I was up early this morning to take photos of Gemla Stan in more even light and with fewer people. It ended up being quite deserted. I think the images have an eerie feeling.
The weather has improved but my cold has deteriorated. After another restless night it was a relief to get up around 6:00am. It had already been light for a couple of hours. Today sunrise was at 4:47am and sunset will be 8:30pm. I was sticking to my plan of heading out early so I could get pictures with better light and fewer people. I figured I should make the most of the morning when I was likely to feel my best.
I managed to get out the door by 7:45am. Because I'll be using the metro a lot over the next few days I bought a travel card which allows me to travel as much is I like over the next 3 days. I had a problem with both the money cards I had on me though. The terminal wouldn't accept either. It got me a little worried that something was wrong, but I was able to use my travel card successfully later in the day, so all good.
When I got to Gamla Stan it was deserted. Such a contrast from yesterday. My plan had worked and I could photograph anywhere I liked. Of course, the pictures took on an eerie feel devoid of people. I'll post my favourites in separate blog post.
After finishing with Gemla Stan I wandered towards where the tour boats depart. On the Internet a company advertised an "Under the Bridges" tour starting at 10:00am so I made that my mission. Turns out that there is a strike on which would affect the tour and the first would depart at 11:00am. I bought a ticked and wandered a bit more.
I have found that all old cities have some really interesting doorways. Stockholm is nothing special in that regard, but I made it my mission to try and take some shots of the more interesting ones I found today. I'm going to put them in another separate post.
While waiting for the tour I came across one of the gardens nearby with a mass of blossoming trees.
And this curious sculpture.
Along the waterfront are some imposing facades as well as a huge variety of moored boats.
Closer to 11:00am I got in line to board the boat. I was hoping to sit outside for maximum photo taking flexibility. Unfortunately the outside area of the boat was so small that I didn't manage to get out there and had to put up with photographing though the glass. In hindsight, it was probably better for my health. After all, I think sitting outside on the cruise in Copenhagen contributed to this cold.
The shores of the Baltic Sea and lakes around Stockholm have a huge variety of different buildings and terrain.
I even saw some wildlife on one wharf.
By the end of the tour I was feeling pretty awful so I decided to make my way back to the apartment. It was only 1:30pm and the weather was beautiful. I felt guilty for wasting it but I had still done a lot.
I took the metro from Kungstragarden station. I was aware that many of the metro stations have elaborate artwork/installations but this was the first I had seen.
I had to change trains at Fridhemsplan where I discovered more.
After having some soothing soup I went to bed for a couple of hours. I spent the evening writing my blog while listening to English on the Sky News.
I had another restless sleep last night. I can feel my body fighting something. I think the combination of getting frozen on the canal cruise and my difficulty in getting the right temperature at night has done it. But I'm battling on and I won't let that stop me.
I was up early so I could get myself to the airport with plenty of time. I thought of catching the train back to the airport but decided a taxi was much simpler. At the airport, check in and bag drop were all self-service and efficient. Though I was nervous that I'd scanned my bag correctly until it confirmed my flight number.
I had a bit of time to wait so I wandered the massive array of shops and bought a nice t-shirt I saw.
The flight boarded on time and was almost full. I few Norwiegen Airlines and interestingly everything said was in English first and so was their magazine. The flight went smoothly and I managed to get a shot of the islands below Stockholm and some of the terrain on our approach to the airport.
I took the express train into the city. It was easy to organise and really comfortable. At that time of the day (around midday) it was almost empty. Once in the city I decided to brave the metro to get to the apartment. It took a fair bit of working out to get the right ticket and the right line but I made it without hitch.
By now I was definitely sensing a different vibe in Stockholm to Copenhagen. I don't know if it's the areas I travelled today or just me having man-flu sensitivity, but the energy wasn't what I was expecting. I didn't feel as welcome as I had in Copenhagen. We'll see if that is the same in the next few days. Maybe I just need to let go of any preconcieved ideas I have of the place.
The apartment hotel was easy to find and check-in. It's a bit more basic than the last two places I've stayed though. Perfectly nice, but a bit more budget.
The weather was good when I got here so I decided to head out straight away. The old town (Gamla Stan) was on my list to see so I thought that would be an easy choice. I could take the metro there directly.
It's very much an old town with winding streets and picturesque alleys. But it was full of people. I guess it's a key tourist destination. Taking photos was awkward. Either people were headed towards me all the time or the combination of light and shadow made it difficult to get the light balance right. I took many shots but most were duds. Here are the ones I am most happy with.
I was surprised at how rapidly one of the rivers was flowing.
A couple of signs caught my eye.
I was feeling a bit rough so I decided to head back to the apartment via the supermarket. The closest one to the apartment is huge and it was bewildering trying to find my way around. But you do some guesswork and figure it out.
I want to head out early in the morning. My plan is to head back to Gamla Stan and take more shots when there are fewer people and more even lighting conditions. I'm hoping I don't feel any worse tomorrow.