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Monday, September 19, 2011

Up on the Roofs

Stockholm makes available an opportunity to explore the Gamla Stan area via the rooftops!  Doug gave me this as a gift two Christmases ago and we finally used it last night.  Located on the island of Riddarholm, it was a nice experience.  We began in the square where the large Riddarholm Church is located, the church where the Royals are buried in a square called Birger Jarl Torget.  Birger Jarl is the founder of Stockholm and he watches over this beautiful yet sadly underdeveloped area of the city.  The light was gorgeous in that special Stockholm kind of way that always takes your breath away.
On the tour, you do learn a lot about Stockholm.  Unfortunately we were unable to book a tour in English and the wind was pretty strong so hearing  and understanding everything was a little tough.  Even so, it was fun to see our beautiful city from way up high! And the light did not disappoint!You get a good panoramic look at the whole of downtown and we saw the intensive work that is going on in Lake Mälaren where they are building an underwater subway tunnel.  Of course, it is perfectly safe as you are equipped with climbing equipment.  The Swedes have done a very efficient job of building catwalks and a pulley system that is quite secure.  The entire walk is only about 300 meters long and takes about an hour with stopping for the commentary and to soak in the views.  We were lucky that it didn't rain as it had been forecast and they do the walk no matter the weather re-enforcing the Swedish notion that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. I was thrilled for how beautiful an evening it was and watching the sun coming down over Lake Mälaren was certainly a joy from our vantage point.
As far as experiences go however, I would say it is only OK.  Too much talking, not enough climbing, too confined of an area.  I would save my money and go for the hot air balloon ride which was much more fun and a much better view of the entire Stockholm area.  That said, seeing the city from the heights of the rooftops was a lot of fun.  Afterwards we ventured into the heart of Gamla Stan and enjoyed a coffee at a coffee house where a friend works.  The evening was beautiful, warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the walk home.  Gamla Stan remains a beautiful treasure of our home town from any vantage point.