Stockholm



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Writer's block is a very strange thing, but I think I'm finally over it. (???)
Picking up from [this post], I had just gotten on an overnight ferry from Tallinn, Estonia and when I woke up in the morning the ship was approaching the harbor in Stockholm, Sweden. 
This country was COLD. It rained (which I love) but I get shivers just thinking about it. Justin was thrilled to be back where he could practice the language and see some old friends. 
We met up with the Rydströms, a couple Justin knew from his time in Stockholm and they were kind enough to let us stay with them. They took us to City Hall, where they give out all the Nobel Prizes (except the Peace Prize, I saw that location in Oslo.) 
This guy was totally just showing off...
My favorite room was filled with these ornate gold tiles and the whole thing glittered from every angle.
The artwork was a little weird, but the mosaics represented the history of the city throughout time.
View out to the water. The city is a bunch of small islands connected by bridges.
They were setting up for some event while we were there and it was fun to watch them lay out the blue "red carpet".
Which fork to use first??
View from the courtyard
On our way out we stuck our visitor stickers to this board where thousands of others have gone before us. Kind of a neat tradition and not as boring as signing a guest book. 
So many bridges criss cross this city! The Rydströms left us to tour the palace on our own after City Hall. I like their Swedish colored umbrellas. :)
We didn't spend nearly as much time in "Old Town" as we did in the other cities. Just passing through to get to the palace and a good excuse to come back!
Because of the dumb terrorists that had just attacked Paris a few days prior, security at the Palace was a bit intense. Justin is friends with a palace guard who was going to give us a private tour but because of the heightened security he had to go into work instead. At least we felt very safe!
The throne. Is it just me, or is this relatively normal sized chair under a massive canopy a bit underwhelming?
We had a great tour guide who I like to think is named Jeeves. He and his iPad taught us a lot of history of the castle. 
Unfortunately, I don't remember half of that history. But I do remember that these sculptures were of people who were at one point in time important enough to be sculptured.
This used to be a bedroom and a King died here. Or maybe he was born here? Probably both. 
The tour was actually really great and after it ended we decided to go wander the museum exhibits in the basement. At one point, the power went out on us. That was a bit spooky.
Royal selfie.
A little model of how the castle evolved into the palace that it is today with fires and war torn sections being rebuilt into new architectural styles.
This guy just hanging out, waiting to defend the castle.
There's a lot of trees in Sweden, so naturally they make good spiky weapons. 
Super old clothes of past kings and queens and little royals.
Seeing the old armor was cool. So primitive. Fighting in a battle must have been terrifying. 
We got to try on some armor for ourselves. 
This was a kids dress up area but no one was around so we were big kids. Justin did a very rattly dance.
Scepters and crowns from coronations
A knight and his overdressed horse
I wonder what kind of horsepower this thing gets?
Trees outside the city center. Forrest everywhere you look!
We went up in this tall, tall, tall observation tower. This is the harbor our boat came into that morning. 
It was so high up we could look down directly on top of the trees. Such a surreal feeling. 
Justin told me a memory of playing soccer on this field and accidentally kicking the ball right at an old women and it sailed right between her legs without her ever breaking stride. Mission miracle? ;)
The scenery here is stunning. Everything is blue and green. 
Then we went to the Vasa Museum. It's this super old ship that sunk in the harbor before it ever really set sail. The wood petrified and ages later they were able to get it out and restore it. 
Poor crew members that died when it sank. Interesting to see, but also strange to me that they ended up in a museum instead of a proper burial. 
This ship is MASSIVE. I think the museum had 3 or 4 stories where you could climb up onto another floor and check out the ship from all angles. 
A little model of what the lower decks would have looked like had the ship been functional enough to head out on a voyage.
It is so big I could not get the whole ship in one frame, no matter what angle I tried. There are tiny ant-people on the floor for perspective.
Stunning craftsmanship. At one point this all would have been painted bright colors.
Sunset outside the Vasa Museum
Because we were crazy, we got ice cream even through it was frigid outside. Delicious!
Justin was thrilled to stop by the mission office and chat with the current missionaries for a bit. He spent a huge chunk of his time here when he was living in Sweden.
Below the mission office was this excellent pizza place. Swedish pizza is weird, I'll just say that. It's thin crust, and very tasty, but there are some really bizarre toppings on the menu. 
We spent the rest of our time wandering the city. Justin was driving and pointing out familiar places to me like places he used to live and shop, etc. but it was so disorienting. Traveling a city on foot makes so much more logical sense and I can paint a map in my brain!
Stockholm was beautiful and I have no doubt I'll be back!
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