8th July 2016. Stockholm, Sweden.

Our plan for today was to visit Hermans for lunch, wander round Gamla Stan (apparently that means Old Town), find a shop Debs and I went into last year and see if I could buy a bread bin for her, the shop had closed when we went back last time.  We were then going to sit with a beer and people watch, unfortunately I thought I remembered where the shop was (this is becoming a bit of a habit) and we wandered all through Gamla Stan searching for it, we did see parts of the town that I hadn’t seen previously, which can only be a good thing, and we found the an entry key pad with googly eyes on it, had Gethan struck again!


We had another very tasty meal at Hermans, I didn’t have enough room for pudding though, which was very disappointing because their puds are amazing.

We had a thorough tour of Gamla Stan before I finally spied the shop and although we did have a good look around the shop they no longer sell bread bins.  We continued with our plan, Debs and I had found a nice Swedish bar last year which was a few shops further up the street (which is where we’d been when the bread bin shop closed!) so Darren and I went there, bought a glass of beer each and sat at a table outside in the sun so we could people watch.

I started chatting to the lady at the table next to us who was taking photos of her glass of red wine and her bowl of black olives which she’d arranged nicely.  She was from Costa Rica and stunningly beautiful.  Her husband had come over for work and they’d been in Sweden since November and were moving to California in two weeks time.  We sat and chatted to her for a while until a man came to site on the bench opposite us.  The bench was actually on a lower level because it was meant for the table at street level.  Suddenly he disappeared from view with a shocked look on his face as he fell.

When he’d recovered from the shock he started chatting, he told us he was very drunk, although he didn’t sound it, and he told us his life story.  He said that the people from his village in the archipelago were all sailors and it had been his wish to be a sailor too but he’d followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and become a gardener.  He was just getting into the flow and trying to chat up the Costa Rican lady when the barman told him to leave.  As he started to get up an elderly man sat down on a bench at the next table and fell over into the street and the Swedish gardener raced over and helped him up.

I noticed him wince with pain before he walked off.  We carried on chatting to the lady and she told us that Stockholm was dead in the winter and only came alive when tourists arrived.  She found the long dark days made her feel thoroughly miserable and she was looking forward to moving on to sunnier climes.  She told us she’d been surprised to find that cold weather makes your nose run, she’d never experienced that before and her husband had pointed out that her eyelashes had frozen when she came home one day.

The drunken Swede returned and this time bought a drink so that he could stay and chat.  He told us about his three children, two little daughters by two women in Northern Sweden and a 19 year old son who lived with him from another relationship, he was definitely a flirt, he was very taken with the Costa Rican lady, his Viking blood was evident.

We discovered why he’d winced when he’d helped the old man to his feet.  He said he’d tried to break up a fight in the morning and one of the men took out a knife and tried to cut his throat and it had sliced through his middle finger when he’d put his hand up to protect himself!  He showed us the bandage the hospital had put on earlier, he said his girlfriend wasn’t happy when he phoned her in the early hours of the morning and woke her to say he was in hospital.   Maybe this was a regular occurrence.   He was very interesting to listen to and the banter between him and the Costa Rican lady was hilarious, she told him exactly what she thought on every subject.  When he finished his drink he had to leave because the barman wouldn’t let him stay without a drink.

When we finally left the bar we walked around the Old Town a bit more, I tried to take a photograph of some pigeons splashing in a water feature but a young boy rushed up and scared them off so all I got was a photo of him chasing them away.

While we were walking through the Old Town Darren was keeping his eyes peeled for an ice cream shop.  I thought it would be nice to go to and sit by the water so we went down there and into a cake shop that advertised whippy ice cream only to find, horror of horrors the whippy machine was broken and he had to have decent ice cream instead.  As I bit into my bun I remembered that Debbie and I had bought cardamom buns from that cake shop last time and I’d completely forgotten that my taste buds had decided they tasted horrible.  Unfortunately they were still of the same opinion!

Regardless of the yukky bun it was still a lovely place to sit and chill out.  We sat and watched the world go by and lots of noisy little sparrows nipping in and out of the foliage in the planter beside us.

While we were sitting there we noticed a seagull standing in a very balletic pose for a very long time so I photographed him along with most people who were passing him until a family decided that their daughter should take the bird’s place and do the same pose, it lost its appeal at that moment.

We started to make our way back to the underground station via the Royal Palace, where we were lucky enough to catch the Changing of the Guard and popped over a bridge to another part of the town we hadn’t yet visited.

We were all citied out by that time so we caught the tube back to the campsite.

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