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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Cold weather as gotten the ice formations at Devil’s Punchbowl off to an early start.

 

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Black-capped Chickadee

Hairy Woodpecker

Blue Jay

American Goldfinch

 

The recent cold weather resulted in ice along the Red Cedar State Trail.

Hunters are always complaining that there are no deer. It might be that the deer are all in my front yard. At least they were the first couple of days of deer season. These two were part of a small herd of five that were frolicking in the front yard.

I found this one looking in my front window. She was busy eating under the bird feeder. She looked malnourished and we were wondering if she wasn’t suffering from Chronic wasting disease . She turned up at the feeder four times during the day.

The first snowfall of the season brought a large number of birds out to the feeders. At one point there were 35 Goldfinches at the feeder.

Last of the fall colors on the Red Cedar State Trail.

 

We were up early and looking at my photos we seemed to be wandering through central Stockholm. We noticed lots of bikes on the road during the morning commute.

More photos from our Stockholm visit can be found on my website.

 

This was going to be our last full day in Stockholm so we walked down to Stockholm Central Station to find how how to catch the train to Kalmar, Sweden. Normally the train would start from Central Station but due to construction we had to take the subway to another station. Turns out it was fairly easy to find and there were plenty of helpful staff around to point us in the right direction.

A little later in the morning we planned on taking the Under the Bridges boat tour so we started wandering toward the waterfront. We ran across  the Church of Saint Clare (Klara Church). It was early and no one was around and the church was closed. We walked around it before heading over to Gamla stan (Old Town).

We walked past the Storkyrkan Church and the Royal Palace before making it down to the waterfront and the tour boats.

We were in line early for the Under the Bridges boat tour. Someone mentioned that it wasn’t worth the money and it was crowded. It was crowded and we had a full boat. Having gotten in line early allowed us to get window seats and made the trip more enjoyable since we wanted to take some photos. We thought the trip was very interesting.

We sailed past the Vasa Museum and Gröna Lund .

We then sailed past some old and new housing developments. The new ones were particularity interesting because Sweden is one of the world leaders in the green movement. One of the developments was described as having a eco-friendly development. All of the trash is automatically transferred to recycling, composting or to the developments heating plant.  Hammarby Sjostad was a rundown port and industrial area. It was cleaned up and developed in to a fully sustainable development. It provides its own energy, water and waste/treatment and management. They closed down or demolished industrial sites and built offices and over 11,000 apartments housing 35,000 residents.

We then went through the locks that separate the Baltic Sea from Lake Mälaren. This took a while because the locks were full when we arrived so we had to wait until they emptied.

We then returned to the locks on our return trip. I noticed that the lock keeper was collecting fees for using the locks.

As we sailed along the waterfront I noticed quite a few boats tied up. Some of them looked a little bit decapitated. I’m not sure that folks living on the waterfront appreciated have them blocking there view.

We then turned the corner and sailed past the Viking Line Cruise Terminal. It seems that we have been past the Cruise Terminal a dozen times during our time in Stockholm.

We passed Slussterrassen which seemed to be under total construction. If only our country paid as much attention to infrastructure as Scandinavia seems to. It appears that they are constantly working on their transportation systems.

We then sailed past Gamla stan (Old Town) and the Royal Palace.

A very enjoyable Under the Bridges boat tour. When we returned to the Strandvägen Ferry Terminal my wife noticed this Arab woman in a burka on a cell phone. It seemed a little incongruous to a Midwesterner but I suppose it shouldn’t.

We then caught a Hop On Hop Off boat to Fotografiska. We sailed past Vasa Museum and Gröna Lund for the second time today. I always liked this crane painted as a giraffe.

We sailed past the Marina Tower Hotel and the Viking Cruise Line Terminal before arriving at the Fotografiska. The Fotografiska was very interesting. My wife was needing some caffeine at this point but I couldn’t get her to spring for coffee and a roll at the coffee shop. It had some great views of the harbor.

Leaving the Fotografiska we caught a Hop On Hop Off boat back to Gamla stan (Old Town) where we renewed our search for coffee.

We wandered around for what seemed like an hour before finding a place that was acceptable. Unfortunately the only available seat was just outside the door to the restroom. While we were eating someone came by and couldn’t get into the restroom so they changed their kids diaper on the floor beside our table. So much for a relaxing coffee break. We then wandered through  Gamla stan. It seemed to me that we had already been in Gamla stan earlier in the day.

Interesting sign outside one of the restaurants.

We walked passed the Royal Palace again on our way back to the Strandvägen Ferry Terminal.

At the ferry terminal we caught an early evening ferry to Fjäderholmarna.

We sailed past Vasa Museum and Gröna Lund for the third time today.

There were quite a few interesting boats on this trip.

When we reached Fjäderholmarna we decided that we were two tired to get off the boat so we sat back and enjoyed the ride back to Strandvägen.

When we arrived back at the ferry terminal we decided it was time for a Pizza and a beer before walking back down Drottninggatan to our hotel. It was the end of another 14 hour day.

 

 

Yesterday was a very long day, 13 hours in all. We were up early once again. My wife wanted to send some post cards so we walked down to the post office. On the way we notice these steps that had a separate area for folks to walk their bike down. We also noticed a large number of bikers during the morning rush hour.

More photos from our Stockholm visit can be found on my website.

Our second goal for the day was to catch the Drottningholm Palace & Boat Tour so we headed down to the Klara Mälarstrand Ferry Terminal. The ticket office was not yet open so we took a few photos before heading over to the City Hall which was right next door.

We returned to find there was already a line to catch the ferry to Drottningholm Palace. There was a large German tour group ahead of us. The outbound ferry was very crowed. I think it was the first ferry out in the morning. I took quite a few photos on the ferry ride out to the Palace. There were quite a few Swedes out enjoying the great weather. It also happened to be a time when many swedes were taking their summer holiday.

The Palace was spectacular starting with the stairway.

After touring the inside we took some time to enjoy the grounds.

The ferry ride back was less crowed and it was possible to wander around the ferry a bit.

Lots of folks out at the swimming beaches.

As the ferry headed into the docks my wife noticed Birger Jarls torn and Riddarholm Church so she made that our next destination.

The Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel can be seen behind the ferry docks.

Our next stop was Riddarholm Church, it is the burial church of the Swedish monarchs and is located on the island of Riddarholmen, close to the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden.

Outside of Riddarholm Church is a small plaza with a fountain and some beautiful buildings.

After touring the church we decided to see if we could find the King’s Royal Stables. We walked back through Old Town. Took a photo of this Vespa, the only one I recall seeing.

Interesting human statue on the streets of Old Town. The streets are narrow and filled with little shops. We were checking out possible places to eat dinner.

We headed off toward the Nybrokajen Ferry Terminal which we thought was near the King’s Royal Stables . On the way we passed this beautiful building next to the Grand Hotel.

We passed Blasieholmen square guarded by two bronze horse statues.

We finally found the Stables in back of the Svenskt Tenn.

We found out the English tour would not start of a half an hour so we stopped to get some coffee and enjoyed a coffee break on the stable grounds.

We were a little surprised when the tour included some of the royal cars. I assume they are classified as horseless carriages.

The riding stables were huge.

Unfortunately most of the horses were out at their summer pastures. They kept a few of them around for the tourists to see. We walked through the tack room which housed the harness collection.

The royal carriage house was impressive and filled with an array of carriages.

When we were finished with the Kings Royal Stables tour we decided to head back over to Old Town and see if we could find the Corner Bar. Last year when we were in Old Town we had some Swedish Meatballs that were very good and at a reasonable price. We were able to find it and the meatballs were still good. It is just a hole in the wall but the food was good.

We then decided that we would take the Royal Canal Tour. We raced down to the harbor to see if we could catch a Hop On Hop Off bus over to the Royal Canal Tour Terminal but we just missed it. Fortunately most things are walk able so we walked over to catch the tour. Even though it was getting late there were lots of folks out enjoying the evening.

We decided to catch a Hop On Hop Off bus back to the hotel and enjoy a ride through town. The bus actually took us on a tour of the town so it would have been faster to walk but it was a nice evening. When we neared the hotel I panicked and got off at the wrong stop. We ended up walking quite a few blocks to get to the hotel. The second shot is me standing in front of the Queen’s Hotel. It was still only about 8:30 so we decided to walk around and see if we could find the hotel where we stayed last year. We did find it and were back by 9:30 making it a very full 15 hour day.

 

 

We had been up late the evening before. It’s hard to stop wandering when the sun is up and the sun is up rather late during the summer. We were up early had a great breakfast at the Queen’s Hotel on Drottninggatan. It was a great location because it was on a main walking street. Our goal first thing in the morning was to purchase a Stockholm Pass which would provide us access to transportation and entry into many attractions. We were able to get this at our hotel after breakfast. We then decided to try and find the tourist office. As we crossed Klarabergsgatan Street we had a good view of some of the construction taking place in downtown Stockholm. In looking on Google it appears that much of the reconstruction has been completed.

More photos from our Stockholm visit can be found on my website.

Sergel Fountain

The tourist office was still closed when we arrived so we wandered down the street until we came to Kungstradgarden Park. We read that this was going to be the site of a new Apple Store. However, folks were so upset that the new government overturned the ruling that allowed Apple to build in this location. It was to go in the background of this reflection pool. The site is currently a T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant that is more in keeping with the park. In the spring the park has some spectacular blooms on the trees.

Saint James’s Church

Western Jackdaw

After walking through the park we walked down Regeringsgatan Street on our way back to the tourist center. Lots of construction on this street as well.

After picking up some information from the tourist office we headed back toward our hotel. On the way we found this interesting sculpture on Sergelgatan Street. It made us appreciate living in a country where guns are not king.

We walked past Old Haymarket Square where the vendors were putting out their produce for the day.

We caught the first Hop On Hop Off bus of the morning . It took us back through some of the same area we had just walked then through old Town, out to the Viking Line Cruise Terminal then past Slussen. The Slussen area was under heavy construction.

We went past some of the boat docks before we finally hopped off the bus at the Nordic Museum. We took a brief tour and looked at a few exhibits. When we went back outside I took a photo of a couple of Barnacle Geese that were resting in front of the building.

Our next stop was going to be the Vasa Museum but there was a long line to get in. It appeared that the tour buses had all stopped at the museum at the same time. We walked past the museum and found a number of old ships docked. They were open for visitors so we went aboard and looked around.

Lightship Finngrundet

Sankt Erik Icebreaker and Bernhard Ingelsson

As we walked back to the Nordic Museum we noticed this Pod Taxi pull up and unload.

We walked through Galärvarvskyrkogården located in back of the Nordic Museum. It housed a wonderful cemetery.

It was still busy at the Vasa Museum so we decided to walk over and take the clog trail to the Skansen open air museum.

This was a great place to spend part of the afternoon. Lots of things to see.

I particularly liked this photo because it shows how wood was stacked. I have photos from our grandparents that show woodpiles with exactly the same style of woodpile.

We decided to walk back down rather than take the clog trail. As we crossed a bridge over the trail tracks we stopped to watch the train pass by.

We then headed back to the Vasa Museum. It was still crowded but the line to get in was short. This was by far the most interesting museum that we visited in Stockholm. The Vasa was a warship that first sailed in 1628. It sailed about 300 meters  before it capsized and sank in the harbor. After 333 years on the sea bed the ship was salvaged. The reconstruction of the ship is amazing as is the story of how it was salvaged and restored. I only wish I had better camera equipment to capture the magnificence of the ship.

After touring the Varsa Museum we took the Hop On Hop Off bus back to our hotel. We then decided to find a place to have dinner so we we wandered down Drottninggatanback to the Pickwick Resturant & Pub to have a bite to eat. In the summer Stockholm has an amazing number of outdoor restaurants. For us it was a bit problematic because neither of us are smokers and we don’t like smoking. Scandinavians like to smoke. While they don’t allow smoking inside they do in the outside dining areas so we tried to pick a restaurant with no smokers.

This beautiful building was near the restaurant.

After dinner we headed out on a walking tour of Gamla stan (Old Town). It is a wonderful place to wander around with many narrow streets and small restaurants.

After walking around Old Town we headed over to the docks near the Grand Hotel. We were planning on a boat tour the next day and were looking for information on tours.

We then headed back to our hotel after a full day of activities. This is a shot of me pressing the button for the crosswalk. Since we didn’t have a car it was exhilarating to push the button and actually have the traffic signal change. A major difference from the states where they are apparently installed to keep pedestrians occupied. When we arrived back at the hotel it had been 13 hours since we started in the morning.

After taking time out for some fall photography I’m back working on my blog from our seven week trip to Norway and Sweden. In my last post from the trip we had visited Fredrikstad, Norway. We were now on our way from Oslo to Stockholm. Our high speed train left Oslo Station at Noon. High speed is a relative term. In Japan it would probably be considered a slow speed train but it did reach 200km a few times. The trip was relatively uneventful. Our car was supposed to be a quite car but a kid was playing a video game until someone asked him to put his head phones on. Another person was listening to something on their phone.

At one point a group of French kids boarded the train. Apparently they did not have tickets and this was a ticket only train. As it turned out the train wasn’t even going where they wanted to go. Someone had told them to get on this train. The had to get off at the next stop.

More photos from our Stockholm visit can be found on my website.

This is a shot of Stockholm Central Station. We had been in Stockholm the previous summer and found there was so much to do we decided to come back for three days.

After leaving Central station we were a little lost because the roads were all under construction. This is Drottninggatan which is a walking street that the Queen’s Hotel was on.

After checking in to our hotel we headed back down Drottninggatan street looking for Gamla Stan or the Old Town. It was a beautiful evening for a walk with hardly a cloud in the sky.

The Af Chapman Youth Hostel was anchored across the water. We could also see the Grand Hotel and the National Museum.

We walked around Old Town for a while before stopping at St George and the Dragon statue

As we walked back toward our hotel we saw the Opera House along the canal.

It had been a long day and we were looking for something quick to eat. As we were wandering around we noticed a McDonald’s so we decided that would be good enough. When we entered we noticed lots electronic ordering kiosks. We had noticed them in Sweden the year before but had never encountered one in the U.S. We decided to go to the counter and order but were told we couldn’t order at the counter. Not sure why but it was later in the evening and they didn’t seem to have a lot of staff. We went back to the Kiosk and tried to order. We thought their menu seemed a bit limited (turns out we didn’t realize we had to swipe through the screens) but we did manage to order something. We tried to order with a credit card but it wouldn’t accept the credit card because our credit cards required a signature. We had to back track and select pay at the counter. We saw our number come up on the screen above the counter then it disappeared, then it came up again then dissapeared. We waited. That’s my wife in in the lower left of the second photo. Finally I went up to the counter to find out what was going on. Turns out if you want to pay at the counter you have to go up and pay when your number displays on the right side of the screen. Then you have to wait again until it moves to the left side of the screen and then go pick the order up. There seemed to be quite a few others that were confused as well.

When we came back to the states later in the summer we started to see ordering kiosks in quite a few McDonald’s. We have since started to use them so we don’t get left behind as new technology comes out.