We just can't get enough of Stockholm. We can't find anything we don't like about it. Yesterday we caught a bus to the city center and we revisited the Thailand Festival for lunch with a professor from the ship John Casteen. The prices are so good for lunch that we couldn't pass it up and the company was great too. We also had some Thai ice cream that was pretty rockin'!
After lunch we walked to the Nobel Museum. One of the Interport Lecturers on our ship is one of the curators there so this was highly recommend and did not disappoint. We learned aobut the Nobel Prize and its founder Alfred Nobel and about some of the Nobel Laureates. One really cool thing is the cableway above your head. There is a track that runs through the museum that has a portrait and citation about each of the more than 800 Laureates. As you walk though the museum they are constantly moving by. We saw John Steinbeck's as we walked but he was one of the only ones I recognized in the hour and ½ that we were there.
As we were leaving the museum we were lucky enough to catch a changing of the guard ceremony at the Royal Palace and we heard the blasting music of the Gay Pride Parade from the bottom of the hill so we walked down and enjoyed that party for a bit. This parade was HUGE with awesome floats and tons of people marching. Each float had music blasting and it was one big party. We were amazed at how the city of Stockholm embraced this celebration. Every public bus had a rainbow flag flying and shop windows had stickers or window displays. The equal treatment of all human beings…what a concept!
What next, Vasa Museum. This is an absolute Stockholm MUST. So here is the story. On August 10, 1628, Vasa (a huge wooden ship) set sail on her maiden voyage and sank in the Stockholm harbor. The wreck was salvaged in 1961 after 333 years under the sea. The reconstructed ship is 98% original and you can learn all about it in this museum. We watched a really cool film about the salvage operation and the people who died in the sinking. This was a really amazing experience.
After Vasa we relaxed for a while on a bench and waited for our Bridges and Locks cruise. We are really glad we spent the money on this cruise. It was a very flat boat and we took the last cruise of the day, 7pm-9pm, so it was quite empty. The commentary and history was really interesting and going through the locks that connect the lake to the Baltic Sea was cool as well. Then, home, tired, feet, OUCH!
Today we got some work done…preparing for re-entry into the world and some class prep as well and then we took the bus in to a place where we could rent bikes. We had the best day just tooling around the Royal National City Park. The main part of this park is the Djurgärden area. We biked along the shore and through beautiful green spaces for about 3 hours then we met up with some SAS'ers that we love. Greg, Emily and Joe were in this beautiful garden and orchard area playing Frisbee and having lunch. We had the most amazing lunch with them. There was a garden where they grew all their own vegetables and all the food was amazingly fresh. They also had great desserts! There were bee hives, greenhouses with vining tomato plants, huge wildflower gardens, picnic tables and FUN!
Now we are back on the ship. We have our final dress rehearsal for TEDx tonight at 6pm so we are getting things done before it all begins again. We have two days before Finland.
Saying goodbye to Stockholm will be the hardest so far. Their government is outstanding, it is so beautiful here, they are incredibly conscientious about their impact on the environment and they seem to be a very kind country. When we win the lottery we will summer in Stockholm!