On the third day in the beautiful city of Stockholm, we woke up early to visit the palace located in the old town, also known as Gamla Stan. The old town was a few minutes walk from our hotel, passing by beautiful old cobblestone streets.
We arrived at the Royal Palace and started our visit with the treasury, where unfortunately photography is not allowed. They keep the crowns and jewels from the previous kings and queens of Sweden.
The next stop was the cathedral, not very exciting so after a couple photos, we were on our way to the Palace.
The Royal Palace (Kungliga slottet) is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch (the actual residence of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia is at Drottningholm Palace).
The palace is used for representative purposes by the King whilst performing his duties as the head of state.
As of 2009 the interior of the palace consists of 1,430 rooms of which 660 have windows. The palace contains apartments for the Royal families, representation and festivities such as the State Apartments, the Guest Apartments and the Bernadotte Apartments.
There was even a room with modern decor. To celebrate his silver jubilee in 1998, the King Carl XVI Gustaf jubilee room was created. I have never seen this in a Royal palace before.
They have a bunch of coats of arms here from the order of the Seraphim, which is one of the highest honors you can get as a civilian. As part of the reorganization of Swedish orders in 1975, appointments of Swedish citizens to the various orders ceased and conferrals were restricted to foreigners . Likewise, the Order of the Seraphim was restricted to foreign heads of state and equivalents. Mexican ex-president Fox has been given this honor, no idea why, but whatever.
The Royal Guards have guarded the palace and the Royal Family since 1523. We had to stay to see the change of guard, which included a nice marching band concert and an hour of ceremonial marching movements and rotations, which at times felt very repetitive.
After 30 minutes and the lack of sword fights, public hangings or really anything different than the previous half hour, we got bored and left.
This is the main square where the change of guard happens.
The next and last stop of the palace was the armory. Unfortunately, after 40 years of the same exhibits, the museum is being renovated. Instead, they have a chariots exhibit where we learned interesting things like the symbolism of the open crown on top, which means some royal family is traveling inside (besides the Queen or King). A closed crown means the Queen or King is traveling.
They also preferred to travel during winter, where the use of sleds made long-distance travel easier and faster. Only extremely wealthy people had covered sleds to protect them from the cold.
I bought Sarah a nice bracelet with a silver symbolic leaf that means something, we don’t really remember. So let’s say it represents the success of IKEA and Swedish meatballs.
We headed towards the Sortoget Plaza. It is the oldest square in Stockholm, the historical centre on which the medieval urban conglomeration gradually came into being. Today, the square is frequented by tens of thousands of tourists annually, and is occasionally the scene for demonstrations and performances.
The Nobel Prize Museum was located here, but unfornuntaly we did not have time to visit it this time.
We heard (from Elly Wolf) that the pastries are great here, so we started our search for the best Kanelbullar. We found this litle bakery that happened to be the most recommended place in the old city. We asked what is the most traditional Swedish pastry and it is a cinnamon bun but quite different than the American version.
It was trully delicious. It had some cardammom flavor as well that Eitan loved.
More walking around the old town.
Our next stop was the Riddarholm Church, which is the burial church of the Swedish monarchs. It is located on the island of Riddarholmen, close to the Royal Palace.
It is one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm, parts of it dating to the late 13th century, when it was built as a greyfriars monastery
Coats of arms of knights of the Order of the Seraphim are on the walls of the church. When a knight of the Order dies, his coat of arms is hung in the church and when the funeral takes place the church’s bells are rung without pause from 12:00 to 13:00.
Now we were hungry. We walked back to the center of the old town to find something to eat.
We were really hungry so we found this little cafe in the middle of the Sortoget Plaza, the reviews were amazing but we didn’t feel it was that amazing. Eitan was not feeling well, so eating was a struggle for him.
We had some more time to kill before going to the airpot to travel to Norway. We walked to the city hall building located in the Kungsholmen island,
It houses offices and conference rooms as well as ceremonial halls, and the luxury restaurant Stadshuskällaren. It is the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet and is one of Stockholm’s major tourist attractions.
You need an official tour guide to visit inside, and we hate tours so we skipped it. We just took a quick nap next to the gardens, it was so calming.
After the nap!
It was time to start the walk back to get to the hotel to pick up our bags.
All the stores around here are either art galleries or design stonres. Pretty cool art we found, this painting was huge and the little man was maybe half inch long (I zoomed in into the flying man). .. loved it.
We were sad to leave Stockholm and we still had some more time to kill, so a last beer was enjoyed!
On the way to the hotel we discovered an amazing open beer garden with european craft beer, but it was too late, a plane we needed to catch.
Bonus Pic Of The Day; Pippi Longstocking? this swedish childrens book has found worldwide success. Did you know that according to Pippi herself, her full name is Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking. As of 2010, Pippi’s books have been translated into 95 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu!!