Stockholm


HI, I’M RICK STEVES, BACK WITH MORE OF
THE BEST OF EUROPE. THIS TIME WE’RE IN
THE BIRTHPLACE OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND DYNAMITE. IT’S SWEDEN’S CAPITAL CITY:
STOCKHOLM. THANKS FOR JOINING US. HERE IN THE NORTH OF EUROPE,
OF THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES, SWEDEN IS THE BIGGEST
AND MOST POPULOUS, AND STOCKHOLM IS BY FAR
SWEDEN’S DOMINANT CITY. LOCALS HERE ARE CONSIDERED
PARTICULARLY CONFIDENT AND SELF-ASSURED,
AND EXPLORING THE CITY, THE CHARACTER OF
ITS PEOPLE UNFOLDS THROUGH ITS MANY ATTRACTIONS. WE’LL EXPLORE THE OLD TOWN, BE DAZZLED IN ITS CITY HALL, ENJOY A SLICE
OF REINDEER IN STYLE, CRUISE TO THE PALACE, CHILL OUT IN
A CONVIVIAL ICE BAR, IMAGINE SWEDEN’S
ONCE-UPON-A-TIME MIGHTY NAVY, MARVEL AT THE WORK
OF A LOCAL SCULPTOR, TAP OUR TOES TO
A SWEDISH BEAT, AND SAIL THE ARCHIPELAGO FOR THE ULTIMATE IN
SCANDINAVIAN SUMMER BEAUTY. TODAY, WITH NEARLY
TWO MILLION PEOPLE IN STOCKHOLM’S GREATER
METROPOLITAN AREA, ONE IN FIVE SWEDES
CALLS THIS CITY HOME. ONCE A RESPECTED MILITARY POWER,
NOW FAMOUSLY NEUTRAL, THIS STATELY CAPITAL
RESPECTS ITS RICH HERITAGE WHILE EMBRACING
MODERN INNOVATION. STOCKHOLM IS DEFINED AS MUCH
BY WATER AS IT IS BY LAND. PART OF AN ARCHIPELAGO,
IT’S SURROUNDED BY BOTH THE SEA AND A LARGE LAKE. THE CITY IS NEARLY
AS FULL OF PARKS AND TREES AS IT IS WITH BUILDINGS, AND IT’S TRAVERSED
BY NUMEROUS BRIDGES. WANDER THROUGH THE CITY, AND YOU’RE STRUCK BY
ITS ELEGANT ARCHITECTURE, PROUD MONUMENTS, AND INVITING PROMENADES. STOCKHOLM’S APPEALING WATERFRONT
IS BOTH A WORKING HARBOR AND A WELCOMING PEOPLE ZONE. OVERLOOKING IT ALL
IN THE HEART OF THE OLD TOWN IS THE ROYAL PALACE. [ MARCHING BAND PLAYING ] IN SUMMER,
WITH GREAT FANFARE, MILITARY BANDS HERALD
THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD. THE CEREMONY IN THE COURTYARD
OF THE PALACE RECALLS THE DAYS
WHEN SWEDEN WAS A MILITARISTIC POWER —
A KINGDOM TO BE RECKONED WITH. [ SHOUTING COMMANDS
IN SWEDISH ] WHILE THIS SPECTACLE
DOES LOOK FORMIDABLE, IT’S MORE A CELEBRATION
OF SWEDISH HERITAGE IN A COUNTRY THAT TODAY
IS FAMOUSLY PACIFIST. STRONG AND EXPANSIONIST KINGS,
LIKE GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, WHO RULED IN THE EARLY 1600s
AND WAS A BRILLIANT GENERAL, MADE STOCKHOLM THIS COUNTRY’S
PERMANENT CAPITAL AND ESTABLISHED
THE SWEDISH EMPIRE. GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS WAS NICKNAMED
“THE LION OF THE NORTH.” HE MADE SWEDEN ONE OF EUROPE’S
TOP POWERS, AND WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING THE PROTESTANTS
TURN THE TIDE AGAINST THE CATHOLICS IN
THE THIRTY YEARS’ WAR. BECAUSE OF HIS INNOVATIVE
TACTICS ON THE BATTLEFIELD, HE’S CONSIDERED BY MANY TO BE
“THE FATHER OF MODERN WARFARE.” FOR A GLIMPSE AT THE SPLENDOR
OF SWEDEN’S FORMER POWER, STEP INTO THE ROYAL ARMORY. WHILE FEARSOME
ON THE BATTLEFIELD, ARMOR HAD A CEREMONIAL
VALUE AS WELL. THESE PIECES MUST HAVE DAZZLED
VIEWERS BACK IN THE 1600s. THAT WAS THE POINT. THE FINE WORKMANSHIP ELEVATES
TOOLS OF WAR TO AN ART FORM. THE SAME LAVISH ATTENTION
TO BOTH PROTECTION AND STYLE WAS ALSO GIVEN TO HORSES. THE SWEDISH ROYAL FAMILY
KEPT UP WITH THEIR COUNTERPARTS ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE. FOUR CENTURIES OF CORONATION
AND ROYAL WEDDING WEAR TAKE YOU FROM THE TIME
OF GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS — THIS IS HIS FINE SUIT —
THROUGH THE AGES. THIS 1766 WEDDING DRESS
OF QUEEN SOFIA WAS DESIGNED TO CLEVERLY SHOW OFF
HER FABULOUS WEALTH, AND THE DRESS,
WITH ITS EXTRAVAGANT MATERIAL, SEEMS EVEN WIDER WHEN COMPARED
TO HER 20-INCH CORSETED WAIST. THE ROYAL PALACE,
WHICH CONTAINS THIS MUSEUM AND SEVERAL OTHERS,
IS ONE OF EUROPE’S BIGGEST. WHILE IT’S TECHNICALLY THE ROYAL
FAMILY’S OFFICIAL RESIDENCE, THEY ACTUALLY LIVE OUTSIDE OF
TOWN AT DROTTNINGHOLM PALACE. THE MOST SCENIC WAY TO GET THERE
IS THE WAY THE ROYALS ONCE DID: BY BOAT. WE’RE CRUISING UP
LAKE MALEREN. THIS RELAXING VOYAGE
IS A DELIGHT, REVEALING MORE DIMENSIONS
OF THIS CITY OF LAKES, PARKS, AND ISLANDS. DROTTNINGHOLM PALACE HAS BEEN
CALLED “SWEDEN’S VERSAILLES.” THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME TO ENJOY
THE GARDEN AND TOUR THE PALACE. THE GRAND ENTRY
LEADS INTO A WORLD WHERE 18th-CENTURY STYLE
PREVAILS. BACK THEN,
EUROPE’S MONARCHS, WHO WERE CONSIDERED
DIVINELY ORDAINED TO RULE, WERE TIGHTLY NETWORKED
BY MARRIAGE. IN FACT, THE SWEDISH ROYAL
FAMILY HAD BLUE-BLOODED COUSINS RANGING FROM
CATHERINE THE GREAT IN RUSSIA
TO LOUIS XVI IN FRANCE. THE DECOR PUSHED THE NOTION
OF A DIVINE MONARCH, BUT THE KING WAS LONG CHALLENGED
BY A STRONG PARLIAMENT, AND TODAY,
SWEDEN’S ROYALTY IS A MODERN
CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY. THE BALLROOM HOSTED
FORMAL OCCASIONS. THE BEDROOM WAS
A KIND OF THEATER WHERE THE MONARCH WOULD BE
CEREMONIALLY DRESSED AS NOBLES WOULD HELP HIM
SLIP INTO HIS LEOTARDS. THE LAVISH LIBRARY ILLUSTRATED THE ROYAL COMMITMENT TO
EDUCATION IN THE 18th CENTURY. THE PALACE’S BAROQUE THEATER
TAKES YOU BACK 200 YEARS. AND, AS IN PALACES
THROUGHOUT EUROPE, ROMAN BUSTS IMPLIED AT LEAST
SYMBOLIC CONNECTIONS WITH THE ROMAN EMPIRE
IN ORDER TO SUBSTANTIATE AND LEGITIMIZE ROYAL POWER. ORIGINALLY, THE ENTIRE CITY
WAS CONTAINED ON THIS ISLAND. TODAY, STOCKHOLM’S OLD TOWN,
OR GAMLA STAN, IS POPULAR WITH LOCALS
AND VISITORS ALIKE. THE TOWN SQUARE,
CALLED STORTORGET, WAS ONCE AN IMPORTANT
COMMERCIAL CENTER. NOW, IT’S SIMPLY
A FAVORED PLACE TO RELAX AND ENJOY
THE SWEDISH GOOD LIFE. GAMLA STAN’S MAIN DRAG
IS A HIT WITH SHOPPERS AND CROWDED WITH TOURISTS. BUT VENTURING JUST A BLOCK
OR TWO FROM THE COMMOTION, THE ATMOSPHERE CHANGES. TRANQUIL LANES FEEL MUCH AS THEY
DID BACK IN THE 17th CENTURY. MEDIEVAL STOCKHOLM WAS
A TRADING CENTER, BUSY WITH MERCHANTS
FROM FOREIGN LANDS. THE GERMAN CHURCH,
ROCKETING HEAVENWARD, REMINDED ALL OF THE POWER OF
GERMANS IN THIS PART OF EUROPE. WITH THE REFORMATION IN 1527, THE KING MADE SWEDEN
A PROTESTANT STATE. SUDDENLY CHURCH
SERVICES COULD BE HELD IN THE
PEOPLE’S LANGUAGE, RATHER THAN LATIN,
AND THAT MEANT EVERY NATIONALITY NEEDED ITS OWN CHURCH. THE GERMANS WORSHIPPED
OVER THERE, THE FINNS HAD THEIR CHURCH, AND THE SWEDES
GOT THE CATHEDRAL. THE CATHEDRAL, WHILE GRAND,
IS WEDGED INTO THE TIGHT QUARTERS
OF GAMLA STAN. THE INTERIOR IS COBBLED
WITH CENTURIES-OLD TOMBSTONES. WHEN ROYAL FAMILIES
WORSHIPPED HERE, THEY SAT IN THEIR
OWN PRIVATE PEWS. THESE DATE FROM ABOUT 1700. WHILE ORIGINALLY CATHOLIC, THIS CHURCH HAS BEEN LUTHERAN
FOR FIVE CENTURIES. WITH THE REFORMATION’S PASSION
FOR SERMONS AND BIBLE READINGS, THE PULPIT WAS A FOCAL POINT. YOU CAN FEEL THE FEISTINESS
OF THE SWEDISH LUTHERANS IN THIS 500-YEAR-OLD STATUE
OF SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON. IT’S CARVED OF
OAK AND ELK HORN. TO SOME,
THIS SYMBOLIZES THE SWEDES OVERCOMING THEIR ARCHENEMIES,
THE DANES. IN A BROADER SENSE,
IT’S AN INSPIRATION TO TAKE UP THE STRUGGLE
AGAINST EVEN NON-DANISH EVIL. WHEN CHOOSING
A PLACE FOR DINNER, I TRY TO LEAVE THE HIGH-RENT
SPOTS TO THE TOURISTS AND FIND SMALL RESTAURANTS
WITH LOW RENT CATERING TO A LOYAL
HOMETOWN CLIENTELE. AND, OF COURSE,
LOCALS KNOW THE BEST PLACES. MY FRIEND HÅKAN
AND HIS WIFE YLVA ARE TAKING ME
TO ONE OF THEIR FAVORITES FOR A LESSON IN GOOD EATING,
SWEDISH STYLE, AND THAT’S CHANGED A LOT SINCE
HÅKAN AND YLVA WERE CHILDREN, INCLUDING NEW-WORLD WINES, AND LOTS OF SPICES BROUGHT
BY RECENT IMMIGRANTS TO ENLIVEN THE TRADITIONAL MEAT,
FISH, AND POTATO STAPLES. Rick: AND WHAT IS THIS, SAMI? Sami: THIS IS
THE REINDEER ROAST BEEF. Rick: REINDEER ROAST BEEF,
YOU SAY? OKAY. SO, HÅKAN, THE POTATO
REALLY JUST HAS — IT HAS ROOTS IN YOUR HISTORY
AND YOUR CULTURE? Håkan: EXTREMELY MUCH SO. SWEDEN’S POPULATION STARTED
TO GROW IN THE 1800s, AND THERE WAS SOMEONE WHO SAID
THE REASON WAS PEACE, VACCINATION, AND POTATOES. Rick: THIS REINDEER IS
REALLY TASTY. Håkan: OH,YES, REINDEER,
I WOULD SAY, IS THE BEEF OF THE NORTH. THAT’S THE BEEF
OF THE LAPLANDERS, AND IT’S SPREAD
ALL OVER SWEDEN. Rick: LOCAL FOOD WITH
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE — IT’S ALWAYS
A WINNING COMBINATION. STOCKHOLM’S NOBEL PRIZE MUSEUM
TELLS THE STORY OF THE WORLD’S MOST
PRESTIGIOUS AWARD. STOCKHOLM-BORN ALFRED NOBEL
WAS A PROLIFIC INVENTOR WITH OVER 300 PATENTS. HIS MOST FAMOUS
INVENTION? DYNAMITE. LIVING IN THE LATE-1800s,
NOBEL WAS A MAN OF HIS AGE. IT WAS A TIME OF GREAT OPTIMISM,
WILD IDEAS, AND GRAND PROJECTS. HIS DYNAMITE ENABLED ENTIRE
NATIONS TO BLAST THEIR WAY INTO THE MODERN AGE WITH CANALS,
RAILROADS, AND TUNNELS; IT MADE WARFARE MUCH
MORE DESTRUCTIVE, AND IT ALSO MADE ALFRED NOBEL
A VERY WEALTHY MAN. WANTING TO LEAVE A LEGACY
THAT CELEBRATED AND SUPPORTED PEOPLE
WITH GREAT IDEAS, HE LEFT HIS FORTUNE
TO FUND THE NOBEL PRIZE. EACH YEAR, LAUREATES ARE HONORED
IN THE FIELDS OF PHYSICS… CHEMISTRY, MEDICINE, LITERATURE, AND, PERHAPS MOST
FAMOUSLY, IN PEACEMAKING. PORTRAITS OF ALL
THE PRIZE-WINNERS SINCE THE FIRST ANNUAL CEREMONY
WAS HELD IN 1901 HANG FROM THE CEILING, SHUFFLING AROUND THE ROOM LIKE
SHIRTS AT THE DRY CLEANERS. AND VIDEO CLIPS LET YOU
PONDER THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF SO MANY GREAT MINDS. THE ANNUAL NOBEL PRIZE BANQUET
IS HELD JUST A SHORT WALK AWAY IN STOCKHOLM’S CITY HALL. IT’S A STATELY MIX OF
EIGHT MILLION RED BRICKS AND LOTS OF STOCKHOLM PRIDE. WHILE CHURCHES DOMINATE CITIES
IN SOUTHERN EUROPE, UP HERE,
IN THE SCANDINAVIAN CAPITALS, CITY HALLS SEEM TO BE
THE MOST IMPRESSIVE BUILDINGS. THEY CELEBRATE HUMANISM — PEOPLE WORKING TOGETHER FOR
THE GOOD OF THEIR COMMUNITY. BUILT IN 1923, STOCKHOLM’S CITY HALL
IS PARTICULARLY ENJOYABLE, AND WELL WORTH ITS
ENTERTAINING HOUR-LONG TOUR. Guide: SO THIS HERE
WHERE WE’RE STANDING IS THE BLUE HALL. IT’S THE BIGGEST RECEPTION HALL
OF THE CITY HALL, AND THIS IS WHERE
THE NOBEL BANQUET TAKES PLACE THE 10th
OF DECEMBER EVERY YEAR, HOSTING 1,300 GUESTS. THIS HERE IS
THE COUNCIL’S CHAMBER. SINCE THE CITY HALL REALLY IS A FUNCTIONING CITY HALL,
IN HERE, THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF
STOCKHOLM HOLD THEIR MEETINGS. WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHOW YOU IN
HERE IS OUR MAGNIFICENT CEILING. IT’S DONE TO LOOK LIKE
AN OLD VIKING HOUSE. THE CONSTRUCTION OF
THE OLD VIKING HOUSES WERE LONG AND NARROW, EXACTLY
LIKE THE CEILING RIGHT HERE. THIS HERE IS THE GOLDEN HALL. ARTWORK FINISHED IN 1922. WE HAVE ABOUT 19 MILLION
PIECES OF MOSAIC IN HERE, AND IT IS REAL GOLD
IN EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM. THE CENTERPIECE OF THIS ROOM,
YOU CAN SEE BEHIND ME HERE, THIS IS THE QUEEN OF THE LAKE,
A SYMBOL OF STOCKHOLM. THE QUEEN OF THE LAKE HERE, SHE IS SITUATED IN
THE CENTER OF THE WORLD. ON THE LEFT SIDE THERE’S
THE WESTERN WORLD. THE EIFFEL TOWER,
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY. ON HER RIGHT SIDE,
THE ORIENT — AN INDIAN ELEPHANT,
A TURKISH FLAG. AND NOT ONLY THE WORLD,
BECAUSE AROUND HER SIDES, THERE ARE ALSO THE DIFFERENT
ZODIAC SIGNS, SYMBOLIZING THE UNIVERSE. SHE’S THE QUEEN OF THE LAKE,
STOCKHOLM, CENTER OF THE WORLD,
CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE. Rick: THE CITY HALL
COMES WITH A BOLD TOWER. IT OFFERS A COMMANDING VIEW
OF STOCKHOLM’S 14 ISLANDS WHICH ARE WOVEN TOGETHER
BY ABOUT 50 BRIDGES. SWEDEN’S STUNNING CAPITAL
IS GREEN, CLEAN, AND PEOPLE-FRIENDLY. STROLLING THE SHORELINE
PROMENADES, YOU JOIN THE PARADE OF LOCALS. WELL-WORN OLD WORKING SHIPS
SEEM CONTENT, RETIRED IN THE SHADOW
OF ELEGANT FACADES. RATHER THAN CARS AND BUSES, IT’S THE DOMAIN OF JOGGERS,
BABY STROLLERS, AND VISITORS MARVELING
AT THE JOYS OF THIS CITY ON THE BALTIC. STOCKHOLM EXISTS BECAUSE
OF ITS LOCATION, WHERE LAKE MALAREN
MEETS THE BALTIC SEA. TRADERS WOULD PADDLE THEIR GOODS
FROM FAR INLAND TO THIS POINT, FROM WHERE SEA-GOING MERCHANTS
WOULD SHIP IT SOUTH TO EUROPE. IN THE 13th CENTURY,
THE NEW KINGDOM OF SWEDEN NEEDED REVENUE,
SO THEY ESTABLISHED CUSTOMS LAWS AND LEVIED DUTIES
ON ALL THE COPPER, IRON, AND FURS THAT
PASSED THROUGH HERE. TODAY, THE LAKE, WHICH IS ABOUT
TWO FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL, IS CONNECTED TO
THE BALTIC SEA BY LOCKS. FOR THE THOUGHTFUL OBSERVER,
HISTORY IS EVERYWHERE. FOR EXAMPLE, CENTURIES AGO,
THIS KUNGSTRÄDGÅRDEN, OR “KING’S GARDEN SQUARE,” WAS THE PRIVATE GARDEN
OF THE KING. TODAY, THIS IS CLEARLY
THE PEOPLE’S DOMAIN. IT’S CONSIDERED
STOCKHOLM’S LIVING ROOM. SWEDES ARE LEADERS
AMONG EUROPEANS WITH THEIR SOCIAL LEGISLATION. THEY PAY HIGH TAXES
AND HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS. SWEDES ENJOY A MINIMUM OF FIVE WEEKS’ PAID VACATION
FROM THE DAY THEY’RE HIRED. IN THE INTEREST OF FAMILY
VALUES, NEW MOMS AND DADS SPLIT 16 MONTHS OF PAID PATERNAL
LEAVE ANY WAY THEY LIKE. AND SWEDES BELIEVE
THAT EVERY CITIZEN, REGARDLESS OF THEIR
FAMILY’S ECONOMIC STATUS, GETS QUALITY HEALTH CARE
AND EDUCATION. ALCOHOL IS HIGHLY TAXED, AND TOURISTS CONTRIBUTE TO
SWEDEN’S COSTLY ENTITLEMENTS EVERY TIME THEY BUY A DRINK. A FUN, IF TOURISTY,
WAY TO DO THAT IS TO PUT ON A HEAVY COAT AND ENJOY A FANCY
VODKA ON ICE — LITERALLY. THE ABSOLUT ICEBAR IS
ACTUALLY MADE OUT OF ICE. FOR YOUR COVER CHARGE,
YOU’LL GET 45 CHILLY MINUTES TO SIP YOUR CHOICE OF
VODKA DRINKS IN AN ICE GLASS, AT AN ICE BAR, OR LOUNGING
ON A NICE ICE SOFA. IN A SCENE LIKE THIS, THERE’S NO SHORTAGE
OF CONVERSATION. SERGELS TORG WAS
BUILT IN THE 1960s TO BALANCE THE POLITICAL
AND ROYAL CITY WITH A BUSTLING
COMMERCIAL DISTRICT. THIS MODERN CENTER OF STOCKHOLM
IS DEDICATED TO SHOPPING. FESTOONED WITH SALES BANNERS
BLOWING IN THE NORDIC WIND, THRIVING PEDESTRIAN BOULEVARDS ARE LINED WITH
TEMPTATIONS ON SALE. HOTORGET —
LITERALLY “HAY MARKET” — NOW FEEDS PEOPLE
RATHER THAN HORSES. THIS VIBRANT OUTDOOR
PRODUCE MARKET CHANGES COLORS
WITH THE SEASONS. TODAY, IN AUGUST,
IT’S BERRIES OF THE FOREST AND GOLDEN CHANTERELLES. OVERLOOKING THE MARKET
IS A STRIKING STATUE BY CARL MILLES. FOR MORE OF HIS WORK,
YOU’LL FIND A VERITABLE FOREST OF STATUES BY SWEDEN’S
GREATEST SCULPTOR ON A BLUFF AT THE EDGE OF TOWN. CARL MILLES SPENT MUCH OF HIS
CAREER HERE AT HIS VILLA, WHERE HE LIVED
AND WORKED FOR 20 YEARS. HE LOVINGLY DESIGNED THIS
DELIGHTFUL SCULPTURE GARDEN. MILLES WANTED HIS ART
DISPLAYED ON PEDESTALS, TO BE SEEN AS IF SILHOUETTES
AGAINST THE SKY. HIS SUBJECTS — OFTEN
GREEK MYTHS SUCH AS PEGASUS OR POSEIDON — STAND OUT AS IF USING THE SKY
AS A BLANK PAPER. YET, UNLIKE SILHOUETTES,
IMAGES IN THE SKY CAN BE ENJOYED
FROM MANY ANGLES. MILLES INJECTED LIFE
INTO HIS WORK WITH WATER, SPLASHING PLAYFULLY. PERHAPS HIS MOST FAMOUS WORK,
“HAND OF GOD,” GIVES AN INSIGHT
INTO MILLES’ BELIEF THAT WHEN THE ARTIST CREATED,
HE WAS, IN A WAY, DIVINELY INSPIRED. THE CITY’S HARBOR
IS BUSY WITH FERRIES, AND MANY TAKE PEOPLE
INTO ITS VAST ARCHIPELAGO — AN AMAZING PLAYGROUND OF
LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF ISLANDS STRETCHING 80 MILES
FROM THE CITY. THERE ARE PLENTY OF WAYS
TO SEE THE ARCHIPELAGO. THOSE TAKING
THE HUGE CRUISE SHIPS THAT FERRY TRAVELERS
TO HELSINKI ENJOY THREE HOURS
OF ISLAND SCENERY BEFORE THEY FINALLY REACH
THE OPEN BALTIC SEA. YOU CAN TAKE
A QUICK BOAT TOUR, OR, WHAT WE’RE DOING,
CATCH A FERRY WITH THE LOCALS. ONE OF THE JOYS OF
AN ARCHIPELAGO TRIP IS TO GRAB A PERCH ON THE BREEZY
SUN DECK WITH THE SWEDES AS THEY ENJOY
THEIR ISLAND WONDERLAND. FERRIES SERVE
OVER A HUNDRED ISLANDS. THEY STOP AT OTHERS
ON REQUEST… OR TO PLOP DOWN
THE DAY’S MAIL. EVERY CABIN SEEMS TO HAVE
A COUPLE OF LOUNGE CHAIRS STRATEGICALLY PLACED
TO SOAK UP THE RELAXING VIEW. YOUR ARCHIPELAGO OPTIONS
ARE ENDLESS, AND YOU DON’T NEED
TO OWN A CABIN TO ENJOY THIS IDYLLIC
ISLAND ESCAPE. OUR FIRST STOP IS THE POPULAR
DESTINATION OF VAXHOLM. ABOUT AN HOUR FROM DOWNTOWN, IT HAS A WELL-PRESERVED FORTRESS
JUST OFF ITS BUSY HARBOR FRONT AS WELL AS A QUIET
AND CHARMING OLD TOWN, MIXING SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS. TODAY, IT’S HARD
TO IMAGINE THAT BACK WHEN SWEDEN
WAS A MILITARY POWER, THIS FORT WAS BUILT TO SECURE
THE CITY FROM ATTACK BY SEA. THE RAMPARTS REMAIN, BUT THEY’RE
MANNED NOT BY SOLDIERS, BUT BY SUN-WORSHIPPERS ENJOYING SWEDEN’S
LONG SUMMER DAYS. MY FAVORITE LOOKOUT POST?
ANNETTE’S HOMESTEAD CAFE. FOR SWEDES, THEIR COFFEE
AND PASTRY BREAK IS A RITUAL, EMBRACED WITH ALL THE VIGOR
OF A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT. AND HERE, SAVORING LIFE
TO ITS FULLEST JUST SEEMS TO COME NATURALLY. FOR AN EVEN MORE PEACEFUL
AND REMOTE DESTINATION, RIDE A COUPLE HOURS
PAST VAXHOLM AND HOP OFF IN SVARTSÖ. THE LITTLE GROCERY PROVIDES
THIS ISLAND COMMUNITY WITH WHATEVER IT NEEDS. RESIDENTS STOCK THEIR CABINS
USING THE ISLAND’S ANSWER TO A MOVING VAN. AND VISITORS CAN HOP
A RENTAL BIKE. IN MOMENTS, YOU’RE OUT
IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, IMMERSED IN PASTORAL FARMLAND
AND PRISTINE NATURE. YOUR BIKE RIDE
IS MEMORABLY CAPPED WITH A STOP
AT THE ISLAND EATERY. WE REQUESTED
THE HOUSE SPECIALTY, AND WERE OVERWHELMED WITH
THE BOUNTY OF THE BALTIC. EVEN IF YOU DON’T
LEAVE STOCKHOLM, YOU’LL STILL LIKELY
BE ON THE WATER. SCENIC HARBOR TOURS
ARE POPULAR, AND SHUTTLE BOATS ZIP
BETWEEN THE MANY ISLANDS. FROM DOWNTOWN,
IT’S JUST A QUICK HOP TO DJURGÅRDEN —
THE “GARDEN ISLAND.” 400 YEARS AGO, DJURGARDEN WAS
THE KING’S HUNTING GROUND. NOW THIS ENTIRE LUSH ISLAND
IS STOCKHOLM’S FUN CENTER, PROTECTED AS A NATIONAL PARK. YOU CAN RENT A CANOE,
ENJOY A BIKE RIDE, MUNCH A PICNIC, OR JUST TAKE IN
THE HARBOR SCENE ALONG WITH A GOOD,
COLD BEER. AND THIS ISLAND HAS SEVERAL
OF THE CITY’S TOP MUSEUMS. THE VASA MUSEUM IS MY FAVORITE
MARITIME MUSEUM ANYWHERE. IT TOOK SEVERAL CENTURIES, BUT STOCKHOLM TURNED
A TITANIC FLOP INTO ONE OF EUROPE’S GREAT
SIGHTSEEING ATTRACTIONS. THE “VASA,” WHILE HERALDED AS
THE ULTIMATE WARSHIP OF HER DAY, SANK JUST MINUTES INTO
HER MAIDEN VOYAGE. IT WAS 1628. THE KING, EAGER TO
EXPAND THE REACH OF HIS DOMAIN, LAUNCHED HIS
FORMIDABLE NEW WARSHIP. LADEN WITH
AN EXTRA ROW OF CANNON, SHE WAS TOP-HEAVY. A COUPLE OF HUNDRED YARDS
FROM THE DOCK, A BREEZE CAUGHT THE SAILS
AND BLEW IT OVER. THEVASASANK TO THE BOTTOM
OF STOCKHOLM’S HARBOR, WHERE IT SAT FOR
OVER 300 YEARS. IN 1961, WITH THE HELP
OF STEEL CABLES AND HUGE INFLATABLE PONTOONS, THEVASAROSE AGAIN
FROM THE DEEP. TODAY, THEVASA,
THE BEST-PRESERVED SHIP OF ITS KIND,
IS CHEMICALLY PETRIFIED AND HOUSED IN
A STATE-OF-THE-ART MUSEUM. THEVASAIS DECORATED WITH
HUNDREDS OF STATUES, ALL DESIGNED TO SHOW THE POWER
OF THE KING KNOWN AS THE “LION OF THE NORTH,”
GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS. DETAILED MODELS LIKE THESE
SHOW LIFE ON BOARD AND EVOKE THE INSTANT WHEN
THE HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS OF THIS MIGHTY SHIP
AND HER CREW WERE DASHED. ARTIFACTS ON DISPLAY
HUMANIZE NAVAL LIFE IN THE 17th CENTURY. THIS AWE-INSPIRING SHIP
IS A TIME CAPSULE FROM AN ERA WHEN SWEDEN WAS
A EUROPEAN POWER AND WAS GEARING UP
TO EXPAND ITS EMPIRE. ANOTHER GREAT SIGHT
HERE ON THE GARDEN ISLAND IS THE SKANSEN OPEN-AIR
FOLK MUSEUM. THIS WAS THE FIRST IN WHAT
BECAME A EUROPE-WIDE MOVEMENT TO PRESERVE TRADITIONAL
ARCHITECTURE. FOUNDED IN 1891, SKANSEN IS
A SPRAWLING COLLECTION OF 150 HISTORIC BUILDINGS THAT TAKE YOU BACK IN TIME. THESE HOMES, CHURCHES,
SCHOOLHOUSES, AND SO ON WERE TRANSPLANTED FROM
ALL CORNERS OF SWEDEN. TODAY, TOURISTS TAKE A VIRTUAL
TRIP ALL OVER THE COUNTRY WITHOUT LEAVING THE CAPITAL, SEEING WONDERFULLY FURNISHED
OLD INTERIORS AND FOLK CRAFTS IN ACTION. ARTISANS DEMONSTRATE
THEIR CRAFTS. THE POTTER WORKS HIS MAGIC, ENTHRALLING VISITORS
OLD AND YOUNG. AND GLASS — TRADITIONALLY
A BIG INDUSTRY HERE IN SWEDEN — IS BLOWN. OBSERVING PEASANTS
FIDDLING OUT ON THE PORCH TAKES YOU BACK TO A TIME
WHEN PEOPLE PROVIDED THEIR OWN ENTERTAINMENT. [ APPLAUSE ] AND, IN A PARK
DEDICATED TO KEEPING FOLK TRADITIONS ALIVE, A DAY AT SKANSEN
IS MEMORABLY CAPPED AT A BANDSTAND WITH SOME
SWEDISH FOLK DANCING. [ FOLK MUSIC PLAYING ] [ APPLAUSE ] I HOPE YOU’VE ENJOYED OUR VISIT
TO THIS QUIET, CONTENT, AND OFTEN OVERLOOKED
CORNER OF EUROPE. TRAVELING HERE,
YOU MEET A PEOPLE WHO HAVE STRUCK THAT
ELUSIVE BALANCE BETWEEN THE PRODUCTIVE LIFE
AND THE GOOD LIFE. THANKS FOR JOINING US. I’M RICK STEVES. UNTIL NEXT TIME,
KEEP ON TRAVELIN’. BACKSTAGE, IT’S MORE — SEE,
I’M HAVING PROBLEMS. IT’S ACTUALLY DEEPER
THAN IT LOOKS. YES, IT IS. NO, IT’S NOT AS
DEEP AS IT LOOKS. IT’S DEEPER. IT — IT LOOKS
DEEPER THAN IT IS. YES. CANALS, RAILROADS,
AND TUNNELS. IT MADE M…MILITARY
MUCH MORE DESTRUCTIVE. STOCKHOLM!
IT’S COLD, IT’S COLD!

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