August 6, 2009

Stockholm, the final fronteir

Our last day in the city of Stockholm. Our European adventure was nearing an end, with just two days left in Sweden. We set out to tour the City Hall and see more of Stockholm. City Hall is a beautiful structure, with grand ballrooms, chandeliers, and unique design gems. The architect of City Hall was a very indecisive man, changing his mind several times throughout construction of the building. The first main ballroom area, where the Nobel Prize Banquet is held each year, was called the Blue Room. Originally, the room was to have no ceiling, but weather hindered that plan. Then, the room was to have windows all along the top, but the architect decided to do interesting brick work instead. Now the blue room is mostly brick, with very little natural light. Perhaps one of the most interesting rooms, the Gold Ballroom, had tiny mosaic tiles covering all of the walls. The mosaic tiles made wonderful pictures depicting different historical and mythological figures. Again, the architect changed his mind during the building process, adding benches to one wall of the ballroom, he forgot to tell the mosaic tile artist. A wonderful image of St. Eric was to be at the top of that wall, but when the tile was hung, Eric's head was cut off (since the height of the wall was significantly less due to the benches). Lucky for the architect, Eric had been beheaded (unlucky for Eric), but the architect explained that the mosaic tile was historically accurate.
After the beautiful tour of City Hall, we opted for a boat tour of Stockholm. Unfortunately, this was not our best choice. The boat was glass-roofed, not open air like we'd hoped. It made for a very warm and somewhat obstructed-view tour. To be honest, I may have dozed off a little bit. After the boat tour, we regained our energy and marched for a couple of miles, up a very giant hill to heaven - or Mousksan (something like that)... the Beer Garden! It was a gorgeous, clear sky, warm day. The garden was packed. Luckily, we scouted out a departing group and pounced on their newly available table. The beer flowed easily, the conversation was delightful. We really caught up on a lot of things, and shared several very hearty laughs (of which I can't talk about here). We finally headed back to the main part of Stockholm to meet Scott for our much anticipated kebab dinner. I ordered a wrap, very similar to a Gyro, which was very good. After dinner, we stopped at the Seven-11 (a place we came to love in Scandanavia) to pick up some beers (keeping our beer garden buzz alive) and treats for our final train ride back to Uppsala. We enjoyed our Carlsbergs and some more great conversation. This marked the end of our tourism.

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