My tour of Stockholm was confined to the Royal Palace, the Old Town, the City Hall (the Rathaus) and the Vasa Museum. All points of interest were worth the time! The Old Town is medieval and very interesting with its winding, narrow streets, today lined with small shops and restaurants. The Royal Palace was an insight into the cities past as well as its present, as it is ‘a working palace’ where the royal family still live and receive diplomats and guests. The state rooms are sometimes closed to tourists for state functions but there is a part of the palace that is closed for the family use only.
I sat and enjoyed a glass of Australian shiraz and a meal in the Old Town, watching the crowds and imagining the space as a bustling medieval market.
The Vasa Museum was a real highlight. This ship, built by a monarch in the 17th century intent on showing his power and invading Russia, was the pride of the Swedish navy. On her maiden voyage she capsized and sank in 1623 only 1000 metres from the shore, losing some men. The ship was top-heavy loaded with canons on two gun-decks. The ship was salvaged in 1961 and has been meticulously preserved and the museum complex built around it. It is a stunning exhibition as many artefacts were recovered including the personal effects of may of the crew, many of whom survived the original disaster. It is an authentic piece of living history.
The City Hall is also worth the visit. A magnificent red brick building it is the site of the Nobel Prize banquet for those nominated and it has two magnificent halls, the most spectacular Golden Hall which artistically, in gold and coloured mosaics made in Italy, show Sweden’s history up to the 1920s when the building was completed.