The train from Copenhagen to Stockholm was a brief 5 hours in comfort. The train left from platform 26 and our passports were checked before boarding. One family was refused to board as the mum had a valid ID but her passport was out of date (from what we could tell from listening to the mix of Danish, Spanish and English). We were further warned of passport checks while on the train but this did not happen. Given the Stockholm attack happened the day before the police and border control were much stricter it seemed, and over the next couple of days in Stockholm we noticed much police presence and even helicopters going around the city. Despite the event, more people than usual headed to the city centre that weekend as a protest and a minute’s silence was observed. This however passed us by in the already quiet botanical gardens.
We were met off the train by a fellow intern I met in Silicon Valley back from 2015. Cue reminiscing/complaining of life in America including the lack of decent cheese. Swedish cheese turns out is better than the US but of course not as good as the UK. What was good here was the coffee, just very strong.
We did a lot of walking and took the metro to get around. Our travel card let us use the ferries between the islands and was helpful too when getting the bus to the ferry terminal. The city itself covers 14 islands and Södermalm is now the new improved hipster place to be, complete with welcoming cafes. The view from the north of the island back to Gamla Stan, old town, was impressive. As was Gamla Stan itself, windy streets hiding churches and the oldest runes in the city. Mischa had been to Stockholm on a school trip many years ago but mostly remembered the theme park on Djurgården island.
To reach the Botanical gardens we took a metro to Universitet stop and walked across the over ground line and was greeted by marsh land, and rain. For 80 kronor (roughly £8) we enjoyed a stroll around the glass building housing different areas of plants: California, South Africa, etc. The grounds themselves were free to wander round and they were quite beautiful along the river, in a cold bleak sort of way. It would be stunning in the summer I’m sure. We found the cafe in another old glass building and had the best food of the trip so far, delicious open sandwiches and rich chocolate cake.
The museum was more expensive than the gardens (130 kronor or ~£13) but it is ranked number 1 on TripAdvisor so we went for it, and were not disappointed. The whole ship was raised in 1961 after being in the bay for 333 years, after it first set sail. With many viewing levels full of different information the huge ship is very impressive. It was easy to spend an hour and a half simply staring in awe. The colours have obviously faded but after many years (I think 12) of pigment and dye tests they discovered the ship was more colourful and decorative than previously imagined, this has been recreated and shows how glorious it must have been amazing to see.