stockholm - before all the people got on a couple of stops on


Going over the Oresund Bridge in train to Sweden - unfortunately the weather was awful so no views!

Going over the Oresund Bridge in train to Sweden - unfortunately the weather was awful so no views!

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

Day Out to Jutland

Tollund Man and the Danish Lake District

overcast 13 °C
View Scandinavia 2014 on FrancisRTW's travel map.

Seeing the 'Tollund Man' had been high up on my bucket list from early on when I first started thinking of visiting Denmark, little did I appreciate just how far away the peat bog he was buried in was from Copenhagen!

And so it was I ended up booking a day return from Copenhagen to Silveborg in the 'Sohojlandet' ('Lake Highland' in English) , a three hour train journey away on the mainland of Jutland. Having got to know the excelent barrier-less Copenhagen Underground Metro and 'S-Tog' (suburban trains) I was now introduced to the intercity DSB. Again very clean, modern and efficient and I was impressed by the much wider seats and the branded plastic bags hanging under each table for rubbish - very neat! It took me a while to ask what 'Kan Very Reserveret' meant above a seat, apparently its the default and means while a seat is not reserved it might be later on in the day.

Although comfortable, it was a long keenly busy journey as we passed through the Storebaelt Rail Tunnel (the secod longest in Europe under water after the Channel Tunnel) and then over its accompanying bridge before passing through Odense (Denmark's third city and birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen) and onto Jutland. I changed onto a local train at Skanderborg for final stage of the journey through the Lakelands; you were aware the pace of life had slowed down, all the station announcements were 2 stops late, very confusing for a foreign visitor!

The Lake District between Skanderborg and Silkeborg is the highest part of Denmark although it's point Mollrhoj is only 561 feet. Its best described as bumpy covered in forests and meadows dotted with lakes. Silkeborg itself was nothing to write home about and the only thing of note at the museum was 'Tollund Man' (about 40 years old at time of death) and the accompanying 'Essling Woman' (about 30 years old at time of death). They were both pre-historic winter sacrifices by hanging to the gods from about 350 BC remarkably well preserved by the peat bog in which they were buried, especially eerily so in the case of Tollund Man.
'Tollund Man', a prehistoric body preserved by the peat bog in which he was buried

'Tollund Man', a prehistoric body preserved by the peat bog in which he was buried


'Selling Woman' lying face down and not as well preserved as Tollund Man

'Selling Woman' lying face down and not as well preserved as Tollund Man

A display of Iron Age Jute tribespeople at the Silveborg Museum

A display of Iron Age Jute tribespeople at the Silveborg Museum


Having achieved my goal I took the opportunity to go for walk into the surrounding woods and passed a couple of lakes, very like the Autumn walks through the woods I often do while at home. It was then time for the equally long trip back to Copenhagen arriving just in time for everyone making their way home from work.
Karlgards Vig in the Danish Lake District in Central Jutland

Karlgards Vig in the Danish Lake District in Central Jutland

A stroll through the woods outside Silkeborg

A stroll through the woods outside Silkeborg


I then strolled up the 'Stroget', a sequence of streets pedestrianised back in the early 1960s and the busy retail heart of Copenhagen. I took the opportunity to stop and try a 'Smorrebrod' (a dark unleavened rye bread) open sandwich washed down with a beer. It was OK but something I wouldn't queue up for.
Copenhagen's Stroget, it's main pedestrianised shopping street

Copenhagen's Stroget, it's main pedestrianised shopping street

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

North Zealand

Out of town castles and in town playgrounds

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

First thing I made my way back to the Rundetarn as soon as it opened to take in the view and it didn't disappoint. The Rundetarn (Round Tower) is 115 get high with a ramp up to the top rather than steps. Apparently when Christian X had it built in the 1640s he wanted to be able to ride his horse to the top! I was particularly keen to see it as I had seen it's copy built by Danish ex-pats in Solvang, California with my second cousin Mary the previous year.
The Rundetarn's spiral ramp up to the top

The Rundetarn's spiral ramp up to the top

Copenhagen's famous Rundetarn (Round Tower)

Copenhagen's famous Rundetarn (Round Tower)

The Observatory's Telescope at the top of the Rundetarn

The Observatory's Telescope at the top of the Rundetarn

The view north from the Rundetarn towards the Rosenborg Slot

The view north from the Rundetarn towards the Rosenborg Slot

The view north east from the Rundetarn towards the dome of the Marmorkirken and the Amalienborg Slot

The view north east from the Rundetarn towards the dome of the Marmorkirken and the Amalienborg Slot


The view down Kobmagergade from the top of the Rundetarn

The view down Kobmagergade from the top of the Rundetarn


However my focus of the day was to take maximum advantage of my 48 hour Copenhagen Card and get out and visit the two most famous castles out of the city in North Zealand. First up was Fredericksburg Slot at the end of the regional train line out to Hillerod and a must see according to all the guide books. Originally built in1560 in Dutch Renaissance style on three islets in the middle of a lake it's certainly impressive. There were 80 odd rooms to explore but apart from the chapel, the great hall and few select rooms they were again bare of much period furniture and artefacts, I guess different countries have different ways of presenting their history. I guess we're pretty spoilt in the UK with the National Trust and all its volunteers! I did find the 1814 gallery explaining Danish History and split with Norway interesting.
First view of Frederiksborg Slot walking up from the railway station

First view of Frederiksborg Slot walking up from the railway station

Me outside Frederiksborg Slot

Me outside Frederiksborg Slot

The entrance up to the external courtyard of Frederiksborg Slot

The entrance up to the external courtyard of Frederiksborg Slot

The fountain and external courtyard at Frederiksborg Slot

The fountain and external courtyard at Frederiksborg Slot

The internal courtyard of Frederiksborg Slot

The internal courtyard of Frederiksborg Slot

The Knight's Room at the start of the tour of Frederiksborg Slot

The Knight's Room at the start of the tour of Frederiksborg Slot

Looking down on the internal courtyard from inside Frederiksborg Slot

Looking down on the internal courtyard from inside Frederiksborg Slot

The Chapel inside Frederiksborg Slot

The Chapel inside Frederiksborg Slot

The Great Hall of Frederiksborg Slot

The Great Hall of Frederiksborg Slot


After a quick bite to eat (I do enjoy the Danish way of doing hotdogs!) I got the train for the half hour trip to Helsingfor to see Kronberg Slot - Shakespeare's Hamlet's Castle. Again the rooms were bare but I loved the history of the place collecting 'Sound Dues' on all boats passing in or out of the Baltic. I bought my Hamlet "To be, or not to be" T-shirt and got my first view of Sweden over the barrels of the canon in the Flag Bastion overlooking the strait.
Kronberg Slot with a model of itself in the foreground

Kronberg Slot with a model of itself in the foreground

The entrance into Kronberg Slot

The entrance into Kronberg Slot

The Great Hall of Kronberg Slot

The Great Hall of Kronberg Slot

The courtyard of Kronberg Slot

The courtyard of Kronberg Slot

Looking down on the Flag Bastion at Kronberg Slot

Looking down on the Flag Bastion at Kronberg Slot

Kronberg Slot Chapel with the guide dressed up as Hamlet!

Kronberg Slot Chapel with the guide dressed up as Hamlet!

Canons on the battlements of Kronberg Slot

Canons on the battlements of Kronberg Slot

Ferries arriving from Sweden beneath the battlements of Kronberg Slot

Ferries arriving from Sweden beneath the battlements of Kronberg Slot


It was then a 40 minute train trip back to Copenhagen where after a quick visit to the H C Andersen Experience - full of animatronics recreationing his famous fables but not really worth the effort - I arrived at the city playground Tivoli. Open late for a 2 week season up to Halloween and full of brightly lit pumpkins and witches it we would hard for anybody not to love Tivoli :-) It's an urban amusement park first built in 1843 between Copenhagen Town Hall and the main railway station. Imagine a cross between Victorian antiquity, Disneyland and a fairground and you've got Tivoli; I loved it, with its hairy amusement park style rides, live shows, restaurants, marching bands including the pint sized Tivoli Boy Guard and fairground attactions such as bumper cars there was something for everyone.
The Little Mermaid at the Hans Christen Anderson Experience

The Little Mermaid at the Hans Christen Anderson Experience

The main entrance into Tivoli all themed up for Hallowe'en

The main entrance into Tivoli all themed up for Hallowe'en

Illuminated pumpkin lanterns hanging above the path into Tivoli

Illuminated pumpkin lanterns hanging above the path into Tivoli

A show underway on the Tivoli Pantomine Stage

A show underway on the Tivoli Pantomine Stage

The Pirate Ship on the Lake at Tivoli

The Pirate Ship on the Lake at Tivoli

The Mountain Rollercoaster above stalls at Tivoli

The Mountain Rollercoaster above stalls at Tivoli

The Windmill and an illuminated carousel at Tivoli

The Windmill and an illuminated carousel at Tivoli

The Chinese Pagoda illuminated at night

The Chinese Pagoda illuminated at night

The broomstick below gives this super high carousel a Halloween theme!

The broomstick below gives this super high carousel a Halloween theme!

Stirring the Witch's Brew in a big pot at Tivoli

Stirring the Witch's Brew in a big pot at Tivoli

Posted by FrancisRTW 02:00 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 12) « Page 1 [2] 3 »