Time sped by quickly while I was in Sweden. There is much to do and see in such a beautiful country. I was at the end of another adventure and I wanted to stay longer, yet it was time to pack up and head home.
I had to deal with a few inconveniences. I received an e-mail stating that on the day of my departure, De Gaulle Airport was going on strike. My flight was changed to a different airline and a different country, and I received a new ticket. While I was in Latvia, I noticed I was booked for an overnight ferry from Estonia to Finland and a hotel in Finland, both on the same night! Fortunately it was changed, and I did not have to spend a night on a park bench. These logistics were all the more difficult to deal with because for some reason, cell phones were not working well in that country. Nevertheless, the weather cooperated, and the people throughout my travels were helpful and friendly.
There were still a few places I wanted to see before heading home. One was the city hall in Stockholm where the Nobel Banquet is held. The Nobel Peace Prize, however, is awarded in Norway, because at the time when this was established, Sweden and Norway were under one monarchy. Then there is the Kungliga Slottet (the royal palace). It is such a vast place that it is divided into 5 different tours. One tour is of the interior apartments, and another focuses on the sculpture museum, which mostly has Roman sculptures. The royal vault holds the crown jewels, and another vault is deep under the castle. Archeological digs have found where previous castles burned, and ancient history remains at this site.
I used the Hop On-Hop Off travel system in the city to go by boat, bus, or tram from place to place and island to island. My hotel was across from Eden Park, and at one end was the large Stockholm Public Library. I went in one day just to enjoy the grand architecture of the period in which it was built.
Often I would take a bus one way and walk back to the hotel before dinner. I walked through the narrow cobblestone streets of Nottmalm, Old Town, bustling with tourists. People were out with their families as it was summer and school was not in session.
On my last night, I packed up, wrote a while in my journal, and prepared for an early morning departure. When my transfer picked me up for the ride to the international airport, only the night desk manager was in the lobby, and there were no signs of people out and about. It was a secured ride and my driver mentioned he had transported Justin Bieber a few days ago.
Soon I was on my journey home, with many happy memories of this great experience in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries.
(posted March 7, 2017)