About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Monday, January 11, 2010


Day 5: Stockholm Sightseeing: Today an orientation tour including the Royal Palace and Old Town. In your free time you can visit the 17th Century warship ‘The Vasa'. Tonight why not explore the cobbled streets and sample the local fare? (Breakfast included)

Hotel: Angby Camping
Breakfast: 8:00 Bus departs: 8:30

I was up this morning at 6:15 for my shower, and it worked out perfectly because I took the last empty shower stall, and when I got out a line had formed for the showers. It was interesting taking a shower where you had to pay, especially since the coin slot was outside the shower and you only got 5 minutes. At 7:30 I reported to the cook tent to help with breakfast, although I did a couple things to help out, for the most part I felt like I was in the way. At 8:30 we headed into Stockholm and at 9:00 we did a tour of Stockholm's City Hall. When we first entered the building I dropped my camera, but I wasn't too concerned since I had dropped it before and never had a problem with it, this would actually be a problem later in the day. The building was very interesting, designed to look much older then it is, it hosts the Nobel Prize banquet in the Blue Room. Much thought was put into the design, like the designer having his wife walk up and down several different sets of steps in a gown, to see which was the easiest to walk up and down.

After the town hall we were dropped off at the Royal Palace. It was a cold day with rain off and on all day. Che had spoken to the Tour Manager from the tour ahead of us, the Wind-chill was -24° Celsius in Helsinki. In Stockholm the temperature was around 8-12° Celsius, with a wind that cut right through you. Oh dear, we had to still go a great deal more North.

When we were dropped off at the Royal Palace some people got pictures with the guard from the palace, including some rude Germany woman who would not stand the couple feet or so that you had to stand away from him. She would inch in and he would yell at her, she seemed to be laughing at the whole thing. It was very disrespectful, the classic obnoxious tourist, at least she wasn't American. Anyway, from the Royal Palace I went with Marie, Kieran, Patrick, Kevin and Rob to the Nobel Museum, but first we had to find it. After studying the map a few minutes we discovered that it was pretty much right in front of us, we just couldn't find the entrance. We found the sign for the museum, took pictures with it, walked around a bit and and still couldn't find the entrance. Of course if anyone had paid attention to the sign, it had an arrow pointing in the correct direction, though it was a small arrow. We eventually did find the entrance, and got in a few minutes before a guided tour was starting. After a little while I started to not feel so good, and had to find a chair to sit in. Not sure what came over me, but after a few minutes I started to feel better, and I never felt bad again. It was a little freaky though feeling that ill while I was so far from home and my couch. I guess maybe my cold was starting to drain me.

We tried to see the changing of the guard at noon, but it was pouring rain and you could barely see anything because of the crowd. We decided to skip it and had lunch instead. At 2:00 we met back at the Royal Palace for a ride over to the Vasa Museum.

At the Vasa Museum I saved 40 SKr using my International Student ID Card, Yea! Once inside I tried to take a picture of the ship, but couldn't get my manual settings to work - I tried every which way I could think of, but they didn't work (insert bad word here) I must have broken it when I dropped it at the town hall (insert more bad words here)! Well I wandered around taking some bad pictures of the ship and then went to the movie on the ship. Too bad it was the Swedish version, it had subtitles, but I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to read them. At least I got a nap in and those who stayed awake gave me the short story when it was over. But the ship was quite large and from the looks of it I'm not terribly surprised that it sunk, it just didn't look right. It didn't look proportional. I was surprised at how many people were at the museum, it was packed! But I got myself a pin of the ship at the gift shop and met the bus at 4pm for a ride back to central station.

A bunch of us decided to go to the Absolute Ice Bar, one of the things on my to do list. Che had tried to get a reservation for us, but couldn't so we had to organize it on our own. When we got there they had a couple slots open to take the last 20 minutes of the current session, but we would have to pay the whole amount, and there weren't enough spots for all of us. In the end a couple of us went in, and then other people left the bar and the rest of the group that wanted to go, got in. It was a neat experience having a drink from an ice glass and hanging out in the silver coats they give you. It was worth the exorbitant amount they charged you, 105 SKr for non-alcoholic drinks and 150 for an alcoholic drink. But we all had fun together picking drinks and taking pictures, the bartender finally had to leave the bar in an effort to get us out of there since our time had expired.

Then it was time for some shopping. We stopped at the System Bologet (alcohol store), and I got 4 bottles of Smirnoff Ice. Then we hit the tacky souvenir stores. I got my one nephew a Swedish Flag Viking hat that I knew he would love. Then we almost had to run to meet the bus at 7:00 for our optional dinner at the Fenix Bar. I probably would have been better off missing the bus though, the dinner wasn't very good.

Our dinner consisted of several types of Herring (they all looked gross), pork Swedish meatballs, potatoes, and mouse. For dessert we had canned fruit salad. Needless to say I didn't each much, and simply consider it to be a cultural experience. I sat with Ben, Stefan, James and Tom. The evening turned into spin the bottle/truth or dare. After a few rounds of getting lucky I decided it was time to bow out gracefully before I started losing, but not before learning a bit about Tom and James. I went to another table to hang out till it was time to leave at 10 to head back to the campsite.

Back at the campsite "club 10" was hoping. Club 10 was cabin #10 where the party was the last 2 nights. I didn't stay up too late but I heard a bunch of people were hanging out with the Top Deck people. I think it was Dion who woke up in the middle of the night with a naked man (aside from the socks he was wearing) in his room, it took a couple minutes but he finally got the guy to leave. When Dion got up in the morning his socks were missing. The naked guy must have taken them, we had a good laugh at that.

Anyway, Stockholm is a nice city, though I didn't get the full feel for it since it had rained so much, I think I might have loved the city if we had nicer weather and actually got to see more of it instead of hiding from the rain.