The previous day was spent mostly in the company of animals, today we will study that which separates us from nature – architecture. My hotel room has a view of Stockholm City Hall, which is where the (non-peace) Nobel Prize presentation ceremony takes place. It was not as easy to reach as it looks on a map. It looks like a simple walk across the bridge-that-I-can-see-from-my-hotel-room, but there isn’t a way to start from the back of the hotel without walking around it from the front anyway, so I have to take the long way and use a different road bridge and walk through a park that takes probably three times as long. Fortunately I plan well, so I arrive just as the tour starts (free with card).
We start in the Blue Hall, where the Nobel Prize dinner banquet is held, and today, chairs are being set up for another function. We are told that the tour will come back through this room so we can take pictures of each other on the same balcony and steps that the prize winners use. I take a few photos anyway because I have the chance, though I have to wait for others to clear the area.
The Council Chambers were designed to resemble a long boat, which you can see in the ceiling painting and pattern of the rafters. Weddings are held in the Oval Room and last five minutes with up to 15 guests (in your choice of Swedish or English).
Besides the Nobel Staircase (probably not its real name), the most famous room of Stockholm’s City Hall is the Golden Hall (above the Blue Hall), so called because of the over 18 million mosaic tiles. The Blue Hall has nothing blue, but the name carried over from the original design (which likely incorporated blue, one of the colors of the Swedish flag). The Golden Hall mosaics represent images/events important to Swedish history and culture.
At the end of the tour, we were meant to walk the balcony and down the stairs, but the stairs were roped off because of the upcoming function, which means we missed our chance for photos on the steps. Luckily I took one of myself, but it wasn’t a very good one. I would have asked someone else to take one of me with more of the background.
It’s almost noon, I’m on schedule and the next stop is the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan. Might as well take the subway to save time. “Fastighetskontoret” sounds more exotic than “Real estate office”, and the likelihood is extremely low, but there are probably words/phrases that sound better in English. The ramps on subway staircases look more appropriate for skis, because they don’t appear to offer any traction for wheelchairs.
The tour takes you through the halls of a working government building, with museums, dining rooms, and the Royal Apartments. As expected, photos were not allowed inside.
In separate buildings (apart from the main structure), I visited the Tre Kronor (three crowns) Museum, Skattkammaren (treasury, which protects Sweden’s Crown Jewels), Livrustkammaren (Royal Armoury), and the Myntkabinettet (Royal Mint), where I touched the world’s largest copper coin.
Again, early closing times during winter mean I have to find something else to do. Poor me, right? Plus, I skipped lunch today to see as much as I could. I need food, preferably cheap. I know, I’m in Sweden, let’s go to IKEA. Fortunately, IKEA provides a free bus that connects downtown Stockholm with the world’s largest IKEA store (the “flagship” in the title), in Kungens Kurva, around 16km southwest of Stockholm (read this news article). Would this be like visiting a McDonald’s, since the menu is the same everywhere?
Eventually, I’ll write the obligatory Eurotrip food post, which will have lots of photos.