Why can’t I live in a palace? It would be so awesome–I could live in rooms with gorgeous decorations, have a room for anything I want, and have vast grounds to wander around in. I could do without the creepy paintings/murals/statues though.
Kim and I planned to go to Drottningholm today, which is where another other royal palace in Stockholm is located. Today the royal family resides in Drottningholms Slott, but in the past it was only used as a summer palace. While Kungliga Slotett is located within the city, Drottningholm is 10 km outside of the city. This meant that unfortunately, we couldn’t just walk to it–we had to use public transportation. Stress!
Drottningholm didn’t open until noon, so we slept in a bit then wandered around looking for food. We had planned on going to an Asian buffet beforehand, but as we later found out, it didn’t open until noon and didn’t serve the buffet on Sunday. Bummer.
Instead we decided to walk over to an area of the city called Djurgärden, which is where the Nordisk museet, Vasamusset, Biologiska museet (YAY BIOLOGY!), and a place called Skansen can be found. Skansen is an open-air museum that shows how life in Sweden was before the industrial era. We only had time to walk around the area for about ten minutes since it took so long to walk over there, and we needed to leave by eleven to go to Drottningholm. Still, what we saw of the area was very beautiful.
We then headed back to T-centralen, which is one of the main T-bane stations in Stockholm. It took a while to figure out how to buy tickets for public transportation. In Oslo, there are automated machines at the T-bane stops. You just put your money in and get a ticket out. Very simple. No such thing in Stockholm. We had to go in a convenience store to buy the ticket. Then we had to figure out how to get past the gates. All tickets in Oslo are electronic. Once you buy a ticket, you have to activate it by holding it over a scanner, which is usually by the ticket machines. The tickets in Stockholm were paper, so obviously electronically scanning it wouldn’t work (I tried it anyways). We finally figured it out that you have to take it to a window where it is stamped with the time, since tickets are only valid for one hour after activation. We could then pass the barriers into the T-bane station.
Also, another funny thing. Here in Oslo they use the trust/punishment system with public transportation. Essentially they’ll trust that you buy a ticket or pass to use the public transportation. If you don’t and you’re caught, you’re punished with a hefty fine. This means that you are completely free to enter the T-bane station or board the bus. They don’t trust you in Stockholm. There are gates in the T-bane station that you can only open by scanning your pass, and when boarding the bus you have to show your ticket.
The T-bane lines are also more complicated in Stockholm. Here in Oslo there are only six lines, and all of the lines pass through the main downtown city stops. In Stockholm there are fourteen T-bane lines, and they don’t all pass through the main downtown city stops. Also in Oslo, all the lines run through the same platform. This means that when you want to take the T-bane from Central Station, there is only one possible T-bane platform you can go to. In Stockholm, each line generally has its own platform. This makes finding the right platform pretty confusing. If I had to find my way from the airport in Stockholm to my dorm by myself like I did in Oslo, I don’t think I would have been able to do it.
Anyways, after taking the T-bane and a bus, we made our way to Drottningholm.
That was when I decided I wanted to live in a palace. New life goal.
Drottningholms Slott looks out over the water (okay well I suppose Kungligla Slottet does too, but the view from Drottningholms Slott looks better). Statues stand in a line around the water, and a small garden rests in front of the palace and water. In front of the palace lies an expansive garden and park, which also houses the Chinese Pavilion and the Drottningholm Palace Theatre.
After marveling at the exterior of the palace for a while, Kim and I headed inside. We once again paid to tour the inside, and again it was worth it (we also couldn’t take pictures again… less guards this time though). We took a guided tour of the rooms, which was really interesting. One room we saw had several tapestries that told the story of Hero and Leander. Basically Hero and Leander fell in love, and Leander would swim every night across the Hellespont to be with her. One night, however, it was stormy, and Leander drowned. His body washed onshore and Hero took her own life in grief. The gods saw this and were moved, and so they brought the couple back to life in the form of kingfishers.
We saw one bedchamber that was decorated in the Baroque style, and it was absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn’t want to sleep in the room though since the walls were dark blue, which made the bedchamber really dark. The gold designs on the walls were beautiful though.
The library was one of my favorite rooms, along with a hall filled with portraits of ruling monarchs at the time. The hall is apparently the largest room in the palace and used to be used for balls and banquets. Today it is only used for banquets since the parquet floor is sensitive to dancing. I also loved the staircase, which is decorated in a Baroque style and contains statues of the nine muses of Greek mythology. The staircase is shown to the right.
After the tour, Kim and I wandered around the grounds for a little bit. We didn’t go to the Chinese Pavilion or the theatre because the Chinese Pavilion was closed and it was freaking cold outside again. Hopefully I will have the chance to visit Stockholm again, in which case I will tour the parks more extensively.
When we got back into the city, I bought a chocolate croissant and a sugar doughnut for lunch while Kim bought dumplings. Let me tell you, the croissant and doughnut were FANTASTIC. The croissant had chocolate on the outside and in the inside, and the doughnut was… well, a doughnut, which means that it’s automatically amazing. It was the best lunch I’ve had in a while.
After lunch we walked to Kastellet, which is in Skeppsholmen within Stockholm. I wanted to arrive there around sunset since it would be beautiful to see the sun setting over the city, but unfortunately we arrived there a little too late. Oh well. Some other time, perhaps.
We then ate one last dinner, which was lasagna. The lasagna was huge, plus lasagna in itself is very dense and filling, so we were both stuffed afterwards. It was very good though, and satisfied my craving for pasta. We then headed back to the hostel, packed up, then went to bed early since our train left early the next day.
Also, being nineteen rocks. Being an exchange student here, I’ve very young–most exchange students are at least twenty, most of them older. I don’t particularly like being so young compared to everybody else, but the great thing is that I qualify for youth tickets, which are typically much cheaper than student/adult tickets. Yay for saving money by being young!