After three weeks of travelling and having settled down in my accommodations at Konstanz, I have finally found some time to write. My travels before starting my exchange programme at University of Konstanz are as follows:
13.03-17.03: Stockholm, Sweden
27.03-31.03: Tallinn, Estonia
This post will be about Stockholm, my first stop in Europe.
Stockholm is an archipelago of islands, and is well known for it’s beautiful Gamla Stan (Old Town). The architecture here is a good mix between modern and medieval, which is quite a sight.
For travelling around Stockholm, you can get a 3 days pass for 250 SEK which includes the card. There are inspectors on almost every tram, so it’s kind of a must to get a travel card. It allows you to take any public transport around Stockholm, including a ferry ride to the Vasa Museum.
The best time to visit Stockholm is probably after winter, when more tourist attractions are open. When I was there, a few places were closed and only opened from April onwards. The bears in Skansen were still hibernating too.
Prices in Stockholm are much higher than Singapore, one meal can easily cost above 100 SEK, which is almost 20 SGD. My guess is that Sweden is a welfare state, so cost of living is higher since the citizens receive support from the government. The fish soup is highly recommended here. If you want to save some money, the Arabian shops offer a cheaper price and a bigger portion for food. I could save leftovers from my dinner to eat as breakfast the next day.
Onto the tourist attractions:
(First stop: Skansen Museum)
Skansen is an open-air museum of 18th century Sweden and a zoo with local animals. It holds many farmsteads and manors, showing the structures during that time. It costs 100 SEK for a ticket.
The structures are very well-maintained too. There are still people manning workshops there, for example, ceramics and glass-making. This place is huge, with a size of 300 km². I spent 5 hours there and still missed out a few places. It is also better to go in the spring/summer since the bears hibernate in the winter. It seems that some places inside are closed during winter too.
I highly recommend going to Skansen if you want to check out the Nordic animals and the farmsteads from the 17th century. The manors are really beautiful too. Do settle your lunch before heading there because the food is rather pricey there and there was only one restaurant open when I was there.
(Of Kings and Queens: Royal Palace)
Next tourist attraction would be the Royal Palace. It still houses the Swedish monarchy and acts as accommodations for foreign ambassadors.
The change of guard takes place in the courtyard, where horse-carried carriages make their way into the palace. The Royal Palace contains many apartments, such as the Guest Apartments, the Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry. There’s also the Treasury and the Armoury.
The Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry showcase the medals, attires of the knights. There’s also an exhibition of clocks spanning four centuries worth of collection. The Guest Apartments show…the apartments. The interior of the palace is really beautiful and spacious. It’s really worth a visit to experience what monarchies of the past live in.
For those medieval knight lovers, a visit to the Armoury is a MUST. The Armoury exhibits the lives and deaths of Swedish Kings, their weaponry collection, and their attire. The picture above shows a ceremonial armour for the death of the king, given by some other state (if I remembered correctly).
I didn’t visit the Treasury since I was exhausted from all the walking. It was a great experience and eye-opener at the Royal Palace though. The tickets can be bought at 100 SEK or 75 SEK if you are a student.
(Why do panaroma images curve inwards? @Vasa Museum)
Vasa was the biggest ship built in the 17th century and sank 1.4km into her maiden voyage. It was salvaged in the 1960s and is now a major tourist attraction in Stockholm. Who knows how long it will last as the wood is slowly rotting away in the museum. This museum isn’t as big as the previous two but there are still many things to learn from, example, the preservation of ships.
Vasa Museum also provides a sneak peek into the lives of the sailors during the 17th century and the weaponry that they were using. There is also a reconstruction of faces of the sailors who were lying on the seabed.
(Ferry to Djurgården)
Stockholm is a really beautiful place, and it really seems like a gateway to the medieval world. For all those who have an interest in the medieval world, Stockholm is a must go! It will be an amazing eye-opening experience for you!