Scandinavian Holiday:  Summer 1999

Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities we have ever visited.  Made up largely of a group of islands connected by bridges, the city is modern and clean with an historic old quarter and enough parks to keep everyone happy.  Lake Malernen and the Baltic come together at Stockholm, and we could never tell where the fresh waters ended and the salt waters began.  To us the city was most beautiful at those times when we were approaching by water and could see it from a greater perspective.
The old city in Stockholm is called Gamla Stan and lies on an island of its own between the commercial hub of Normmalm and the residential area of Sodermalm.  Gamla Stan is made up of winding streets, historic old buildings, antique shops, great restaurants, the Cathedral, and the Royal Palace.  We took a guided walking tour of Gamla Stan and saw dozens of sights we'd completely missed when we explored the area on our own.  We found ourselves drawn back to Gamla Stan several times for the shopping and the food as well as for the sights.  By walking completely around the small island, the visitor can get a better understanding of the layout of the whole city.
Skansen, Stockholm's Open Air Folk Museum, is one of the finest in the world.  The park is laid out like a minature Sweden.  At the point in the park farthest north, the visitor finds a recon- structed Lapland.  In addition to the buildings from Swedish farms and villages of the past, the park has an excellent wildlife habitat.  At all the exhibits, costumed guides provide information and perform demonstrations.
On our last day in Stockholm, we were doing some last minute shopping when we heard music from about a block away.  We walked in the direction of the sound and discovered that it was the "guard" on their way for the "Changing of the Guard" at the Royal Palace.  We followed them to the ceremony and stayed to visit the Royal Apartments and museum.
We stayed on Drottninggatan Street at the Queen's Hotel.  Drottninggatan is the center of much of the activity in summer.  Street musicians abound and the best shopping surrounds you, all along a pedestrian street with plenty of benches for stopping to enjoy the sights.  Brenda was able to find plenty of market stalls to pass her time.
The royal residence is the 17th century palace called Drottningholm.  On our trip to the palace, we took the boat out and the bus/subway combination back.  We're at the  back of the palace in this photo.  Reconstruction work was being done of the front facade, but we didn't realize until we were very close.  Instead of the regular canvas or plastic covering the scaffolding, there was a painting of the facade itself.  From a distance, a tourist could get a photo even better than the real thing!

Norway- Denmark - Finland - St. Petersburg
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