Wednesday, August 1, 2007
(Tuesday) The Swedish X2000 train was an exceptionally fast ride, over 265kmh for very long stretches (the French trains never got much over 200, and the German ICE hit top speeds only for a few minutes at a time). Though it was fast, it was long 4 1-2 hours. At these speeds, you body really feels the movement, tossing you back and forth, and feeling a constant micro-movement that is quite destablizing. About 3 hours into the ride, Karen and I were feeling train sick. The kids Gravel helped (though they didn't seem to need it themselves).
Out seating was a bit mixed up by the agent in Canada, with Karen and Alden in car 4 and Elwyn and I in car 5. We didn't even have seats beside the kids, but the polite Sweeds didn't tolerate that indiscression for more than a moment. Elwyn spent the jiggly trip building and re-building his new Lego, while Alden coloured and played with his new horse and knight. We had a modest lunch of microwaved lasagne and bread, keeping our bellies as calm as possible. Finally, after rocketing through the forest, lakes and little Swedish towns, we arrived in this emerald of a city, Stockholm.
We walked a block from the central station to our room at the Sheraton, where Karen had booked a family room. A true businessman's hotel, it has every ammenity, at a price. Not at all charming, but very modern and super-comfortable (luxurious, really), it was a good home for our two nights.
We went for a long walk down the touristy pedstrain stree Drottnigg and voer a bridge to the Old Town Gamla Stan. Alden liked exploring the little alley-ways, which eventually took us to the harbour Stömmen, where we boarded a little ferry that took us to Djurgården -- a massive area of the city set aside by the king for a large park. We strolled around and chanced on a cute little playground, right beside a free live outdoor theatre. Elwyn started playing with a Swedish girl his age, even though he couldn't speak with each other. They laughed alot and had a great time, and Alden played mostly on his own (as he often does in playgrounds).
We walked again north, past an old castle that is now the Nordske museum, and headd over the bridge into the theatre district. There, Elwyn was treated to 10 minutes on a huge trampolene-bungy jump thing, where you bounce 10 meters or more into the air with each jump. We stopped briefly for a late supper of pizza and coleslaw (to suppliment our earlier french fries lunch), and then headed back to the hotel for bed.