Mom and dad were here for two weeks and we filled that time pretty well with moving, but we also went to Stockholm, which was neat because none of us had ever been there before. (And considering how much traveling Lisbeth has done, that’s pretty surprising.)

The fast train Making our way down a shopping street in the old part of town 

We opted to take the train instead of fly even though flying was cheaper. The train is just more relaxing, and gave us a chance to see the Swedish countryside, which is very pretty, with a lot of hills and rocky outcroppings (which you certainly don’t see very often in Denmark.) Plus it’s a fast train. It goes about 200 kph, or  124 mph, which means it only takes about five hours to get to Stockhom.

Setting out from the hotel Ellen ponders the architectural aspects of Swedish cathetrals I walked around all day before I noticed that there was something stuck to my shirt

I was a little reluctant about going. I figured heck — I’ve been living in a Scandinavian capital for three years — Stockholm will be just like Copenhagen, and I’ll be bored. That was not the case. Stockholm is quite a bit more impressive than Copenhagen. Copenhagen doesn’t feel like a big city because  you can’t take it all in at once. It’s completely flat, so the largest areas are parks and squares.

Walking around on the first day, trying not to look like tourists Mostly due to the hills, Stockholm is a more dramatic city to look at than Copenhagen The fortress part of the city, which unfortunately we didn't visit 

In contrast, Stockholm is hilly and so you can see the city. It also has a lot more canals and they’re bigger. And finally, the downtown area seems bigger and appears to have more shopping areas. It’s the kind of city I like to visit but wouldn’t want to live in.

Downtown Stockholm The National Museum (from an unpleasant canal boat tour) Dad tries to open a bank door telekenetically (it didn't work)

There are plenty of differences between Sweden and Denmark (the money, the language) but one thing I didn’t expect is that Sweden is clearly a nation that is more fond of cars and motorcycles.

Swedes are crazy about motorcycles -- and not nearly as crazy about bikes as Danes areThere are almost no bike lanes, which is one of the best things about living in Copenhagen. People do bike, but not nearly as much. I saw exactly one bike lane in Stockholm. Instead there are a lot of motorcycles, including super-loud choppers, of which I am not a fan. 

Another notable difference was the “old” part of town. Of course it’s all old by American standards, but the part of town that is old by European standards is impressive. It has the feel of a town in Italy (an impression I have only from movies, but nevertheless an impression that Lisbeth confirms). It has very narrow streets, clearly designed before the advent of the car.

The old part of the city One of many narrow streets in the old part of the city DSC_6694.JPG

Stockholm is also a global destination. I thought that Copenhagen had tourists, but compared to Stockholm, it doesn’t. Tourist season in Copenhagen means that you hear English on the streets and in cafes. In Stockholm we heard all kinds of languages. We took a boat tour of the canals, and the boats were wired for eight languages. In Copenhagen the canal boats just have students whose summer job it is to say the same thing in Danish, English, and German.

Now _that_ is a door a drainpipe in the old part of the city A pause after the Nobel museum

But, as impressed as we were about the number of tourists, several people told us “this is nothing.” Tourist season doesn’t really get rolling until June, and sure enough — we saw a few stores that had signs in the windows saying they wouldn’t be open for another two weeks, despite the fact that the street outside was crawling with eager shoppers (us included.)

DSC_6736.JPG A king, perhaps, but it's hard to take seriously a man with a bird on his head. Stockolm has bikes that are free to use (like Copenhagen) but we didn't see many being used

We arrived on Monday at about five in the afternoon, and left on Wednesday after luch, so we only had one full day in Stockholm, which is not nearly enough. We didn’t see the Vasa, which is apparently the most visited site in Stockholm, and we didn’t get to the fortress part of the city, which — at least from downtown, looks interesting.

Ellen and Bon-Bon (as her grandchildren call her) got along just fine Mom's new purse proved a comfortable ride Dad, waiting for the return train

But we had a very nice time. My only complaint was that mom started up a conversation on the train, and then, when she grew tired of it, kept tapping me on the shoulder and saying things like, “Remember when [such and such]. What was that story again?”

 A worker-safety sign in the elevator at the hotel A grim worker-safety sign in the elevator at the hotel

Finally, I’m including these two employee safety warnings from the hotel elevator. They’re notable because first, if there was a hazard like this in a US hotel, there would be no signs because the entire hotel would be shut down until the elevators were replaced, and second, because they’re both quite graphic. The second one in particular is pretty grim — it looks like the person is dead.

6 Thoughts on “Stockholm

  1. Great photos! I esp. like #2 because it makes both Mom and me look slim. I love #24
    BTW, even though the similar photos don’t show HERE, in the slide show there appear to be duplicates: the girl climbing the stairs and the drain pipe.

    But not to worry . . .
    These are NOT duplicates. Actually, the girl climbing up the stairs is followed by a similar one which shows her identical twin sister climbing up the same stairs.
    As for the drain pipe photos, well, the second photo was taken clear on the other side of the building and it just looks identical to the first one.

  2. Adam on June 10, 2009 at 9:24 pm said:

    Your sarcasm has been noted. All duplicates have been fixed. Your sarcasm has been noted.

  3. Indrid Cold on June 11, 2009 at 1:29 am said:

    Stop wearing that womb-man papoose.

    Where is your DIGNITY, man?

  4. Indrid Cold on June 11, 2009 at 3:05 am said:

    …or you’ll end up like this guy:

  5. I’ll gladly trade my dignity to save my back while I lug this well fed baby around a foreign city, and besides, it lets me experience the joy of pregnancy. Which is good practice for our second child, which I’ll be carrying. And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my hormone shot.

  6. Stop being gross! (Dad) (Not Mom this time, as I’m having serious computer problems. Let me set you straight: I bought TWO computers (a work horse and a spare) and I busted BOTH.

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