“Hurry up and wait” has been the theme today. Wait for the bus to take us to the ship…wait to get our passports checked by security…wait for an hour to check in and get our room key…wait another two hours for the rooms to actually be ready…wait for our luggage to get delivered…ugh. I know that’s just how it goes on embarkation day, but blech.
The good news is, since we’re up with the dawn, we had time to go for a nice walk before boarding the ship. Stockholm is such a walkable city that we haven’t even had to bother with public transit — every major attraction is within about a 30-minute stroll. The streets are clean, the people are friendly and absolutely everyone speaks English, so it’s easy to feel comfortable. Chris commented that he could imagine living here, and I know what he means. We like Sweden.
So this morning we wandered down to see Stockholm’s cathedral. I’m not normally big on seeing churches, but this one is where royal weddings, coronations and baptisms take place, so that piqued my interest. The Crown Princess of Sweden just baptized her little princess here a month ago. Cool.
I must admit, the ship is beautiful. The decor is much classier than any other ship we’ve ever been on. And while the stateroom bathrooms are tiny, the beds are amazingly comfortable. Once all the embarkation stuff was done, the passengers seemed to spread out and it hasn’t been hard to find a good seat in the observation lounge.
Get this: today I not only managed to follow a map (Chris said, and I quote, “Excellent job navigating”, which has certainly never been said about me before), but I also demonstrated that I can eat twice as much as my husband. At the breakfast buffet this morning, I had three pieces of toast, some scrambled eggs, half a dozen Swedish meatballs (yum!), an orange, a bowl of yogurt and two glasses of milk. That kept me full for about four hours. Huh.
After breakfast (and a short nap to get over jet lag), we were off to the Vasa Museum, which houses a Swedish naval ship that sank in the harbor 20 minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628. The accident was due to faulty design (too top-heavy) plus some human error (water poured in through the gun ports someone forgot to close…nice). Special conditions in the Baltic Sea kept the ship almost perfectly preserved for the 333 years before it was dredged up. Pretty cool.
Next up was the thing I enjoy most anywhere I travel: the royal palace. We walked through the state rooms and the royal apartments, then had a very interesting tour of the palace treasury, which included all the crowns, scepters, and coronation robes of Swedish kings past and present. The current king is just a figurehead whose only real function is to smile for the cameras (he has even less power than the queen of England), but it was still neat to get an inside look at his official residence. I love that kind of thing.
We made it (only 27 hours after we left the house!) There were only a couple glitches: we were an hour and a half late leaving London, and the hotel didn’t seem to have our reservation, but that all got straightened out pretty quickly.
I’ve only been here for a couple hours and I love this place already — everything is so clean, efficient and healthy (I picked up yogurt, granola and fruit at the 7-Eleven next to the hotel), everyone speaks English and the people are super friendly. We looked a bit lost coming out of the subway and this really nice lady stopped to show us where to go.
We’re hoping to get a good night’s sleep, beat this jet lag and head out tomorrow to see some of the sights. It seems to be a beautiful city. The weather is gorgeous right now but is supposed to rain tomorrow, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.