03 May 2019 – 13 May 2019
We left Copenhagen and crossed the famous and expensive Oresund Bridge into Sweden. The bridge runs nearly 8km and combined with a tunnel of 4km it is the longest bridge in Europe. We touched down into Sweden near Malmo in the South before heading North along the coast and then cutting inland to make our way into Stockholm. We stopped a couple of times along the way in Marinas and on the edge of lakes. We stayed in a lovely little town called Raa, when I say town, it is more like a village in the U.K. and all was very quiet. As we meandered around the marina on a Saturday afternoon we didn’t see another sole. Nothing was open, ghost town came to mind. However, on Sunday morning as we looked out from the van window into the bay, it was filled with around a 100 small sailing boats, all out enjoying the beautiful weather. The Swedish people love boating and we assume that it fills a huge part of their lives, there is certainly enough water for them to sail in, with over 97,500 lakes as well as the thousands of miles of coast line. It is early May but the daffodils and tulips are just in flower. It shows how much colder it is as we travel North and the trees and plants are just starting to emerge from winter, it is certainly early spring in Sweden. We arrived in Stockholm and David did a superb piece of driving through the centre, again trying to find somewhere to stay close enough for us to get into the centre and that had space. We were in luck and spent 2 days in this wonderful city. We cycled into the centre of the old town, taking our lives in our hands, it’s chaotic cycling. People, cyclists, as well as vehicles coming at you in all directions. I get the impression that there are quite afew fatalities with cyclists as a lot of people wear a sort of very stiff travel pillow around their necks with a front zip fastening. First port of call was the old town which was the actual city for several hundred years, built on Stadholmen. Dating back from the 13th century, it is a labyrinth of cobbled streets, alleyways, faded mustard and rust coloured houses and meeting squares. It is also full of tourists from the huge cruise ships that we saw in the harbour, on their Baltic Cruise. We saw the changing of the guards take place outside the Royal Palace Stockholm and enjoyed a couple of beers in the sunshine. Stockholm is one of the most crowded museum cities in the world and you can see why. With limited time, we decided to visit The Vasa Museum which displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged. The 64 gun warship sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 within minutes of sailing and lay on the sea bed for 333 years before it was salvaged in 1961. This amazing ship is 98% original, adorned with hundreds of carved sculptures. When we walked through the doors into the huge space and saw the ship for the first time, it took our breath way. You cannot believe how huge it is, how beautiful and that this is real. We kept thinking Jack Sparrow was going to suddenly appear. We spent several hours in the museum completely in awe of this ship, learning all about life on board, the stunning art and sculptures which made up this ship and the salvage operation. This is not to be missed if you are ever in Stockholm. There is also the ‘ABBA’ Museum but I could not persuade David to venture inside ! We loved Stockholm, the people are friendly, it has a relaxed and happy feel about the city and it is high on the list of our best loved cities to date. That means we will be back.