In an earlier post I gave the spoiler alert that Stockholm was our favorite port of call.
It started out rocky. Early in the cruise we were told we were not actually dock in Stockholm, but in Nyashamn instead. But, because we booked when we were supposed to dock in Stockholm, we would be given a free shuttle bus to Stockholm. Book now, first come gets first choice of times.
So our 12 hour docking in Stockholm was cut short by an hour-long bus ride each way PLUS they were only providing transportation so we could spend about five and a half hours IN Stockholm.
The real bummer was I did no research about our trip until the weekend before we left. I could not wrap my head around actually going to the Baltic Sea. My focus had been on job hunting, which was getting me nowhere.
When I finally did start planning, I fell in love with about twelve hours worth of things to do in Stockholm and I didn't want to cut that list in half.
Don and I even discussed skipping going to shore and saving Stockholm for another trip, one where we could explore it fully. This year has taught me you don't know if you'll be given another chance so we should grab this one.
I'm glad we did.
The 7 AM bus left at 7:20, but the hour-long bus ride was only 45 minutes long, so it evened out. We learned the port was a subway ride away from downtown, so we could use our all day metro card to get back to the boat later than we would have on the bus. It gave us flexibility.
We hit the ground running as soon as the bus stopped in Stockholm. Unfortunately it was too early to do the two things I deemed the highest priorities: going to Vasa and Skensen. The boat we would take did not start running until 9 AM, about the time the ticket booth opened.
Plan B (or is it Plan C at this point): walk around Gamla Stan, the old part of Stockholm.
We had this 13th century part of town to ourselves, which has it pros and cons. Next time I'd rather explore it when the cafes and shops are open and there is a bit more life. Of course then I'd wish for empty streets so I could take good pictures.
Here are some pictures of Gamla Stan. Most of the buildings date back to the 17th and 18th century. I read someplace about 3,000 people live in this section of Stockholm.
It is picturesque, but Tallinn, Estonia was even more photogenic.
By this point the boat's ticket office was open, and the boat was getting ready to leave. As this was our fifth currency in nearly as many days, I lost track of the conversion rate. When we were told we needed to pay an extra 20 Swedish Kronan for a card we could load with an all-day pass (because she did not sell paper ones), we had no idea what that translated into. When she said about 2 euros each, we did it and decided to hang onto the cars for a future trip to Stockholm. I have a pile of that type of item.
Fortunately the next two places I wanted to visit (Vasa and Skensen) were on the same boat line, making it semi-easy to do both as long as we could tear ourselves away.