Grant and Susan in Sweden
After North Cape, it was a bit of an anticlimax until we got to Stockholm. From North Cape we drove to Skarsvag (northernmost fishing village) for pictures, then to Honningsvag, where we caught a ferry to Kafjord. We headed south through Finland and stopped at Napapiiri, Arctic Circle, (just north of Rovaniemi). After lunch at Santa Claus Village, about as touristy as it gets, we continued south and cut over to Sweden at the Baltic, then followed the Swedish coast down to Stockholm.
We came down a lot faster than we went up (9 days from North Cape to Stockholm), mostly because Norway is much more scenic than either the part of Finland that we saw, or northern Sweden. We only spent a couple of days coming down Finland. Gorgeous riding weather but not much to see. Like northern Ontario, including mosquitoes by the million! They even have stickers of giant mosquitoes, with "Finnish Air Force" on them. It is much more industrialized, and the language is so different from either Norwegian or English that it's like being on another planet. Unlike Norway, few people speak much English.
Reindeer unsuspecting their fate, outside a Finnish restaurant
Sweden is a very tidy and pretty country, (although much more industrialized than Norway),but not spectacular scenery.
Stockholm is a lovely city, lots of nice old buildings and beautiful harbors and canals (called the Venice of the North, since we haven't been to Venice yet we can't say if that's accurate or not). On the other hand, at least one major street - Strandvagen, was supposed to be influenced by Paris and is very similar architecturally. A lovely city, whatever you compare it to. Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town, dates back 800 years and was built on landfill, some of which is sinking.
Among our sightseeing highlights were the Vasa Museum. The Vasa was a Swedish warship, which sank in Stockholm Harbour on her maiden voyage in the early 17th century (probably top-heavy). She was raised in the 1960s, then spent 30+ years drying out carefully. It must have been quite an undertaking to bring her up and restore her. The Vasa Museum was built around the boat. It includes a reconstruction of the time period and the inquiry into her sinking, as well as a depiction of the process of raising her. It is really enormous, and quite a spectacular sight. There are elaborately carved full-sized figures honoring the king who commissioned her. Difficult to take pictures, as they restrict use of flash, but we did get some good ones.
We also visited the Russian Sub Museum - this is U105.9, an actual Russian U-Boat purchased by Sweden and now moored in Stockholm harbour as a museum / tourist attraction. Really gives you an insight into what it must have been like living on one of those.
Marifred, Sweden, across the lake from Gripsholm Castle.
We left Stockholm on August 2, and stopped at Marifred and Gripsholm Castle on our way south. Marifred was gorgeous, well worth a detour. At Gripsholm Castle near the town we met a German minister living in Sweden. He had been photographing the bike in the parking lot when we arrived, then asked if he could photograph us. I wonder how many people have photos of us now? Of course it's not really us they're photographing, it's the bike - the real star of the show. Occasionally they ask us to be in the picture, but probably just to be polite!
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