Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trip to Stockholm, Sweden (July 2015)

Loading the luggage by 6:45am and finishing breakfast by 7:30 to depart.

It is another long drive including a short 20-minute ferry from Helsingor, Denmark to Sweden. Buses, trucks and cars also board the ferry.

Helsingor has become famous because Shakespear wrote Hamlet based on this place. A Danish princess had a father, whose name was Hamlet. He was assassinated by his brother and revenges followed. The castle is still preserved and was once used as a fortress.

Sweden is famous for many things, such as Nobel prizes, Volvo, Ikea, H & M, Ericsson etc. Its
Nobel Museum
population is approximately 6 million but due to its big land, its population density is very low. Sweden is part of EU but it chose to use its own currency, Swedish Krone.

Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden. Its current population of 1.4 million or 2.2 million including its surrounding areas, has grown over the period of 750 years. Stockholm is now responsible for one third of Sweden's GDP. Stockholm consists of 14 islands with 57 bridges connecting the islands. Sweden has numerous islands of more than 30,000 islands.

Royal Palace
Sweden's national father is called to be King Gustav Vasa, who was the son of Eric or Ericsson, who fought off the ruling of Denmark when Denmark was the central power of Scandinavian empire. Sweden later became a super power in the region ruling over neighboring countries for quite a while.

We drove more than 560 km across the Swedish land with several stops. We had lunch by a long lake, called Vattern. It is the second largest in Sweden and the fifth largest in Europe. Apparently, this lake is a holiday destination. Many people enjoyed the lake and sun.

We arrived in Stockholm around 5:45PM. As soon as we checked into Park Inn by Radisson, we headed to the old town or Gamlastan where Royal Palace, Ship Hostel and many cathedrals and fortresses are located. We strolled along the sea side and walked through the old town, peeping into shops in the alleys. We found an Italian restaurant and we had an excellent seafood linguini. Wonderful! Of course, we indulged ourselves with ice cream on the waffle cones. Fantastic! I am sure we will have  to do extra workout to lose the pounds we gained. But then, we just felt good and content.

King Gustav

Group photo by the sea

The Yoons and Mr. Choi with us

An old town scene

A Kodak moment!
On the way back, as we crossed the bridge to return to the metro station, we saw a full moon rising from the horizon. It was just perfect with the ship hostel in the same direction. It was a Kodak moment! Beautiful!

We returned to our hotel by the subway or T-bahn around 11pm. Whew... it was a long day.

With Mats Tunehag
The next morning, I met up with Mats Tunehag at the hotel at 10am as scheduled. We had a wonderful discussion about the future of BAM particularly about the financing component to support BAMs. He said that he was planning to hold a leaders forum in 2017 and a congress in 2018. He asked me to review and provide feedbacks on two articles prepared after the 2014 congress: BAM incubation and funding. I said I would be happy to do.

So I ended up skipping a trip in the morning. We checked out at noon and were ready to depart by 1:30pm. We headed out to the dock to board a ferry called Gabriela run by Viking Line. In fact, it was more than a ferry. It was a small cruise ship, probably boarding 1,500 people, plus cars, buses and trucks.

It departed at 4pm and arrived at 9:15am the following morning, after losing one hour. We had dinner at 7pm and slept in a small but private cabin with two bunk beds on the ferry.

The ferry cruised among the archepelagos, numbering more than 30,000 islands. There were some islets without any inhabitants, but any sizable islands had cute houses and boats. We saw several cruise ships passing by and many sailboats were also passing by our ferry. Overall, the scenery was panoramic and spectacular.

Stockholm was quite impressive beyond our expectation. It is definitely one of the cities to return to when we have more time. Mats said, "At this time of the year, I would not be anywhere but Stockholm, but when the winter comes, I would be anywhere but here." Well said. - Jeffrey

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