Tuesday, August 20, 2013



Finally, Stockholm, mid-morning, after almost 2 hours by taxi and bus from Ranas Slott.

Ritual check-in, then the the churches of Gamla Stan.

The next day...

6:30 am [Street Shooting]

...I took the streets of Gamla Stan, empty and cold at that hour but exuding with a soft and almost sublime early morning light.

Perfect for street photography.

Marten Trotzigs Grand [Alley of Marten Trotzigs] at 90 centimeters wide is the narrowest street in all Stockholm and the Prastgatan [The Priest's Street] reputed as the most beautiful street of Gamla Stan.

8:30 am [The Royal Palace]

High walls rising from a protective moat and tall towers crowned by fluttering triangular flags where pretty princesses wait to be rescued. 

That's the castle I know from those fairy tale books. 

So I was quite disappointed with the box-type architecture of Stockholm's Royal Palace [a glorified and ornate SM Mall?].

A first impression, the pompous spectacle of the changing of the guards as the sole connection to royalty.    

The Inner Courtyard?

It's almost an American prison from a Discovery Channel documentary where inmates exercise, socialize, and do their stabbing frenzies.

But inside the Royal Apartments [NOTE: photography not allowed], royalty hit me: 600 cavernous rooms, the State Hall and its dominating silver throne [circa 1650], the Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry and its array of royal medals and decorations, the Council Chambers where Nobel Prize winners were feted and dined, several State Bedchambers where kings and queens slept, the White Sea Room and its classical ceiling paintings of voluptuous bra-less women, the phallic symbols of the Pillar Room, and regally furnished drawing and study rooms.

In the Treasury below is a display of crowns, swords, orbs, and scepters [might have been a medieval dungeon once].

Opposite is the Royal Chapel [also off limits to camera], circa 1754, Christ in Gethsemane as its altar centerpiece.

The Tre Kronor Museum tells the palace's beginnings as a defensive fortification [10th century], its evolution into a castle [13th century], and the building of the present structure to replace the gutted old castle [17th century].

Adjacent is Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities where various Roman artifacts, perhaps plundered loots of war, are on display.

11:00 am [Riksdagshuset, Riddarhuset, and Bondeska Palatset]

Going back to the hotel, I gawked a little at the recently built Riksdagshuset [Parliament Building, circa 1905], ornate but box-type like the palace...

...inspected the Riddarhuset [House of the Nobility], a 17th century Baroque house, again ornate but box type, said to be one of Stockholm's most beautiful structures where noblemen of yore met and plotted...   

...and quickly shot the Bondeska Palatset [Bonde Palace], also 17th century, once the residence of a Lord High Treasurer and now seat of the Swedish Supreme Court.

1:00 pm [Stortorget]

I checked out and dragged my suitcase-in-wheels to the heart of Gamla Stan in Stortorget [Great Square]. 

In the square center is an old well with the name   Stortorgsbrunnen --- the city center from where all distances are measured [their Luneta].

Bordering the square is Borshuset, 18th century, once a stock exchange building, and presently the Nobel Museum where the Swedish Academy announces the Nobel Prize for Literature. 

And there I lunched on the much touted Nobel ice cream.


I walked to the Central Station from Stortorget.

There I took the Arlanda Express Train to the airport.

I'm going home...

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