I’m ready for the first full day in Stockholm. This is partially because I forgot to pull the blackout drapes closed the night before and our east facing room became bathed in daylight before 4am. It’s also because we get our day started with a pretty substantial Swedish breakfast. This is the morning I came to wonder where lingonberries have been my whole life.
On our “must see” list in Stockholm is Drottningholm Palace. Located about 40 minutes outside central Stockholm and easily reached by metro and bus, it feels like we’ve arrived somewhere very far away from a large urban metropolis. It’s about 10am and I’m struck by the peacefulness and lush green surroundings:
Originally built in the late 16th century, this is the official residence of the Swedish Royal Family. It’s sometimes referred to as the “Swedish Versailles”. There are similarities as the two palaces are contemporaries, so some of the styling and grandeur of the grounds are reminiscent of each other. Truly, it’s not really a fair comparison either way. Both are special in their own unique way.
We’re lucky that our visit comes on yet another beautiful travel day – clear skies and temperatures pushing 30ºC. This makes for a perfect setting for exploring the grounds. Making our way first to the palace for a tour of its interior, here it is in full display:
Photography inside the palace was strictly forbidden. Suffice to say, it’s beautiful. Paintings lining the wall tell the story of much of the Royal Family’s history. Making our way out into the grounds at the rear of the palace, the views are just as stunning:
A unique feature in touring the grounds is the Chinese Pavilion built in the mid 1700s. There was an interesting display while we were there showing the experimentation that is taking place as to how to maintain and preserve the Pavilion:
Leaving Drottningholm, we headed to Gamla Stan to tour the Royal Palace. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed there either. One of the most impressive parts of touring the palace is the Treasury. In a very dark vault are displayed crowns, swords and other royal regalia, many encrusted in jewels. A few “wows” were said upon staring into display cases. We also toured the Royal Chapel and the Palace itself. Here’s a view of the outside of the Palace in the old town:
We were officially “Palaced Out” – not a term you’d see in a Rick Steeves book, but I think you know what I’m talking about. We decide to do something about 180º away from palaces, royal artifacts and Swedish history and find ourselves trekking out to to one of my all-time favourite metro stop names – Globben – to visit SkyView at the Ericsson Globe arena. This attraction promises spectacular views of Stockholm:
There are some nice views from Stockholm from on top of this uniquely designed hockey arena. Here we are after our globe reaches the top. I’m mostly including this picture to show me rocking my Quebec Nordiques t-shirt in the land of the Stastny brothers:
We’ve been on our feet all day, but after a short early evening rest, we catch a second wind for some exploring by foot. Leaving our hotel and walking toward the old town, we walk through Riksplan central square. The entry gate is very impressive in the strong evening sunlight:
After a long, fun day on our feet, we cut short the evening walk and end the day with some time on a park bench in beautiful surroundings in central Stockholm. One full day in, and I’m truly in love with this city.