Stockholm day 3

Hallo, Page!

I totally neglected to write you a note this AM before we headed out to see more of Stockholm. I’m very glad you were able to get back on board late last night.

I don’t know what the issue with your knee might be. No dancing occurred while you weren’t looking, I promise. J&I feel pretty good, overall, today. Even the dicey hip of yesterday was in better shape. Musta’ been all them stairs, doing for your knee, old boy.

We started our Stockholm Day Three by heading to the enormous ferry port from where we will depart at 7AM Monday. We wanted to check out the tube/underground station and the timing to get ourselves there. The friendly front desk person suggested we should call a cab. But with this handy Stockholm Pass being good through Monday AM, we would prefer to use the pre-paid option, if at all possible. We discovered that it is, in fact, possible.

Saw lots and lots more public artwork in the subway stations. Very nice touch there.

After we sussed out what our Monday morning will look like, we headed down to the bike rental place, Bike Stockholm. It took a long time, being Saturday and all and the guy was alone handling all the rental requests. When all was said and done, we were headed to that big park area that we could see from the cliffs yesterday, called the Djurgarden. Our over-busy guy directed us to a spot inside the garden for lunch, a place called Rosendals Slott, where you could get a nice plate lunch and eat it in the orchard.

Had another great sammie, similar to what we’d been able to pick up in the old town with you, and it was a very nice sit-down. We rode along/around the park, and while there were tons and tons of other peeps also there, we got away from the hugest crowds the longer we pedaled.

The north side of this park runs along small bays and canals, rather than big harbors or open water. About noon, we thought about you and the Europa getting ready to be (or possibly already) underway to Helsinki. Wish we could have heard your exit horn, and waved you away. Stockholm is just too big! But we did think of you guys hauling up anchors and about-facing in the harbor. Hope you and your guests all have a great time in Helsinki.

A really cool series of art exhibits were on display at a palace in the park called Prince Eugens Waldemarsudde. Poor prince Eugene never married, but was quite a collector of art, and even an artist himself. So he built this lovely home on a high point in the park, and filled it with beautiful art. When he died he gave the grounds (beautiful gardens, too), buildings, and all the contents of the home to the citizens of Sweden. They’ve renovated and restored it, and now big parts of the palace are used for exhibiting rotating shows. There were two artists on exhibition today, and we also saw the permanent collection (including some paintings byPrince Eugene himself) and the palace interior, with its furniture and fittings, is also open to the public. If you ever get back this way with time on your hands, it is well worth the effort to get there.

We returned the bikes to the rental place by 6PM as required, then took a long walk through several additional parks en route hotel-ward. Bought some picnic stuff along the way and had an inexpensive meal in the room (no alcohol, obviously, given the modest price tag).

Hope your knee gets better quickly. I hate thinking that our wonderful day yesterday had to be “paid for” with you gimping around for the next week.

Getting old ain’t for sissies, fersure, younger brother.

Thank you again for the tour, the dinner, the fun, and the company.

Many more hugs,










Stockholm days 1 & 2

Stockholm is big. Really big. Happily, the public transport system is great, and there is a “Stockholm Card” that you can buy, that covers all public transport, a good number of city tours, and an enormous range of museum admissions.

We wimped out on our first night by hitting a British-style pub called The Queen’s Head. It was nearby, easy, and familiar — had yummy fish and chips. But of course, expensive. The best part was they offered Real Ale pulled from a cask. On the downside, each pint was about $12. We made one beer apiece last.

Managed our first trip on the underground to head out early Friday to meet Page’s ship. They arrived slightly later than what he’d anticipated, but we watched the Europa motor in, drop anchors, settle, begin prep for the tender boats to be lowered, and finally, Page rode in on the first tender. We sat on the quay until customs had “cleared” the ship, and after the first load of passengers came ashore, we hopped the tender back and Page gave us a comprehensive tour of the ship, including the crew-only areas, the navigation area, his photo lab/work areas, and we even got a peek at one of the passenger suites. I was particularly impressed with how much art decorates the whole ship, but they also have a gallery full of rotating exhibitions. It was really a “once in a lifetime” because I will never be able to afford to go on a cruise like the ones Page works every day of his life. It is truly top-class.

All the staff and crew we met were very welcoming and helpful. We thank every one of them for hosting us to a memorable event.

After the tour, we entered the “Old Town” of Stockholm (Gamla Stan), seeking lunch. After a great sandwich eaten in a secluded church/museum courtyard (during which every church bell in the city must have tuned up for the mid-day sound-off), we went to see the changing of the guard at the palace.

More wandering found us in the high, cliff area of the city, sometimes known as the more “bohemian” region of the city, called Sodermalm. From the heights, we saw the Europa from another angle, walked by ancient houses built on top of rock outcroppings, and took many stairs up and down, here and there. We found and were invited in to see a community garden in which folks had cute little garden houses behind their incredible flowers and paths. It was truly spectacular, and I cannot resist taking flower photos under any circumstances, and these circumstances were particularly special.

After taking tea and a sweet at a wonderful shop called Vincent & Eleanor, we were studying our map on a street corner, apparently lost to a passer-by, who helped by guiding us toward an amphitheater where the entire neighborhood was gathering with picnic dinners to enjoy a ballet performance from the state ballet corps. It was going to be quite an evening, but we decided we would decline high culture in favor of a serious recommendation from one of Page’s colleagues for a photo exhibit. So instead, we hiked to the Fotografiska, a museum for photography. It was quite interesting, and of course, Page was in his element. Our Stockholm card got us in without paying additional.

Back up the cliffs to find a beer, and then dinner at a really great Indian place where you could choose from two dishes and eat as much of them as you wished. A young woman we ran into at the grocery store, who was from Iran, but studying (?) in Sweden, referred us to this place. It was delicious and very reasonably priced (for a change). The restaurant was called Chutney, I think.

After one final celebratory beer, the time had come for us to send Page back to his ship. Our extraordinary day ended around 11PM. We were slightly afraid that he’d have trouble catching a tender back to the boat so late, but he assured us that the shuttle boats would be running until midnight or later. The Europa will head out of the harbor toward Helsinki at about noon or 1 tomorrow. Next stop after Helsinki for them will be St. Petersburg, but their schedule will not jive with ours again during this tour.

So here is the first flood of photos from our first two days in Stockholm.