Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Sightseeing in Stockholm

Two weeks ago I decided it was time for me to make use of a work perk. We have cards that allow us free entry into lots of museum and sightseeing in Stockholm, and I decided to borrow them for the weekend and use them to run around Stockholm as much as I possibly could.

So here comes a long post full of snippets of Swedish history (that I already knew) and what I found out at the museums.

I have a weird interest in history, especially royal history, and Stockholm has lots to offer in that aspect (like 500+ years), and I knew that there were lots and lots of royal museums in and around the royal palace. So I took the train to Stockholm and the bus to the palace. I started out with the Tre Kronor Museum. It's in the basement of the current royal palace, and basically tells the story of the old renaissance castle that used to be on that exact same site, which burned down in a fire in the 17th century. They had incorporated old walls that were still standing into the museum, and old bits of archeology that told the story of what life at the castle was like in the 16th and 17th centuries. The lighting in general was really bad, to give some atmosphere, so I didn't actually take any pictures in there. The pictures I did take of a model of the old castle comes from the royal apartments that I visited later. It was interesting to read how they dealt with the investigation afterwards. I don't think there even was one. The guy who was the boss of the on-site "fire brigade" that were supposed to prevent fires (+ two other guys) were sentenced to five gauntlets. Which meant they had to run back and forth between two rows of soldiers five times (one lap = back and forth) while the soldiers were hitting them with clubs. If they lived, they were forgiven; if they died, they were duly punished. That's the 17th century for ya!

Next I went to Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. Gustav III is one of the most well-known kings of Sweden. His rule was at the end of the 18th century and he was a big fan of France, theatre and art. French was the court language back then, fyi. Anyway, this museum was created already in the 18th century to show off the king's impressive collection of antiquities, and he had a habit of travelling to Rome to buy new pieces. It was definitely impressive.
Next I had to wait for the changing of the guards to be over so I could go into the royal apartments. The royal apartments easily took the most time to go through and they were easily the coolest thing of everything. I loved reading all the descriptions of the rooms, especially since I've now read Barnbruden (The Child Bride) which takes place during the reign of Gustav III and all of these rooms were used by the royalties living at the palace during his time. It was really cool, and of course I also had to snap a picture of the bust of the main character of that book. Within were also the rooms which are sometimes still in use for official state visits, though they were a lot more modernised and not as impressive.
After that I went to the treasury, which was sort of a disappointment. I expected something grander à la Tower of London, but it was really really small and no photography allowed. So I went through that pretty quickly and then made my way to the armoury. I've been to the armoury several times before, and it's probably one of my favourite places in Stockholm. I just love looking at the old armours and weapons and clothes :3 My favourite thing to look at, read about, and contemplate on (will make me totally morbid) are the clothes worn by Gustav III when he was shot at the masquerade ball. They've allowed his shot shirt to be as-is, and you can still see the bloodstains. I just really like to think about what happened when it happened and the aftermath of it, trying to figure out reactions and actions of the people around him. Because all we're told about this story is that the people were unhappy with him and one man shot him at the king's masquerade ball. The wound didn't kill him immediately, but he died in bed some days later. That's it. And somehow I feel like a situation that terrible deserves some more details. Is that weird?

In any case, after a nice tour around the armoury I went to my last stop of the day, which somehow felt kind of awkward. Across the street from the palace is the royal coin cabinet, a museum which tells the story of coins and money in general. But when I went in, I was the only one there, which made it feel very awkward.

Afterwards I went to meet up with a friend and go to the cinema. The rain was pouring so hard, which was both annoying and kind of cosy :P

Two days later, me and all the colleagues were invited on a pizza cruise which took us around the closest islands of the archipelago all the while eating amazingly delicious pizza.

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