This trip is flying by now! We were just on the ship for two days of classes and now we are in Stockholm, Sweden. We arrived yesterday morning and we have decided we are going to move here!
Our two days on the ship were good. We had regular classes and we had some TEDx coaching and dress rehearsals (the event is on August 4th) and we did a fine dining reunion evening with all of the people that sailed with us in 2014. There were about 15 of us at our table.
Yesterday morning when we arrived we got up and worked out like usual and then we had to take our passports and go through immigration on the ship. Easy peezy! We headed out about 10:00am and right outside the ship was a little kiosk selling the Hop On Hop Off bus. We bought two tickets and took one complete trip around the city. I can't say it was the most efficient or best city tour that we have had but it was enough to get us acquainted and hear a little history.
We got of the bus on one of Stockholm's islands called Djurgården. Our bus ticket offered us free entry into Gröna Lund, which is a fantastic little amusement park that opened in 1883 but of course has been updated and has some pretty fantastic rides. We had some lunch there and then we went on the most amazing ride. It is a swing ride but it is 400 feet up in the air. It is the highest flying swings in the world….at least that is what they say. We only rode that ride because you had to pay by the ride once you were in the park. We did get some Ben and Jerry's and we were lucky enough to see a kid in a line throw up not once, not twice but THREE TIMES!! Where did all that come from….WOW!
After Gröna Lund we went to Skansen. Skansen is a 75 acre outdoor museum and it was founded in 1891. They have collected about five centuries worth of Swedish history and you can get a real sense of the past all around in the historical buildings that have people in period clothing that have a lot of information about the buildings collected here and the activities that went on there. There are over 150 dwellings and other buildings from all over Sweden and there are also domestic and wild Nordic animals. We saw bears, wolves, reindeer, goats, roosters and pigs to name a few. We also watched furniture makers, glass blowers, and potters. Really cool stuff. We stayed there until dinner time and then came back to the ship for free dinner (Sweden is a little pricey).
Today we met up with Stephen and Emily (both are Resident Directors on the ship) and we bought a bus pass and did some exploring. We spent some time in the clothing store H&M, which might seem lame, but it is a Swedish company and the stuff in the stores here is really awesome.
We wandered down an amazing pedestrian shopping street and then we stumbled across a Thailand Festival. We decided to eat lunch there which was amazing and fresh Thai food. What a lucky find. There was no entrance fee and we got to watch the opening ceremony and entertainment while we ate.
We had a reservation at the Ice Bar at 1:30 so we made our way over there. This is literally what it sounds like, a bar made completely out of ice. We sat in a booth made completely of ice and we each had one of their signature drinks in a glass made of ice. Of course, it was freezing inside, but they give you a parka and gloves to wear before you enter. We had a great time, and it was very quiet since we went during the day. What a cool experience.
After lunch we did more walking to another island, Gamla Stan which was a narrow cobblestone street with fun shopping. Then we went to the hipster neighborhood and had dinner at a fantastic vegetarian restaurant called Chutney.
We are amazed by Stockholm. The parents here get a amazing amount of maternity/paternity leave that is paid for by the government, the transportation system is simple to use but extensive and the people seem very friendly. They do pay a large amount of taxes but the services they receive in return are invaluable.
-Went to a mall to use the bathroom and the bathroom was 10 KR (about $1) and all the bathroom stalls were in one big room together (unisex) and the sinks were outside. Great idea….families can stick together and the women don't have to wait in line while the men wonder where we are.
-I have never seen so many blonde people.
-Stockholm is made up of 14 islands
-the city is 1/3 water, 1/3 parks, and 1/3 city
-Stockholm is committed to limiting it's environmental footprint!!!!!