I’ve lived my whole life in cold places. Because of this, you would think that I can tolerate the cold and it doesn’t bother me much, right? I usually think this is true, but good gravy, I legitimately thought I was going to develop frostbite on my face today in Stockholm.
Stockholm is spread out over fourteen islands, which is incredibly beautiful. However, this makes it really freaking cold because the wind coming over the water is strong and cuts you straight to the bone, and most of the time you will be near water of some sort. It’s much like in Minneapolis–if you’re near the Mississippi River in the winter you lose feeling in your face within a few minutes because the wind is so cold.
So, in a way, Stockholm almost felt like home.
Except we don’t have palaces in Minneapolis. Therefore, Stockholm > Minneapolis.
Kim and I started out early, which was wonderful since hardly anybody else was out wandering around. I mean, who would be out at that crazy hour? (By the way, it was only 7 or 8 AM, but that’s still pretty early for me). The night before we made a list of places we wanted to go today, and we had agreed to start at the place farthest south and make our way back up north. This required that we walk from Norrmalm, the district our hostel was in, through Gamla Stan (also known as the Old Town of Stockholm, shown in the picture to the left), to finally reach the district of Södermalm. As far as I’m aware, Södermalm is not a particularly touristy area, but we wanted to go there because
my guidebook of Sweden (thanks, mom!) called Fjällgatan, a street in this district, one of the most beautiful streets in Stockholm.
By the time we reached Fjällgatan (shown to the right), I could no longer feel my feet, legs, fingers, or face. I was amazed I could still walk. It was actually a little disappointing, since the street wasn’t that beautiful. I honestly liked the architecture in Gamla Stan better, and Gamla Stan is much closer to our hostel.
Kim and I then headed up to the Kungliga Operan, since my guidebook said it was open at 10 AM. Unfortunately we couldn’t get into the building, but the exterior was splendid. After multiple attempts to try and force the doors of the opera house open, we walked back to Gamla Stan and walked through the gift stores to warm up. Then… we ate lunch.
At 10:30 AM. Oh well, we were hungry. Even better… WE HAD HAMBURGERS FOR LUNCH! WITH FRENCH FRIES! Like every other food, I’ve had serious cravings for a hamburger since coming to Oslo, but I haven’t wanted to spent the money on it. But, because food is cheap in Sweden, I was able to eat a hamburger without breaking the bank. It was delicious, too. Kim and I had hot chocolate with our lunch since we were so incredibly cold, and by the end of lunch had finally warmed up. Just in time to go back out into the cold.
By this time Kungliga Slottet (the Royal Palace) was open, so we headed over there. We first took a detour to the narrowest street in the city, Mårten Trotzigs Gränd. At the bottom of the stairs, the street doesn’t seem that narrow. However, the top of the stairs is so narrow that I can’t fully extend both of my arms to the side.
You can enter the entryway of Kungliga Slotett for free, but in order to see the Royal Treasury, Royal Apartments, Guest Apartments, and Tre Kronor Museum, you have to pay an entrance fee. Kim and I decided to do it, since it wasn’t that expensive with a student card, and I badly wanted to see the interior of the palace.
It was absolutely, incredibly gorgeous.
AND I HAVE NO PICTURES OF IT.
Taking pictures inside the palace was not allowed. At first I didn’t even think of trying to sneak a picture since there were guards all over the place, but then I entered the Hall of State.
It was the most beautiful room I’ve ever seen. It was a big hall (obviously, as the name would indicate), filled with benches. At one end was a silver throne, at the other a huge door. Massive statues flanked the silver throne and the walls were covered in intricate carvings.
I loved the room so much that I wouldn’t mind living in there for the rest of my life. Even if I could never see daylight again… it would be a fair trade-off.
I was going to try to take a sneaky picture since I had left my camera around my neck and the lens cap was off. Unfortunately, the guard in the room watched me like a hawk, probably because I was acting pretty suspicious. It doesn’t help that when my camera takes a picture, it makes an audible click.
I did everything in my power to try to throw the guard off my tail, but unfortunately I was unable to take a picture of the room. Well, I suppose you’ll just have to go there and see it for yourself then, hey?
The Royal Apartments were also drop-dead gorgeous. Once again, I tried taking sneaky pictures, but none of the pictures turned out. One was really blurry because after I took the picture, I booked it out of the room so that I wouldn’t get caught (really though, they had cameras in some of the rooms. Of course I noticed this, don’t you automatically look for security cameras in rooms?). For the other two pictures, I didn’t realize how far my camera was zoomed in. So, basically, I ended up with a picture of about a square foot of wall and then a blurry picture of a cord a chandelier was hanging from.
The entryway area between the Royal Apartments and the Medals of State section waswhat I call a free-camera zone, meaning you could take pictures. So I did. Even the entryway was gorgeous, and most of the rooms were even more splendid. The ceilings were all intricately painted, and I spent a lot of time with my head craned up towards the ceiling.
After we left the palace, we walked around the city for a while longer. We found Riddarhuset (shown on the left, by the way if you hover over the pictures the name of the building will appear, and remember that if you click on a picture you can see the full-size version) and then walked to Stadshuset.
After visiting Stadshuset, we walked back to Gamla Stan once more since I had forgotten that there was another palace in the area that I wanted to see. The palace itself wasn’t that splendid, but it did look nice, especially since it faced a pink building and a yellow building.
Just a random note to end the posts, I forgot to mention something in my Holmenkollen, coffee, and friends posts. The reason why I included “coffee” in the title of that was because of something that happened to me a week or so ago. I was trying to write “coffee” in English, for some reason which I’ve since forgotten. I had an unusually difficult time with this; in fact, it took me a few minutes before I could spell it correctly. How was I trying to spell it? “Kaffe,” the way you spell “coffee” in Norwegian. I don’t think this is good.
Oh, and if you’re not completely pictured out after this post, check out my Facebook for even more pictures! :O