A Swedish friend met us as we disembarked in Stockholm. She had come only to say hello and to share a taxi with us for the five-minute ride in to the city center where she would report for work.
On the way, she suggested that we begin our tour in Djurgarden, the lush island park that is home to the city’s most popular museums.
Because our kids were with us, our friend also suggested that we visit Junibacken, the Pippi Longstocking-inspired amusement and children’s museum. She said something in Swedish to the taxi driver and then to us,
“I’ll join you. I can be a little late for work.” And so we spent an hour enjoying childhood stories and exhibits, which we adults seemed to enjoy as much as the kids.
We stepped outside to a gorgeous summer day. Our friend looked at her watch, shrugged, and suggested we walk next door to the Vasa Museum, which houses a warship that in 1628 sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage and was brought up from the depths in 1961. We were awed by the scale of what we saw in the city’s most popular museum. We had expected a model, not the ship itself.
Afterward, our friend decided to push on a little longer before returning to work. After all, why report for work before lunch on such a beautiful day? She walked with us to Skansen, an open-air museum and exhibit that features five centuries of Swedish history.
We had an outdoor lunch, then boarded a ferry to make our way back to Gamla Stan, the city’s old town.
Founded in 1200, Sweden’s capital city boasts a wealth of cultural treasures, including medieval walking streets, magnificent cathedrals, parks, theaters and open-air and indoor markets. Proud of her city, our friend wanted us to see it all.
It was mid-afternoon when she finally called to tell her colleagues that she just wasn’t going to be able to make it in at all today. She was busy playing tourist: visiting souvenir shops, stopping for ice cream cones and sightseeing under sunny skies.
At the end of the day, we said goodbye to her. She nearly boarded the ship with us for the 50-mile journey along the beautiful archipelago of 24,000 islands. We wished she had.
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