The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Friday, August 08, 2008

To Russia With Doug, Part 7: Stockholm and Greenland

Stockholm and Greenland

Stockholm was the last and not entirely intentional stop on my grand tour. I couldn’t get a flight home from Helsinki using miles, but flights were available from Stockholm. So I figured I’d pay for the short flight to make the connection. Then it turned out that the flight from Stockholm left pretty early, so I had to fly in the night before and spend the night at the Stockholm airport. Not too bad: the hotel is literally in the airport. I was even able to take my luggage cart right to my room from baggage and then back down to check-in the next morning! Perhaps the most exciting part was the view from my room: a giant, glowing, rotating pair of delicious Golden Arches:

I’ve been to Stockholm before. One great thing about the city (and so many European capitols, something we never seemed to figure out in the US) is how easy it is to get downtown. A 20-minute express train takes you from right inside to airport to the central train station. So I figured why not head downtown for an evening’s stroll?

First I went to the Stadshuset (City Hall) in hopes that the tower was open. It offers spectacular views over the city, but alas the tower had already closed for the evening:

But what is great about the Scandinavian capitols is the freedom to walk through and around official buildings at any time. On the grounds of the Stadshuset:

This is the tomb for Birger Jarl, who founded Stockholm around 1250, overlooking the city. He’s not actually buried in it, for reasons that remain unclear to me:

As evening fell I knew my time was limited, so I headed right for the historic hear of Stockholm, Gamla Stan (“Old Town”). Like Helsinki, Stockholm is set on a series of islands:

Gamla Stan contains medieval buildings, cobbled streets, and hidden alleys, as well as a number of famous churches and the Royal Palace. It’s the easy choice when you only have a few hours for an evening’s stroll and want to see the most beautiful part of the city:

The large but simple royal palace:

Riddarholmen Church, where all of the rulers of Sweden are buried. Note the unique and striking wrought-iron steeple:

Typical views around Gamla Stan:

Riddarholmen Church in the setting Midnight Sun:

And of course, just for Carol, a self-pic of me in front of Gamla Stan:

And with that I headed back to the airport and my room to sleep under the reassuring glow of the Golden Arches. It was a brief but lovely visit to Stockholm and I looked forward to getting home.


The flight home would typically be uneventful: a boring trip over a big ocean. But looking outside my window, I spotted a giant iceberg in the North Atlantic, clear as day:

Slowly more and more icebergs appeared, and soon we were near the coast of Greenland. Of course most transatlantic flights pass over Greenland, so this is nothing new. But I had never seen such a clear view on such a beautiful day. Even the flight attendants remarked that they had never seen Greenland so clearly, and it was absolutely breathtaking. So just like I did, sit back and enjoy these magnificent views of icebergs, floes, ice shelves, glaciers, mountains, and endless fields of snow as we approach the coast, fly over mountains, and head into the vast snow-covered interior (and as always you can click on any photo to enlarge)...

The land forms were so clear that when I got home I was able to go on Google Earth and find exactly the area we’d flown over!:

The approximate route of my flight where the photos were taken:

See how clear?!:

And with that I made it home safe and sound. Overall it was an amazing trip, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it even a fraction as much as I did.

This little sign was next to the phone in the bathroom of my hotel in Stockholm:

Marshmallows are a very popular snack in Sweden, and more importantly they are called “skum”:

Just as in every other country, note that the posters for Hancock in Sweden have Stockholm reflected in Will Smith’s glasses:

On the train platform at the airport. Those innovative Swedes!:

That’s all, folks!


  • I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I know you can not be expected to know Swedish grammar, but I am going to correct you anyway. In Sweden, instead of using "the", we end the word with "-et" or "-en". This means that "the stadshuset" Makes it double. Therefore you either call it just "Stadshuset", or "The Stadshus"

    If you come back here you have to go to Örebro to see our castle too, it's prettier than Stockholm's. Also, Örebro used to be the capital of Sweden, for a few years at least.

    There, a quick lesson about Sweden. :) Take care.

    By Anonymous Tova, at 1:17 AM  

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