Pirates of the Baltic Sea: Stockholm

Hey Guys! I hope everyone had a lovely Easter break. I’m still on mine, as my school gave us an entire week off! That is so much better than my school in France, and the French are supposed to be more *cough* lazy, atink?

Woke up the next morning, went down for breakfast. It was a buffet again, and this time I didn’t pack my plate so much, but then I couldn’t help feeling that I had just donated to charity, if you know what I mean. My breakfast was awesome, because I was looking at the little islands and houses near the coast while eating.

Our ship arrived Stockholm at 9.55, and since I was basically alone, my Spanish cabin mate said I could tag along with her and her Spanish friends if I liked, so I did. We basically followed the crowd to the metro station, and then when we were about to get tickets, someone decided to be nice and open up the gates for everyone, so a majority of us didn’t have to pay. We got off at the old town, Gamla Stan, and went to look around. The pictures below don’t do the town justice, and I couldn’t even take a lot because my hands were freezing, but believe me, it’s a nice town. At least the much I saw.

We went to see the different old buildings, and then at 12.00, we went to the palace where we watched the changing of the guard. It was interesting enough, but very anticlimactic, much like the new episode of Game of Thrones (yes I just had to throw that in there, I think I was over excited and set myself up for disappointment, but I’m sure it will get better). After that, we entered the National Museum to look around for a bit. Oh at some point, before we got to the palace, when we were just looking at the nice old buildings and taking pictures, we saw this nice looking church and since it was cold, we wanted to go in and sit down. To our surprise, it was locked. I doubt that I’ve ever seen a locked church, and I’ve certainly never seen a locked one in a tourist town. Na wa.

We had planned to go to see the Vasa museum, but we heard it was closed so we dejectedly went to see the City Hall instead, on a guided tour and stuff. It was really interesting, I saw this really really huge organ, never seen anything like it before. My friend and I were quite mischievous as, during the tour, we were sitting down every chance we got and eating cookies while everyone else was standing solemnly around the tour guide. Smh. There were lots of rooms as usual, but the most interesting was the gold room. Before she started explaining, the tour guide asked us whether we thought it was real gold or not, and in between mouthfuls of cookies, I blurted “absolutely not”. Of course I was wrong, as usual. The room is covered in a mosaic of tiny tiles of (glass and) gold, but the entire weight of gold used to ‘plaster’ the room is only 10kg. Interesting, seeing as it’s a huge room (I’m terrible at estimates, but I’d say not less than 100 square meters).

After the  tour, we were quite hungry and it was even almost time for us to head back to the ship, so we went in search of somewhere nice to eat. I didn’t want an upscale restaurant because I didn’t feel like behaving ‘proper’ (you can also add that I was starting to feel broke :P), so we went to a random place and had shawarma and drinks. Funny thing about Stockholm is, their currency is the Swedish Krona (SEK), but they accept Euros as payment as well. Smart.  Oh the exchange ratio for Euro : SEK is about 1:9, in case you were wondering.

After ‘lunch’, we went to the metro station where I had to buy a ticket, but then the English version was really confusing. I knew I had to take the Red A Line, Zone something, so that’s what I chose. I got to the ‘gates’ and tried to swipe the ticket on the scanner, but it didn’t work. Weird, until someone told me if you have a paper ticket, then you must have it physically checked by some guy ‘over there’. Inefficient, I’d say. (Sidebar: LOL, see me talking, forgetting what country I come from. Well, inefficiency is inefficiency, doesn’t matter where.) I went there, and the dude asked how old I was. Puzzled, I said 23, and he said the ticket I bought is for people below 18. Please where was that written? What should I have bought instead? He said I should go to the information desk/customer service, so I did. There, the individual who attended to me said I couldn’t change the ticket, that I had to buy another. I was furious but very calm :), and I bought another ‘age appropriate’ one and dumped the other one on the ticket checker’s table, while giving him the stink eye (so much for remaining calm). Oh I think tickets are like 3 or 4 Euros each, so I must have spent like 7 Euros. Furious. Metro tickets in other cities are 1.50 – 2.00 Euros. We sha managed to get back to the ship 30 minutes before the deadline, so it was fine.

2013-03-21 08.23.54 2013-03-21 10.56.32 2013-03-21 11.04.38 2013-03-21 11.12.08 2013-03-21 11.33.38 2013-03-21 14.06.46 2013-03-21 14.09.22<- The organ at City Hall, couldn’t capture everything

2013-03-21 14.36.48<- This is a room in the City Hall, completely covered in tiny (real) gold tiles.

2013-03-21 16.24.42 2013-03-21 17.09.50 2013-03-21 18.08.54<- Sunset from the deck of the ship.

2013-03-21 23.39.14<- A ship we passed on our way back. The lights are lights of cars driving onto the ship. It looked really beautiful from where I was sitting.

(If I don’t get lazy,) To be continued…

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